Donor Signshttps://donorsigns.com DONOR RECOGNITION EXPERTSFri, 15 Feb 2019 02:39:26 +0000en-UShourly1https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.3https://donorsigns.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/32x32.pngDonor Signshttps://donorsigns.com 3232How to Choose a Vendorhttps://donorsigns.com/how-to-choose-a-vendor/ https://donorsigns.com/how-to-choose-a-vendor/#respondWed, 14 Nov 2018 19:58:41 +0000https://donorsigns.com/?p=4685With over 30 years working in donor recognition, we have the experience from every angle. Trying to find a vendor for donor recognition is often overlooked until the last minute. Donor recognition can seem easy but has multiple, often unforeseen, complications. That is why choosing the right vendor is critical. Part one will cover who […]

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With over 30 years working in donor recognition, we have the experience from every angle. Trying to find a vendor for donor recognition is often overlooked until the last minute. Donor recognition can seem easy but has multiple, often unforeseen, complications. That is why choosing the right vendor is critical. Part one will cover who to avoid when choosing a vendor.

What to Avoid in a Vendor

Avoid sign companies with large shop operations. While this may seem like an advantage, these companies limit themselves by only designing signage that they are capable of producing in their shop.

Also, avoid local sign shops and trophy companies. These firms are usually the least expensive. However, they are not set up to provide the level of quality, durability and craftsmanship to properly honor your donors.  Sign shops do not have the design skills that will make your project special.

Avoid architects and interior design firms. Usually these companies view donor recognition as an after thought. Most don’t have the experience to do donor recognition properly.  Which often leads to expensive and unusable donor walls. “Dead” donor walls don’t allow room to grow, are too costly to update, and are too costly to maintain. We’ve replaced many dead donor walls. Be sure to look for our upcoming blog entry on this subject.

What to look for in a Vendor

The best types of firms are environmental graphic designers. Design firms that have experience often work with a variety of craftsman and artisans to achieve a unique, appropriate, high quality, and affordable solution.

You can also consider companies that specialize in donor recognition design and fabrication. Some of these are highly competent while others may have a weak design staff or are more interested in designing something that they can build in-house rather than designing to suit your needs.

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How to Appropriately Recognize Your Donorhttps://donorsigns.com/appropriately-recognize-donor/ https://donorsigns.com/appropriately-recognize-donor/#respondTue, 24 Jan 2017 16:46:51 +0000https://donorsigns.apollyonsfavor.com/?p=1117Recognizing donors is a delicate process, it is important to find the right budget for recognition of the campaign. Donor recognition is best described as a way to say ‘Thank you’ to those who have given a gift to your campaign. Recognition benefits both the organization and the donor. Donors will look for their name […]

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Recognizing donors is a delicate process, it is important to find the right budget for recognition of the campaign. Donor recognition is best described as a way to say ‘Thank you’ to those who have given a gift to your campaign. Recognition benefits both the organization and the donor. Donors will look for their name in print or on a wall with pride, and the recognition will help to motivate others to give to the campaign. It is important to find the appropriate budget to spend for recognition; Too little would offend donors and too much would take away from the main goal of the campaign. This could leave the donor feeling like their donation did little help the original purpose.

Recognizing every donor the same can have some negative affects. It takes away from the significance of those who gave generous gift amounts. When low-end donors see the benefits increase with the level of donation, it helps to motivate them to give more prestigious gifts in order to receive the benefits.  Imagine putting yourself in the donors shoes; there are no incentives for your donor to give more if they receive the same benefits at a lower giving level as the top giving level. Respectfully, if you give a significant donor a very small plaque they could feel unworthy and resentful.

As a general rule of thumb, you want to create your giving levels and guidelines prior the start of your campaign. This will help to keep recognition even and fair with all your donors across the board from start to finish.

When the donor recognition is high quality and appropriately budgeted it will help to inspire others to give to the campaign as well. Dick Nicolson, Owner and Creative Director of DonorSigns.com has a formula he suggest to clients when considering a budget for their campaign:

For a small campaign you can spend as much as 5% of the campaign total.  For a large campaign, you can go as low as .001% of the campaign total.

