Nonprofit Fundraising: The Power of a Matching Gift Campaign

By Bridget Hunt in Non-Profit on August 8th, 2016

Matching Gifts

Matching gifts are an important tool in nonprofit fundraising, providing an increased incentive to donate by leveraging urgency and impact to spur action.

Sponsor & Employer Matching Gifts

Matching gifts usually take on two forms in nonprofit fundraising: employer match and sponsor match. While employer match (when an employer agrees to contribute to a nonprofit if their employee makes a donation first) can be beneficial to a nonprofit, it is completely dependent on the donor’s employer policies. However, with sponsor match, nonprofits can incentivize action from all potential donors by increasing the impact of their gifts through a partnership with a major donor or corporate partner. 

This type of campaign begins by identifying an individual or organization that will match donations. Have a major donor who’s on the fence with a big gift? Offer them the opportunity to match funds anonymously on a campaign they care about. For example, if a donor is passionate about decreasing pollution and your organization focuses on a variety of environmental causes, ask that donor to sponsor your email campaign on National Bike to Work Day, providing a dollar for every dollar donated through that campaign up to whatever threshold they are comfortable with.

Messaging reads along the lines of: “URGENT: Today only, every dollar you donate will be matched 1:1, DOUBLING your impact!” As such, you’ve increased the likelihood of donation from your audience by providing motivation through doubling the impact, and urgency by creating a deadline for action. Plus, you have secured an additional major gift and engaged that benefactor, creating the opportunity for an annual partnership.

Already have a large gift coming from a corporate partner or frequent donor? You can use that to spur smaller donations in the same way—by presenting it in your fundraising campaigns as conditional on a match.

Matching gift campaigns are a workhorse tactic for nonprofits of all sizes, and for good reason. They can be leveraged during Giving Season to increase average gift, or during slower summer months to boost the number of gifts.

Need help planning and executing a successful matching gift campaign?

Contact BKV’s experts in nonprofit fundraising today.