Developing Your Donor Recognition Budget

Planning a donor recognition wall or display can be challenging, and a successful outcome depends on having all the necessary information in hand when making critical decisions about the project. One of the essential factors that must be determined early in the process is a suitable budget amount, yet this is often underweighted or randomly chosen within an organization.  

Meet with our donor engagement strategist to discuss key budget considerations.

There are many considerations when allocating a budget for a donor recognition project. For example, the Association of Donor Relations Professionals (ADRP) recommends allowing between 1-2% of your capital campaign budget for Donor Recognition. But what if there isn’t a campaign and you are looking at refreshing your existing donor recognition system? Here are a few key considerations: 

1. Location

Consider the location and prominence of the display. Studies indicate larger displays have a more significant impact and attract more prominent donors, creating a better return on investment than a small, understated display that can quickly become overlooked. In addition, strategically designed and placed donor recognition displays can increase both the size and frequency of donations from existing donors while helping to attract new donors.  

For more fresh ideas about locations, please read our blog: Areas you don’t currently have key messaging but should.

2. Investment

How much money is currently available to allocate to the project? Is this enough money to realistically finance the project? A donor recognition display should never be viewed as an expense but rather as an investment in an ongoing fundraising tool. The potential ROI that this tool can have should be considered and accounted for when developing your initial budget, even if this means a higher initial outlay than initially planned for.  

The Recognition Paradigm Shift® explains more fully how recognition can be used to help you reach your goals. 

3. Your ideal design.

The display design must also be considered in the budget development phase. It is crucial to have a realistic understanding of costs, especially if you have a pre-determined vision of your finished display. Is your idea functional? Can it grow with your donors? Will your donors feel it deserves recognition for their level of generosity? While it is essential to donors that most of their donations go towards your cause, more and more studies show that donors also really want to feel appreciated and be genuinely thanked. Furthermore, they want to be acknowledged proportionately. The Association of Healthcare Philanthropy indicates that 10 – 20% of donors give 80 – 90% of donations, so it is vital to recognize these major donors in your donor recognition display design.  

Your donor wall design must be functional and accessible, and cost-effective to update. Your donor recognition display must be more than an expensive work of art – it should be a purposeful tool that will help you increase donations and provide a real dollar return on investment. 

Quite simply, your donor wall must be functional. You’re putting a significant amount of time, money and effort into it; you need it to perform. And a big part of that is being easy and cost effective to update. It’s more than an expensive form of art – it’s a purposeful tool and a key part of your fundraising strategy. When designed well, your donor wall will help you increase your donations and provide a real dollar return on investment. 

For even more budget considerations, meet with one of our donor engagement strategists.

As with all aspects of donor recognition planning, it is beneficial to speak with an expert early on in your planning process, especially during budget deliberations, to ensure you are getting the most value for your dollars spent. BrookGlobal’s donor engagement strategists have the expertise to advise on budget, design, and location and provide tips on ways to raise additional funding to fund your donor recognition project.  


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