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Interactive digital signage helps university fund raising efforts

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — As donor belts are tightening and squeezed budgets continue to plague the nation’s universities, program managers at development offices are embracing inventive new strategies to beef up their fund raising efforts. One such approach is the interactive Donor Recognition Wall, a high-definition twist on the traditional engraved plaque, tile and brick.
Developed by Vital-Signz, a firm specializing in touchscreen technology, the University Virtual Visitor Center is a flat panel monitor displaying customized video content that includes campus maps, profiles of the faculty, school history and the Donor Recognition Wall, a section of photos and detailed biographies honoring donors.
The first installation of the system is now in operation at Point Loma Nazarene University, a Christian liberal arts college with 3,500 students located on the shores of San Diego Bay. Housed in a custom granite kiosk at the entrance of newly constructed Smee Hall, the PLNU Virtual Visitor Center features a photo and video history of the university, an interactive map highlighting the campus’ principal buildings and profiles of the donors that contributed to the development fund.
“During these uncertain times, the University Virtual Visitor Center and Donor Recognition Wall provide institutions with a high-profile and dynamic method to thank benefactors and memorialize gifts,” said Richard Corwin, founder and CEO of Vital-Signz. “Each permanent installation provides practical information such as campus maps and points of interest on a round-the-clock basis, along with photo and biographical information about donors.”
Corwin, an Emmy Award winning supervising sound editor, said the system’s PC-based controller and video streaming technologies were developed entirely in-house and are among the most advanced in the industry. Original video content is developed by an in-house graphic design team and runs on the firm’s proprietary software.
According to Eric Groves, director of development, PLNU, the idea of using the Vital-Signz system grew out of the school’s desire to recognize the efforts and contributions of the benefactors that made construction of the facility possible.
“We were thrilled when it was suggested to us that we could profile each Smee Hall honoree with a photo and biography, complete with scrolling names and rotating photos,” Groves said. “The dynamic screen and layout draws the attention of students and visitors and invites them to interact and discover what the university offers.”
Although the Vital-Signz system was only recently introduced to the education sector, Corwin says demand for the Donor Recognition Wall system has spiked significantly during the economic slowdown.
“The use of our technology at Point Loma Nazarene University highlights the exciting possibilities that the Vital-Signz University Virtual Visitor Center brings to the task of fund raising in today’s challenging environment,” Corwin said.

digital signage helps university fund raising efforts