What material is used in a donor wall?


Glass can be the dominant material used, or it can be used as just an accent piece. Depending on the installation, the glass can be illuminated, allowing the etching to glow. This impact is pretty cool. The LEDs are installed along the edges of the glass, with light going inside the thickness of glass, which creates an effect where the etched information actually glows while the rest of the glass is neutral.

Glass Donor Wall

Glass Donor Wall

Acrylic can also be etched, but doesn’t have this type of flexibility. Both materials can be used to create a display with an acetate film or poster printed with graphics and names, that is placed between two sheets of acrylic or glass and held off the wall with aluminum standoffs or sign posts. This makes the display appear to float off the wall.

Changeable Channels

A bit of an old school approach, this works well with displays that have a series of names, but where few are added each year. For example, we installed the Malcolm Baldrige Award for Quality using a channel display. Each year one new winner is announced and a new plate is engraved. They have been administering the Baldrige Award for Quality since the 1980s, awarded by the U.S Commerce Department. This award is administered by the American Society for Quality  in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Example of Channel Display

Example of Channel Display

Plates slide up to remove and engrave, and can then be slid back into place. The wood design matches the front entryway and all the custom furniture in the reception area.

Interactive Media

Touch screen digital displays have a lot of appeal because they can be updated as often as necessary,  they can tell the donor stories in the actual words of the donors, and are more impactful as potential donors explore the display and picture their contribution being reflected.

Digital Donor Display

Digital Donor Display

If you have lists of hundreds or thousands of names, it simply isn’t practical to engrave brass plates every year. If the display is never updated, then it becomes stale and loses interest for the viewer. A good interactive display also incorporates a design around the display that attracts the viewer. If it is just a monitor, it seems to not be as strong. Its also great for conveying lots of information in addition to just donor lists. This might be video of the presidents message, a local rss news feed from the website, weather, a calendar of events, how to give, alumni opportunities and more.


Think counter-top, that same stuff can also be used to create really cool displays. The material is easy to cut, easy to engrave, color-fills nicely and all around, is a great and long lasting material for a display.

Corian Display

Corian Display

The material can be beveled, is able to be cut to any size and really makes the names pop out.

Traditional Brass Plates on Wood Background

Traditonal Wood & Brass Donor Wall

This example of a traditional donor wall uses several sizes of brass plates depending on the amount of the donation, and large hardwood walls highlight each group.

The traditional brass plates on wood convey a warm and friendly feeling. Large or small, it is a classic look for a donor wall. The plates can be added each year as wall space or channels allow. This display uses both.

Donor Gifts

Donor gifts can run all across the board, with a lot depending on the cost that you want. A simple plaque will often accomplish what is needed, but sometimes you need to reach a little farther.

Multi Stage sand carving

Multi Stage sand carving

This etched display stands out, is illuminated, and makes a cool statement to the recipient. The LEDs are in the base, and shine upward, catching the etching and making it glow.

About Donor Recognition

Successful donor campaigns have long term:

Goals of multiple giving opportunities
Opportunities for major benefactors to step forward and tell their story
Recognition and Thanks of the contributions from those that have provided support
Examples for future benefactors, for them to see how they might be treated and recognized.
Checks are written every day in support of a multitude of causes, and all people want is a word of thanks. How do you recognize your donors?

Take a look, see what grabs your attention, and let’s talk. We will help you create your unique one of a kind donor recognition program, that will serve as a thank you to those that have given, and a welcome greeting to those that might. Most important, we help you tell your story to the world.

What RCB Donor Recognition can do for you:

Provide ideas to stir the creative juices.
Get you thinking about what might be.
Design a traditional recognition wall; one that is wood framed with brass name plates.
Design very contemporary donor walls; with metal, glass and acrylic components.
Design state of the art, cutting edge technology donor recognition; with donor walls that are integrated with a touch screen video display so each major donor, in their own words, can tell their story of why giving to the organization was important to them.
What style suits your needs for recognition?

Your campaign’s success will depend on planning and a sound recognition policy. Independent experts can help you with this.

Contact Maureen Schuerman, CFRE or call 414-510-1044. She is a Milwaukee area consultant working with fund raising professionals.

See also Robin E. Williams Inc. at 404-872-7646, or their website at: Robin E. Williams Inc. They help design total donor recognition solutions.

They are in the business of helping you.

We believe that the more information you have, the better a job you can do of planning and achieving the result you seek; a donor recognition program that continuously draws more donors. Take a look at the tabs for TRENDS;and DONOR RECOGNITION POLICY;to see if your thinking is in line with ours.

This site is dedicated to the non-profit organizations, academic institutions and healthcare facilities, to offer ideas that can be used in donor recognition.

Bronze Children & Brass Stars

Donor Wall: Bronze Children gazing at Brass Stars