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What are the Different Types of Donor Plaques?

Lori Kilchermann
Lori Kilchermann

Donor plaques are lasting reminders of gifts of money, time or talent given by an individual, business or organization. From high-end, custom-engraved plaques to print-at-home certificates attached to a wood base, the material options, shapes and styles for donor plaques are numerous. Donors typically display these plaques in public areas of their organizations or in a place of honor in their homes.

Materials such as crystal, marble, and granite are some of the options when creating donor plaques. More durable materials, such as brass, are better suited for outdoor displays such as donor walkways. Another decision to factor in is the shape of the donor plaques. While rectangle and square shapes are popular choices, other shape options include shields, ovals and crosses.

Businessman giving a thumbs-up
Businessman giving a thumbs-up

Perpetual donor plaques remain on display in a prominent place of honor, such as an organization's lobby or trophy case. These areas typically have room for rows of nameplates to be attached, honoring past and present donors. After the initial expense of the donor plaques, subsequent name additions only require engraving and attaching individual nameplates. If a fundraiser or event will seek donations year after year, a perpetual plaque may be the best option for honoring donors.

To show appreciation to donors while also making best use of limited funds, kits for donor plaques are available. Photos or certificates can be printed from a computer and mounted on top of a wood base and topped with a clear sheet of glass. This provides the donor with a way to publicly display the fact that he or she made a generous gift to a community or cause and allows the recipient to put his or her funds to use for a cause rather than for purchasing pricey plaques.

Wording on donor plaques is often limited due to space constraints, so it needs to be succinct. Also, engraving is typically charged by the letter, so limiting the text can help control costs. The donor or company's name, date of gift, and the name of the recipient group or organization should be prominent. Another option is to have a metal engraving of a related newspaper article on the donor plaque. For an event with several donors who gave gifts of varying amounts, grouping the donors by the size of their contributions with benefactor categories such as gold, silver and bronze may be preferred.

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