Challenging Donors with Matching Gifts

One effective approach to inspire an upgraded gift is to offer a matching gift challenge from another donor. It's a proven strategy to raise money by simply offering your donors a way to make their donation go further. With a clear message in your appeal and a deadline for the match, you can build a sense of urgency for your donors. Securing a matching gift from a donor or corporate participant is a great way to increase your average gift, lift response rate, and increase your donor base.

Be sure to include all of your major players by incorporating grants or challenging your board to commit to a match. One way to target the largest and most effective donor base is to build your match package around a specific project or closing of your fiscal year, and by all means, integrate your campaign. Matching vouchers on the direct mail appeal encourage donors to return their check and double their gift.

A strong call to action and a sense of urgency with a deadline date will lift your response rates. Donor’s need to know their help is necessary to your cause. If you are able to secure a donor or group of donors for the match, using a recognizable name in the community can lift your average gift by as much as 22%.

Let’s take a look at two case studies.  Espanola Valley Humane Society had a group of specific donors who matched dollar for dollar every gift over a 30 day period.  For 2015, they have one donor who has pledged to match every dollar over a 30 day period!  Houston Humane Society gathered several board members and donors to present a fundraising challenge.

 
Espanola Valley Humane Society
Comparing the Spring 2013 Animal Kindness Campaign to the Spring 2014 1+1 Matching Campaign the increase was:



 
 
 
 
Houston Humane Society
Comparing the Fall 2013 Save Lives Campaign to the Fall 2014 1+1 Challenge Match Campaign the increase was:





 


Matching gift challenges can lead to beneficial long-term relationships with companies, but it can sometimes be tough to find that big name partner. A great place to start looking is with your board members. Ask your board about the businesses they serve and if they would be willing to contribute in the matching program. Your local Chamber of Commerce will give you a starting point for which people to talk to in the brand-name businesses.
By working in advance, applying to local foundations for a match is also a winner because of the name recognition. 
 
It is a good idea to collect Annual Reports from other nonprofit organizations in your area to see who and where they receive support for their agencies. 
 
Challenge packages are a perfect platform for full integration. We strive to increase overall giving with a “surround sound” approach to integration. Use of social media, email, posters, billboards, voice broadcast/telemarketing and newspaper inserts will communicate urgency and saturate your message for significantly increased revenue. The larger the audience your message reaches, the greater the increase in donors’ matching gifts and additional gifts nearer the deadline. Online and offline communications complement each other and the impact in every channel.

Every dollar counts and matching gifts can be an easy strategy to increase the average gift and lift response rates. Your organization has already done the hard work of collecting a strong donor base, so why not take advantage of an opportunity to expand your efforts and provide an impactful, meaningful way for your donors to invest?
 
 

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