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.Read More
When donor recognition strategies lack strategic objectives, all an organization can measure is the volume of activity and subjective feedback. Those are valid elements to measure. But if that’s all you’re looking at, you’re missing out on the bigger impact your work is having on the institution as a whole.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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)
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.Read More
Donor recognition is sometimes loosely defined as “parties, pins and plaques.”
That’s because many institutions think about donor recognition in an isolated way, limited to the variety of activities or objects used to show appreciation for a donor, both publicly and privately.Read More
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.Read More