When the Alaska Satellite Facility (ASF) celebrated its 25th anniversary, they wanted to celebrate the past and launch the future with a (literal) bang.
As part of the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Alaska Satellite Facility contributes research data about everything from glaciers and climate change to flooding and the Amazon Rainforest. It provides remote-sensing data to the scientific community, including NASA. So when the organization planned its anniversary open house, it looked to have a blast with promotional products.
Choosing a Focus
For any organization, hitting a milestone anniversary is something to be celebrated. Employees, clients and your community are often willing to celebrate with you.
For the ASF, strengthening relationships with community members was key, primarily among young members. Science can be complex, and getting kids on board for the 25th anniversary event was important.
“The kids of today are going to be the scientists of tomorrow,” explains ASF Director Nettie La Belle-Hamer, Ph.D. “So it’s an important part of who we are. You want science to be fun.”
Making the Celebration a Blast
To make its open house event fun for all ages, the ASF set up learning stations, including a station where attendees could make their own satellites out of toothpicks, marshmallows and gumdrops. Another station allowed visitors to fire bottle rockets and water pressure rockets as they learned about propulsion. The ASF gave away bungee rockets from 4imprint as promotional gifts.
“The bungee rockets were a huge hit; people loved them.”
—Nettie La Belle-Hamer
“There were some really, really tall ‘children’ standing in line to shoot the rockets!” ASF Director Nettie La Belle-Hamer said.
A virtual reality station was also a hit, as well as a sandbox with a responsive topographical map, which changed when kids altered the topography of the sand. The events were so fun and creative, chances are most attendees didn’t even realize they were learning about science.
“We’ve had a lot of feedback about the event in general. People especially appreciate us catering to kids. There is a high percentage of homeschooled kids here, so there’s a large contingency who are often looking for enrichment opportunities,” La Belle-Hamer explained. “Kids come away saying science is fun, and that’s what you want.”
Planning Your Anniversary Event
Rockets may not be the right choice for launching every anniversary event, but here are some other ideas that can help promote your organization’s milestone.
1. Give back.
Celebrate your company’s success by giving back to your customers, employees and community. Offer customers a special anniversary discount on products or services. Give your employees and customers a gift that marks the occasion and fits your brand. (The bungee rockets ASF gave away are the perfect example!) Or, mark the occasion by giving back to your community by sponsoring an event or donating to a meaningful cause. A lasting gesture that commemorates your organization’s milestone will show the community you appreciate its support.
2. Create a logo and tagline specific to your anniversary.
By creating an anniversary logo or tagline and adding it to electronic and print materials, you help extend the celebration beyond the event. Put it on promotional products that reflect your organization’s mission and those who celebrate with you can take home a great memory.
3. Share your history.
In the time leading up to the anniversary, do some research on your organization’s past. Then tell your story, through a web page or legacy piece, such as a brochure, video or book.
4. Throw an event to remember.
Bypass the standard, and go for something that will really generate excitement. Offer participation incentives, like a premium gift to the first 50 people to arrive and to really get the public engaged.
5. Start a tradition.
Establish an annual tradition to mark your anniversary. Then, you can celebrate each and every year!
Whatever milestone anniversary your organization is marking, creating an event to remember will help further build relationships with your community and your customers, ensuring your company will celebrate more anniversaries in the future.
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