Fundraising magic: Matching funds

If there’s any magic wand in fundraising, here’s what it is: matching funds.

Offering to match donors’ giving is the closest thing we have to an automatic, easy winner.

I’m not the only one saying this. The Avalon blog says the same at Yes, You Need That Matching Gift. The post cites a matching grant appeal that beat a regular non-match like this:


  • 37% higher response rate
  • 54% more revenue
  • 63% higher average gift

I can vouch for that. That’s the neighborhood of improvement you can expect when you go out with a matching fund offer.

So find some funds that you can call “match” — or even “challenge” — and give your donors the thrill of a great deal.

…now is the time to get your major donors thinking about matching gifts and how they can tremendously boost your low-dollar revenue. It’s a win-win proposition, with higher-dollar donors making a real impact, and lower-dollar donors knowing that their more modest gifts will go further to help your cause.

The trick to success with match offers is to make the match the story. Make the fact that the donor’s gift will grow visually and verbally inescapable. And do the math for the donor: Your gift of $25 will be matched to become $50 in help for those in need!


Comments

2 responses to “Fundraising magic: Matching funds”

  1. Yeah, but . . . Are you aware of any research on retention of donors who respond to matched giving challenges? Anecdotal experience seems to indicate that many donors who respond to challenge appeals won’t give again without the matched giving incentive. I’ve seen tons of ‘one and done’ donors in databases whose only gift was in response to a challenge match. Is there a second, follow-up appeal that needs to be taken into consideration to convert these types of donors? A two-part appeal with a continuation for the same storytelling? Just thinking aloud as I’m doing some planning around matched giving appeals at this time.

  2. Yeah, but . . . Are you aware of any research on retention of donors who respond to matched giving challenges? Anecdotal experience seems to indicate that many donors who respond to challenge appeals won’t give again without the matched giving incentive. I’ve seen tons of ‘one and done’ donors in databases whose only gift was in response to a challenge match. Is there a second, follow-up appeal that needs to be taken into consideration to convert these types of donors? A two-part appeal with a continuation for the same storytelling? Just thinking aloud as I’m doing some planning around matched giving appeals at this time.

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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 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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