A Brief Guide to Nonprofit Holidays

A Brief Guide to Nonprofit Holidays


What is your nonprofit organization doing to commemorate International Volunteer Day? Do you have a fundraising strategy to capitalize on giving opportunities on Giving Tuesday this year? Nonprofit holidays offer local and international NGOs a way to promote their organizational goals and mission.

There are dozens of nonprofit holidays throughout the year, and these days each have a unique theme. At PayBee, we help organizations around the world plan effective strategies to optimize their approach to fundraising and awareness campaigns on these celebratory occasions. 

This brief guide to national and international nonprofit holidays fills you in on the dates for the biggest international day events of the year, their purpose, and how you can utilize them to your organization's advantage. 


The Importance of Planned Giving Holidays 

Why do NGOs around the world need to consider nonprofit holidays as part of their marketing strategy? Whether it’s August, December, or March, what advantages do these international day celebrations offer your organization? 

Raising Awareness for Your Cause – There are dozens of nonprofit holidays throughout the year, but barely a month goes by where there isn't something to celebrate. These occasions offer you a way to spread awareness of your nonprofit initiatives when interest in them is at its peak. You'll experience better reach and more engagement with your initiatives during these times.

Engage the Community and Supporters – Nonprofit fundraising holidays create a fever in the populace surrounding these national and international day of celebrations and it's theme. Leveraging this excitement in the market gives you a reason to stir up engagement with your community and supporters to further your campaign initiatives. Grow your supporter base and community engagement around the world on these days. Attract local and international donors to your nonprofit by planning and executing nonprofit campaigns for these times of the year.

Nonprofit Holiday Success Stories – A great example of a non-profit success story is the Michael J. Fox Foundation and its #Unselfie campaign for #GivingTuesday in 2016. The campaign generated 5,000 endorsements via word of mouth, and the international foundation was tagged in 107 selfies. The organization raised close to $400,000 from the community and a private donation of $100,000 with its campaign on this hallowed nonprofit day of celebration. 


Popular Planned Holidays, Giving Days, and Their Significance

Giving Tuesday

The United Nations Foundation collaborated with New York's 92nd Street Y in 2012 to found #GivingTuesday. Typically, the holiday occurs every year on the last Tuesday in November or the first Tuesday in December. In 2023, #GivingTuesday will happen around the world on Tuesday, November 28 in 2023. 

#GivingTuesday follows the popular holidays of Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. It's the ideal time for nonprofits to capitalize on the public's feelings of togetherness and consumerism during this week when people feel generous and want to offset their consumer splurge over the prior weekend with nonprofit day celebrations.

#GivingTuesday campaigns should grab your supporter's attention and engage them with high-value content. Some ideas for #GivingTuesday campaigns include peer-to-peer fundraisers, text-to-give campaigns, pledge drives, direct mail, and social media. SM presents the biggest conduit for fundraising and awareness campaigns, allowing your local or international organization to use the #GivingTuesday hashtag on platforms to capture eyeballs on your national and international day celebration campaigns. 


World Charity Day (International Day of Charity)

The United Nations General Assembly founded the International Day of Charity in August 2012 (otherwise known as "World Charity Day"). The holiday was conceived by the Hungarian civil society and was first celebrated worldwide on September 5, 2013. 

The day pays homage to the passing of the late Mother Teresa and her selfless, charitable work that brought so much benefit to millions of people around the world. It's no surprise that the initiative brings awareness to issues surrounding world poverty, clean water access, and sanitation. It's spearheaded by organizations like WaterAid, Charity: Water, The Resource Alliance, and the Foundation Center, with corporate sponsors like The Coca-Cola Foundation. 

Today, International Charity Day is a celebration of all charities around the globe in all sectors. A nonprofit holiday offers organizations a chance to commemorate the occasion, bringing awareness to their campaign initiatives through platforms like social media. Outreach campaigns like SM ads, email, and text-to-give campaigns are ideal for fundraising and awareness drives on global charity days. 


National Volunteer Week

Volunteers provide the backbone of fundraising and awareness campaigns for nonprofits on all days throughout the year. These individuals dedicate their time and energy to furthering the cause and ensuring campaign success. National Volunteer Week celebrates the good efforts of these individuals, showing organizational volunteer appreciation around the world.

Founded in 1974 in an executive order issued by the 37th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, NVW is a decades-long annual national celebration. It's part of a legacy extending back to Canada in 1943 as a way to celebrate women's contribution to WWII. 

Today, The Points of Light Foundation organizes NVW, as per presidential decree, promoting it during the last half of April each year in the US and Canada. New Zealand and Australia celebrate it in May, and the UK in June. Nonprofits around the world can commemorate the occasion by bringing kudos and thanks to their volunteers for their work by riding the social media hashtag (#NVW2023 in 2023, which will be similar in 2024). 


