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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Hammond School Innovation Center Supported by Philanthropy

Hammond School provides a unique pre-K through 12th-grade educational experience in Columbia, SC. The program focuses on character development, leadership, and experiential learning. The Innovation Center, completed in 2018, demonstrates the atmosphere where students at Hammond have the opportunity to learn and share experiences that go beyond what is available at many colleges. Education in facilities of this caliber is made possible through the support of philanthropists who support the school’s mission, vision and values.

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UAB Blazers - Community Support for the Team

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.

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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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