It’s Never Too Early to Start

June 2nd, 2009

Many fundraisers do not address the design and implementation of donor recognition until the later stages of a capital campaign. There is a misconception that “plaques” need not be planned until the building’s construction is well underway.

However, best practices for donor recognition have shown significant benefit to early donor recognition planning in three distinct areas:

First, by deciding on a specific plan of donor recognition early-on, fundraisers are free to focus on fundraising! Anxious thoughts of, “What will please this donor; where should those letters go; and how much can we spend,” will be replaced with a consistent, budgeted plan that is easy to share with your staff, the project architect and your donors.

Second, you can control costs by determining budgets for product and implementation fees in advance. Many institutions are willing to fund donor recognition from construction budgets, so it is to your advantage to be able to estimate your needs early.

Third, a comprehensive donor recognition program provides greater opportunity to steward your donors. If you know the scope and content of your donor recognition components as you approach a prospective donor, you are better able to guide a vision of how this gift will become a part of the institution’s legacy. You can show design documents as a part of your solicitation tools, share stories and photos with the donor in preparation for developing the plaque content, and provide tangible documents to show the look of future recognition elements, long before the building is finished.

So don’t delay donor recognition planning until the end of your campaign. At Robin E. Williams Incorporated we think it’s never too early to start!

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