Innovative Fundraising: Iowa Arts Center Sells Naming Rights to Its Toilets

August 23, 2011; Source: Des Moines Register | A Cedar Rapids nonprofit arts organization that recently renovated its flood-damaged social hall is selling naming rights to its new toilets, complete with decorative plaques to be placed above each facility, for $1,000 a pop. The Des Moines Register reports that while supplies last, donors can even choose their particular comfort station. An e-mail from the group, Legion Arts, announced the exciting opportunity:

Here’s your chance to honor a loved one, a colleague, a favorite artist or yourself. . . . You could join with your neighbors to salute a beloved legislator or council representative. Express your respect for a teacher or mentor. Or go in together with a couple of co-workers to surprise your boss. The possibilities are endless.

An Ames public radio station used a similar strategy a few years ago, offering donors the opportunity to name a chicken at Living History Farms in Des Moines in return for a $35 donation. Apparently many people took them up on the offer. Says the Register article, “In the months and years that followed, whenever donors stopped by the farm museum to visit ‘their’ chicken, the staff made a big show of searching the coop and then pointing at some random bird: ‘Oh, it’s that one, right.’”—Ruth McCambridge