Everything you need to know about Branded Donor Recognition Displays

Colourful acrylic panels that form a donor recognition wall designed and built in Calgary, Alberta. This is for a youth non-profit oranization; panels include black and white photographs that represent the program, as well as text panels that recognize donors. The exhibit includes 3D dimensional lettering and custom gallery lighting.
Modular acrylic donor recognition wall in Calgary, Alberta

Donor wall recognition displays offer a tangible way to express thanks to organizations, businesses, or individuals that have helped contribute to the prosperity of a cause or project. By displaying donors’ names, organizations show appreciation and create personal connections, while inspiring others to consider making a donation. What image comes to mind when you think of a donor recognition displays? A plain wall of names etched into a plaque? Or fun and colourful walls and unique monuments? Today, there are countless creative and effective ways to design donor recognition displays that embody your organization’s unique branding to make an outstanding impression.

What Are The Different Kinds of Donor Recognition Displays?

If you associate donor recognition displays with plaques, park benches or wall displays, you’d be correct! Donor recognition displays are often featured in prominent locations within your building or location, with one of the most popular types being wall displays. Wall displays can be flat or featured on a variety of dimensional materials that are geometric, or create dynamic shapes or imagery. One example that you’ve probably seen or heard of is a tree, where each leaf has the name of a donor showcased to make up a donor recognition wall display.

Outdoor donor recognition monument for the Calgary Humane Society in Calgary, Alberta. An angled rectangular panel is at the front of the monument outlining the organization. Within a rock bed, the rest of the monument is made from rectangular cedar posts layered with etched stainless steel panels that recognize donor names.
Outdoor Donor recognition monument for the Calgary Humane Society

Donor recognition also spans beyond wall displays with endless creative options! They can be outdoor monuments that are dynamic sculptures or artworks in themselves, while recognizing their donors in an expressive and creative way. They can also be interactive or composed of digital screens that offer different motion design effects, along with other learning opportunities. Donor recognition displays should incorporate your unique branding and visuals to create a unique display that impresses and inspires, no matter how big or small.

Questions To Ask Before You Start Designing

  • What is the goal of your donor recognition display?
  • What message is important for you to convey to your audience?
  • What location will it be placed in: indoors or outdoors, lighting, visual obstacles, foot traffic, etc?
  • How often will you need to change or update your donor recognition display?
  • What brand elements do you want to incorporate? 
  • What budget do you have?

What Is The Goal Of Your Donor Recognition Display?

Before you start coming up with you dream design, it’s important to understand the reason behind your donor recognition display. Why is it important to your organization and patrons? What kind of emotions and actions should it evoke? How will it benefit your business or organization? Getting clear on your goals and the “why” behind building a donor recognition display is important factor that will help guide your design direction.

Outdoor donor recognition monument

What message is important for you to convey to your audience?

What is the message you want to convey to your audience: Is it outlining the history and the goals you’ve accomplished with your donors? A statement on your mission? Showing the different levels of donations? How your organization has benefited others? A creative monument that is viewed as public art? Consider your audience and who you want to reach; your message helps define the direction of your display. Your message is not just written text, but the imagery that you include in your display. This counts towards the photography and graphics used, colours, and other unique brand elements.

dynamic donor recognition wall for Inn from the Cold in Calgary. Vinyl wall graphics and text are implemented showing the history of the organization, as well as colourful dimensional panels recognizing donors and their monetary contributions.
Dynamic donor recognition & history timeline wall

location: lighting, obstacles, foot traffic, and more

Before you start thinking about the design, consider where the display will be placed. Is it in a public space, or only accessible to current clients and employees? Are there any visual obstacles for viewers approaching the display from different angles? Scope out the area and choose a prime location that will draw attention. Select a heavily trafficked spot, such as the front entrance, near the reception, or by the bathroom, to ensure the display is seen. If the area is dimly lit or will still need to be visible in the dark outside, factor lighting into your budget to illuminate the display.

modular donor recognition wall built from dimensional panels in Calgary Alberta. The "all in for community" sign is set in front of colourful blue, green, yellow and grey triangular panels with imagery and donor names.
Large modular donor recognition wall at Vivo for Healthier Generations

Finding a good spot is your first step, but also consider if the space is big enough and able to support your display. Think about the execution: can the area be accessed during installation without significant disruption? Will the design elements be compatible with the surroundings? Taking these factors into account will help you create a donor wall display that is both impactful and seamlessly integrated into its environment.

How often will you need to update your donor recognition display?

If your list of donors is continually growing, make sure you have a plan and budget for how often you will update your display, along with incorporating modular display features. Is your recognition structured by different levels of donations? Will those areas or features need to be taken down and updated with new names? Or will you be adding a new feature to the existing display to reflect any updates? How and when you update donor names affects your design, budget, and materials that are best suited for your needs.

Digital interactive displays are growing in popularity and allow you to quickly and easily make updates without adding or removing any physical features. Donor recognition displays can be a full digital wall, or incorporate monitors or touch screens that showcase donor names and other information. Consistency is key if you’re adding plaques as you update names; ensure you’ll be able to replicate existing display elements that will have a cohesive look. If you’ll be removing plaques off the wall for updated laser etching or engraving, your display will need to offer modular materials and hardware.

frosted acrylic donor recognition wall panels with standoff hexagon panels and a vinyl mural in the background showing a wheat field for Olds College
frosted acrylic donor recognition wall panels

Regular updates are essential if you gain new donors annually, ensuring current recognition reflects ongoing support. Prompt updates are especially meaningful after receiving significant contributions, demonstrating gratitude to donors right away. These practices ensure your donor recognition remains active and shows your evolving support base.

