50+ Examples of Donor Recognition and Success Stories

Inspiration for Your Next Project

Examples of donor walls, digital donor walls, history walls, exterior recognition, and plaque systems by PDG.

Results Matter

At PDG, we know that reinforcing your organization's connection with its donors is important to you. It's part of your mission, and because it is important to you, it is important to us. We measure the success of our donor recognition projects with many key metrics. Among them is the primary concern of helping your organization create deep, meaningful, long-term relationships which propel your fundraising efforts into the future.

Donor recognition comes in many different forms. From the basics–donor correspondence and social media shout-outs that your team handles in-house, to the more complex–hybrid donor walls and recognition plaque systems that require the expertise of a professional design studio like PDG. Each donor recognition display that PDG designs, manufactures, and installs uniquely represents your organization’s mission and celebration of your donor family. However, no matter which form(s) of recognition you choose to promote your culture of philanthropy and celebrate the generosity of your donor family, the metrics for success are similar.

It is the answers to these types of questions that we ask our team and client partners that help us measure the success of our projects:

  • Does the donor wall fulfill its purpose?
  • Does the digital display genuinely express the gratitude that donors deserve?
  • Do the donor stories command attention and draw an emotional response from the viewer?
  • Does the hybrid donor wall inspire others to give?
  • Do the history wall and timeline display communicate the organization’s culture of philanthropy?

We’d like to share some of our favorite projects and success stories. In this post and on our Gallery pages and our Work pages, you'll find 50+ examples representing different categories of our work.

Architectural Donor Wall

Stamford Health

With a 29-foot Cornerstone Display in the grand lobby, this architectural donor wall based on the Planetree Philosophy (a philosophy of kindness, caring, and respect that seeks to help realize and sustain human rights everywhere) puts Stamford’s culture of philanthropy front and center. The Cornerstone Display recognizes a group of major donors essential in realizing this one-of-a-kind facility. The names of the major donors are displayed in dimensional lettering made of brushed aluminum and pin-mounted on two sides of the stone column.

As you venture further into the lobby space, additional pieces of recognition continue to emphasize Stamford’s culture of philanthropy. A simple but elegant donor wall lists the names of the generous donors who made gifts to the campaign for Stamford Health’s Bennett Cancer Center. Named space plaques found throughout the hospital and exterior grounds carry the same Planetree Philosophy theme that inspired the hospital's design. When viewing Stamford’s donor recognition, one can not help but be reminded of their commitment to person-centered care.

Providence Cancer Center

For nearly 20 years, PDG has partnered with Providence Health to help foster long-term relationships with its donors and promote its culture of philanthropy. The project for Providence Cancer Center in Portland, OR, is yet another example of this.

One of the challenges of this project was to create recognition to complement the cancer center's contemporary, light, and airy atmosphere. The result was a unique approach developed by PDG’s design team to make the connection between medicine and nature by creating colorized and screen-printed flower x-ray images on glass. These images became part of a modular grid system that allowed for various plaque configurations and easily updatable and cost-effective donor walls.

Visit our Gallery for more examples of Architectural Donor Walls

Digital Donor Wall

Sutter Pacific Heights Outpatient Center

PDG continued its long-term donor recognition partnership with Sutter Health and the California Pacific Medical Center Foundation by designing this embedded digital donor display and art glass installation for the refurbished lobby at the Pacific Heights Outpatient Center in San Francisco.

The result is an engaging, immersive display, large enough to be viewed from a distance and located in a corridor wide enough for viewers to comfortably stop and enjoy the programmed content that reinforces the importance of philanthropy.

Content on the 16-screen digital donor display focuses on the importance of a sense of place and a connection to the community. It celebrates the people, staff, and donors that support this diverse and busy neighborhood outpatient center. Digital art includes neighborhood vistas along with stunning nature art videos and stills.

Elon University

PDG partnered with Elon University to design, build, and install a digital donor wall to honor and celebrate the donors of their Elon Leads campaign, the most ambitious fundraising campaign in Elon's history.

