Saying thank you is so important – but every dollar counts when you’re a mission-driven organization. At DonorSigns, we understand which is why we’re here to help. As a donor recognition firm, we’ve developed an approach that puts high-quality donor walls and plaques within reach for any budget. As a creative environmental design consultancy, we offer a full-service approach for high-end, custom designs. But we also believe in putting elegant recognition within reach for smaller nonprofits, which is why we’ve developed affordable donor wall systems.
Above all, we love being a creative partner. Since 2004, we’ve helped small, medium, and large nonprofits across the country recognize their donors and bring their mission to more. Our experienced staff create, design, construct, and install recognition structures and systems that are artistic, timeless, and celebrate philanthropic generosity. We’ve streamlined the process to make it as effortless and enjoyable as possible for your team. Whether your project is small or large, we’d love to help.
Meet The Team
You’ll be in good hands with our experienced creative team.
“Don’t give them what they want—give them what they never thought possible.”
Account Executive & Advisor
“This role is the perfect outlet for my years of nonprofit development experience, which helps me build rapport quickly with clients and fully appreciate their donor recognition goals.”
Marketing & Design
“I love growing a donor recognition company with the service and expertise to thrill our clients and help them further their missions.”
“I enjoy making the process of creating a donor wall as seamless and efficient as possible for the client.”
Manager of Technical Design
“Creating unique, functional and decorative donor recognition for our clients has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.”
“I love having the freedom to use my creativity on designs that exceed clients’ expectations—and delight their supporters.”
“Creating donor recognition gives me the opportunity to be creative while enriching other’s lives and organizations.”
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Get Started?
What is the difference between design sevices and donor wall systems?
Design services are ideal for larger projects. We deliver a custom unique donor wall via our full turnkey process with a detailed discovery and design phase specifically focused on your organization and its needs. For more information on this process click here.
A donor wall system starts with a pre-designed template that we customize to fit your needs. This is generally a quicker, less expensive process. For more information on our systems, click here.
Unsure which is right for you? We can help determine the best path for your project. Book a 20 min consultation with us here.
How do I budget for a donor wall?
Every successful donor recognition plan starts with budget calculations. We can help you determine an appropriate budget based on your type of organization, the financial goals of the campaign and the anticipated number of prospective donors. In general, for a small campaign, you can spend as much as 5% of the campaign total. For a large campaign, you can go as low as .001% of the campaign total.
Example: $100,000 campaign at 5%= $5,000.
$100 million campaign at .001% = $100,000
Once you have established a budget, we’ll stay within it. In our experience, starting with a target budget is a critical success factor for an effective donor recognition program. You give us a price and we will work with you to get a donor wall that fits your organization’s needs and taste. If we know the target, we can design a successful program while staying within budget. We can design a custom donor wall that costs $10,000, $50,000 or $100,000. If you’re working with a smaller budget, choose from our already designed Donor Wall Systems, which start at $1,000 and save both time and money.
How long does the donor wall process take?
A fully custom project can typically take up to 6-12 months and generally depends on how responsive your team is. A donor wall system can take as little as 4 weeks but is typically 6-8 weeks.
These timelines include design, revisions, planning and fabrication. Ultimately, final timelines depend on how responsive your team is.
How easy is it to update the donor wall?
Everything we do is designed to be affordable, manageable, and easy to update. A critical key to success is fully understanding the costs and process for adding new names to a recognition program.
The challenges involved with managing hundreds or thousands of names can be daunting if an efficient process is not designed into the system at the start. The cost for updating names should be in balance with the size of the gifts received.
How involved in the design process will my organization be?
We start off with an initial consultation to determine your project needs. Before entering the design phase, we adhere to a thorough design process that starts off with an initial discovery meeting to learn about your vision and needs. With each concept, you have the opportuninty to provide full feedback–and we are available to discuss your project and feedback at any point from consultation through delivery.
Will you make design revisions?
Once under contract as your design firm, we will work closely with your team to create design ideas that lead to the best solution. The process includes making as many revisions as necessary to obtain design approval.
The challenges involved with managing hundreds or thousands of names can be daunting if an efficient process is not designed into the system at the start. The cost for updating names should be in balance with the gifts.
How can I learn more?