What brand elements do you want to incorporate?

Including your logo in the donor recognition display is an obvious brand element that establishes your organization’s presence. Incorporating your brand colors, symbols, and fonts, and imagery will further enhance your unique display and reinforces your brand identity. Cohesive branding not only adds a professional touch but also strengthens the connection between the donors and your organization, making the display more impactful and memorable. Think about how you can creatively embody your brand into the display beyond your logo. Our talented designers are here to help if you need a hand with the creative part!

Large and colourful 3D letters built into a library wall that spells "Imagine". The front of the letters have colourful geometric vinyl, and the sides of the letters have the names of donors printed on the sides. This is a unique donor recognition monument for the central Edmonton Public Library in Alberta, Canada.
3D letter donor recognition at the Stanley A. Milner library in Edmonton

What budget do you have?

Budget is an important consideration for your design. As we mentioned, it’s also important to have a budget that lets you update your display at least once a year as you gather more donors. If you’re not sure how much you should budget for a donor recognition display, we’ll discuss the different factors your should consider in your budget. We’ll also explore the different budget ranges to built a donor recognition display in the next section.

outdoor donor recognition monument designed and built in Calgary, Alberta. Each angular pillar features an informational plaque on the top, which rests on wooden posts surrounded my engraved metal casings.
small custom outdoor monument

Budgeting: Key Considerations

dynamic donor recognition wall in alberta with stainless steel panels, wooden slats, and custom lighting.
custom donor recognition wall
Flat or 3D Design
Display Size & Location
Design Time
Installation Time
Future Updates 

Flat or 3D Design

When you envision your display, is it a flat wall graphic, made up of dimensional panels, or a combination of both? Having a flat or dimensional design affects the materials available within your budget.


Do you want a colourful variety of plaques and dimensional elements, or are you envisioning a variety of different materials, shapes, and textures? Are your donor names applied using flat vinyl, or do you want them etched or engraved into a surface? Having more dimensional elements with a variety of materials will increase the cost of your donor recognition wall or monument.

Display Size & location

The larger your donor display, the more square footage and materials you’ll need to factor into your budget. Is your display in an accessible area, or will it take additional equipment such as a scissor lift for installation? Will the size require more than one person for installation?


Lighting adds to the cost of your display; also consider accessibility for electrical components. Are we able to add lighting with the existing electrical infrastructure, or will you need permission to access/install the necessary wiring? Is battery-powered LED lighting a better option? All important considerations if you need additional lighting included within your budget.

Design Time

The larger and more complicated your design, the more design time you’ll need to factor into your budget. Do you have existing visual elements such as font files, imagery, and a design idea? Or are you starting from scratch? Will you need multiple variations and renderings to pass through a committee?

Installation Time

How big is your display: will we need multiple team members to seamlessly install any large and heavy elements? Will we require specialized equipment? How much travel time and what kind of transportation is involved to get to your location? These questions all factor into installation costs as part of your budget.

Future Updates

How often will you need to update your donor recognition display? Will it need to be removed from the wall and taken to our location to add laser-engraved names? Will you be replacing the whole panel? Or adding on a new section? How and when you update your display plays into future budget considerations for your organization.

Donor Recognition Budget Ranges

Small Custom

$10,000 – $20,000

Features a small square footage display footprint with some custom elements that can be indoor or outdoors. Wall or monument.

Large Wall Display

$20,000 – $35,000

Uses vinyl wall graphics along with some dimensional elements such as 3D lettering, logos, and plaques that offer a straightforward installation process.

Mid-Range Large Wall Display

$35,000 – $50,000

Offers multiple layers and dimensional features, and a variety of materials offering partial multimedia and lighting integration.

High-End Custom Display

$50,000 – $100,000+

Large scale donor display or monument with custom digital integration, lighting, material construction shapes, and anything else you can imagine.

Donor recognition displays are a sincere way to thank those who elevate your organization. At the same time, they inspire future donors to get involved with your mission. A thoughtful, prominent donor wall or display lets supporters feel deeply connected to your organization. It can serve as a beautiful and unique branded focal point that defines the character of your space.

Modular Vulcan County donor recognition wall in Alberta. 9 rectangular panels showcase donor names in front of a prairie scene graphic. Dramatic blue clouds are shown above the names, white a wheat field is shown below as part of one large image.
Modular donor recognition wall for Vulcan County, Alberta

The information in this article can help you think about your goals, guide your design direction based on your needs, and give you a deeper understanding of costs and what makes up your budget. Once you’ve taken the time to reflect on the direction of your donor recognition display, get in touch and we’d be happy to discuss your project to meet your budget.

Albertan post-secondary donor recognition wall for the Olds College of Agriculture and technology. A geometric background is shown with blue paint and an Albertan prairie vinyl wall graphic that illustrates a field. The college name and logo is a dimensional acrylic display. Multiple frosted acrylic rectangular panels showcase the names of donors.

Dynamic Donor Recognition Displays

Inspiring branded donor recognition walls and monuments that will inspire for years to come. Get in touch to receive an estimate for your donor recognition display!

Scroll to Top