Matching campaigns work because of the psychological truth that everyone loves a good deal. Learn how to run a successful matching campaign here.
Hand shaking for a matching charity campaign

Matching campaigns work because everyone loves a good deal. Who can resist the thought of their money stretching twice as far? It doesn’t matter if the offer is a new sweater, a set of steak knives, or a gift to your favorite nonprofit… Buy-one-get-one (BOGO) opportunities stimulate the brain.

The concept of a matching charity campaign is simple: Nonprofits set aside a pool of money raised from major donors to double every dollar donated by “the crowd.” A gift of $10 becomes $20. A gift of $100 doubles to $200. The matching opportunity is a research-tested strategy to energize your donor base and generate new and larger gifts. 

Where Does The Matching Money Come From?

You can find matching money in several places. They include: 

  1. Existing gifts of major donors – Turn to your major donors and ask them if you can use their current donations as the incentive
  2. Increased gifts from your major donors – Ask your major donors if they would be willing to INCREASE their current donation to use as the incentive
  3. Run a crowdfunding campaign – Set a goal and raise the money from your current support base; your follow-up Matching Campaign will focus on new donors, while this one will target your existing ones

Line Up Ambassadors

The key to a great matching campaign is enlisting the help of ambassadors. Ambassadors will take on personal fundraising goals. This strategy empowers you to reach audiences beyond your current base. Your ambassadors are the keys to your success. You’ll equip them with the resources, but they will act as the boots on the ground, bringing in donations. 

Get Your Message Right

While you want to highlight the matching component of this campaign, the “deal” can’t overshadow the impact of a donor’s gift. The message of this campaign must be focused on how donors are going to change the lives of service recipients through their generosity. 

Paint a picture of what service recipients look like BEFORE they enter your organization. Then describe what they look like AFTER they walk through your doors. And then you can issue a strong call-to-action that the amazing outcomes that take place only happen because of donor generosity. 

Create a Sense of Urgency

We humans love procrastinating. Don’t give potential donors a chance to wiggle out of a decision by putting it off until tomorrow. Fix a tight deadline for your campaign to end. After that, the matching effect won’t kick in. Manufacturing that hard cap creates urgency. Not only have you given donors a reason to give, but you’ve given them a reason to give NOW.

Take Advantage of Social Media (and Email and WhatsApp and singing telegrams)

Scream it from the rooftops. Be loud. This campaign is crucial to deliver your organization’s services. Donors have a unique opportunity to DOUBLE their impact. There are countless ways you can engage donors throughout this campaign. Give frequent updates about how close you are to hitting your goal. Tell a story of an inspiring donor. Tell a story of a service recipient in need. Shout out new donors to the campaign. MAKE SOME NOISE!

Thank and Celebrate

Donating to your organizations should be genuinely happy moments. It should literally bring smiles to donors’ faces. Thank them profusely. Tell them they are heroes. Give them all the credit for the amazing work that your organization does. Celebrate your amazing community of donors. 

And, if you want to turn to these same people next year for their support, it is imperative that you update them throughout the year on the impact of their generosity. No one has ever heard the words “thank you” too often. So don’t be shy with your donor base throughout the year. They want to hear from you!

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