4 Deciding Factors for Electronic Donor Recognition Displays

January 21st, 2014


Integrated Touchscreen within a Recognition Communication Plan.

Integrated Touchscreen within a Recognition Communication Plan.

Donor Recognition and electronics. Should they be used in lieu of traditional displays? Are they cheaper, especially over time? Consider 4 factors as you plan.

1. Cost of equipment and implementation:  Whenever possible, outside resources should be engaged for the technical work and product selection. Although many organizations have staff in-house who tout an understanding of the technical and graphic design nuances of interactive media, it almost is NEVER a priority for them. Fundraising organizations should be raising money and stewarding donors, not developing display content! Choose the hardware appropriate to your “viewer engagement plan of action”. If you don’t have one, create one before taking another step.

2. Initial content development:   Create a storyboard.    Define the audience, divide the content into specific messages and then look for existing content, videos, print graphics, marketing collateral, that can be re-purposed.   Hire a specialist, instead of planning it all yourself without specialized input. That effort will benefit the process by sorting the information and marrying it to your plan.   Ask for leadership from colleagues regarding the pros and cons of electronic media as a donor recognition tool.  This is a new practice; there is no “right answer” yet.

3. Plan for ongoing content management and support:  Itemize in-house staff expenditures to maintain the display after the initial installation. What processes will facilitate routine updates?  What schedule will be established for the development of new content?  Are you able to allot enough personnel time to keep content fresh and engaging? And who will be assigned that task?   Remember, the specific scope of this display is to be donor recognition.   Don’t let content from other stake-holders “slip in”. Plan to protect the fundraiser’s interests. Don’t relegate tasks to others. There may be others with the technical skill but not with the experience and understanding to judge the nuances of donor stewardship. Be careful. Keep your focus.

4. Reportability:  Measure-ability of your Return on Objectives will be asked of you by your bosses. How will you measure the success of your display?  Plan to monitor how many users you have – what they look at or do while viewing the display and build in methods for gathering user statistics from the onset.  Many web-based interactive programs offer this as standard practice.  Be sure yours does. For other types of electronic activities, ingenuity may be required.   Consider inclusion of a call to action distinct to the electronic messaging so that you can measure the number of responses.  This might take the form of a special offer, a dedicated link to online giving, registration for an event or for receipt of a newsletter that gathers user information. Think it through before engaging programming services for the display.

Set your objectives for the audience(s) you identify. Determine now, before you implement anything, just how the electronic element will function within your overall stewardship and recognition plan. Establish measurable goals for each purpose of the display and decide from the outset how to sustain and refresh the content going forward. With these tools in hand, budget-setting for implementation will be accurate and productive.

Written by: Robin E. Williams

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