Example:  $100,000 campaign at 5%=  $5,000.

$100 million campaign at .001% = $100,000

As we have learned, donor recognition is more than just a ‘thank you’ it can be used as a marketing opportunity. When recognizing donors strategically it will benefit both the donor and the organization as a whole.

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Make Sure Your New Digital Donor Wall Best Serves Your Donorshttps://donorsigns.com/make-sure-new-digital-donor-wall-best-serves-donors/ https://donorsigns.com/make-sure-new-digital-donor-wall-best-serves-donors/#respondThu, 19 Jan 2017 16:45:09 +0000https://donorsigns.apollyonsfavor.com/?p=1113Based on your past experiences you may feel that a traditional donor wall is expensive, cumbersome, challenging and time consuming to update and costly to clean and maintain. In fact, a large donor wall program can be a full time job for one of your staff for a couple months every year. If the donor […]

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Based on your past experiences you may feel that a traditional donor wall is expensive, cumbersome, challenging and time consuming to update and costly to clean and maintain. In fact, a large donor wall program can be a full time job for one of your staff for a couple months every year. If the donor wall hasn’t been well planned, you could run out of room after a couple of rounds of updates, or updating could become prohibitively expensive. At DonorSigns.com we design recognition programs to avoid these pitfalls, but is there a better way?

The ideal donor wall would be a digital solution that could be updated daily by your staff in just few minutes without leaving their desk. Donors could be found with a quick search, far more information can be displayed about the donor, and you could provide information about your organization and on-going campaigns.

Digital donor recognition seems like an ideal solution for every overworked, harried development professional. But is it going to satisfy your donors needs?

Interactive donor walls create an engaging multi sensory experience that includes visual and sound. Visitors see more than just a name, they see and hear a story and see a face.

Interactive digital video walls create an engagement with the audience by using multiple sensory intakes: visual, touch, and sound.

  • Visual & Sound engagement: No longer will you see just a name on a wall. You will hear their story and see their face.
  • Testimonial videos are great way to build trust and credibility. In a video – body language and voice inflection can help create an emotional connection with the audience.
  • The audience becomes a user once they interact with the presentation. Users can discover and explore content – deciding what is relevant to their personal needs and interests. A visitor can enter their phone number to have more information sent to their phone. Or we can design the system to accept a donation on-the-spot.
  • A digital donor wall can provide specialized messaging for VIPs at events.

From a donors perspective it is important to understand that a digital donor wall does not show a donors name on a permanent basis that can be seen by every one that walks by, especially their friends and neighbors. There is a big difference between a donor seeing his or her name etched on a plaque compared to their name in a computer data base that only appears sporadically or when someone does a search for their name. Realistically, who is going to do a search unless it’s someone who already knows the donor is in the system.

So, how do we bring together these two divergent points of view and create the best possible scenario for everyone?

At DonorSigns.com we found the best solution is to incorporate digital donor wall monitor(s) into a traditional physical donor wall. Let’s say you have five giving categories and the bottom two categories have about a thousand names each. These two categories are going to cause the most time and expense to update and maintain so why not display those two groups on a monitor. If they each had their own monitor it would be possible to program the system to scroll the names, assuring that each name would appear at specific time intervals, and would stay on the screen for a specified amount of time.  This solution would not need to be interactive and could be achieved for a fairly reasonable cost.

In addition, a third searchable touchscreen interactive monitor could be installed that would provide more detailed information about the larger level donors, (stories, photos and videos). These donors would be represented permanently on the physical donor wall and in a digital system.

Another option is to have a large enough screen presence to display all donor names all the time. This is usually accomplished by stacking multiple screens side-by-side to create a large wall of monitors. The monitors are all integrated to interact with each and perform as a single unit. One of the monitors can be a searchable touchscreen monitor to allow visitors to call up specific information about the donors they see on the screens. With this scenario all donors are visible all the time.

