Making Your Donor Recognition Wall Work For You
If your non-profit is like most, your donors and volunteers are the lifeblood of the organization. Their extraordinary contributions of time, funds and resources are what allow you to fulfill your mission. For that reason, they deserve to be recognized in ways that are equally extraordinary.
We’re all familiar with traditional donor recognition walls: a series of individuals’ or companies’ names engraved on a wall in a hospital, university or other institution in recognition of their support. And while they must certainly appreciate the recognition, one wonders how meaningful such lists of names are to the average passer-by.
In many ways, it’s a missed opportunity. Wouldn’t it be great if you donor wall could engage that random person walking by, get them interested in how all those wonderful donors contributed and what your organization has accomplished as a result? With an immersive and interactive donor wall, you can accomplish all these things and more.
Tell your donor-centered story
Your interactive donor wall can do much more than recognize the companies and people who allow you to do what you do; it can tell your story from a donor-centric perspective. What that means is telling your story, but telling it through the eyes of your donors so that it is as much about them as it is about you. When you tell your story with a donor-centered focus, you will inevitably speak to the things that are important to them and identify why they chose to support your organization.
As a matter of fact, I suggest that very little of the content on your donor wall should be told in your organization’s voice. If your supporters and those who have benefitted from your organization’s work tell the story, your organization’s mission and vision will come through loud and clear. Their perspective expresses your organization’s impact in a far more powerful way than you could yourself.
Tailor recognition to each donor
One of the greatest aspects of an interactive and immersive donor recognition wall is that it can go into much more detail about each donor’s contribution. You can incorporate video testimonials from the donor telling their story about what brought them to support your organization.
You will also find their story to be far more impactful if you can tie their contributions to a specific direct or indirect result. Using a hospital foundation as an example, a direct outcome of their contribution could be the purchase of a specific piece of equipment, or an indirect outcome could be a patient expressing their appreciation for their support of the hospital that has helped them so much.
Update and add frequently
While traditional donor walls tend to remain static, only to have new names added in infrequent intervals, an interactive and immersive donor wall can and should be updated frequently. If it is placed in a high-traffic area where the same individuals may see it often, changing it or adding new content on a regular basis will increase the likelihood of them returning and interacting with it repeatedly.
Inspire others to support
To be sure, the primary purpose of a donor wall is to sing the praises of your supporters, and an interactive donor wall can accomplish that task in an unparalleled fashion. There is, however, supplementary benefit that could prove to be immeasurably beneficial to your organization. By telling the compelling story of donors and volunteers who have contributed generously and made a tangible difference, your donor wall will engage passers-by, touch them and possibly persuade them to contribute in a similar way.