Child-focused Donor Recognition: Opportunities for Creative Design

Designing donor recognition for projects focused on children provides special challenges and special rewards. “Bright and colorful, playful, engaging, interactive…” are the first instructions we hear. If a brand manager or the architect is in the room, “integrated, coordinated, and tasteful” get added to the list. Facilities chimes in with “safe, durable, and easy to maintain.” The foundation reminds us, “we may need to add names later” and “it has to be cost-conscious.” Such was the case in Chattanooga, Tennessee but there is so much more to be said about the Kennedy Outpatient Center at the Children’s Hospital at Erlanger.

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Creative Play: Cross County Shopping Center Playground

Heurista was engaged to help create a staged program of amenity improvements that will bring a park-like feel to the shopping mall. We were selected for our combination of creativity, project management skill, and expertise in sponsorship and recognition. Cross County acknowledges that they will need community partners to fund these new projects, ranging from seating that encourages a co-working style environment, a community art program, and renovations to existing hardscape that facilitate special events like concerts, fashion shows, and family activities.

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Creative Placemaking: Heurista’s Partnership with Edison Projects

Heurista works with Ed Manner and the team at Edison Projects to draw from experience in place-based storytelling for leading international property development firms ranging from the developers of Dubai’s Downtown - including the Burj Kalifa tower and The Dubai Mall – to Sung Hung Kai Properties who operate more than 50% of the public/private commercial properties in Hong Kong. Developers in Europe, Brazil, Mexico, Turkey and Morocco have engaged our thinking to welcome their communities.

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Challenges and Advantages for Digital Donor Recognition


There are benefits and compromises inherent in the decision to use a screen to present donor recognition. A traditional donor wall allows a passive viewer to understand a considerable amount of information about the relationship between an organization and its donors without reading a single name. One can glean an idea of the number of donors from the size of the list. If a hierarchy of plaque sizes or categories is part of the display, those details let the viewer know that people give different amounts. The location of the display, the environment surrounding it, and the materials used to build it all help indicate the value the organization places on its donor. The best donor walls motivate the viewer to consider giving and explain how to make a gift.

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Conference Wayfinding at the Touch of a Screen

When it comes to wayfinding technology, a conference app can make all the difference with an organization the size of ADRP. The best part was that app usage began way before the conference even started. Being able to sit as a team with our phones and decide who would go to which sessions, was a useful planning tool. Once on site, being able to find where we were to setup our booth through "Maps" made hauling gear into the venue much easier.

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Learning at the International Storytelling Center

It was an eye-opening experience to experiment with ways of storytelling that create internal change in communities and institutions. This work seems important not only in the current political climate, but also in the work that nonprofits are doing internally and externally to make change and achieve ambitious goals. How do the stories that you use positively or negatively affect the outcome of your work?

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Establishing Meaningful Measures of Success for Donor Relations and Stewardship

Metrics is a hot topic within all fundraising fields. Measurement models have been established for monitoring the work of frontline fundraisers in order to assess the variety of activities performed as well as the schedule, pace, and outcomes of those activities. With this information in hand, choices can be made about which fundraising activities are most effective in achieving the desired donor behavior, most obviously giving.

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Anne Manner-McLartyComment
Christ School Athletic Hall of Fame

The Athletic Hall of Fame, housed in the indoor athletic facility at Christ School is receiving a lot of positive press, both for the amenities it provides and the historic storytelling it offers to the school community. A private Episcopal college preparatory boarding and day school for boys in Asheville, North Carolina, Christ School is proud of its athletic training programs, the competitive spirit of the student-athletes, and the Greenies success on the playing field. Heurista was referred for this work by one of the architects on the project. We contributed content development, design, and project management for the highly branded graphics throughout the facility, including an historical timeline, key rivalry stories, various recognition displays, and custom-built exhibit casework. Heurista partnered with Christ School alumni and specialty fabricator Nathan Ruffin, CEO of Hammerhead Design Build in Winston Salem, NC to execute the designs.

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Series: The Donor is Everything in Donor Recognition – True or False?

Organizations often misinterpret the concept of “donor-centric” and establish subjective goals like “surprising and delighting” donors. Then that becomes a measure of success. But while it’s always good to excel in the expression of gratitude, setting this as a goal is not a substitute for a fully formed donor recognition strategy. An organization must strive to achieve the greatest impact with the time and money invested — not just with the donor, but with its entire community.

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