Donors can be effectively acknowledged along with their peers and realize a sense of inclusion through special donor appreciation gatherings, behind the scenes tours, presentations and other celebratory events. These events also provide an opportunity to update the donors on how the fundraising is progressing and give them further insights on the collective difference their gifts are making. This makes giving social and reinforces the inclusiveness and contact that many people crave.
High profile donors can be recognized at media events, press announcements, photo opportunities, ground breakings, ribbon cuttings, meal functions or other recognition events in which the donor is involved (e.g. annual meeting/convention of nonprofit organizations). Some of these events may be held at the park, provided they do not interfere with normal visitation patterns.
Golden Gate National Recreation Area holds an annual recognition event for its Trails Forever Program. The event recognizes people who have contributed to the program as well as people that are serving to engage new perspective donors in funding the program.
What carries the most added meaning for donors is access to people, including celebrities that they normally don't get to meet.
Friends of Acadia arranges for donors to meet with park staff and prominent people in the community such as authors or producers. As an example, donors were invited to a dinner cooked by Martha Stewart, who has a home in the area. Donors are also invited to events that highlight park staff's skills and accomplishments.
Acadia also organized a carriage ride on the park's historic carriage roads through the park for all members of the George Dorr Society - the Friends' planned giving society. The carriage ride was led by the park's foreman of carriage roads who provided information about the roads' history, engineering, reconstruction efforts and maintenance.
The Yosemite Fund arranges special events where donors visit park projects to see how their gifts are being put to work, meet with park officials to discuss projects, exchange ideas, and develop a closer connection to the park.
Parks have also presented their living history programs at special events honoring donors. Reenactors can also be enlisted to make park historic figures -- such as John Muir -- come alive. Park interpreters or other staff and VIPs also can play the historical roles for a memorable event.
Celebrities can also be used at special events as guest speakers or honorary chairs. In 2003, Robert Redford served as honorary chair of the Golden Gate NRA's Trails Forever annual celebration dinner, which recognized donors, launched a new trails initiative, and netted $250,000 for trail restoration, outreach and stewardship projects.