How do you get started on a recognition project that includes a digital solution? At DonorSigns.com we have been providing planning, design and fabrication of traditional donor recognition for over 25 years. We work with a national leading IT/ Tech company that has a high level of expertise in programming, user experience design (aka USD), hardware development, training, and 24/7 service. Together our focus is providing a turnkey solution that utilizes the best of digital and real-world physical recognition. We plan systems that are engaging, easy to use, meaningful, and appreciated by donors, visitors, and development professionals.

Heres a link to the full article we wrote on ADRP, The Hubhttps://adrp.memberclicks.net/digital-donor-walls

Richard Nicolson
President
DonorSigns.com

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Capital Campaign, Step by Stephttps://donorsigns.com/capital-campaign-step-step/ https://donorsigns.com/capital-campaign-step-step/#respondThu, 06 Oct 2016 16:42:59 +0000https://donorsigns.apollyonsfavor.com/?p=1109A capital campaign when a nonprofit organization wants to raise a substantial amount of money for a specific purpose within a certain time period. The campaign could be for many reasons; building a new facility, expanding programs, or bringing in new technology, all with the purpose to help the community. If this sounds demanding, you’re […]

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A capital campaign when a nonprofit organization wants to raise a substantial amount of money for a specific purpose within a certain time period. The campaign could be for many reasons; building a new facility, expanding programs, or bringing in new technology, all with the purpose to help the community.

If this sounds demanding, you’re right. There are a lot of variables involved when planning a capital campaign that can become overwhelming. At DonorSigns.com we work with clients on a daily basis who are in the process of, or have just finished their capital campaign. We’ve found an article from

Capital Campaign Masters (capitalcampaignmaster.com), who has done an excellent job describing a step-by-step solution for your campaign.

“Every successful capital campaign has several phases with specific strategies for each one. If you go step-by-step through the correct sequence of each phase, you’ll set up your campaign so it’s most likely to reach (and even surpass) the goal.”

— Andrea Kihlstedt, Capital Campaign Masters

STEP BY STEP GUIDE

Capital Campaign Donor Wall

This is a typical capital campaign donor wall. They tend to be more creative and cost less because they don’t have to be updated. We offer free design services to help you get started with your project.

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How to Land a $500 Million Donationhttps://donorsigns.com/land-500-million-donation/ https://donorsigns.com/land-500-million-donation/#respondTue, 23 Feb 2016 16:39:37 +0000https://donorsigns.apollyonsfavor.com/?p=1106While surfing the web, I came across an interesting article that I would like to share from Software Advice, Inc. “While many nonprofits value small donations from givers, the data shows that up to 75 percent of an organization’s revenue comes from major donors, or individuals who give $1 million or more. But acquiring these types […]

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While surfing the web, I came across an interesting article that I would like to share from Software Advice, Inc.

“While many nonprofits value small donations from givers, the data shows that up to 75 percent of an organization’s revenue comes from major donors, or individuals who give $1 million or more. But acquiring these types of donations can be challenging. It takes considerable time and effort, and many nonprofits still find it difficult to execute correctly.

To get expert insight on this topic, we interviewed Andrew Cope, vice president of development for the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF). In addition to his 21 years of fundraising experience, his organization received a $500 million donation from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg last year. Based on Cope’s advice, here are five top strategies fundraisers can use to land major donations and keep their nonprofit afloat. Click here to read 5 Tips to landing a big time donor.

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9 Step Guide to Planning your Donor Recognition Projecthttps://donorsigns.com/9-step-guide-planning-donor-recognition-project/ https://donorsigns.com/9-step-guide-planning-donor-recognition-project/#respondTue, 10 Mar 2015 16:37:54 +0000https://donorsigns.apollyonsfavor.com/?p=1103Determine your objectives. Try to imagine how your donors would like to be recognized for their gifts, ask yourself these questions: Were promises made to donors about how they should be recognized? How many donors do you currently have? How many donors will you have   in five years? How many categories do you need? How many […]

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Determine your objectives. Try to imagine how your donors would like to be recognized for their gifts, ask yourself these questions:

Were promises made to donors about how they should be recognized?

How many donors do you currently have? How many donors will you have   in five years?

How many categories do you need? How many donors in each category?

Should everybody be on a donor wall? Or should major donors have area plaques to identify their specific gift for a room?

