A business anniversary is a cause for celebration—no matter if you’ve been up and running for one year or 50. It’s also a great time to show appreciation for employees, make connections with clients, and include customers in your special day.
But how big do you go for a business anniversary, and what should your event involve? From casual hangouts to formal galas and everything in between, our collection of business anniversary ideas covers all the bases for properly acknowledging your milestone occasion. We’ll also provide the perfect invitations from Paperless Post to invite everyone to your event.
10 business anniversary ideas
Some organizations like to celebrate with swag and cocktails, while others prefer motivational speakers and company retreats. Find inspiration in our list of business anniversary ideas and suggested activities, venues, and business event invitations so your anniversary doesn’t go unnoticed.
1. Company picnic
If your company includes a lot of people in families, consider throwing a classic corporate event idea: a company picnic. With the CEO at the grill and employees at the table, it’s a great way to show appreciation for everyone in the office who’s contributed to a job well done.
- Invitation: Let employees know what’s cooking with “I’ll Take Two Burgers” by Mr. Boddington’s Studio.
- Venue: Find a nearby park to host your event, unless your company has extensive grounds for gatherings.
- Activity: Kids and employees alike love traditional cookout games, so set up an egg toss or stage a three-legged race.
2. Raffle and gifts
A successful business year is the best prize of all, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give out a few extra goodies. Show employees your appreciation with a raffle or gift giveaway where they can win exciting prizes, preferably during a cocktail hour or dinner.
- Invitation: Set an appreciative tone with the “Fionola” invitation by Paperless Post.
- Venue: Rent a ballroom or party space for your event, or host in a courtyard if it’s during warmer weather.
- Activity: Hand out company swag or branded gifts in addition to the big prizes so everyone feels like a winner.
3. Awards ceremony
What better way to recognize employee contributions than with an awards ceremony? Invite your team to an event with formal attire and a seated dinner—or if that’s not in your budget, pizza and superlative awards work, too.
- Invitation: Make everyone feel honored with the “Cup of Life” invitation by Paperless Post.
- Venue: Depending on the size of your company, you can host this event in a restaurant’s private room or a local ballroom at a hotel.
- Activity: Ask employees to nominate their colleagues for awards before the event—and add a few from the C-suite to the mix. Give out branded awards with recognitions that can be displayed on desks and around the office.
4. Guest speaker or entertainer
Another year has gone by, but the new one’s right around the corner. Inspire employees with a motivational guest speaker—or if your company is more casual, consider hiring a comedian, magician, or other noteworthy act, and (of course) a table of desserts.
- Invitation: Use the “Block Buds” invitation by kate spade new york to tell employees about your event.
- Venue: Find a space in a local library, museum, or university for a speaker or entertainer.
- Activity: Allow time for your guest of honor to sign books or answer questions at the end of their speech.
5. Cheers with the chairman
Face time with the boss lets employees and stakeholders know that their time and contributions are valuable. Host a cocktail hour—the formality level is up to you—where team members and clients catch up and share ideas with decision-makers in the organization.
- Invitation: Send the “Fetti” invitation by Kelly Wearstler to guests for a festive touch.
- Venue: Host at a local brewery, winery, or game-board bar, depending on the party vibe you’re going for—and give guests free drink tickets.
- Activity: Invite the CEO or chairman to give a speech to show their gratitude for a remarkable year together. Or host a brainstorming session so the CEO has a chance to hear employee’s ideas for the new year.
6. Festival or carnival
You’ve been working all year—now it’s time to have fun! Invite employees, customers, and clients to your company’s festival or carnival.
- Invitation: Set a tasteful, carefree tone with the “Quilt Block” invitation by Paperless Post.
- Venue: Find a local park or parking lot to host your festival.
- Activity: Hire local vendors or artists, and see if there are rides to rent to celebrate another year in the books. It’s also a great time to set up a company booth and network some more.
7. Volunteer for a local organization
Pay it forward this year with a company-wide volunteering event. Find a cause your employees care about and organize a day where everyone gives up their time for the greater good.
- Invitation: Invite employees to this special event with the “Join Us” invitation by Linda and Harriett.
- Venue: Volunteer at the organization site, or invite participants to your headquarters to assemble packages to donate.
- Activity: Possible volunteering options include packing backpacks with school supplies for underprivileged children, serving food to the unhoused community, or a true team-building activity like working on housing for Habitat for Humanity.
8. Company retreat
For smaller businesses, a company retreat is an above-and-beyond way to show your appreciation. If you want to make it a yearly event, choose a new place to explore each year—or return to an employee favorite on milestone years.
- Invitation: Include all necessary retreat information in the “Thea” invitation by Paperless Post
- Venue: Choose a venue best suited to seasonal needs, such as a ski resort in winter or a beach town in summer. Prepare for travel issues if inclement weather arises.
- Activity: Plan a variety of team-building and relaxing activities that don’t make employees feel like they’re at work. Make sure to add some family-friendly events if you invite employees and their guests to come.
9. Customer appreciation day
There’s no better way to show customer appreciation than an exclusive client appreciation day. From anniversary sales to free prizes, this is a great time to offer loyal customers a promotional event that acknowledges your gratitude for them this year.
- Invitation: Send the “Chincoteague” invitation to celebrate with customers.
- Venue: Host the event at your business or store. If your business is international, feature the event on your company website and include coupon codes or special codes to redeem exclusive offers.
- Activity: Give out promotional products and reduced-price memberships for a limited time.
