Southeast Donor Relations Professionals Mini-Conference / Charlotte, NC

July 31st, 2009

Today a dedicated group of donor relations professionals met at Davidson College to consider the implications of the current economic challenges on donor stewardship.  Most years, the Southeast Donor Relations Conference (SEDRC), a regional subgroup of the Association of Donor Relations Professionals (ADRP), gathers for a three-day conference with 50 or more attendees.  This year’s full conference was canceled because so many attendees’ budgets have been slashed.  During the one day mini-session, presentations and conversation carried a consistent theme:  the need for improved coordination and communication. Continue reading »

Analysis of a Successful Donor Recognition Installation

July 31st, 2009

Naming opportunities are a commonplace means of motivating donors, especially during a campaign. However, thoughtful design of permanent donor recognition can dramatically improve the outcome. Taking time to “think before you thank” will result in a product that enhances the legacy of the donor, communicates the credibility of the organization and motivates others to give.

To illustrate these points, I offer the following analysis of a display recently installed at the Gwinnett Medical Center – Lawrenceville. This display’s design follows the recommended Donor Recognition Standards & Guidelines for interior area naming established first for the Duluth campus and now adapted for the Lawrenceville campus. The Standards provide direction on a hierarchy of plaque sizes, each with a specific content and an array of components, based on gift level.

Gwinnett Medical Center Strickland Chapel

Gwinnett Medical Center Strickland Chapel




Improve donor stewardship

First and foremost, donor recognition is a public, permanent statement of appreciation to the donor. As such, the more specific and meaningful it can be, the better. Recognition should be designed to contribute to the legacy of the donor and record specific information about the individual(s) and the reasons behind the gift. Dimensional letters alone cannot achieve this level of storytelling. Instead, major donors should be recognized by an acknowledgement of who they are, what relationship they have to the institution and why they made this gift. In this case, the recognition also includes the opportunity for the donors to share, through their choice of verse and a quote of their own sentiments, a challenge to others to give. Continue reading »

Gwinnett Medical Center’s Second-Generation Philanthropy Center Installs

July 30th, 2009

The Philanthropy Center installed July 28 & 29 in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Mirrored alcoves at the entrance to the hospital’s new lobby recognize the key role played by those who give of their time, talent and treasure in support of quality healthcare in the Gwinnett community. This new installation represents an expansion in the scope and volume of the previous Philanthropy Center, first begun in 1994, and highlights philanthropy as a core value to the Gwinnett Medical Center. Continue reading »

Electronic Media and Donor Recognition: Is Anyone Using it?

July 28th, 2009

It’s a very competitive philanthropic marketplace these days for community hospitals. I was reminded of this last week while at the Georgia Association of Development Professionals’ conference (GADP), a segment of the Georgia Hospital Association.  Most of their members are located in small communities and represent the primary health provider for their county or region. I live in Atlanta. Fundraising events and success here in this city are now daily news items. We are home to 100s of non-profits and maybe more Foundations. Not so, currently, in the rest of the state. In those small communities, medical center fundraisers face tremendous challenges even when the economy is more stable than it is today. CEOs enjoy the income that their Foundations provide, yet they often offer little in the way of day-to-day support or, in many cases, any real understanding of the CEO’s role in acquiring and stewarding donors. Many of these organizations are considered “small shops” and the titles bestowed on  many of the chief fundraisers by the CEO and/or Boards, i.e. Development Officer, Development Coordinator, and the like, are less than confidence-building and may be counter-productive, as they strive to solicit corporate CEOs, Marketing VPs, major Foundations and major donors. I wonder if they know that.

Continue reading »

Roundtable: The Implications of Digital Media on Stewardship and Enhanced Giving

July 23rd, 2009

I’ll soon have a 2nd opportunity to facilitate this roundtable with hospital fundraisers. The results of our  first try at AHP meeting in Nashville last month pleasantly surprised us due to the turn it took. See our June blog, “Social Networking for Healthcare Philanthropy”.

We  had thought the digital media subject would evolve related to donor recognition within an organization’s website, its facility’s interactive touchscreens or digital signing.  Instead, attendees were actively engaged sharing experiences and gaining insight related social networking and its impact on giving and stewardship. Current social network options (Twitter, Facebook, Linked-in, etc) were all evaluated, yet more interestingly, the realization that traditional organizational techniques used for community engagement work well, with modification, on line, too. Most of the same rules apply, while new ones evolve. Cautionary tales were many.

This new healthcare roundtable is scheduled for Friday morning, July 24 at the gathering of the Georgia Association for Advancement Professionals in St. Simons Island, GA. I look forward to facilitating this discussion too. Together, we’ll ride their wave of interest where it leads. Will present a summary report following the meeting.

Written by Robin E. Williams