Naming opportunities have long been a part of nonprofit capital campaigns and major gift programs. Historically, a donor made a gift to name a room, let’s say a library, and this naming was honored in perpetuity.
However, nonprofits were faced with a dilemma when, years later, that room required renovation or was repurposed. What if the former library now needed to be converted to a multimedia resource center and additional funds were needed for this conversion? Should the donor who may have made a gift decades ago retain the naming rights even though additional funds were needed? How should the organization recognize the new donor who has committed to giving the funds for this renovation? What if the new donor requests that her name be on the space?
To address this, many nonprofits now put time limits on naming rights. But what is the right time frame for a naming opportunity? Should it be the life of the donor? The length of a generation – 30 years? The usable life of a space? Or some other amount of time?
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Does your organization offer donors the opportunity to name a physical space? If so, for how long does the donor have these naming rights?
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