The vast majority of donors don’t give for the express purpose of public recognition. Nonetheless, a strong donor recognition strategy can be a great way for any non-profit organization to create and maintain lasting ties with their donors, and as such deserves careful planning and consideration.

A solid donor recognition strategy offers many advantages:

  • It’s a concrete way to express your gratitude to donors;
  • It can highlight your organization’s level of professionalism (rapid recognition of a donation points to an efficient, well-run organization);
  • It provides incentive for donors to up their level of giving;
  • It’s essential for corporate donors wishing to showcase their social commitment;
  • It creates regular opportunities to engage with donors and maintain a conversation;
  • And it allows you to grow your relationship with donors over the long term.

Thinking of a donor recognition strategy for your organization? Consider these questions:

  • What are your organization’s financial objectives?
  • Who are your donors and what levels of giving do you want to recognize?
  • Are there limitations – physical or moral – that impact your strategy (space, the nature of your cause, etc)?
  • What are the long term objectives of your organization?
  • If you have an existing donor recognition strategy, how will you transition to a new one while respecting the one already in place?

Many donors may at first feel uneasy with the idea of having their generosity publicly recognized. Take the time to explain how their donation represents not just financial support but also a form of philanthropic leadership which, when tastefully recognized, will serve as an example to others and benefit your organization many-fold. All this, of course, while respecting the taste and discretion of the donor.

What about those in your database who still wish to remain anonymous? In rare instances a donor may truly want their donation to be confidential, and naturally this should be respected.

5 Steps to Put Your Strategy Into Action

  1. Review your organization’s policy on naming physical spaces (buildings, rooms, parks, equipment, etc)
  2. Identify levels of giving (e.g. Donor, Patron, important gifts, major gifts, exceptional gifts)
  3. Determine form and cost of each level (e.g. tax receipt for gifts over amount A; thank you letter for gifts over amount B; mention on the wall of honour for gifts over amount C, etc)
  4. Share your recognition strategy with current and potential donors
  5. Follow up!

Think Outside the Box

New technologies offer exciting possibilities for donor recognition. More and more organizations are making use of social media and blogs as the perfect way to honour donors and draw attention to their valued support.

Does your communications plan include a donor recognition strategy? Let Phil’s experts help you every step of the way. Call us today! Regardless of your organization’s size or budget, together we can design a strategy that fits your unique needs.