National Philanthropy Day®: Change the World With a Giving Heart

National Philanthropy Day® (NPD), Nov. 15, is the special day set aside to recognize and pay tribute to the great contributions that philanthropy – and those people active in the philanthropic community – have made to our lives, our communities and our world.

The amazing thing about philanthropy is that there is no law or requirement that makes us give, but we do! Philanthropy is something that is in our blood as Americans and is part of why we can sing that we are proud of our country. Race, ethnicity, class, wealth, upbringing or any other factor do not alter the human reality that everyone agrees on the importance of working together to improve the quality of life in our communities around the world. Everyone has been touched by the work of fundraising and philanthropy. And at the core of our being, everyone wants to be a philanthropist.

People can commit their money and time in countless ways. But for volunteers and donors, philanthropy is not just a consumer choice. It is a statement about themselves and what they want their society to look like. When we make the choice to give, our nation becomes better – our world becomes better. As a society, we become more united. We become a community.

Celebrating NPD today is a big thing for all of us. It is the perfect complement to #GivingTuesday preparing and inspiring people everywhere to remember just how important giving is.

As an overview of all that is happening on NPD, there will be more than 100 events all over the world, and more than 50,000 people participating in the many awards ceremonies, galas, luncheons, seminars, charitable fundraising and other activities.

On NPD, all the different walks of life are brought together, from the small but philanthropicly minded buisnesses to young people, to large corporations and foundations. Outstanding individuals and organizations are recognized for their extraordinary efforts on the local, and the most extraordinary honorees are recognized on the international level with AFP’s Awards for Philanthropy.

When NPD was first celebrated in 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation officially recognizing Nov. 15, 1986, as National Philanthropy Day®. Since then, the day has been recognized by numerous state, provincial and local governments across North America. Canada became the first country in the world to recognize NPD permanently in 2012 and will celebrate nationwide on Nov. 15 every year.

National Philanthropy Day® reminds us of what we can achieve and what lies ahead in the future. Even as we celebrate our philanthropic achievements, we also celebrate the promise of tomorrow. In 1960, overall giving didn’t even exceed $10 billion. But through the years, we worked together, created awareness and set the stage for the extraordinary giving levels of today that annually exceed $300 billion and lead to such incredible impact.

There has never been a time when the commitment of all of us—our entire community—has been more critical. Individually, each of us is a change-agent. Collectively, we’re a movement for change. Together we can ensure impact, we can move forward certain that the needs of our communities can be met, that our communities can grow.

The National Philanthropy Day® Challenge

People want change, and they want to be PART of that change. They want to be part of something bigger than themselves. They want a philanthropic experience that isn’t just writing a check, but to be engaged in something that is meaningful in their daily life.

Donors: Think proactive and long-term about your giving priorities. Determine what causes are most important to you. Don’t respond to a solicitation simply because. Because the more you’re invested in a cause, the more it will mean to you. The more you’ll want to continue to help long-term, and the more inspired you’ll be about the change you’re creating.

Charities: Focus on the impact of what you do, and make sure donors understand how you’re making a difference. Even in tough economic times, committed donors still give. People stop giving because they don’t believe our organizations are making the impact necessary. We need to make every effort to let donors engage how they want with our organizations and show them how they are personally making a difference.


I know you were just wondering if there is an official NPD Song, and the answer is of course! It was written by famous songwriter Marvin Hamlisch. Download here the sheet music and lyrics. There is also an official NPD video and facebook page!


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