Determine your budget. You want to create an appropriate budget before starting your new project.  The budget should be based on your type of organization, the financial goals of the campaign and the anticipated number of prospective donors. For a small campaign you can spend as much as 5% of the campaign total. For a large campaign, you can go as low as .001% of the campaign goal.

Example:

$100,000 campaign at 5% = b$5,000

$100 million campaign at .001% = $100,000

Start building the team. In addition to you and your fundraising colleagues, your internal team may include representatives from facilities and marketing. Your external team members may include your architect, interior designer, and a specialist in donor recognition design.

Begin finalizing the donor name list. The donors should approve names and associated copy one last time before fabrication. Use this donor contact opportunity to encourage donors to “give a little more to get to the next level”.

Create donor-giving levels. Donor categories allow you to recognize varying giving amounts and encourages donors to reach for higher levels. We have found that five giving levels usually works best.

Develop a schedule. Do not set the unveiling event date too early especially for large projects. Our experience has proven that a major donor wall project can take as long as six months. This time delay is often caused by the laborious process of finalizing the name list and by lengthy internal design approvals. (When necessary a quick turnaround donor project can be accomplished).

Plan for growth. A donor wall should be able to accommodate at least five years of growth before it needs to be renovated. Growth can be determined by looking at past performance. Note that the new donor recognition system or wall is likely to increase the rate of growth. Updating the donor names should be easy and economical. Updating larger groups of names on a regular basis, (quarterly, annually, etc.) is less costly than updating one or two donor names at a time.

Be prepared for last minute changes. Even a fixed campaign wall that is not intended to grow, should have a strategy to allow the addition of a last minute donor. And, if there is an event for the donor wall unveiling, you can be sure there will be several donors who will ask to be added.

Consider past donors and donor campaigns when planning a recognition program. It might make sense to include all those ancient campaigns on a single donor wall. “Legacy” donors should not be forgotten, and can be grouped together on a special section of the wall.

Program Control Manual The planning process should be documented in a program control manual and approved before the design process begins. The program control manual functions as design criteria brief and assists in managing the future growth of the donor system.

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5 Marketing Trends in 2015https://donorsigns.com/5-marketing-trends-2015/ https://donorsigns.com/5-marketing-trends-2015/#respondTue, 06 Jan 2015 16:36:03 +0000https://donorsigns.apollyonsfavor.com/?p=1100The article from Nonprofit Hub reviews the top 5 marketing upcoming marketing trends for 2015.  We provide a link to the full article at the bottom of the page. 1. Mobile is hot. Still. We’re almost starting to sound like a broken record, but if mobile has not been a priority for you, now’s the time […]

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The article from Nonprofit Hub reviews the top 5 marketing upcoming marketing trends for 2015.  We provide a link to the full article at the bottom of the page.

1. Mobile is hot. Still. We’re almost starting to sound like a broken record, but if mobile has not been a priority for you, now’s the time to embrace it. Responsive website design is a must-have functionality that provides optimal user experience whether your website is accessed via mobile, tablet or desktop, plus it tells people that you’re current and relevant. With 66% of people now reading their emails on smartphones, having mobile-responsive messaging has never been more urgent for nonprofits. A whopping 80% of mobile users delete emails that aren’t optimized for the mobile screen. If they can’t easily digest your email or make a donation, chances are they’ll move on.

2. Brands are becoming publishers and marketers are becoming writers. Content marketing continues to grow in the nonprofit sector. According to a recent Content Marketing Institute survey, 92% of nonprofit professionals are using content marketing through social media, blogging, email and video. Of those respondents, 65% are producing more content than they were a year ago. With this upsurge in content marketing, organizations are realizing that the quickest way to their audience’s heart is through valuable content. Content marketing helps you establish authority and gain trust with constituents and prospects, plus it’s a great SEO boost for your website.

