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Donor Recognition Systems: More Than Just Saying “Thanks”

Donor recognition walls are a growing trend for non-profit, non-governmental and governmental organizations alike. When funding or volunteer labour for a project comes from external donors, particularly in the launching of a project, it has become customary to designate prominent space in offices and facilities as a way to show gratitude. These walls tend to be a stylistic opportunity to recognize those important to the organization while being a beautiful addition to the environment.

Gratitude and style are not the only reasons for commissioning donor recognition systems for your space. Inspiration, commitment and awareness are also outcomes of effective systems. It is important to recognize that even though the intention behind them is recognition, like all signage, these systems communicate something about your organization. Because they occupy prominent and foremost positions in the visual landscape of your building, it is important to carefully consider what message you are sending. These systems must be attractive, engaging, technologically advanced and professional – qualities that your brand emulates in order to inspire confidence in your donors, from the past and in the future.

A combination of sources reveals that the best donor recognition systems should include the following elements to be successful.


Adequate gratitude – Making contributors feel appreciated is the primary reason for employing a visible recognition system.

Flexibility – If you are going to recognize contributors to your organization, you should be prepared and able to give thanks to all of them whether they are donors, volunteers, staff and so forth.

Accommodation – Excellent recognition systems offer the ability to add to them over time. Good designs will have this capability built-in to avoid the future disaster of not being able to add contributors.

Updating Capabilities – Some recognition systems have space allocated to updating donors on how their contributions have made a difference. If this is a one-time deal, this can be a permanent part of your regular display.

Challenges – Beyond recognition, inspiration is a key priority of these systems. Depending on how things are laid out, the end result should be encouraging to future donors, inspiring them to match or exceed the giving of their peers.

Naming opportunities – If there have been substantial contributions made by a regular, major donor, there should be the opportunity for naming those contributors in a prominent way.

High-Profile Publicity – Where you put your donor recognition system and how it fits into the environment around it changes its profile level. For contributors, it is likely very important that their name appear in high-traffic, high-visibility spaces.

Marketing and Outreach – If donor recognition systems do not double as recruiting tools for future contributors, they are not doing their job.

Technology – In some cases, the addition of technological components might be of interest to certain organizations. These components offer the following benefits: appealing to a wider demographic audience, the possibility of regular updates and added information, the appearance of modern tools to increase the prestige of your organization, and the ability to combine the display with Web-based recognition systems.

When your recognition system comes from Behrends, you have the opportunity to include the latest, cutting-edge technology into your display. Over the years, we have been involved in the design and fabrication of hundreds of recognition systems and as our clients’ organizations have grown, so too have the number of people they need to recognize. Versatile technology or “digital media content management” is our innovative solution to making static displays dynamic and adaptable to your changing needs. Large-scale LED screens can fit seamlessly into the look of your display giving you the capability to expand what you want to say through cloud-based, touch-screen technology. As Behrends is a licensed dealer of Wondersign technology, working with us allows you to maximize your display space by using the power of the “endless display”.

In coming to Behrends Group for your donor recognition system needs, you are employing the skills and talents of a diverse group of professionals who have made a name for themselves in this niche part of the industry. We have years of experience with hundreds of large-scale projects for some of the most prominent institutions in Canada including the University of Alberta, the Royal Alexandra Hospital, the TELUS World of Science, the University of Arizona, Rundle College, and many others. Our innovative designs and unparalleled fabrication techniques blend creativity, tradition, and modernity into brilliant final products that will exceed the expectations of you and your contributors. Finally, at Behrends Group, we are grateful to our clients from all walks of life, and showing their gratitude through beautiful recognition systems is one of our most rewarding business endeavours.

Donor Recognition Systems

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