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
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
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
A nearly unbelievable thing happened: for a while, there was no football at the University of Alabama Birmingham. This was a decision that rocked the university and the city, pulling them together in support of a sport that was integral to the community and its sense of place. Over a remarkably short time, the community stepped forward supplying the necessary enthusiasm and financial support to rebuild the football program at UAB.Read More
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.Read More
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.
Naming opportunities are a familiar tool for securing and recognizing major gifts. This practice is now used by all types fundraising organizations and can address both physical spaces, like a building or office, or a concept, like a center or a faculty position.Read More
Bok Tower Gardens is a historic landmark. The singing carillon tower and surrounding gardens were a gift from founder and philanthropist Edward W. Bok. Designed by architect Milton B. Medary, the tower features the finest design and craftsmanship of the period, including stonework by Lee Lawrie, tiles by J.H. Dulles Allen and metalwork by Samuel Yellin. The 60-bell carillon is one of the finest in the world. The gardens were designed by the renowned landscape architect Frank Law Olmstead, Jr.Read More