“Just in Time” Donor Recognition

March 24th, 2015

Donor Recognition is the most powerful communication tool a fundraiser has. Yet, why is it that Donor Recognition plaques and displays seem to be ordered ONLY at the last minute? Continue reading »

Stewardship: Picture-perfect

January 28th, 2015
Brand Integration

Brand Integration

A picture is worth 1000 words….done well, like this University has, a single picture is worth $1000s!

Years ago my firm worked closely with Columbus State University (GA) to establish a recognition program brand:  a signature for philanthropy on their campus.

They have remained committed and true to that brand. They consistently present their philanthropy brand as a sort of “visual byte” throughout  fundraising collateral, give-aways and campus recognition.

I urge you to establish your own visual signature and then work to integrate it throughout all that is fund-raising.

Written by Robin E. Williams

Think Differently: Bench Namings

September 8th, 2014

Bench namings New for Bench namings









Continue reading »

Donor Recognition + Meaningful Experience = An Inspired Viewer

July 16th, 2014

Donor Recognition efforts dedicated publicly to inform, excite and invite participation by every viewer is not easy to do. Saying “thank you” without seeming obligatory or impersonal, while being aimed at stirring the emotion and intent of a viewer to action is the today’s new paradigm.

We know that donor recognition plaques and program displays can no longer be about the simple display of donor lists by gift level, or about portraiture or even by thoughtfully chosen take-home gifts.

And even though  fundraising personnel now expresses their love of technology as being a life saver to lists-making and quick-change, it’s not about that, either.

It must now simply be about creating memorable viewer experiences. Creative story-telling, donor and program memorabilia, easy change/refreshing of content, and viewer interaction with the presentation all serve to motivate giving and to assist in donor retention.

The world of donor recognition is changing; fundraisers AND product manufacturers are struggling to leave behind yesterday’s methods of plaque-by-plaque, disconnected donor acknowledgments. Instead, the goal is to implement memorable graphic presentations that actually engage each viewer (prospective donor). To think before you thank.

New best practices are being invented daily creating organization-specific, new philanthropy experiences by which prospective donors are stirred to action: to give or just to learn more. Inspiration to action is key.

We’ve said for years that if donor recognition is an inanimate communicator with viewers/prospects,  stewardship and fundraising professionals owe it to themselves to take a moment and self-evaluate by asking themselves, ‘What are we saying via our plaques and displays?” “Are the messages being conveyed actually what we intend/need to be saying?” What would you answer to such questions?

Not Much Respect Communicated

Not Much Respect Communicated


What Not to Do! Donor or Gargoyle?

What Not to Do! Donor or Gargoyle?






Written by Robin E. Williams

Philanthropy Branding and Donor Recognition: Tips on Linking the Two

November 19th, 2013

Cattle brand  Donor Recognition is the most under-utilized brand communicator that non profit organizations have at their “fingertips”.   Recognition exists within facilities, across campuses and online. It is perhaps the only 24/7/365 messaging system that the non profit can use to communicate its brand. Continue reading »