There is more to donor recognition and fundraising than you might expect. Often we get so bogged down with our day-to-day tasks that we are not able to do our real and important work, which is thanking donors in a way that maximizes every dollar raised.

This section is about helping you accomplish some of that work with a simple but effective exercise entitled “Show Me the Reasons.” It is an activity to help you discover:

-Why people give to your organization
-What past traditions have helped/hindered your efforts
-How people perceive your image

This is information that can help you not only to build and improve your organization’s blueprint, but also to determine and refine your organization’s: aspirations, targets, motivations, objectives goals, recognition, actions, and fund-raising methods. Knowing these will ultimately make your organization more successful in recognizing your donor base and creating donor recognition walls that honor your patrons.


One of the goals of this exercise is to uncover impressions and perceptions that you can subsequently use to your advantage. Sometimes, however, you may discover hidden liabilities that you then have the opportunity to correct. This exercise can also help to broaden and increase the success of your efforts in your recognition and fundraising plans. Not all the words in this activity will be relevant to your project, but if you invest time and think beyond “what meets the eye,” most of the words should impact in some way your recognition and fundraising visions. At the very least, this simple yet effective exercise can elicit impressions and perceptions that will serve as guideposts as you formulate your blueprint for your donor acknowledgement projects, fundraising endeavors and community relationship development. Get ready! The directions follow below:

Important: Don’t look at the entire list of words. This exercise is designed to be done one word at a time. The effect of developing impressions and perceptions will be lessened if you see too many words too soon.

Copy the list of words and then set up a meeting with your staff at which you distribute and complete the activity together. Associates from other departments, members of your Board, and current recognition donors should be included as much as possible: the broader the input, the broader the results. If it is impossible to bring enough people together, then distribute the exercise so that each person can complete it on his/her own and return it to you prior to your meeting. The key is for each person to work on his/her own list individually.

Think of each word as it impacts you in the donor acknowledgement and recognition fundraising environment, and write the first word that comes to mind in the space provided. This is the impression or perception regarding that particular word, and is thus very important. Remember, one of the goals of this exercise is to uncover impressions that you can then use to your advantage or discover hidden liabilities that you then have the opportunity to correct.

Once each attendee has completed the entire list, the next step is to consolidate the results. Elect a secretary to create a new, community list that documents each person’s impression next to the assigned word (eliminate duplicate words). Remember to include the impressions of absent contributors.

Return to the beginning to share and discuss each person’s word, working your way one-by-one down the list. Remember to stay focused and think strictly from a recognition fundraising and donor acknowledgement standpoint. As you discuss each word, give serious thought as to how each written impression might impact your plans, current procedures and goals. You now have actual, diverse impressions upon which you can act and plan.

You now have a collection of impressions and perceptions, which bring about new ideas, points-of-view, and knowledge to contemplate. Has this exercise given you new ideas and methods to reach your desired outcome? Do you feel better prepared when creating donor recognition walls? Has this changed your journey in creating a donor recognition wall? Let us know in our feedback section today!

Copyright © 2007-2019 by RecognitionArt