Memorial Day recognizes men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Labor Day honors the American labor movement. Veterans Day honors people who served in the U.S. Armed Forces. And National Philanthropy Day on November 15?

Never heard of National Philanthropy Day? In 1986, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) established it to serve as an annual celebration of philanthropy in all its forms: giving, volunteering, and charitable engagement. As AFP describes it:

National Philanthropy Day … highlights the accomplishments, large and small,

that philanthropy—and all those involved

in the philanthropic process—makes to our society and our world.

The AFP website has a page focused on National Philanthropy Day, which also has some useful links for donors:

National Philanthropy Day offers organizations the opportunity to recognize people for their philanthropic achievements. This is a great way to let donors know that their contributions have had an impact on causes that matter to them. AFP does some of this at the national level, but individual AFP chapters also use the day to recognize philanthropists in the communities they serve.

National Philanthropy Day is well-timed in mid-November, right as year-end giving appeals begin to make their way into email and postal mailboxes across the country. Whether the timing of the date intentional or not, making individuals feel great about their engagement in charities is a great way to get them in the right mindset about their plans to make philanthropic gifts at the end of the year.

So, what are some ways you can celebrate National Philanthropy Day in your organization?

  • If you are hosting an event in the month of November, invite major donors who are in attendance up to the stage to be recognized.
  • If there is a local National Philanthropy Day event in your community, purchase a table and fill it with your donors and supporters.
  • Host a National Philanthropy Day party in your office for your supporters.
  • Instead of sending holiday cards, create and send National Philanthropy Day cards.
  • Ask Board members to send hand-written thank you notes to your top donors.
  • Take out an ad in your local paper with the names and faces of your major donors (with their permission, of course).
  • Use your social media platforms to thank your donors.

National Philanthropy Day is a great way to get folks in the giving mood. You need not spend a lot of time or effort, but what you do invest in it will make a difference.