Association Celebrates 50th Anniversary with Personal Stories

When an association reaches a landmark anniversary such as 25, 50, 75, or 100 years, there is cause for celebration and coverage of the event in all association publications. But the challenge is finding a way to mark the anniversary in a way that is meaningful to association staff, current members, and legacy members.

Associated Builders & Contractors, Southeast Michigan Chapter included a detailed history of the chapter in its magazine to highlight the 50th anniversary. The article included the important dates that every historical article must have, but it came to life with stories from those who were involved in early activities.

ABC Southeast Michigan also formed a Legacy Committee to bring together people who were involved in the formation of the association and in the early years. The committee’s meetings give members a chance to share stories and give the association an opportunity to capture those stories to preserve the human side of their history.

Other suggestions offered in an article for small businesses include:

  1. Party – Based on your organization’s budget, the anniversary party can be a formal dinner, a gala, a catered picnic, or a day at an amusement park.
  2. Give Back – Partner with a not-for-profit organization to raise money or host an event to give back to the community.
  3. Branding – Develop an anniversary logo to use throughout the year on stationery, websites, email signatures, and swag such as mugs, t-shirts, etc.
  4. Recognition – Throughout the year or at special events, recognize staff and members for their contributions and years of service.

Most associations have an annual conference that can be used as the kick-off or culmination of an anniversary celebration. Galas, special awards and recognitions, and an anniversary theme throughout the conference can improve engagement and awareness of the association’s historic achievement.