Whether seasonal events last for a day, week, or month, they mark a special time and call our attention to important issues. With every passing month, your mission-driven organization has opportunities to show how a particular event connects to your mission.
Such celebrations also foster greater engagement with donors, supporters, and volunteers. Seasonal events invigorate communities by livening things up and creating a sense of belonging. Public gatherings provide opportunities for people in the community to connect and share common interests.
Here are the best reasons to celebrate events throughout the year, along with a handy list of those special events in 2024. (Keep the list stored on your board management system for easy reference throughout the year as you plan!)
Why celebrate seasonal events?
The start of a new year is a good time to create a month-by-month calendar of special events to complement your marketing plans. A week-long or month-long event gives you multiple opportunities to gain the attention of supporters, but don’t discount the positive impact that a single-day special event can have on your nonprofit.
The following benefits of celebrating special seasonal events will hopefully inspire your board to start an event-planning calendar to help raise funds for the coming year:
- Enhance community engagement. Most boards are deeply connected to the communities they serve, and a seasonal event can spark community engagement. By organizing and participating in an event, boards create opportunities to strengthen ties with residents, parents, and businesses.
- Educate the community about your mission. Seasonal events may lend themselves to educating the community about how a celebration aligns with your mission. Such occasions offer prime opportunities to develop educational resources that your nonprofit can use for information booths or presenting workshops.
- Showcase community pride. Nonprofit boards can use an event to develop a sense of community spirit and foster unity. Public events bring diverse people together where they may find commonalities that bring them closer together.
- Highlight achievements. Special events can also provide a platform that allows your nonprofit to highlight your nonprofit’s achievements and programs. Increased awareness of your nonprofit’s mission underscores the difference your nonprofit’s contributions make to the community.
- Boost morale. Special celebrations create a sense of pride and accomplishment which can promote positivity. Participating in or organizing a seasonal event tends to boost the morale among your board, employees, and members of the community.
Considering the apparent benefits of organizing seasonal events, this is a good time to start plugging events into your board calendar.
Month-by-month calendar of events for 2024
Depending on your mission, you may find other events that can help spread awareness of the good work your nonprofit does. Here’s a starter list to put on your board calendar.
We have created this seasonal events calendar available in a downloadable format here. Print or download this to add to your board calendar as you plan your year.
- New Year’s Celebrations: The new year is a good time to communicate to your supporters how your nonprofit plans to build on your successes in the coming year.
- Week up til 28 January: Data Privacy Week runs up until Data Privacy Day to raise awareness of the importance of “respecting privacy, safeguarding data, and enabling trust.” This is an ideal opportunity for your organization to showcase the measures it takes to maintain the public’s trust.
- Black History Month: Carter G. Woodson proclaimed February Black History Month in 1926. This month is a great opportunity to promote diversity and acceptance.
- 4 February: USO Day is a day for your nonprofit to participate in boosting the morale of our military members. The USO supports the troops by entertaining them and connecting them to their homes, families, and their country. It offers a chance for your nonprofit to create awareness of the importance of this day which helps the USO do its work. President Lyndon B. Johnson issued this proclamation in 1966 to encourage people to support United Service Organizations which support those in the ArmedForces and highlights your nonprofit’s sense of patriotism.
- 11 February: International Day of Women and Girls in Science recognizes the lack of gender equality for girls and women in scientific fields. This is a good event for nonprofits related to STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math). Healthcare organizations, environmental organizations, and other nonprofits may want to recognize the contributions of women and girls and highlight opportunities for them to serve in these areas.
- 27 February: World NGO Day celebrates non-governmental and nonprofit organizations. First celebrated in 2014, it is now observed in over 89 countries on 6 continents.
- 8 March: International Women’s Day: The theme for the 2024 International Women’s Day is “Inspire Inclusion” in the hope that it will encourage everyone to work toward making the world more inclusive for women.
- 31 March: World Backup Day – a great opportunity to remind your staff, volunteers, and stakeholders about why backing up data is so important and make sure they are confident in doing so.
- Celebrate Diversity Month is a good opportunity to showcase diversity, as it may encourage more people to become involved in your mission-driven organization or make an investment in it. And a four-week celebration gives you lots of time to do it. This is also a good time to offer more diversity training at your nonprofit and encourage everyone involved to better understand differences in gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, and other factors.
- 22 April: Earth Day – There are lots of ways to show your organization’s commitment to a more sustainable earth – planting trees, hosting a clean-up day, making a commitment to recycling, or offering garden tips to name a few. Over 20 million people participate in this event annually.
- 3rd week of April: As part of Global Volunteer Month, National Volunteer Week seeks to recognize and empower volunteers to change the world through building stronger communities. Everyone likes to be thanked and this is an opportune event to celebrate, acknowledge, and thank your volunteers and volunteer board members personally or publicly.
- European Diversity Month: The European Commission encourages nonprofits and businesses to support diversity and inclusion in the workplace by sponsoring internal and external events all month long.
- 2nd week of May: The American Hospital Association (AHA) provides a toolkit and other resources for organizations wanting to celebrate National Hospital Week. The event is designed to create awareness and recognition for the hospitals, healthcare networks, and healthcare systems that provide healthcare to communities, often despite steep challenges.
