Celebrating donors is a practice nearly as old as recorded history. Up until recently the same basic methods of public recognition have been used - etch names into stone, wood, metal, etc. Fortunately we're now in the digital era and there are better, more dynamic ways to let your donors know you appreciate what they've contributed to the mission.
In this article, we’ll discuss the most effective and unique donor wall ideas to put in your donor team’s toolkit, the best ways to recognize donors and other digital donor recognition wall ideas of varying sizes, and some useful advice that will help you gain more donors and encourage recurring contributions.
In addition to a membership or benefits program for donors, you should show a deeper appreciation for those who have contributed the most by putting together a series of interactive or non-interactive donor highlights - stories about the donor's impact, their giving beliefs, and why they contribute to your mission.
Simply put, donors like to know that their contributions make a difference. And since content can be added to your donor highlights at any time through your dashboard, managing them is quite easy.
A great way to drive home that your foundation truly makes a difference is to show it. Share your impact stories, allowing donors to experience the positive impact of their gifts. Sharing impact lets you steward current donors while also cultivating prospective donors.
One of the most important parts of your fundraising campaign is its story. What its purpose is, what goals it will help to achieve, and how it will all be done is essential information for someone who’s considering making a generous donation.
Use interactive or non-interactive campaign updates and videos on your digital signs to draw donors into your cause and justify their contributions. From where it all started to where it’s going to be years in the future, a campaign story is an ideal way to convey key information about your cause.
Show off your donors in a way that grabs attention and lets everyone know how much you appreciate their help. The bright, eye-catching nature of digital signage provides the perfect platform to display donors’ names while being effortless to update.
Set up breakpoints to recognize different donation tiers like Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze to entice would-be donors to be recognized at a certain breakpoint, or to simply recognize and provide a public appreciation for existing donors.
One of the most commonly recognized features for fundraising with digital signage is the Campaign Thermometer. This displays the dollar amount of your goal, the current amount already raised, and other metrics that help motivate people to donate.
Whether it’s on your digital donor recognition wall or on any other content related to raising money for your cause, having a quick and simple way for potential and returning donors to make an on-the-spot contribution, or pick up the cause as their own is a must.
Live Fundraising Auctions
Use digital donor wall software for your next big auction event. Leverage a leaderboard during the auction to show who has bid relevant items and who has won items so far. Integrations with modern fundraiser auction software help raise excitement during the auction while still adding interest alongside impact stories and other information relevant to the campaign.
Donor Recognition Display Options
Once you have donors, it’s crucial to show your thanks in a way that makes them feel greatly appreciated. It should also be obvious to them that their donation is being put to good use. Donors will wonder where their hard-earned dollars went, after all.
Whether it’s with metal memorial plaques, mosaic tile donor walls, or digital donor recognition walls, paying close attention to how you show your appreciation in the right form factor is also essential.
Here are some of the options that allow you to leverage digital technology to thank and attract more donors using campaign thermometers, live feeds of donations, displaying donor lists, and telling interactive or non-interactive donor and/or campaign stories.
Digital Donor Plaque
Conventional donor plaques can be nice, but they’re not dynamic. Having the flexibility to make adjustments to your donor plaques will allow you to do things like add holiday themes, create special decorations on a particular donor’s birthday, add or remove names, tell the donor story, videos, and much more.
Metal memorial plaques are the traditional way to show your appreciation artfully. These can be beautiful, but they lack thought. Anymore, what you want are legible donor plaques that do more than just harbor the names of donors.
That’s not to say that traditional donor plaques aren’t great, but they simply aren’t as eye-catching as their counterparts in the digital age.
Digital Donor Recognition Board
Go digital with your entire donor recognition board display using a simple single LCD. Use the whole gamut of options to display campaign thermometers, donor lists, and tell interactive or non-interactive donor and/or campaign impact stories. It’s similar to digital donor plaques but bigger, and where there's a larger display - there's more information that can organically be shared.
Digital Donor Recognition Wall
If bigger is better, then a donor wall is the best way to demonstrate how you appreciate the generosity of your donors. There are tons of possibilities when it comes to adonor recognition wall.
You can even add a digital screen or multiple screens to an existing donor wall as a centerpiece or something to enhance and supplement it. This allows you to retain any picture plaques or metal memorial plaques you might already have while adding the interactivity and engaging nature of digital signage.
There are endless donor wall ideas to choose from, so just make sure you leverage the power of digital technology to enhance your fundraising strategies and make the most of your donor recognition efforts.
Virtual Donor Wall
Virtual Donor Walls are the great field levelers for organizations of all sizes as it's a donor wall that is embedded in your website. This allows everyone, everywhere to be recognized anytime. Over the next few years, Virtual Donor Walls will quickly become a standard.
Not every organization is a prime candidate for an on-premise donor wall - if your organization has low foot traffic combined with generally smaller donation amounts then a Virtual Donor Wall is the way to go, especially if your website tends to have high traffic.
How to Get Started With a Donor Recognition System
To create a digital donor recognition system, you’ll need to identify budgets, the location(s) you want it/them installed, and the primary and secondary purposes for the system.
Once you’re past the idea stage, it’s about product specifications. Find out what combination of digital donor plaques, donor recognition boards, digital donor recognition walls, and virtual donor walls works best for the space and your objective and with a raw assumption of your budget.
Next, get that information in front of people that understand what you’re looking for. At this point, the company should be looking to work with you on the content specification for the equipment. Do you want campaign thermometers, peer-to-peer fundraising, donor lists, donor stories, impact stories, events, and campaign information? They should all be ideas you will work through with them.
Once it's all put together, you can simply manage it remotely for updates, additions, and changes at a moment’s notice.
Keep in mind that your donor recognition wall is a dedication to your donors and a tool for fundraising - not a place for ads or general announcements.
Digital donor recognition is a powerful tool in any fundraising team’s toolkit to provide tangible benefit to would-be high-value donors, and increase engagement in active fundraising efforts by enticing prospective donors on-premise and allowing them to spread the word.
With the right tools, apps, features, display options, and hardware, you’ll have everything you need to offer unique fundraising ideas that attract donors and show your gratitude in a way that truly resonates.
Get inspiration from our digital donor wall designs.
About the author: LeeAnn Lowery
LeeAnn is a seasoned nonprofit consultant who has helped several grassroots organizations develop high-yielding donor cultivation strategies. She also served as Director of Major Gifts with The Wounded War Project before holding the title of Director of Development at The DONNA Foundation and The NASCAR Foundation. LeeAnn has secured more than $10 million in charitable donations throughout her development career.