“Simplification, integration and sustainability drive my thinking about thanking.”


Here are proven Best Practices for Donor RecognitionTM. I have identified these measures for success through my own experience as counsel to fundraisers, coupled with architectural design interface and understanding.

Although we number the list of Best Practices for Donor RecognitionTM below, most organizations approach them in an order that reflects attention to immediate needs first. The items highlighted are most used in planning a capital campaign.

1. Catalogued Audit of Existing Donor Recognition Develop a searchable database of all existing donor recognition to provide:

  • A historical record of benefit to those interfacing with past and current donors
  • A starting place for deciding what has worked well and should be incorporated in future donor recognition planning

2. Inventoried Recognition Opportunities Master Plan Create a Master Plan, based on two documents:

  • Naming Opportunity Inventory – a dynamic listing of all available and reserved naming opportunities including gift amount, reservation status, location and planned recognition content
  • Donor Recognition Location Plans – architectural plans with numbered locations for all donor recognition components that are used for coordination and record-keeping

3. Recognizable Graphic Identity for Philanthropy Establish a family of design components to present the “face of philanthropy” within your organization in a consistent way, following traditional branding practices.

4. Consistent Messaging & Content Hierarchy Direct donor recognition messages by codifying stylistic decisions regarding content, grammar, typography, etiquette and punctuation, all with and eye toward donor retention

5. Documented Standards & Guidelines Record product design and program decisions as precedent-setting standards for future recognition and define parameters such as size, content, materials and placement of donor recognition components per gift level and type

6. Budgeted Product Solutions Maintain appropriate budgeting for donor recognition product solutions to expedite design and implementation processes and for better management expectations regarding product costs

7. Programmed Re-order & Maintenance Procedures Require concise, convenient documentation from all product suppliers to ease and expedite the re-order process