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Time To Celebrate: Nov. 15th Is National Philanthropy Day

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National Philanthropy Day, Wednesday Nov. 15th, 2023, is a day set aside to recognize and celebrate the contributions of philanthropy to individuals, communities, and the world. While it is celebrated in the United States, it’s also observed in various ways in many other countries. See hashtag #NationalPhilanthropyDay

National Philanthropy Day in the United States dates back to the 1980s when it was conceived by Douglas Freeman, a professional fundraiser. Freeman was inspired to create a day that would celebrate philanthropy and encourage charitable giving. His idea was to bring attention to the positive impact philanthropy has on society and to encourage people to become more involved in charitable activities.

National Philanthropy Day (NPD) was first officially recognized in the U.S. when President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation in 1986, declaring November 15th annually as National Philanthropy Day.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) played a significant role in promoting and organizing National Philanthropy Day activities. They continue to be a key advocate for this day.

The day is typically celebrated with a variety of events and activities, including award ceremonies, fundraising galas, volunteer recognition, and educational programs. These events aim to honor philanthropists, volunteers, professional fundraisers, and organizations that have made a positive impact on their communities.

What is philanthropy?

We all think we know, but there may be parts of its definition that are new to us.

According to Investopedia, philanthropy involves charitable giving to worthy causes on a large scale, but it is much more than just a charitable donation. Philanthropy is an effort an individual or organization undertakes based on an altruistic desire to improve human welfare, and wealthy individuals sometimes establish private foundations to facilitate their philanthropic efforts.

Nonprofits are set up to support a variety of social causes, such as educational, health, scientific, public safety, and human rights. In the U.S., organizations that qualify as nonprofits are exempt from federal tax liability under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) 501(c).

  • Philanthropy refers to charitable acts or other good works that help others or society as a whole.
  • Philanthropy can include donating money to a worthy cause or volunteering time, effort, or other forms of altruism.
  • Increased transparency is a serious matter for many nonprofits, and how funds are obtained and used should be carefully documented.
  • Technology, including social media, has also shaped how many individuals give to others.
  • Andrew Carnegie is one of America’s most famous philanthropists, noted for the large scale of his charitable contributions, which included building more than 2,500 libraries worldwide.
  • In modern times, philanthropy is often undertaken by those seeking tax breaks, in addition to feeling good and helping others.

What’s planned for the National Philanthropy Day?

Throughout the month of November, AFP will be highlighting honorees from National Philanthropy Day chapter events around the world, showcasing outstanding donors, volunteers, corporations, foundations, and others who are being recognized for their commitment to positive social change and philanthropy. Check here for the latest information.

For example, AFP’s chapter in Central NY is having a breakfast entitled, “A Morning to Remember,” which will honor individuals, organizations, and businesses in the Central New York Area who generously give their time, talents, and resources for the enrichment and benefit of their communities. The event is being held at the Drumlins Country Club starting at 8 am on Nov. 15.

AFP has created resources to help you prepare for National Philanthropy Day, including talking points, videos, and templates which you can see and have access to in their Toolkit Guide. The Toolkit contains these resources:

Questions about the day can be sent to AFP here.

Remember your fundraisers

Remembering the professionalism and skill of trained fundraisers is a key part of the day. Bloomerang has celebrated fundraisers on our blog. Bloomerang celebrates the fact that fundraising is one of the most meaningful and rewarding professions a person could have. Philanthropy Day is a good day to read and share our post on “The Fundraiser’s Bill of Rights.”

In future years, if you’d like to learn how to nominate someone for a NPD award, the criteria is described here.

Get involved with this global day

National Philanthropy Day serves as a reminder of the importance of giving, volunteering, and charitable acts. It also highlights the work of nonprofit organizations and their supporters who work tirelessly to make the world a better place.

While National Philanthropy Day (NPD) originated in the United States, its concept has been adopted and celebrated in many other countries, often on different dates. It has become a global movement to recognize and promote philanthropy.

Last year, more than 130 AFP chapters held NPD events and activities across North America. In addition, AFP launched #NPDLove and the website, a global social media outreach and awareness campaign to engage the global charitable sector, the philanthropic community, and the public in activities to demonstrate “love of humankind” and highlight how they (or their organization) are helping to change the world.

National Philanthropy Day serves as an opportunity to express gratitude to those who contribute to the betterment of society through their generosity and selflessness. It also encourages more people to get involved in philanthropic activities and make a positive impact on their communities and the world.

How do you plan to celebrate this important day? Let us know in the comments below.

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