Recently, I installed my very first digital donor recognition piece here at YU. It was a fascinating process and a whirlwind of donor relations fun... Here are a few photos and things I learned along the way!
It all began with the fundraiser and the director of alumni relations coming to me and saying they needed a plaque... Well since I have a firm aversion to plaques... See previous post here... I called a meeting to investigate.
As we sat across a conference room table, I asked a couple of key questions: 1. Who's paying? Turns out a donor set aside $25k of their gift for this purpose. 2. Where us it going to go? The gym. 3. Has anyone told athletics? blank stares 4. How is a listing on a plaque going to tell a story? Blank states again 5. What if a captain we didn't know about surfaces? ... Well you get my drift...
So, brilliant (and I mean that in a sarcastic manner) mind that I am, I said, What about a digital recognition display??? ... Blank stares... Then... What would that do?? Aha!! Lightbulb moment! It can play videos, tell stories, have text, audio, listing of captains, message from the President, photos, history of the program, and even donor recognition for those who contribute to the scholarship fund in honor of the coach!! As I see the eyes light up across the room and the wheels begin to spin, I realize I might have gotten in over my head... How much will this cost?? I had no clue.
So a plan was set forth, fundraiser would obtain donors, I would get three quotes from vendors, and alumni would start gathering ideas. One minor thing; we had never done anything remotely digital, and boy do we love our Brass plaques... It would be a dynamic change and perhaps would take some convincing. After receiving three bids from vendors I met through ADRP, we had another meeting, this time with athletics at the table. The range of bids was astounding and we began to narrow the field based on functionality, deadline, customer service, and price.
In addition to our digital piece we worked with our communications department to design a colorful Background with images that corresponded. Then we sought approval from the funding donor who loved the idea! After an approval if our VP, the process began in earnest. It is important to note here that each person on the team had an assigned role, from content, to event for the revealing, etc. I served as overall project manager and found it to be a thought provoking and challenging exercise coordinating everyone from facilities, IT, vendors, communications, athletics, and others as needed. The great thing about digital recognition is that it can be changed at any time, if there is a mistake, an omission, more robust content and greater lists of donors, it can all be changed easily!! Once the background arrived it was mounted and the next day the piece was mounted and tested... After many nervous moments it came to life! I am really happy with the results, and the donors are as well. I hope you like the photos and if you have any questions, want to stop by and see it or just chat about your experience, let me know… And look forward to me presenting on this topic soon at a conference near you!