Strike a Match(ing Gift)!
Mary J. Fundraiser, a devoted reader of FundRaising Success, has some questions about matching gifts. So, of course, she turned to her favorite source for fundraising strategy!
FundRaising Succcess: Hi, Mary, what did you need to know about matching gifts?
Mary J. Fundraiser: Well, everything ... really.
FS: Well, you know, it really is like manna from heaven when a donor is so in love with your organization or campaign that he, or she or it (because matching gifts often come from corporations) agrees to let your organization use his, her or its donation to challenge other people to give. As a matter of fact, a match in a direct-response vehicle can boost revenue by 30 percent over not having one. But if you have a matching gift and don't promote it in the right way, you'll wind up leaving thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table.
MJF: Can you explain the concept of matching gifts for me ... right from the start? Not the ones where employers match their employees' donations — though those are important. But more like matching-gift campaigns where a donor makes a generous gift and we, as fundraisers, use it to challenge others to donate.
FS: Sure, Mary! It starts when a donor — usually someone who knows your organization, who has been giving for a while and who trusts you, makes a substantial donation. Someone in your fundraising department or development office who is really on the ball ...
MJF: That would be me.
FS: Of course, that's what I meant. Someone realizes that this is a terrific opportunity to encourage giving by others. You chat with the donor, then if he or she agrees, you launch a matching — or challenge — gift campaign, following the guidelines that you and the donor work out and sign off on.