A Picture is Worth a Thousand Donors

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then an architectural rendering (or fly-through video, or schematic floor plan, etc) may be worth a thousand words.

There are so many commendable non-profits and charitable organizations in our community. At some point, many of these organizations begin a capital campaign to accomplish a very specific visionary project or building that will take their mission to the next level. But what makes a donor turn over their hard-earned cash for such a cause? How does an organization share their vision, inspire confidence in a donor and compel them to invest?

Non-profit organizations often reach out to architects to help them develop a project to the point that they can truthfully and confidently answer scrutinizing questions…How big will the building be? What type of programs will it support? How many people will be able to use it? How much will it cost to build? And how about all of the furniture and equipment for the inside? What is the overall time schedule until it’s open? How long after the first building project will an expansion be needed? Will it be fancy or functional? How will the building project impact the neighborhood? ? ? ? So many questions! And many of the answers can be clearly and succinctly conveyed with images.

Delta Gamma

In order to prepare these images and definitively answer these questions, an organization must first invest in project planning exercises, also called Preliminary Design Services. Architects utilize different planning processes and tools based on the types of questions that need answered. (Developing a realistic budget is also a critical planning component – see Jen’s Budget Checklist blog post). The outcome usually takes shape in a variety of forms such as a Program of Space Needs, Master Plan, Site Plan, Floor Plans and exterior drawings. For fundraising or presentation purposes, SOA often creates colorful versions of these plans to help make the design intent clear. All of these are included as part of SOA’s typical service offering.

SOMO Site Plan

The images that most often “sell” an idea are renderings. As an additional service, SOA often contracts with organizations to create 3D perspective views ranging from hand sketches and watercolors to photorealistic images. Back in 2008, SOA invested in software that allows us to create building projects in 3D and generate still perspective views and even fly-through videos, from anywhere inside or outside of the building or site, with enhanced accuracy. We can then render these views in various ways depending on the client’s preferences.

CC North Quad Misc Renderigns

The renderings we create make excellent visual tools that clients can use to share their vision with the community, staff, board members and potential donors. The organization’s point in the planning process will guide us toward the type of visual graphics that are most appropriate: Sketches and watercolor renderings give more of the essence of a building when details are still loosely defined while computer generated photo realistic renderings tend to communicate a finality to the design process. Videos convey the greatest amount of information and can be a valuable part of capital campaign materials.

These drawings and renderings can be used in a variety of media targeted at donors. SOA is proud to have our design images used on display boards & brochures, newsletters & social media, and even cups and coasters! Cheers to your next fundraising efforts!

CC Cup and Coaster of Science Building

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Developing a Realistic Project Budget

Developing a Realistic Project Budget

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