Future of donor recognition is about changing the way you thank donors Future of donor recognition is about changing the way you thank donors


The world of fundraising, philanthropy, and donor recognition has changed. Understanding what motivates donors to give has helped us uncover the key to successful campaigns. How donors are thanked, and communicated with, are very motivating factors for giving.

Until recently, donor recognition has been viewed as a way to say ‘thank you’ to your generous contributors. And, no, that aspect hasn’t changed. But it’s become so much more. Whether it’s a simple, classic display or an elaborate, monumental work of art – these expressions of gratitude should play a much bigger role in your fundraising process. Today, how you choose to recognize your donors should be a key part of your fundraising strategy.

Thanks to the input from donors, professionals and industry research, Brook Recognition has redefined “donor recognition” and the culmination of this is The Recognition Paradigm Shift®.

We believe the traditional view of donor recognition is still very important. But, this fresh perspective opens up great opportunities to utilize it more effectively than in the past. Rather than simply listing donor names that are refreshed once or twice a year, donor recognition can become a powerful engagement tool. It can be used to tell the bigger story that donors want to be a part of. And, it can be an ongoing part of your fundraising strategy for years into the future. It should be visible at each of your donor contact points – expressing your appreciation and showcasing the impact of your donors’ contributions.

Donor Recognition Strategy

The Recognition Paradigm Shift creates a process that encompasses all aspects of a donor recognition strategy. This process looks at each step of your recognition strategy from multiple viewpoints, resulting in successful outcomes for donors, fundraising professionals, organization executives and Boards of Directors.

The first step toward shifting your donor recognition from simply an artistic installation to a well utilized, ongoing fundraising tool is understanding what motivates your donors. This will then make it possible to create a recognition strategy that aligns with your fundraising goals. There are a number of things you will want to take into consideration as you develop your strategy. Some of those are:

  • Communicate the impact – 98% of donors want information about the impact of their gifts
  • Make a meaningful connection
  • Tell your story
  • The donor experience
  • Message channels
  • Appropriate recognition vs. value
  • Longevity & functionality
  • Selective setting

We know that embracing The Recognition Paradigm Shift®, and the changing face of donor recognition, will result in success – in both your organization and your career. It will open up new opportunities and enable you to maximize the return on your donor recognition investment.

If you would like to learn more about creating a recognition strategy that works for you, let’s talk. Like everyone here at Brook Recognition, I have a lot of heart for what we’re doing – and I’d be more than happy to help you get the best results possible. Feel free to call me directly, or simply send me an email, and we can arrange a meeting.

Read more about how we are helping other clients create successful strategies here.

I look forward to hearing from you, and hopefully helping you, in the very near future.

Shawn Plater
Vice President, Recognition Strategist