A donor recognition plan is essential to having a successful donor program while increasing campaign awareness and stewarding major donors. Check out our donor wall brochure to learn about successful donor recognition programs and the lessons we’ve learned over the years. Planning is a crucial step to a donor program and our donor recognition experts will help you at each step along the way. We explain in detail the key aspects when making decisions throughout the process and what our company does to help you through it.
Can we have another company build your design?
Yes and no. Yes, if you paid in full for design services and we understood from the beginning that our design would go out to bid. No, if we provided a speculative design or if we were working with you on a design-build project. There is always the option to purchase the design rights from us if it makes sense to use another fabricator.
My local sign company says they can design and build a donor wall.
Donor recognition requires a very specific set of skills that can only be acquired through experience. Donor recognition is typically a complex system with many variables that need to be managed and considered to make a project successful and long-lasting.
What Our Clients Say
"For years now I have been searching for options to recognize the many generous donors who contribute to our school. We needed an option that was tasteful and looked permanent, yet was affordable. Every sales person I dealt with came back with quotes that were astronomical. I just happened to find Donor Signs through a random search, and I am so glad I took a chance and reached out to this company."
“Our plaque arrived today and it is absolutely beautiful! Even nicer than I expected. Thank you so much!!!”
"When the Maricopa Library & Cultural Center was looking for a designer for our donor wall, Nicolson Associates / DonorSigns listened carefully and actually did what we asked! Their design was thoughtful and in line with our budget. Best of all, requests for changes were handled very professionally and they worked hard to make our Grand Opening date. At every step, Nicolson Associates / DonorSigns was responsive and did their best to help us be successful. We have already recommended them to another organization here in the City of Maricopa."
“Thank you so much! You have been an absolute pleasure to work with!”
Laura Rave Fleck
"We were so happy with the service and the end product and hope to do projects with you in the future"
“Finally, the installation was wonderful, and your team was fantastic. The wall looks fabulous, and we are very excited for its debut at our Donor Dinner this week. Thank you!!”
“Our donor dinner was a huge success and everyone loved the new Legacy wall. Thank you again!!!”
“We are pleased with our memorial display. We will be needing more names to add later on. Thanks very much.”
"Our donor wall is the perfect finishing touch on our new building! Nicolson Associates/DonorSigns were absolutely wonderful to work with. Their vision, creativity, and expertise made this process so easy. We highly recommend them and are thrilled with their work."
"The Detroit Zoological Society project was a most interesting undertaking that utilized unique angles and design elements to capture an exciting moment in time for the organization that their donors will remember for a lifetime...I couldn't imagine working on this project with any other firm."
“Thank you so much for your help! Working with you has been so easy — you made this much easier. As required here, I had to send out to 3 vendors for response and you were the only one that responded in a way that I would work with you..”
"Gary and I had an opportunity to walk by the Surgery Family Room last week to view the donor wall it is spectacular. It is so nicely designed and positioned to be viewed by so many doctors and families. Thank you for all of your efforts on behalf of the endowment you are the best."
"Our new regional library had a tricky donor wall project in that in needed to incorporate donor recognition, graphic, and dedication information elements. The Nicolson team was exemplary in leading us through the creative process while at the same time keeping our schedule and budgetary concerns in mind. It was a very successful experience."
"The entire team at Nicolson Associates was really wonderful to work with and very professional. They helped me every step of the way, in fulfilling my client's vision and making the process easy, when it could have been incredibly challenging. From the beginning designs, to final proofs and template used onsite during our installation, it was very clear to me, that they definitely know what they are doing and they are experts at color, design, & detail. Thank you to Dick and his team for helping me create a beautiful donor wall and plaques to coordinate."
Board of Directors
"The Board of Directors of Alder Springs and Blind Community want to thank you for the attention and service that we received on our donor plaques and donor wall. The plaques are beautiful. The color is exactly the sample and they arrived in a very timely manner. No matter how often we changed or added plaques, your patience and attention to detail was impeccable. We are so grateful to have found DonorSigns and even more so that we had Stephanie working with us."
Alan E. Ryea
“We couldn’t be more pleased with our donor recognition plaques and signage at the UVM Alumni House. Nicolson+Associates delivered a design and theme that perfectly captured the character and charm of our historic facility.”
Join Our Team
We have positions in design, sales, and fabrication. Please fill out the form and we will be in touch!
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