National Emoji Day

Writing for Nonprofits Guide

This post is the sixth in a series designed to teach the art and fundamentals of writing for nonprofits. These posts are based on the “Writing for Nonprofits” Guide from the Greater Giving Fundraising Excellence Series. Each new post focuses on an individual type of communication or relationship, and how best to tailor your writing to it. Read previous articles: Writing For Nonprofits Series

Prepare Your Nonprofit for National Emoji Day!

You’ve certainly heard of emojis. You’ve probably used them in your text messages with friends, parents, children. But did you know there’s an entire holiday every year devoted to them?

Face With Tears of Joy EmojiEmoji were invented in Japan in 1999 by Shigetaka Kurita for the Japanese mobile internet platform, NTT Docomo, to distinguish it from other platforms with less personality. The first emojis numbered very few, and measured only 12 by 12 pixels. (That’s less than the size of any of these letters!)

Download the Writing For Nonprofits GuideIn the 17 years since, emoji have taken a place in history as one of the most prolific and emotive ways that 21st century people choose to communicate. The face with tears of joy emoji alone has been used almost 1 billion times!

We’ve already discussed in this series how the best way to communicate your nonprofit’s mission is with a story. And emojis are a fantastic way to enhance that story! They transcend language barriers—they’re currently being used by people from every country, and who speak every language.


One of the easiest ways to add emoji to your communication is through Twitter Emoji (Twemoji). Just find and click on the emoji you want to add to your email subject line or post. A window will pop up with the emoji—just copy and past and you’ve added a little fun to your communication!

What’s even more relevant to you? Emoji are the only “images” that can be transmitted in text-based formats—e.g. in text boxes and fields where images are usually not permitted, such as email subject lines, or post comments.

Just by copy and pasting, you can add emojis to Facebook posts, Tweets, emails and text messages without having to upload or attach an image, which some services won’t allow.

What is National Emoji Day?

World Emoji DayIf you’ve ever used the Calendar app on an Apple device (iPhone, iPad, or Mac computer) then you might have noticed that the date is permanently set to July 17—which was the date back in 2002 when Apple unveiled its new “iCal” app. This was the very first World Emoji Day!

Now, every year on July 17, people around the world celebrate the emoji and its incredible storytelling power. Many companies and brands have recognized the public’s fondness for emojis and are capitalizing on the holiday with clever, emoji-related promotions—such as this cute promotion by the British Museum:Example Emoji Day Tweet

Best of all, every year around National Emoji Day, the Unicode Consortium releases a whole new set of emoji to add to the emoji lexicon. UC is a nonprofit organization that maintains the Unicode Standard, “which specifies the representation of text in all modern software products and standards.”

So which new emoji are debuting this year? On top of the new selfie emoji, and a funny face-palm emoji (a “face-palm” is when something is so ridiculous, you can’t help but smack yourself in the forehead!), there will also be 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place medals, new animals, and lots of new sports.

Head over to to see the full list of new emoji! Maybe some of them are relevant to your nonprofit’s mission.

So what do emojis mean to me?

Emoji are a great way to spice up communications with your donors, social media posts, and even emails. They add flavor and personality, which can be a great complement to your nonprofit’s established voice, and can help your social media posts feel relevant and stylish.

So why not put some emoji in an email subject line as a cute thing to do on National Emoji Day? Or add them to outgoing text messages leading up to your auction to help people get started with Online Bidding. One or two emoji could help make those instructions easier and more fun to understand!

Writing For Non-Profits

Share your thoughts