Series: How to Build Change into Your Donor Recognition Strategy

A comprehensive and strategic donor recognition program is a critical indicator of an organization’s ability to build strong relationships with its donors and increase philanthropic support of its mission. Creating a strategy for success starts with understanding that recognition is about saying thanks in ways that celebrate the donors while highlighting the unique character of the organization.

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Series: Analyzing ROI in Donor Recognition

Effective donor recognition can’t happen in a bubble.

It’s got to be a group effort. Internal and external teams must align on objectives, roles, budgets, and schedules to create standards around all types of donor recognition. The final product of that collaboration is a living document, keeping everyone on the same page with the occasional update or edit.

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Series: Donor Program Management Tools

Effective donor recognition can’t happen in a bubble.

It’s got to be a group effort. Internal and external teams must align on objectives, roles, budgets, and schedules to create standards around all types of donor recognition. The final product of that collaboration is a living document, keeping everyone on the same page with the occasional update or edit.

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Series: How to Make Permanent Public Donor Recognition Work for You

Just like any big commitment in life — a marriage, a child, a tattoo — permanent public donor recognition requires careful consideration, and not just of one person’s opinion.

Twenty years creating plaques and displays — those elements most likely to take a permanent public place in an organization — allows me to make a bold assertion: campus-based donor recognition should be an investment in talking about donors to the general audience, not simply a method for generating a positive response from the individual donor.

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Series: Donor Recognition Program Design

Donor recognition activities can be private or public, temporary or permanent, and reside at the organization or with the donor. As always, it’s important that each activity aligns with your overall strategy, and that you adjust your tactics as needed. But in general, a strong donor recognition strategy is built on a few key tactics:

  • Mass communication (with personalization whenever possible)

  • Customized communications (such as individually crafted letters and phone calls)

  • Tours or meetings with leaders, researchers or service providers

  • Events (large or small)    

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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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Series: Why Donor Recognition Matters

Institutions of all sizes are strategic in their fundraising — and with good reason.

An organization needs money to survive, and they wouldn’t go into the process of raising thousands or even millions of dollars without a plan.

But just as valuable as convincing those donors to give, is recognizing their generosity. And that’s where so many organizations fall short.

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We Learn by Making

These days, the Heurista team is seldom covered in paint and hand-building our designs ourselves – well, it still happens sometimes. It’s in our blood, it’s who we are. We know what can be built because we know how to build. Our designs are informed by our knowledge of how materials feel when you shape them. Our shared history as makers allows us to dream bigger while staying within the realm of what’s practical, affordable, and safe. Now that we lead teams – inside and outside of Heurista – we hold those who make our designs with or for us to that same high standard.

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Story Captured In Just A Few Words: Children’s Hospital at Erlanger History Wall

In 2018, Heurista was awarded the design commission for the donor recognition and history exhibit in the new Kennedy Outpatient Center at the Children’s Hospital at Erlanger in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This is a dynamic was environment designed to engage the community and provide positive experiences for children and their families needing outpatient services. Notably, the Kennedy Outpatient Center also heralds a new era in the evolution of the Erlanger Health System and the Children’s Hospital at Erlanger. It is the first of several new buildings to be built in the coming years.

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