10. Game night out
At the end of a busy year, it’s nice to kick back for a team-building activity that everyone enjoys. Invite employees out on the town for a fun activity, such as ax-throwing, billiards, or bocce ball. You can even tour a local haunted house or solve your way out of a puzzle-based escape room.
- Invitation: Let everyone know that the party is on with an animated Flyer like “Get Out.”
- Venue: Find a centrally located venue so employees won’t need to drive too far.
- Activity: Take a poll on a local game or activity that everyone would like to do, or have one team member introduce others to their favorite hobby.
Celebrating a milestone business anniversary
Every successful year deserves recognition, but milestone anniversaries are worthy of extra attention. Find different ways to celebrate your company based on the years you’ve put in the books.
1-year business anniversary
You’ve made it through the first year—congratulations!
While it’s tempting to throw a big shindig to celebrate this incredible feat, don’t expand that budget just yet. Most businesses need two to three years to become profitable—and saving money on that first anniversary is a big step to get you there faster.
For a budget-friendly celebration, opt for:
- A casual happy hour with the chairman or CEO
- A potluck company picnic to thank employees for their dedication
- A customer appreciation day that guarantees some business for the second year
- A branded business anniversary post on your social media accounts that highlights your milestone and your team
5-year business anniversary
Once you’ve hit your fifth anniversary, chances are that your business is steadily moving along. Your direction is confident, and while it hasn’t always been smooth sailing, there are clear skies ahead.
Now is a nice time to spend a little extra on:
- A guest speaker
- An awards dinner
- A festival for employees and clients who helped grow your business over the last five years
10-year business anniversary
A company that’s been in business for 10 years is truly something to celebrate. You may have experienced turnovers and tweaks to your mission statement, but you’re thriving—or at least surviving—in an ever-changing economy.
Consider spending some funds on:
- A company retreat
- A formal dinner to show your deep appreciation for the team that’s taken your business from launch to lift-off
- A volunteer event that hits on the values of your business
20-year business anniversary and beyond
Once a company has been operating for multiple decades, it may be tempting to ignore the milestone anniversaries and keep working. But 20, 30, 40, and even 50 years into a venture is truly worth some recognition.
- A lavish, black-tie gala to celebrate one of these landmark milestones
- A screening of a film that premiered in the same year your company was born—red carpet included
Tips for celebrating a business anniversary
Planning a corporate event that’s appreciative, memorable, and cost-effective is a tall order. But we’ve got some tips to help your business anniversary party check all three boxes—and keep guests excited about their jobs.
Plan your business anniversary early
Consider your business anniversary an unofficial holiday in your calendar. Like every holiday, this event needs lots of planning time—so get started ASAP.
Start at least four to six months in advance of the anniversary—add more time if you need to order anniversary swag, create website announcements, or book travel.
Decide on an event budget
Create an event budget that fits the needs of your party while keeping your company afloat.
If you’re a small organization or it’s been a financially difficult year, set your budget on the lower side. Larger businesses or companies that have experienced fiscal success this year can go for larger venues, catered meals, and hired vendors.
Either way, cover every detail you’ll need—and pad the budget with emergency funds in case guests need an unplanned taxi ride home.
Invite employees and stakeholders
Some business anniversary events are just for employees, while others are meant for customer and client appreciation. If possible, plan your anniversary event to meet both needs at once.
Public events, such as festivals or carnivals, are a great chance to invite everyone to celebrate without feeling like they’re on the clock.
If you’d like to have an employee-only event, such as a retreat or a picnic, then you can promote the anniversary on your website as a “Customer Appreciation Event” equipped with coupon codes. That way, everyone feels appreciated.
Read the room
Your business anniversary idea should reflect the type of year you and your team have experienced together. While every anniversary is noteworthy, there will be years that include stressful deadlines and high turnover, and they may not feel as celebratory to your employees.
On the other hand, employees who have experienced professional and personal success this year may desire an all-out party to celebrate those highlights. Check in on the vibes of your employees and plan accordingly.
Get feedback from employees
When in doubt, ask around. See how employees felt about the last company event: was there anything they would change? Ask if colleagues would like their families there, or if they’re looking forward to just being with their coworkers.
Better yet, form a committee with employees who enjoy planning parties and may have connections with vendors, venues, and other useful resources.
Give a gift
Whether they’re a long-time employee or a brand-new client, everyone loves a gift. Possible business anniversary gift ideas include useful, crowd-favorite items like:
- Mugs or insulated thermoses
- Laptop bags
- Tote bags with your logo on them
An invitation with embossed squares around the border; four insulated drinking vessels in shades of black, gray, and white with logos.
If you’ve got the funds, consider opting for something nicer for your team. A new coffee machine, a workroom snack-box subscription, or new chairs for everyone is a simple gesture that goes a long way—no matter what type of event you’re throwing.
Mark every anniversary with Paperless Post
When you send Paperless Post business event invitations, you’ll get the full-service Paperless Post treatment for your business anniversary. Send customized invitations via email, or link to them from your own email service.
Our instant RSVP tracking helps you manage your guest list in real time. Plus, you can take a Guest Survey to keep track of guests’ dietary preferences and restrictions, and add Guest Tags to organize attendees for easy managing and group messaging. Use our app to check attendees in on-site, and analyze attendance after the anniversary is over (or send thank yous).
When you send invitations with Paperless Post, you’ll get time to enjoy the event—while we handle the rest.