3D PrintingApplicationsCorporateDonor Gifts & RecognitionIndustry

How to Choose a Meaningful Donor Gift

By October 30, 2017 No Comments

You’ve been tasked with donor relations – and you don’t know what to use as a thank-gift.

There are so many options out there. And the ones you can afford, well, they’re a bit overdone. The ideas you love would cost more than your organization gets in donations!

But what if there was a way to design a thank-you gift for your donors that gives you flexibility in the design, allows you to personalize each gift without additional costs, and is much less expensive to produce than many other options?

This option exists. You can create your donor gifts through 3D printing.

Personalize Your Donor Gifts to Make Them Exclusive

Your donors are giving to you because they believe in your mission – not because they’re expecting a snazzy gift.

In fact, a study published in 2012 found that “although [organizations] expect that the offer of thank-you gifts will increase donations, such offers actually reduce charitable donations.”

So it’s wise to let your donor gifts be a complete surprise to those receiving them. The study didn’t find gifts given after the donation to have a negative effect on donations.

But another way to give gifts without risking your donation totals each year is to give a gift that provides an air of exclusivity . This comes from the favorable attention altruism gives us humans.

It’s easy to do this by limiting gifts to only your major donors. Another way is to personalize the gifts you give to your donors.

Before, personalized gifts probably meant finding individual gifts for each donor. However, with 3D printing, you can create one gift, then adjust features for individual donors. You could give different colors or alter the design – all without having to start over again with each piece.

Or add the donor’s name.

What’s in a Name?

3D printing allows you to apply each individual donor’s name to the project. A simple alteration to the computer’s 3D file before the print changes the results, without having to make major design or machine changes that drive up the costs of other manufacturing processes.

For example, we worked with the Baylor Bear Foundation of Baylor University to create an especially unique gift for one of their best donors. We provided the Foundation with a replica of the new stadium scoreboard engraved with the donor’s name.

And why is adding a name important? A study published in 2006 found that mentioning someone’s name resulted in a strong reaction in that person’s brain. Imagine how often the donors will think of you every time they walk past their gift and see their name!

Take Personalization Beyond Your Donor’s Name

Personalization goes beyond putting a person’s name on everything. Done right, personalization also reflects that person’s personality.

For example, if you’re looking for a donor gift for someone who has made an extraordinarily large single, spend some time researching them. Read their website, if they have one, follow their social media accounts, call to thank them for their gift and spend some time chatting with them. Then choose a gift based on what you learn about them.

If you need a donor gift for multiple people, you can do individual gifts, or choose something that everyone in the group will enjoy. For example, our clients have had good luck with 3D models or facility maps of what is being sponsored (such as buildings and sports arenas). Another option is to create a replica of an icon ( these bronze statue replicas are one project we’ve handled ).

Donor Gift Ideas

Our clients have approached us with some great donor gift ideas – and we’ve been able to make them happen. Here are some ideas for you:

  • Building models
  • Facility maps
  • 3D art
  • Replicas of icon
  • Plaques
  • Replicas of bricks
  • 3D versions of logos

3D Printing Adds Dimension to Donor Gifts

The days of honoring your donors by with dusty bronze and wood plaques that no one ever reads are over. 3D printing allows organizations like yours to create timeless, distinct donor gifts – without adding an extra fundraiser each year just to pay for them.