Matching Gifts 101

October 9, 2023

Matching gifts make your fundraising dollars go further.

Matching gift programs are a very effective fundraising tool. They incentivize donors to give big to support your cause.

Donor Empowerment

According to industry experts Double the Donation, 84% of survey participants are more likely to donate if matching is offered. Donors feel empowered to participate in matching gift opportunities because they feel their money has a more significant impact. Instead of the insecurity that some donors feel in their gift amount, they will give confidently because their donations are potentially doubled or more. The time restrictions of matching opportunities also motivate donors to give when they wouldn’t otherwise.

Additionally, around 67% of donors are likely to make larger donations. The matching is low-hanging fruit in their eyes. They want to make a difference, and this is a perfect means to do so.

The Result

This means more donations and more money to fund your programs, which is an even greater return on your investment compared to traditional fundraising.

Types of Matching Gifts

Matching gifts generally start with a significant gift from a donor or donors to serve as the “seed.” It is important to discuss the parameters of the match with the source of the significant gift.

There are many variables with matching gifts. However, most matching gift programs can fit into three categories.

Challenge Gift

A challenge gift is when your organization receives the seed money in full. The donors in your community are challenged to match the seed amount. This type is less effective because the donors know you receive the challenge amount no matter what amount you raise. However, it can still bring significant funding, especially when tied to a specific goal.

For example, your organization has a $10,000 challenge gift, and the community donates an additional $5,000. Your organization receives $15,000.

Matching Gift

A matching gift is when the amount you receive from the seed money depends on the amount given by the donors in your community. Your organization only receives seed money when donors give. This type empowers the donors since their donations are literally worth more. This makes matching gifts often more effective than challenge gifts.

For example, your organization has a $10,000 matching gift, and the community donates an additional $7,500. Your organization receives $7,500 of the initial match amount, making the total money raised $15,000.

Corporate Matching Gift

A corporate matching gift works differently than these types. We will cover it in part two of this blog.

Matching Best Practices

Matching gifts are an incredible opportunity to boost revenue, build stronger relationships with donors and inspire greater giving. But it takes the right strategy to maximize their potential. Here are several best practices we have utilized to support our client partners by implementing them in their successful matching gift campaigns.

  1. Send messages through multiple channels to the donors as soon as the matching opportunities become available.
  2. Be sure to focus on specifically highlighting what action you want the donor to take, which is to give to your matching gift challenge.
  3. Send frequent updates and show the donors the impact of their donations.
  4. Emphasize any deadlines for the match.
  5. Keep all your communications focused on the donor and make them the hero of your story.
  6. Promote your matching gift opportunity on your direct mail appeals, in your voicemail and even in your email signature, as well as on inserts to put in all correspondence your organization is sending out.

Summit Marketing can help you explore additional ways to expand your reach. Our team’s extensive marketing and fundraising experience can enable your organization to maximize consistent messaging across the web, email, text and direct mail to provide solid donor and prospect awareness, education and results.