- 2nd week of May: National Skilled Nursing Home Care Week has slated this year’s theme as “Radiant Memories – A Tribute to the Golden Age of Radio” to celebrate the time when radio was, and still is, a prime source of news and entertainment.
- 16 May: The GAAD Foundation takes the lead on Global Accessibility Awareness Day: designed to encourage organizations and businesses to ensure that all users can have a first-rate digital experience when using the web. GAAD has tools and other resources to improve userability.
- 5 June: World Environment Day is the United Nations day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment. This year is focusing on land restoration, desertification and drought resilience while 2025 will be focused on ending plastic pollution.
- 20 June: World Productivity Day. While maybe not the most exciting event, mission-driven organizations generally work with a limited amount of resources. By shining a light on productivity, your organization may save time and money, enabling it to have a greater impact. Your staff and volunteers may have some great ideas on how the organization can capitalize on productivity. A poll, survey, or forum may yield valuable results.
- 1 July: Canada Day
- 4 July: Independence Day
- 28 July World Nature Conservation Day aims to raise awareness about the impact that humans have on the environment, while encouraging people to make a difference
- 17 August: National Nonprofit Day – (NND) acknowledges the nonprofit sector, recognizing the efforts of organizations, their dedicated staff, and volunteers, as well as the profound impact they make on the communities they serve. Celebrate your organization and the people in it.
- 26 August: Woman’s Equality Day is a day to recognize how women bring unique perspectives to leadership. Civic education helps donors and supporters understand their rights and how governments work with nonprofits to create better communities for women and all people. Celebrate this day by initiating a mentorship or internship program for women or girls, setting up a forum to get female perspectives, or encouraging women to volunteer for your organization.
- The goal of Intergenerational Month is to connect generations. Your organization could join in their celebration by bringing volunteers of different ages together to work on a project. You could also describe how generations are already working together within your nonprofit to become friends and learn from one another while supporting the community.
- National Insider Threat Awareness Month is an opportunity to educate staff and board members about the danger of insider threats and how to handle sensitive information.
- 6 September: International Day of Charity commemorates the death of Mother Teresa of Calcutta who dedicated her life to improving life for the poor. The goal of this event is to encourage people to set the day aside to do some good. Your organization may decide to encourage people to give of their time or money as a way of celebrating this event.
- 15 September-15 October: Hispanic Heritage Month – Storytelling can be a powerful medium. Consider interviewing your Latino staff and volunteers, members, and donors, and with their permission, tell the stories of how they contribute to the work of your mission.
- October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month an ideal opportunity to share breast cancer prevention messages with your board members, staff, volunteers and followers.
- Cybersecurity Month – Place the focus on cybersecurity awareness all month long by promoting measures that mitigate online risks nationally and globally and generating discussions about cyber threats. This event could provide an opportune time to conduct essential cyber training for your staff, volunteers, and board members.
- 5 October: World Teacher’s Day – Mission-driven organizations in the education sector may earmark this event as an opportunity to thank the hard-working teachers who are the essence of your mission, helping to make it all that is.
- 11 October: International Day of the Girl – UNICEF’s website aptly describes this day as an opportunity to respond to girls’ call for change to champion solutions and change their communities. It calls for a global campaign for organizations to move from making commitments to taking action that enables girls to shape government policies, direct priorities for research and innovation, and inform the rules that create norms.
- 17 October: International Credit Union Day is a day for credit unions to celebrate the spirit of the global credit union movement. The day is recognized to reflect on the credit union movement’s history, promote its achievements, recognize hard work, and share member experiences.
- Tuesday after Thanksgiving: Giving Tuesday, which piggybacks Black Friday and Cyber Monday, is one of the top donation days of the year. It’s an ideal time for fundraising, as the holiday season puts donors in a giving mood.
- Various dates in November, depending on location: Trustees Week is celebrated during the first week of November in the U.S., 4th-10th November in the U.K., and 13th-17th November in Ireland to acknowledge the contribution of trustees to their communities.
- 3-9 November: Compliance & Ethics Week aims to shine a spotlight on the importance of compliance and ethics. Here’s a list of 10 ways to celebrate with your board, staff and volunteers.
- 13 November: Created by the World Kindness Movement in 1997, World Kindness Day is now celebrated around the globe with the simple mission of creating a kinder world.
- 10 December: International Human Rights Day – Mission-driven organizations have an opportunity to highlight how strongly they support basic human rights. Celebrations on this day draw attention to the unalienable rights that guarantee decent treatment and protection against discrimination regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status.
- Season’s Greetings/Year-End Celebrations: As the year comes to a close, donors have gift-giving on their minds. According to WildApricot, 28% of mission-driven organizations raise a fourth to half of their annual funds in the final weeks of the year.
Leverage technology for seasonal event planning and monitoring
BoardEffect is designed to allow your board or event planning committee to work collaboratively in workrooms on seasonal events. Online workrooms are accessible to group members wherever they are. Automatic reporting tools enable groups to track results and report them.
As you look ahead to a productive year, your board management system provides a central place for all the tasks and activities involved in seasonal event planning to ensure your nonprofit has a successful year.