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

Capital Campaigns are NOT about raising money

April 9th, 2014

After 30 years of focus on philanthropy, I’ve come to understand that Capital Campaigns are about institutional transformation…..NOT about raising money.

food for thoughtSo just as one evaluates all organizational efficiencies and goals in prep for the campaign, one must particularly reflect on how donors are thanked.

Proactive or reactionary? Motivational or an afterthought? Unified or hodge-podge? Programmatic or “in the moment”? Brand supportive or non-specific? Any campaign (and organization’s future) is better served if its thinking about thanking were transformed in preparation for imminent change.

Written by Robin E. Williams

5 Strategies: Donor Recognition and New Construction

November 6th, 2013

Here are 5 quick reminders on how to make the best use of donor recognition as a motivator for giving within new facilities. Continue reading »

ADRP Conference and Providence, RI

October 3rd, 2013
Waterfire, Providence

Waterfire, Providence

ADRP Conference chose Providence this year for the annual meeting of Donor Relations Professionals. Both the conference program and the city of Providence exceeded my expectations. Continue reading »

Crowdfunding and Donor Recognition

September 26th, 2013

crowdfundingCrowdfunding is a practice just like crowdsourcing but applied specifically to the raising of small, individual amounts of money by non profits via the internet. It has now begun to take a firm  hold  on the fundraising marketplace. And that’s because it works! We’ve all  seen  online giving  become increasingly successful via the Red Cross and others. Texting of donations in athletic events, too,  is becoming ubiquitous. With the  growing focus by organizations to define a need, present a compelling campaign solicitation, and then ask the “crowd” for support the cause online, goals are met and often surpassed . Continue reading »