Considerations for Developing a Donor Recognition Display


A key part of many donation campaigns is to recognize and honor the significant gifts. The following list provides some basic points in developing a Donor Recognition Display.

The primary purpose of any donor display is to record and recognize contributors to a campaign or project. As a starting point, the stakeholders need to determine the basic signage concept: the display's placement and design, how to represent donation sizes, and how the contributors will be identified.

How to Design a Donor Recognition Display Program

While working with a signage company like Latitude Latimer Group, you will be supported by an integrated team that includes planners, designers, manufacturers, and installers. But before proposing a donor recognition display, it is important to understand what your signage manufacturer needs to know in order to produce your display just the way you want it.

Design Criteria: a Display With Impact.

The design of the wall has infinite possibilities but there are specific criteria that need to be addressed to help make the design successful. A key element of any donor recognition wall is the status of the giving campaign.

  • A Static display is where the recognition wall and the campaign is completed and no other names will be added.
  • A Dynamic display is intended for names to be added to the original display. A dynamic wall usually has more complex requirements and planning to allow for growth over time.

The location of the wall needs to be carefully considered to be appropriate and prominent. If it’s a dynamic display, it needs to have enough room to grow. Are there are other elements, along with the names, that often are included in the display? Often the gift campaign has a name. In addition, a paragraph or two describing the nature of the campaign, or expressing gratitude, is helpful - especially for an ongoing, dynamic campaign display.

Establishing the “look” of the display is probably the most subjective part of the design process. One approach is to create a look that reflects unique architectural features of its environment, the brand, and what the donor contributions represent.

Properly Recognizing Program Participants

Determine how the donors will be identified. Either by name, gift amount, location, or specific consideration.

This information should be provided in an electronic format, such as a spreadsheet.

Names and other text requirements should be placed in the electronic file exactly as it will appear on the display wall.

Establish Gift Amount Documentation

There are three typical approaches to document donor contributions:

  • No reference of a gift amount on the wall, treating all names equally, or in the same manner.
  • Group names with giving categories by gift amounts (for example: $100 - $500, $5,000 to $10,000) or by identifying with a title (such as Leaders/Associates, or Bronze/Gold)
  • Recognition amounts can also be indicated by increasing name size, plaque size on the display.
  • A minimum gift size should be established. Recognizing small amounts will add cost and size of the display.

Donor Recognition Display Project Budget

In most cases, the funds available for the recognition display will determine whether or not the display is static or dynamic, with static usually being less costly. In general, a dynamic style design will require a greater proportion of the budget to be dedicated to creating the means of future updating. Realistic expectations of materials and detailing will help to keep the project within budget.

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