Outdoor Donor Recognition Done Right!
The Children's Museum of the Upstate, Greenville, SC
Having heard that The Children's Museum of the Upstate is a must-see destination for anyone interested in engaging and informative exhibit design, we called asking for a quick interview. Instead, we were offered a complete tour of the museum with the opportunity to touch, explore and experience for ourselves the magic of self-guided learning (better known as play).
Opened in 2009, The Children's Museum of the Upstate is the 7th largest children's museum in the country and the 10th in the world. It offers three floors of activities for children ages 0-15 focused on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM). All activities are cross-references with the curriculum taught in the classroom. But the museum goes well beyond typical experiential learning, providing opportunities that many adults may never have. We were awestruck by the WTCM Studio with its green screen and live recording equipment. We were envious of the music and art studios. We were impressed with the quality of everything that we saw, heard, read and touched.
We were particularly excited by the success of the donor recognition and philanthropic messaging provided by The Children's Museum of the Upstate. The primary donor wall is outdoors in the play garden. It is whimsical and inviting, made of large perforated panels sandwiching large glass marbles that catch the light and beg to be turned. Donor names are presented on brightly colored shapes drawn from the museum's logo. The scale is appropriate to the space and there is room to grow the program over time. Updates seem relatively easy to achieve using the simple but handsome hardware that affix the shapes to the background panel.
Naming opportunities within the exhibits are presented via brightly colored prints mounted behind clear acrylic or in nicely made graphics integrated into the design of each exhibit.
"There are two lasting bequests we can give our children: one is roots, the other is wings."
- Journalist & Author, Hodding Carter
Naming opportunities focused on individual exhibits are an important means of engaging support and the museum is proactive in communicating about available offerings and showing frequent appreciation for those donors who have already stepped forward. The package of information we received was attractive, appropriately branded and full of useful information, including floor by floor details about the naming opportunities program.
Recently, the museum launched the Roots & Wings Campaign, an annual giving program to engage membership and other donors to broaden the base of financial support. The Chocolate Soireé, the annual fundraising event, a public art commission aptly named Sweet Seats! and the Fund-A-Family program build community awareness of the museum and its mission to spark a lifelong passion for curiosity and learning through play.
"I can be anything!" is the attitude children achieve through their interaction with The Children's Museum of the Upstate and the activities they provide. I left thinking, TCMU can do anything. They have the mindset to imagine really amazing experiences and the talent and tenacity to make them real. Kudos. Job well done!
To share your story of recognition success or to ask a donor relations question, contact Heurista and Anne Manner-McLarty today!
POST WRITTEN BY ANNE MANNER-MCLARTY · JANUARY 13, 2014