Donor Recognition and Signage

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Review the guidelines for donor recognition and signage, as related to the policy for Naming University Properties, Facilities, and Academic and Non-Academic Programs.

Donor Recognition and Signage Guidelines

Numerous factors must be considered when developing plans for donor recognition, including the:

  • Value of each particular gift or commitment
  • Scope of giving levels within a particular project or program
  • Location of signage
  • Design and aesthetics of the space

The guidelines reflect norms utilized by the Office of Donor Relations and Stewardship for recent building openings including:  Barbara and Jack Davis Hall (2012), Hayes Hall (2016), and the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences building (2018). 

Consult with the Office of Donor Relations and Stewardship before proceeding with any donor recognition signage.


  • Donor signage can be costly. Contact parties responsible for payment to determine that costs are approved and accounted for in fiscal year budgets before selecting a signage vendor.
  • University Advancement may share costs for donor recognition signage with the school or unit. This arrangement must be approved before signage plans are finalized.

Vendor and Production

  • For new buildings and renovated spaces, signage vendors often will be contracted through UB Facilities, Planning and Design. Contact your UB Facilities partner to determine if a signage vendor has been selected. Some architects also build donor recognition signage into the design of the building or renovated space. When feasible, this option is ideal so that recognition is a natural and aesthetically pleasing element of the overall design of the building or renovated space.
  • Other unique donor recognition signage projects must follow the bid process after the scope of work has been determined. The Office of Donor Relations and Stewardship can identify signage vendors and work with UB procurement on the scope of the project.

Named School or Building

  • When the university wants to recognize donors with school or building naming, consideration should be given to signage placement on the exterior of the building. This is usually done with brushed aluminum letters. Each building is unique, so the size, location, and building style will determine size of letters and location of the donor name. This work is typically contracted through UB Facilities, Planning and Design.
  • For school or building naming, donors also should receive prominent recognition inside the main entrance of the building. Usually this involves additional pin mount letters, a photo or portrait of the donor(s) and a narrative. This usually is somewhat larger than donor narratives in rooms (see below).
  • Consider where the school or building name needs to be incorporated into way-finding signage throughout the building and in other school or university printed and online materials.

Named Room or Space

  • While not all spaces are equal in value, gift level, or traffic, there are recommended average signage sizes. Some adjustment may be necessary depending on campaign priorities, room values, and wall dimensions. Letters are typically produced in either brushed aluminum or vinyl, however, other applications may be considered.
    • Tier I - Spaces with a value of $1 million+ - 4” letters
    • Tier II - Spaces with a value of $200,000 to $999,999 - 2” to 3” letters
    • Tier III - Spaces with a value under $199,999 - room plaque
    • If the building has existing donor recognition signage, care should be taken to match or complement size, type, and quality of existing signage when possible.
  • Narrative signs - Telling a donor’s story or featuring their photo within their named space is an effective way to steward a donor and leave a legacy for those who visit the space. Narrative plaques may accompany room signage (usually on the interior of the room) particularly at higher giving levels. The Office of Donor and Alumni Communications will support the narrative writing to ensure consistency of approach.
  • Room plaques - Most rooms on campus have a way-finding room number plaque outside of the entrance. This is an opportunity to recognize all donors in all named spaces and may be most appropriate for smaller spaces at lower giving levels.
    • Consider where named spaces need to be incorporated into way-finding signage throughout the building.

Special Requests

  • At times the university may entertain special requests from donors when developing appropriate recognition plans. Direct all special requests relative to naming and signage to the Office of Donor Relations and Stewardship.

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Contact An Expert

Contact for Questions or Comments
Contact Phone Email
Donor Relations and Stewardship 716-881-1708