An exciting challenge we needed to overcome when designing the 5-screen digital donor wall was integrating an interactive component into the display without actually having to touch the main screens. The solution was to create an interface in the form of a tablet separated from the main screens that worked as a control panel. The panel creates a space for more in-depth content on specific topics that staff could bring up as they walk groups of donors or potential students through the area for tours. The digital donor wall is a tool for engaging and thanking their donors but also to help likely students better understand Elon’s culture.

PDG’s revolutionary content management system, Appellō, allows Elon to curate on-demand content highlighting the various ways philanthropy is central to the university's success.

For more information on Digital Donor Walls, we recommend reading; Adapting Donor Recognition for the Digital Age and Planning for Your Digital Donor Recognition Wall.

Hybrid Donor Wall

Gathering Place

Gathering Place is a grand community park located in Tulsa, OK. The donor recognition system we created for this project included a hybrid donor wall with an interactive digital display and an exterior architectural donor wall. Gathering Place is an excellent example of how combining multiple forms of recognition came together to form a cohesive messaging system.

The interior hybrid donor wall is massive but elegant. The display, built out of blackened steel panels with donor names fashioned out of dimensional bronze lettering, reaches up a 14-foot wall. At the far left of the display, a prominent art glass column frames a digital monitor that displays donor stories and historical information about the project's development.

The exterior donor wall is built to stand the test of time, with each donor name individually fashioned onto an engraved, interlocking, stainless steel tile. Both displays are a fitting tribute to the more than 100 donors to the project.

Washington Hospital

Our project with Washington Hospital in Fremont, CA, is truly inspirational. The project uses a multi-media approach to engage visitors with images of a caring medical presence, regional community, and its place in the world. The corridor-length display combines an architectural donor wall, history wall displays, and multiple interactive touchscreen displays.

Broken up graphically by color, the display highlights centers of care that represent the hospital's core values. Multiple interactive touchscreen displays allow viewers to dive deeper into impactful donor stories and much more.

PDG’s content management system, Appellō, makes it easy for the hospital to manage its digital content, which promotes its donors, employees, and caregivers as essential to Washington Hospital achieving its mission.

History Wall and Timeline Display

Sharp Chula Vista

History walls and timeline displays are a great way to honor the deeply rooted connection between your organization and its community. The wall becomes the vehicle for a journey back in time via pictures, videos, and artifacts.

The donor recognition and history wall in the lobby level of the new Sharp Health Chula Vista Medical Center Patient Tower in San Diego, CA, places the themes of philanthropy and community involvement front and center. Using museum-quality illuminated artifact cases combined with graphic and glass communication panels, the history wall includes artifacts that mark significant events and milestones from the organization’s 50+ year history. This display spans 120 feet at the Medical Center’s entry and has been organized to give visitors the experience of visiting a small museum.

For more information on History walls and timeline displays, we recommend reading; History Walls and Timeline Displays.

Visit our Gallery for more examples of History Walls and Timeline Displays

Plaque Systems

Princeton Medical Center

Plaque systems for named spaces connect donors to the results of their giving. They are important for recognition and as a model to other potential donors. Plaque systems are a great way to display a hierarchical format to represent different giving levels and create a consistent theme to match donor walls in other locations throughout your building.

Naming opportunities are found around every corner of your campus, building, and exterior spaces, and plaque systems make a visual statement of support for your mission while reinforcing long-term relationships with your donors.

For Princeton Medical Center, PDG created a one-of-a-kind plaque system of donor recognition that complements the beautifully designed building architecture. The multi-leveled plaque system and displays are made of natural materials of black anodized aluminum paired with beautiful hand-cast fused art glass with etched imagery. Plaques and displays include bios, photos, and wayfinding. Elements of the interior plaque system transition to exterior recognition in the gardens and other outdoor spaces of the hospital.

For more information about the importance of donor recognition naming opportunities, we recommend reading; Donor Recognition Naming Opportunities.

Visit our Gallery for more examples of Plaque Systems

We hope this post inspires your future project and gives insight into how highly we value donor recognition, client satisfaction, promoting your organization's culture of philanthropy, and connecting donors to the impact of their giving.

Let's work together. No matter what stage your donor recognition project is in, PDG is here to help. Contact us today.

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