23 Ways to Celebrate International Women’s Day

January 25, 2021
6 minutes

International Women’s Day, on March 8th, is a day to celebrate the fact that women are freaking incredible. More specifically, it’s “a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.” Everyone can get behind that!

At the same time, the day is a reminder that we still have a long way to go when it comes to achieving gender equality. We need to celebrate and amplify all women, every day, with a focus on the most marginalized among us. By making our feminism inclusive of every woman who has experienced misogyny and oppression, including LGBTQ+ women, women of color, and women from different socioeconomic backgrounds, our voices will be even stronger.

Sooo, what’s the best way to celebrate this darn delightful day in ways that are effective, inclusive, and intersectional? As always, we have more than a few ideas. All together now: Let’s lean in!

Show your female supporters some love

It’s a fact: Female supporters are #FundingAwesome. Not only are women more likely to donate, but they also tend to give at higher rates than men (IUPUI). Did you know that about two-thirds of the money raised through Giving Tuesday in 2016 was from women (Women Give 2020)? And they’re more generous with their time, too. In 2022, AmeriCorps found that 26.5% of men volunteer versus 33.8% of women (AmeriCorps). Way to lend a hand (and give a dollar), ladies!

As a nonprofit, the best way to recognize women’s philanthropy is by showing your appreciation for the women who support your organization. This International Women’s Day, say thank you to the women who donate to your cause with these stewardship ideas.

1. Profile women donors on social.

On and around March 8th, dedicate your various feeds to profiling women donors. By sharing their stories and impact, you can show your appreciation and encourage other women to join in on the fun. Plan to reach out to donors you’d like to profile ahead of time, then interview them by phone or ask them to fill out a short questionnaire to get the information you’ll need.

2. Send a special card.

For some reason, Hallmark hasn’t started making International Women’s Day cards (yet!)—but that doesn’t have to stop your organization from sending women donors a card. Design a special International Women’s Day card that’s true to your brand and add a handwritten thank you note. You’re sure to surprise and delight donors.

3. Shout women donors’ impact far and wide.

Women’s philanthropy is definitely a cause for celebration, so why not spread the word? Pull the total amount donated by women and/or your total number of women donors and post those numbers all over the place. You can also share stories and talk about the impact this group has had on your organization. For example, the Jewish Federation of Great Vancouver used their annual event to highlight women’s philanthropy.

4. Host a donor appreciation event.

If your nonprofit wants to go above and beyond, consider using March 8th to host a donor appreciation event for women donors. This could be a casual cocktail hour or an event with more programming. If you have women on your board of directors, consider engaging them to help with the planning and hosting. Better yet, make all the men host while the women taste-test the wines.

And if you don’t have any women on your board… make a public commitment to changing that. Because, 😕 💔

5. Launch a women’s giving circle.

Giving circles, in which folks with a shared interest pool their resources to support a cause they care about, are super popular right now, and they create excellent opportunities for donor recognition. If your organization has considered starting a women’s giving circle, International Women’s Day could be the perfect time to launch it. Use the day to recognize your founding members and their impact.

Try these International Women’s Day fundraising ideas

You’ve shown your supporters some love; now, it’s time to turn your focus to your clients by planning a women-centric fundraising event or two. Keep in mind that these events are celebrating the diversity of women—not about leaving anyone out. (Ahem, trans women are women.)

1. All-women panel or Q&A.

Host a panel centering the perspectives of women involved in your industry. If you’re an environmental organization, include women environmental activists. If you’re a human rights organization, include staff members discussing how issues disproportionately impact women. Feature women with diverse experiences and backgrounds to ensure an intersectional approach to the dialogue.

2. Feminist kids’ night.

This next generation is looking pretty good to us, but it’s never too early to learn about feminism! Put together an evening of educational and fun events for malleable baby minds. You can play games that introduce kiddos to important women in history and read kids’ books that center girls’ experiences. Invite caregivers to join in on the fun or take a well-deserved night off.

3. Face mist workshop.

At no point in history has it been easy to be a woman, and that’s especially true for anyone who experiences compound discrimination due to other aspects of their identity. There’s so much work to do—but also, sometimes we need to take a deep breath and focus on self-care. Our favorite way to decompress? Spraying a hydrating face mist! DIYing these is easy as can be, and they’ll leave you feeling glowy and ready to take on the world.

4. International Women’s Day trivia night.

Been there, done that, but also this is such a good theme. Every question should focus on women, with categories like women’s history and famous females. Double down on the theme by hosting the event in a women-run space and playing music by female artists.