Awareness Months

While most nonprofit holidays are observed in a single day or a week around the world, a few occur over an entire month. 

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Founded in 1985 in a collaboration between Imperial Chemical Industries (now part of AstraZeneca) and the American Cancer Society, NBCAM brings awareness to mammography as a way to fight back against the development of breast cancer in women. 

The event got its world-renowned "pink ribbon" from an initiative launched by Evelyn Lauder of the Estée Lauder Company in 1993 when she founded the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The event takes place around the world annually in October.


Mental Health Awareness Month

This nonprofit holiday started in the United States in 1949. Founded by Mental Health America (MHA), this celebration launches national initiatives to improve the mental well-being of Americans. In mid-March, the organization releases a "Mental Health Toolkit" to help nonprofit organizations read up on and prepare for the events during May. 

The event takes place in May every year and follows a specific theme. In 2022, the theme was "Back 2 Basics" and "#Tools2Thrive" in 2021 and 2020. Topics covered during MHAM issues include Americans with knowledge about mental health disorders and what they can do if they feel their mental health is a concern. 


Planning & Executing Successful Nonprofit Holiday Fundraising & Awareness Campaigns

Your nonprofit should have a clear strategy to leverage the public's awareness of these giving initiatives throughout the year, from August to July. They offer catalysts to grow your donor base and donations and attract people to your cause. Let's cover how to plan and execute fundraising and awareness campaigns for these national and international day celebrations around the world.


Set Clear Goals

Every great fundraising campaign starts with meticulous planning. What does your organization want to achieve from donors, supporters, and volunteers? Clearly outline your fundraising targets and issue a nonprofit email marketing and social media campaign before and on the days, week, or month to drive awareness of your goals with your target audience. 

How much money do you want to raise? How many donors do you want to capture? How much reach do you want to get into your market? These metrics are important for analyzing giving campaign results, giving you a benchmark for success.


Engage Supporters Through Social Media

Today's digital landscape allows nonprofit marketers to reach a global audience with their national and international day campaign initiatives. Platforms like X, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok bring you a conduit to reaching a targeted audience. Create a policy and best practices around your ad spend and how you engage market response to optimize results.

Your content strategy should include riding the relevant hashtags celebrating the event and sharing success stories of your past fundraising and awareness initiatives and how they benefited your organization and its mission. Launching social media ad campaigns gets you extended reach, bolstering your organic marketing strategy. Hosting live and virtual events via live streaming platforms like FB Live and Instagram IGTV is a great way to leverage these platforms for campaign success. 


Collaborating with Other Organizations

Why go it alone with your fundraising and awareness campaigns? Use nonprofit holidays as a way to network and collaborate with corporations and small businesses. These companies can offer financial support via sponsorship opportunities for your campaigns and organizations and spread your message to their customer bases. The result is a wider reach and a bigger impact on your campaigns. 


Evaluating and Adapting

The digital marketing space allows nonprofits to measure their campaign success through analytics. Google, Facebook, Instagram, and even messaging apps like WhatsApp all come with analytics dashboards that show your campaign metrics. 

These tools give you insights into the performance of your content strategy and how your target audience engages with your campaign. This information provides marketers with opportunities to adjust their campaign strategy on the move. They get real-time data, allowing organizations to adapt their strategy according to the results they receive from their audience on international day celebrations. 


Nonprofit Holidays


Q: How can nonprofits maximize their impact during Giving Tuesday?

A: Giving Tuesday allows nonprofit marketers to leverage social media to expand their organic and paid reach into their target audience. The hashtag #GivingTuesday is live across all platforms during the event day, so leverage that to extend your reach and attract eyeballs to your planned giving campaigns and nonprofit national and international day celebrations. 


Q: Why are awareness months important for nonprofits?

A: Nonprofit holidays like awareness months give nonprofit professionals and organizations four weeks to maximize the attention on their day calendar initiatives. During these times, donors, supporters, and volunteers are more active in the space, and leveraging marketing strategies to capture their attention furthers your campaign directives and goals. 


Q: How can volunteers get involved during National Volunteer Week?

A: Volunteers can get involved in international day festivities during NVW by reaching out to their favorite nonprofits NGOs to ask how they can help. Review social media for charities and nonprofits in your area that interest you. You can dedicate your time physically by assisting nonprofits with their events or help virtually by offering marketing services or other valuable systems and tools for online fundraising or awareness initiatives.



Nonprofit calendar holidays are special events during the year where organizations can leverage the extra attention on their organization and its initiatives in this space. 

There are plenty of nonprofit international day celebrations during the year. There are more than a dozen, like Christmas and other vacation celebrations, that your organization can utilize to improve your charity events, fundraising, and awareness campaigns. 

If you want assistance planning and executing your nonprofit awareness days and holiday campaigns, reach out to the team at PayBee. We'll help you get your campaign dates, resources, content strategy, outreach, and donation drives on track for success. 

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