Many ask which are the best Donor Recognition Walls for NonProfit organizations.
Donor recognition has been around since the first caveman gave a gift to the second caveman and that second caveman had to think of a creative way to say ‘Thank You’.
Ever since, every organization that relies on the goodwill of others for financial support, volunteer participation, goods in kind contributions or other forms of philanthropy has been challenged to find ways to express gratitude and acknowledge generosity in a manner that’s practical, affordable and helps the organization to convey its message and mission. As described below, a best Donor Recognition solution for NonProfit Organizations is to install a large, interactive, multimedia, donor recognition wall or donor recognition display.
However, the status quo has changed dramatically in the past decade or two and what worked in the past is no longer effective, for a number of important reasons, reasons that make the introduction of interactive recognition not only practical and effective, but critically necessary.
1. The Entrepreneurial Non-Profit
Not that long ago, non-profits could rely fairly confidently on contributions from government and corporations to assist in their funding. However, today’s corporations have established their own foundations for tax and philanthropic purposes and governments are having enough difficulty generating money for their own needs, let alone providing generous financial gifts to local non-profits. As a result, non-profits have been obliged to become much more entrepreneurial in their thinking and have had to develop and implement sophisticated marketing plans to communicate their vision and generate funding.
Interactive multimedia enable them to tell their stories much more dynamically, and a much greater audience. On site, interactive displays allow them to feature donor testimonials, create and showcase profiles of supporters and beneficiaries, engage visitors with interactive historical timelines, recognize volunteers and alumni, take credit card contributions at the display along with a myriad of other features and functionality. Add to this the ability to include the multimedia experience on the organization’s website and suddenly that message is available to anyone in the world, including expatriate members of their community who can continue to stay involved with their mission.
2. The Internet
The Internet has changed all of our lives and one of the sectors most directly involved in it is Non-Profits. Before, ABC Hospital may have been competing for donors with XYZ University across town. Now, potential donors literally have a world of noble causes to choose from and integrating an interactive multimedia presentation on the non-profit’s web site means that the organization is now competing on a global level. No static donor wall can achieve that outreach.
3. Who Is John Jones?
How often have we stood before a static donor wall with its tiered list of brass plaques and wondered who the donors were and what compelled them to make a contribution to that organization?
However, with Interactive Multimedia, we can learn much more by watching a video of Mr. Jones and hearing in his own words why he chose to support this non-profit, how it may have helped him or his family and why he felt compelled to give back.
More than that, though, the organization can share stories of their success, identify and explain areas of need, feature an interactive historical timeline or showcase any number of other engaging, informative and entertaining items, all in a way that involves the visitor in the entire multimedia experience.
4. Donors Influence Donors
The more people know about an organization, the more inclined they will be to support its cause – and one of the most influential factors in helping them to make the decision to contribute or volunteer is through the influence of existing donors.
Using Interactive Multimedia an organization can feature donor and beneficiary testimonials and profiles to share its stories of achievement and need. Imagine the power of hearing a father tell the story of his young daughter being cared for by a children’s hospital; think of the impact of a young woman sharing how a university was able to provide a scholarship for her to receive an education she would never have been able to afford herself; imagine understanding the fulfillment a volunteer receives from helping out a the local seniors home. These are all experiences that can never be shared on a static donor display. Only with Interactive Multimedia can be the true emotion, sights and sounds of real people be realized.
5. The Intergenerational Transfer of Wealth
It started about 20 years ago and will last for at least 20 or 30 more. Baby Boomers are getting older, retiring and dying and they’re leaving substantial amounts of cash and assets to their children. Those children will want to wisely shelter that new-found wealth, in many cases by investing it or by making tax-beneficial contributions to non-profit organizations, or at least to those non-profit organizations they’re most familiar with.
Through the use of Interactive Multimedia, non-profit organizations can raise their profile and promote their mission in dynamic, entertaining and highly informative ways. They can integrate their presentations onto their web sites for global exposure or feature the presentation on a stand-alone kiosk that can be taken out into the community as an outreach marketing tool.
The bottom line is that the more people know about an organization and its vision and message, the more likely they are to consider it when doing their estate planning or considering their philanthropic gifts.
6. Donor Walls Disappear
Donor walls figuratively, if not literally, fade into the background after time. As people continue to walk by a static donor wall they cease to see it anymore. It disappears because there is no changing message, no dynamic imagery to capture interest or command attention. However, with the introduction of Interactive Multimedia, everything changes, figuratively and literally.
Each time a visitor ventures past an Interactive Multimedia display they are presented with an ever changing menu or video, photography and sound, and the opportunity to interact with the presentation to actually become a part of it.
7. Best Donor Recognition Solutions For NonProfit
The day you place the first metal plaque on a static donor wall is the day you begin to run out of space. One of the main problems with static donor walls is the very limitation caused by limited space and, today, with construction costs escalating so much, spare real estate is in high demand, which makes the introduction of Interactive Multimedia a much more practical solution. With Interactive Multimedia, you can feature every donor, every volunteer, every alumnus, every milestone date in your history….the fact is, you can highlight almost everything because web-based Interactive Multimedia has virtually unlimited capacity – something a static donor wall can never achieve.
8. Recognition Displays Should Be An Asset, Not An Obligation
In the past creating a recognition display was often regarded as an obligation, something that an organization was forced to provide to acknowledge a monetary gift by a well-heeled donor. Frequently the display was an uninspiring collection of plaques or bricks or Corian tile, mounted on a wall and soon to be forgotten. However, much has changed in the realm of donor relations.
Today, the strategy of how to properly thank donors is one of the first considerations of capital campaigns and other fundraising initiatives, with much thought given to how to effectively profile achievements, provide donor profiles, communicate areas of need and share the organization’s history and vision.
Interactive Multimedia is a powerful tool that progressive non-profit organizations are using to market themselves to their entire constituency, making powerful messages that resonate with donors, politicians, corporations, beneficiaries and other community stakeholders. Interactive Multimedia is to fund raising what the smart phone is to communications. It opens up new worlds of opportunity, but only to those astute enough to capitalize on its benefits.
Further examples of interactive experiences and exhibits can be found here.