Approaches To Naming Opportunities For Your Charity
Naming opportunities have increasingly become an expectation from major donors, so a comprehensive plan and policy surrounding these is critical to any organization offering such recognition. If your charity has been approaching naming opportunities on an ad-hoc basis as large gifts come in, you may be missing other possibilities, not maximizing their revenue potential and you are probably being inconsistent in recognition among your donors.
Building A Naming Opportunities Plan
Most institutions take the total estimated cost of a capital project costs and assign values to potential naming spaces. The combined value of all the naming spaces is often equal to the total project cost.
When identifying potential spaces for naming opportunities and assigning their values, consider those that will have the greatest worth to donors. These will be the more prominent, more visible, and most-used spaces.
If you are seeking to offer a naming opportunity for a conference room within a larger building, you must make sure that there is no conflict between the two donors, that the recognition in the form of plaques or tags are balanced and that both donors are aware of the naming rights of the other to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Specify The Term Of The Naming Opportunity
Your new capital project will not last forever. As it ages, there may be a need for revitalization, renovation or even demolition in order to build anew. At that point, your organization may wish to rename the facility to recognize the donors who have made such improvements possible. If this possibility was not made clear in the initial donor agreement, it may create tension between you and the original donor or the donor’s family.
Some institutions set specific term limits to naming opportunities of 10 or 15 years or more, while others choose to make it clear that the naming rights will belong to the original donor for a minimum number of years and until significant investments in revitalization or rebuilding are needed.
In cases like these, you may also want to consider offering the original donor the first right of refusal when reinvestment is required. You may also promise to preserve the original dedication plaque within the new facility to honor the legacy of their gift.
Other Elements To Consider
• Sample language for naming and recognition
• A morals clause that would allow you to remove the name under certain conditions
• The way in which the gift will be recognized
• Process for handling a merger or corporate renaming or rebranding
Going Beyond The Name
Naming opportunities for supporting your capital project are a wonderful way to recognize these significant donors. But after a while, people might forget how that building got its name. There are opportunities to further recognize major donors and to tell their stories to the people who occupy and use those buildings. Imagine the impact that a personal message from the donor to all the people in the future that will benefit from his or her gift could have. This can be easily achieved through the addition of an interactive donor wall in the lobby or a public space within the building.