The first matching funds appeal?

From SOFII, the earliest known appeal letter with a matching-funds offer: Pliny the Younger and the first appeal for matching funds, c. 100 AD.

Pliny

Pliny the Younger decided to help raise funds for a school in his hometown. To encourage others to give, he offered to match their giving, one-third to one:

I am ready to give for the benefit of the municipality, one third of any sum it will please you to assemble. I would even promise the whole if I were not afraid that such an endowment might one day be tampered with through political corruption.

… Then agree among yourselves, unite, and draw increased spirit from mine, for I am desirous that what I shall have to contribute shall be as large as possible….

Raising the specter of future corruption, while realistic, may not have been the best move.

Matching-funds offers are among the best ways around to motivate people to give. Everyone loves a deal. If this really is the first ever matching funds appeal, it’s the first in a long line that has raised countless billions of dollars and denarii for good causes.


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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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