Defining Philanthropy Center

August 4th, 2009

Our firm regularly uses the term “philanthropy center”. We have to remind ourselves that this term has meaning to us as donor recognition consultants, but may be foreign to others, even our fundraising clients.

A philanthropy center is a premier destination for the celebration of donors and the many ways that an organization has benefited from philanthropy.

As a “center,” a grouping of displays goes beyond the standard “donor wall,” communicating opportunities to give and fostering enhanced giving by current donors and new donors alike.

Philanthropy centers typically highlight cumulative and planned giving programs, but can include recognition of other types of giving as well. Annual, corporate and employee giving are frequent components in hospital recognition programs. Recognition for named endowments and programs are more frequent for all types of fundraising institutions. Best practices for donor recognition indicate that inclusion of historical information, stories, donor testimonials, current campaign activity improve the communication potential of the displays and better engage the audience.

Generally, philanthropy centers consist of donor recognition displays that can be updated on a regular basis. Plaques that can be rearranged and added to over time are typical. Large format print graphics and interactive media are now frequently used as well, providing both “wow factor” and ease of updating.

Each institution will determine the right types of displays to include in a philanthropy center to reflect unique fundraising strategies, and the scope of the displays may build and change over time. Whatever the content, communicating the importance of philanthropy as a core value of the fundraising institution is the common goal of all philanthropy centers.

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