Donor Recognition Walls
Donor recognition walls are an incredibly valuable resource for nonprofit organizations. They can become a core part of your fundraising process and the way you build relationships with your supporters.
But setting up one of these displays from scratch can be overwhelming. There are many moving parts in a project like this. Following our guide closely can help you get all of the benefits with less of the stress.
What are donor recognition walls?
Donor recognition walls are a kind of wall-mounted display that is normally used by nonprofit organizations to honor their donors and those who have helped them to achieve their goals. In a way, this is a celebration of their achievements as well as a show of appreciation.
These boards are especially beneficial for organizations like the following:
- Worship facilities
- Or any other similar organization that might accept donations
The display will essentially be a list of the names of businesses or individuals who have contributed to raising funds. Some organizations also use them to acknowledge people who might have helped in other significant ways, like giving their time and labor.
These boards are the perfect way to thank your donors and recognize their contributions. You can use it to show them that their donation matters and that you will remember it.
In some cases, it can also be an extra incentive for local businesses or individuals to get involved. It can be an effective way to get the word out about them and to improve their reputation while doing some good for their community. It’s a win for everyone involved.
Nowadays, there are countless options to customize the display. The standard donor recognition wall consists of a header with plaques below it, which are all made of engraved brass that you mount on a wood panel.
All in all, this is still an elegant and professional solution. However, as we will discuss, there are many other variations to consider.
How do they work?
The value of recognizing and showing appreciation to your supporters is immeasurable. That’s why it’s essential to plan ahead and make sure you get the best out of the display.
If you want to secure long-term support, it’s vital that you build a positive relationship with your donors. As such, creating a donor recognition wall is a way to invest in the financial wellbeing of your organizations.
The process should start by diligently keeping track of any contributions to your organization. You then need to set up a system to decide how exactly you want to recognize the contribution. This will involve looking at the following aspects.
Choosing who to recognize
First, you need to decide who you want to recognize on the wall. Ideally, you would find a way to thank each contributor. However, it’s not always practical to show your appreciation in the same way. Instead, you can set up a threshold that determines who gets a plaque and who does not.
Most nonprofits will receive different kinds of support, for example:
- In-kind donations
- Capital campaigns
- Planned gifts
- Major donors
It’s the last two kinds of contributions that you definitely want to acknowledge in a formal way. However, it all depends on the structure of your specific venture.
Levels of contribution
Now that you’ve established who you want to recognize, you can move on to the next decision. Besides this, you need to decide whether you want to distinguish between different levels of contributions.
In general, organizations find this to be useful and beneficial as donations can vary widely. One donor might give $1,000 while another gives $10,000.
To keep the design orderly and the system manageable, you can work out categories such as one for donations between $1,000- $2,000 and another for $2,000- $3,000 and so on.
Here are three ideas you can implement to distinguish between categories:
- Use different color plaques.
- Separate the display into sections or have more than one display.
- Vary the size of the plaque according to the size of the donation.
You want to thank your donors properly for their generous contributions. But you should still take care of how much you spend. On average, organizations spend between 8 and 14% of their total annual budget on donor recognition.
This is a good rule of thumb, and it ensures that the amount you spend scales as your organization does.
Room for growth
Significantly, you should think of the donor recognition wall as a work in progress. In many ways, it’s a reflection of your venture’s journey.
In some cases, organizations might want the display to focus on one specific funding goal, such as to build a hall or something similar.
But keep in mind that if it is part of your business model to accept donations, you will likely receive more contributions in the future. It’s a good business practice to continue to recognize donors and the support they give. This will also help you encourage donations in the future.
Therefore, you need to think ahead. How can the display grow with your organization?
This will play a vital role in your planning, especially when it comes to deciding on the budget, size, layout, and location of the display.
Where should you mount your donor recognition wall?
There is no one place to mount a donor recognition wall. However, you should place it somewhere where most visitors will be able to see it.
Consider too, that a well-designed donor recognition wall can add to the aesthetic of your offices. You can even design it to become the centerpiece of a specific room. Serving multiple purposes is an example of signage at its best.
The display will probably grow over the years so it’s a good idea to pick a spot with a lot of space.
Here are some of the most popular spots where organizations place donor recognition walls:
- Reception areas
- High traffic hallways
- Back of a hall
- Waiting area
- Eating hall or cafeteria
Say thank you in style
Thanking your donors isn’t only a nice or ethical thing to do. Instead, it’s also an important business practice that can lead to tangible benefits for your organization. Donor recognition walls are an ideal long-term solution for this.
It can form the central aspect of the way you approach your sponsors, which you can combine effectively with additional measures like event sponsor signage. Overall, signs can be a brilliant way to advertise fundraisers for your school or nonprofit event.