5. Reading challenge.

Gather a list of essential books by women authors and challenge your supporters to read as many as possible by the end of the month. Throughout March, host virtual discussions and events to keep everyone connected. End the whole shebang with a celebratory soiree during which you award whoever’s read the most books a cookie the size of their head. (Or another prize. We just think giant cookies are a great way to celebrate!)

6. Galentine’s Day.

Yeah, it’s typically on February 13, but why not host a belated Galentine’s Day breakfast? After all, it’s a day that’s all about “ladies celebrating ladies,” according to our flawless icon of feminism, Leslie Knope. The classic way to celebrate this is with a waffle-centric brunch, complete with a toppings bar. But you can also do breakfast for dinner, high tea, or a dessert potluck—just make there’s sugar in some form or Leslie will never forgive you.

Support organizations that support all women

In 2018, support for women’s organizations made up just 1.9% of all charitable giving (Women & Girls Index 2021). Plus, the majority of those donations came from women, which… seems really unfair to us (All in for Women and Girls). This International Women’s Day, get that number up by amplifying your fellow nonprofits that are doing the work to advance gender parity day in and day out.

  1. Equality Now. The past few years have really hammered home the importance of the law in protecting human rights. Equality Now’s staff of lawyers and activists campaign for social change through legal change.
  2. National Network for Abortion Funds. Supporting women means ensuring that they have autonomy over their own bodies, and that starts with removing barriers to abortion access. Donating directly to abortion funds is one of the best ways to do that.
  3. Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights. Have an impact right now by supporting Urgent Action Fund’s varied work, which “protects, strengthens, and sustains women and transgender human rights defenders at critical moments.” They step in within 72 hours when activists and human rights defenders need immediate assistance.
  4. Running Start. Tired of old white men running things? Us, too. Running Start is a nonpartisan organization that trains young women to run for political office. They offer intensive training for high schoolers, one-day workshops, and internships with Congresswomen in Washington, DC.
  5. Black Trans Femmes in the Arts. We won’t know true gender justice until the most marginalized among us have achieved equity, so show your support for Black trans femmes by supporting BTFA. The organization creates “spaces for the production and preservation of Black trans art and culture by building community with Black trans femme artists.”
  6. Girls Who Code. Today, just 24% of computer scientists are women. But Girls Who Code is working to close that gender gap through online resources, campaigns, books, and advocacy work. Another bonus: 50% of those served are from historically underrepresented groups.

Everyday ways to celebrate International Women’s Day

Finally, here are a few ways to keep the focus on fighting bias and advancing equity year-round. According to Boston Consulting Group, by 2023, women’s global wealth will rise to at least $81 trillion. Compare that to 2010, when that number was $34 trillion. If money is power, then women are gaining ground at a remarkably rapid rate. Let’s keep the movement growing.

1. Shop at women-owned businesses. Buy your daily latte from that local woman-owned coffee shop rather than Starbucks. And while you’re at it, send your supporters a list of local businesses owned by women.

2. Mind your gendered language. Using inclusive language is an easy choice that can have far-reaching effects. Unsure whether your language has a gender bias? Paste it into the Gender Decoder! It says it’s for ads, but it works for everything. It even told us this article is “strongly feminine coded.” Amen, Gender Decoder!

3. Don’t do the laundry. Women have been doing all the domestic tasks forEVER. More childcare, more cleaning, and more cooking. So the next time you don’t want to do the dishes, know that you have the best excuse: “I’m smashing the patriarchy!”

4. Watch women’s sports. Listen: professional athletes make way too much money. But if the men are going to make stupid amounts of moolah, so should the women. Today, women’s sports get 4% of sports media coverage compared to men’s. So, grab some popcorn, tune in, and root for the …Wildcats? There’s always a team called the Wildcats, right?

5. Put your reading glasses where they matter. Read radical literature from a diversity of women authors. Seek out indie publishers that are supporting feminist artists. And buy their books, if you can afford them, so that they can keep writing.

6. Only listen to the Spice Girls for a week. We just think it’s a good idea.

In a just, equitable world, every day of the year would be Pet a Baby Llama Day because… well, it’s already a just, equitable world, so we might as well pet llamas all day long! Until that day comes, let’s ditch stereotypes, empower women’s choices, fight for equity and inclusivity, and celebrate women’s achievements. Happy International Women’s Day! And now, we’re off to make some waffles.

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