Read the full article here

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3 Reasons to Locate Your Lost Donor Plaques.https://donorsigns.com/3-reasons-locate-lost-donor-plaques/ https://donorsigns.com/3-reasons-locate-lost-donor-plaques/#respondWed, 03 Dec 2014 16:31:12 +0000https://donorsigns.apollyonsfavor.com/?p=1097I’ve heard horror stories from clients of past donors bringing family and friends to show them their plaque only to find it missing. If you haven’t been with your organization from the beginning there maybe plaques you are unaware of. We have surveyed facilities and found donor plaques in storage rooms, behind file cabinets, you […]

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I’ve heard horror stories from clients of past donors bringing family and friends to show them their plaque only to find it missing. If you haven’t been with your organization from the beginning there maybe plaques you are unaware of. We have surveyed facilities and found donor plaques in storage rooms, behind file cabinets, you name it! There are 4 benefits to locating all of your donor plaques.Thats why we have created the Recognition Location Program. 

1.  Not knowing who your past donors are weakens your position. Part of the giving-recognition dynamic is the implication that donors will be recognized forever unless there is a specific understanding stating otherwise. If current donors feel that they’ll be forgotten in ten years their willingness to give may be compromised. You need to be able to confidently demonstrate that your organization continues to respect past donors indefinitely.

2. Past donors are always great prospects. Even if the donor has passed, you may uncover a family that wishes to continue their loved one’s legacy.

3. Understanding past giving patterns and habits. This will help you better understand how prospects view the organization.

4. Future prospects could be turned off by neglected plaques. Can you imagine you are walking a prospect through your facility and you come across a plaque hidden behind a plant or coat rack?

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Time to Refurbish – Give an Old Plaque a New Lifehttps://donorsigns.com/time-refurbish-give-old-plaque-new-life/ https://donorsigns.com/time-refurbish-give-old-plaque-new-life/#respondWed, 17 Sep 2014 16:29:39 +0000https://donorsigns.apollyonsfavor.com/?p=1094The plaque shown below was originally cast in the mid 50’s and had since tarnished and became an unusable eye sore. Donor Signs, Inc. cleaned and sanded the plaque, freshened up the brass letters and border, then finished it with a new protective clear coat. The main improvement was the removal of the existing name […]

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The plaque shown below was originally cast in the mid 50’s and had since tarnished and became an unusable eye sore. Donor Signs, Inc. cleaned and sanded the plaque, freshened up the brass letters and border, then finished it with a new protective clear coat.

The main improvement was the removal of the existing name plaques and adding our modular insert system. Our system made the names easy to update and gave this plaque a whole new life.

Refurbishing an old plaque not only saves money, it helps keep your history alive.

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2 Simple Ways to Reduce Long Term Maintenance Cost on your Donor Wallhttps://donorsigns.com/2-simple-ways-reduce-long-term-maintenance-cost-donor-wall/ https://donorsigns.com/2-simple-ways-reduce-long-term-maintenance-cost-donor-wall/#respondMon, 19 May 2014 16:27:05 +0000https://donorsigns.apollyonsfavor.com/?p=1090The ability to clean a donor wall is critical and often over looked. Often times, people focus solely on the design without planning for future upkeep. The design can be aesthetically pleasing yet difficult  and costly to maintain and update which puts a huge strain on the budget. When planning a donor wall make sure you […]

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The ability to clean a donor wall is critical and often over looked. Often times, people focus solely on the design without planning for future upkeep. The design can be aesthetically pleasing yet difficult  and costly to maintain and update which puts a huge strain on the budget. When planning a donor wall make sure you discuss maintenance issues such as, cleaning and updating.  This can reduce a lot of stress and costs in the future and ensure that your design is beautiful and efficient for years to come.

One of our clients inherited a donor wall that cost about $35,000 to clean. The structure is visible but unreachable and is coated with dust. This wall was also designed in a way that made it very costly to up date. Therefore the client hadn’t up dated it in years, and it has to be cleaned before it can be up dated. This wall, which cost $350,000 just a few years ago has been abandoned.

Before you agree to the final design of your new donor wall ask 2 simple questions:

  1. How accessible is it for cleaning?
  2. How easy is it to update for future donors?

Our designers, at Donor Signs, Inc., have years of experience specific to donor recognition who can help work with you through all the details that come along with a successful donor program. Contact one of our designers today info@donorsigns.com

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