We all see the digital writing on the wall, so to speak. Inclusion of digital screens in donor recognition has greatly increased over the past 10 years. Early adopters of a digital presence gained the benefit of enhanced visual exposition, but also often felt the sting of tech-plagued updates, and a dark screen when the display went down. Much of this had to do with the quality of the equipment 10 years ago, the technology running it and, sadly, the low-level expertise of early suppliers to the early adopters. But that was then, right?
Fast forward to today, equipment is better, technology more stable and supplier expertise deeper. So, how can donor stewardship professionals best prepare to include digital and all its benefits?
It’s as true in donor recognition as it is in real estate. Location matters. Early on in your process, you’ll want to give careful consideration to the location of your digital donor wall. Pick a space with plenty of foot traffic with room enough for visitors to stop and view the display.
We don’t know what the future holds, but it's a good bet that we’ll be rewarded for even a little attention paid now to how a display might need to change in the future. Standardize screen sizes used in your display, and evaluate digital programs that run it to be sure they stand on the shoulders of well-founded and widely accepted technology. As your donor family grows, both physical and digital aspects of a display may need to be expanded or duplicated, so having allowed for those eventualities with a modular system will make things easier when that happens.
Content provides connection with viewers and donors and is the main reason you’ve chosen to invest in a digital donor recognition display. Content like donor stories, patient success stories, care/technology improvement stories, and donor lists, along with all of the supporting assets that make it engaging, has to come from somewhere. That somewhere needs to be thought through from the outset, especially if you are repurposing existing content, as so often is the case, so that you know the information you’ll post to the digital donor display is current and sustainable.
With the advances in technology we’ve seen over the past 10 years and the advent of content management tools like Appellō, which are both intuitive and responsive, updating and maintaining a digital donor recognition wall has become a lot less scary. But even so, the beauty of your display will become dependent on how well it functions, and that requires support. Be sure to select a design partner known for quality but also one that has a credible, proven, tech-savvy support team committed to troubleshooting in the rare instance that something goes wrong.
How we’ve arrived at a certain place in our collective history is not often the best way to proceed into the future. Change fosters growth, and growth propels us forward. Thankfully, we have reached a time when Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) practices are appearing in more and more parts of society. DEI moves philanthropy itself forward, and the same concepts should be applied to the composition of any donor recognition display. Digital donor recognition displays provide a more dynamic opportunity to showcase the diversity of your donor base and allow you to reinforce the fact that generosity can come from all types of donors.
This is the fun part – collaborating in the creation of something beautiful and useful, artful and elegant in the way it supports your philanthropic mission.
You can find examples of that collaboration here in our gallery. Use of digital technology isn’t about bolting another TV to the wall but how it contributes to the overall viewer experience. When design is done intentionally to strengthen your relationship with your family of donors, it moves others to follow their generous examples. When you are keenly focused on the ceremony and story of donor recognition, it often leads to the creation of integrated displays in which physical, timeless recognition is aligned with digital story and dynamic messaging.
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