Is this really a capital campaign donor wall?
Updated: Feb 28, 2022
I lot of my conversations start out with "We have just completed a capital campaign and we need a donor wall". We will go through the normal questions of collection data: numbers of donors, level system, wall size, different ways of recognizing donors, ext... Then I ask the question "Are you going to be adding names to the display in the future?". This one question tends to move the conversation in many different directions.
" Are you going to be adding names to the display in the future?"
Not going to be adding names in the future
"Can I donate and still get my name on the wall?" If you answer is no after the donor wall is installed we are safe to say this is a capital campaign donor wall. You are recognizing the people who gave to the campaign and no other gifts. If someone was to give to the organization, that gift would need to recognized some other way.
Leaving the campaign open after the installation
"Well, if someone wants to give to the campaign l would like to add their name" I will have clients that will want to close the campaign after a certain time period after the installation. This leaves room to add a certain number of donors just in case someone still wants to give to the campaign. Being able to add names to the display does effect the design of the display. There is a big difference in adding a couple names compared to add twenty names.
Leaving the campaign open indefinitely
"What if someone gives at two sperate times. Can they move up in the level system?" A lot of the time this display will be the only donor wall for the organization. Yes, we are recognizing the people who gave to the campaign but we want to leave the door opening for anyone to get their name on the display. This is were a display turns from a capital donor wall into a cumulative donor wall. Now we have to design for future growth. What will the display look like in donor numbers five, ten, or fifteen years down the road? If I were to give in the future could I move up the level system within the display?
A capital campaign sometimes is a great starting point for a cumulative donor wall. An organization might not want multiple displays to maintain. Asking the question "Can I donate and still get my name on the wall?" is a very important question. All the above options are great choices. Preparing for the future is just as important as preparing for the present.