Giving your donors the public recognition they deserve is necessary for building strong relationships and ensuring donor retention. Today, there are numerous ways to acknowledge donors, but in this article, we are going to explore one of the fastest growing trends - virtual donor walls - and why they should be incorporated into your donor recognition program.
Why Nonprofits Are Choosing Virtual Donor Walls
In the nonprofit sector, traditional donor walls have been the go-to option for donor recognition for many years. A traditional donor wall can consist of plaques with donors’ names, a donor tree, or simply one large, mounted piece displayed in a central location.
However, nonprofit organizations are now viewing traditional donor walls as things of the past, replacing them with more contemporary and feature-laden digital donor walls. But like traditional donor walls, an interactive donor wall takes up wall space and may not fit every budget.
Instead of investing a large amount of money in a traditional recognition wall, many nonprofits are choosing to go digital and/or virtual. Since virtual donor walls are displayed online, you are able to showcase your donor recognition for everyone to see. Let’s take a deeper look at what a virtual donor wall is.
What a Virtual Donor Wall Does
You may be asking, what does a virtual donor wall actually do? The answer is, that it does more than a traditional donor wall and everything that a digital donor wall does, but it can reach a broader audience.
With a virtual recognition wall, you can do the following with interactive or non-interactive features: list your donors’ names, highlight major donors, share fundraising campaign information such as announcements and updates, and display impact stories from those whose lives your nonprofit has changed, and more!
Ways to Leverage Your Virtual Donor Wall
Now that we have an understanding of the key things a virtual donor wall can do, let’s discuss how to leverage virtual donor recognition walls.
Add It to Your Website
Virtual donor walls can easily be added and embedded to your website, so all online traffic directed towards your website sees that you appreciate your donors. A digital or virtual solution allows you the freedom to edit the donor wall design anytime you want to, something that cannot be done with a traditional donor wall.
Sync It With Your Digital Donor Wall
Virtual donor walls may also be used in conjunction with your digital donor wall. For example, say you update your digital donor wall to showcase capital campaign progress. By syncing the two, the update will be reflected on your virtual wall in real-time, also!
Promote It on Social Media
Unlike a digital wall located on-site, a virtual donor wall can readily be shared on social media. To encourage engagement with your audience, consider doing donor highlights on social media. Or, you could simply recognize your donors based on the giving tier.
Showcasing pride in your donors on social media and inviting them to share with their audience is an easy way to spread your mission, but be sure to get permission from specific donors before featuring them on your social channels.
Include It in Your Annual Report
When it comes time to compile your annual report, instead of stressing over organizing an extensive donor list, simply include the link to your virtual donor recognition wall in your report. This not only makes your job easier, but it makes the viewing experience seamless as well.
The Benefits of a Virtual Donor Wall
In addition to the numerous ways to leverage a virtual donor wall, there are also major benefits to going the virtual donor wall route.
Save Wall Space
Traditional walls and digital displays both take up a decent amount of wall space, and the truth is, not every nonprofit has the space to hold a donor wall. With a virtual donor wall, there’s no reason to stress over not having enough space.
Leverage Your Site Traffic
If your website sees a lot of traffic, then so will your virtual donor wall. The amount of visitors on your website is possibly far greater than the traffic in your facility making this a great standalone option for those with tight budgets or no wall space - and an excellent add-on for those with (or getting) digital donor walls.
Lower Barrier to Entry For Smaller Nonprofits
Now even the tightest budgets have the ability to add meaningful donor recognition. Before, the only possible way was having individual plaques or other low-budget donor recognition, which never really feels fulfilling or adequately recognizing of donor contributions.
Include Donors From Everywhere
Are you a nonprofit with a national, or international, outreach and have donors from different geographical areas where it's nearly impossible for your donors to even see their names on the donor wall in your facility? Investing in a virtual donor wall allows you to feature these donors, as well as their location. There’s no need to worry about running out of space or having to pay for new additions, simply make the update on your virtual wall instantly.
Expand Your Online Presence and Communication Efforts
Virtual donor walls are a savvy tool to use to build your online presence and increase communication with your audience. Boldly showcasing your donors on your website immediately attracts the attention of browsers visiting your site for the first time. And, as we have mentioned, virtual donor walls can easily be shared on social media channels, building upon communication and spreading the word about your cause.
The Cost-Effective Option
Every nonprofit knows the value of a dollar, and if you are searching for something that is more cost-effective, a virtual donor wall is the best choice. With a virtual donor wall, you save time, wall space, and money.
Having a donor display to illustrate your appreciation for your donors is a vital part of donor stewardship. With donor recognition rapidly evolving, there are more and more ways to acknowledge donors.
Traditional donor walls remain an option, although digital donor walls are rapidly rising in popularity. However, a virtual donor wall is the best option if you are wanting to save wall space, acknowledge all of your donors, and build your online presence. There is no limit to what you can do with a virtual donor wall.
Learn more about OmniAlly’s virtual donor recognition solution by requesting a demo here!