You have to know, right, in order to move forward? You have to know, in order to plan a budget? So, how much is the donor wall going to cost? Do you build it now, in the hope that you will raise enough funds to cover the fund raising goal as well as pay for the expenses of a donor wall? Do you wait on determining how much you want to spend on the donor wall until you see how much has been brought in from fund raising?
These are all tough choices and I really don’t think there is a firm answer. Every situation is going to be different.
My suggestion is this: Look at your goal in fund raising and the length of time you will spend on reaching that target. Determine what you are comfortable in spending, 1% of the total, up to 4% of the total. Build your donor wall right away. This way, when prospective donors come to your facility, you can tell your story about how they can help you, and you can finish with showing them how they will be recognized. The real thing always makes a better impression than a piece of paper or an “imagine if you will” scenario.
Use your donor wall as part of your marketing effort. Let it be part of your story that you tell.