Matching gift. Challenge grant. Matching funds. You’ve probably heard at least two of these phrases. And even though they technically mean different things, they’re sort of like parts of the country calling it “soda”, “pop”, “soda pop”, or even “coke” (and not mean a Coca-Cola).
No matter what you call them, matches are a great way to help your nonprofit organization raise money. But, the opportunity isn’t free. Just because you’ve secured a match doesn’t mean that gifts from donors will come rolling in without you having to do much of anything.
That match you worked so hard to get can be squandered and not bring in a lot of gifts or donors. Here are 3 ways you can help make sure your match is successful for your organization:
1. Have a compelling offer. If your donor doesn’t care about your offer, then they won’t care about doubling it.
Say your organization is focused on helping kangaroos at a nice kangaroo farm. Normally donors hear that $10 will give 1 kangaroo enough food for a day and a nice kangaroo bed to sleep in that night. If your donor doesn’t care about helping 1 kangaroo, why would they help save 2? Remember, zero multiplied by two is still zero.
Many organizations use different programs or initiatives to accomplish their mission, each with a different financial offer. And some of those organizations make the mistake of not carefully selecting which of those offers should be used with the match.
Yes, that person is your donor, and cares about your overall mission. But their heart may lie in the kangaroo feeding program and not really care about the wild kangaroo behavioral enrichment classes. If your match appeal uses an offer that hasn’t resonated with donors before, a match isn’t the place to “pump it up”.
2. Include a deadline. Deadlines move us to action. It’s why bills have due dates and milk jugs show an expiration date.
Fundraising is no different. Having a deadline will increase the effectiveness of the match. It shows that there is a time limit on this opportunity and helps cut through the other clutter in a donor’s brain at that moment. Donors respond to that urgency and the need of getting their gift to you in time.
Think of infomercials: they always have an offer that’s about to expire. FOMO (fear of missing out) works for fundraising too.
3. Explain why there’s a match. Make sure your donors know that it’s because of a wealthy donor or group of wealthy donors who care so much about the need your organization is filling. It can be hard to know what a donor will wonder about, and then their mind wanders away from your message. So giving them a concise narrative about the match keeps them engaged with you.
People like to feel they’re part of a team. And we as humans equate wealth with being intelligent and making good decisions—even with all the evidence to the contrary. So knowing they’re united with someone wealthy makes a donor feel good about partnering with you. (Yes, I know that’s weird. But it’s true.)
This is by no means an exhaustive list of what to do to maximize your match. But implementing these items will help you make the most the matching opportunity. Happy fundraising!