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  • Doubling Your Organization’s Money through Matching Grants

Fundraising during a slowing economy can be especially tough. Organizations have to get creative in order to get the donations required to get their projects up and running or keep them going.

One way that many organizations have improved their fundraising efforts is through matching grants. Grant matching can be fun and can help reduce the amount any single organization or donor donates, making it more palatable to donors when times are tight.

What is a ‘Matching Grant?’

The basic idea of matching grants is to pair a giving organization, such as a corporation or foundation with an individual or group of individuals to double the donation. The amount of money raised by the individual or group of individuals is matched by the corporation or foundation.

For example, if your organization needs $25,000 toward a new piece of equipment, you might have difficulty finding one foundation or corporation to foot the bill for the entire amount. However, if you can find a group of individuals who will have a sale or car wash to raise part of the money, you can then pair them with a corporate donor who would match the amount raised by the individual’s event(s).

The concept works well because it allows individuals who might be very limited in the amount they can personally give to work on an event that will raise a significant amount of money, knowing that the funds will be matched. On the other hand, the corporation or foundation is happy to recognize the accomplishments of the individuals by matching funds raised.

This concept for fundraising has been used for many years, and in many different ways. Radio or telethons often have corporate sponsors, for example, who match the pledges for a given time period. Individuals call in to the telethon and pledge their amounts, and at the end of the specified time period, the corporation sponsoring the time period matches all donations raised during the specified time.

How do you set up this type of fundraiser?

If you’re interested in this type of fundraising for your organization, it’s fairly simple to set up. You’ll need to list your corporate donors to see who is on board, and the maximum amount they’re willing to match. This can be done through a letter campaign or by contacting them in person.

Next, you’ll want to contact your individual donors and let them know that you have corporate matching funds for any donations they might make. Encourage them to sponsor small events, like bake sales, garage sales or clothing consignment sales to raise their funds to be matched. Be certain to keep the matches one to one: once a corporate sponsor is paired with an individual donor, they should not be paired with another.

You can also set this up as a part of any ‘regular’ fundraising campaign, where you let individual donors know that their contribution will be matched.

Matching funds donations can be a great way to keep up the enthusiasm of your donors, and a great way to raise cash without over burdening any one group or individual. If you’ve never tried fundraising with this method, you might find that it’s just the jump start you need to bring cash in for your organization this year!

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