You’ve heard it a few dozen times before: Matching grants increase the likelihood of getting a donation. According to TechSoup, mentioning matching gifts in fundraising appeals results in a 71% increase in the response rate and a 51% increase in the average donation amount. With #GivingTuesday just one month away, it’s even more important than ever. So, you already know you need one. How do you find the perfect match for your #GivingTuesday matching grants?
Here are our top 5 tips to keep in mind when securing #GivingTuesday matching grants:
1 . Set reasonable expectations for your matching grant.
If your nonprofit raised $500 for #GivingTuesday in 2016, a $5,000 matching gift might be a bit of a stretch for your organization. After all, why would a donor want to donate such a sizeable amount when you haven’t proven you can get close to that amount without a matching grant?
Instead, when pitching the matching gift to donors, focus on numbers like “double last year’s results” or “triple what we did in 2016.” For a campaign that received $500, in 2016, asking for a $500 gift would easily double your results!
2. Get your message right for #GivingTuesday matching grants.
Every development professional, especially major gift officers, should be well-versed in how to ask for funds. But, when it comes to #GivingTuesday, saying that you’re “participating in an event and need a matching gift” isn’t a compelling case in and of itself for a donor to want to give.
Instead, mention a recent initiative or project you’ve been working on, and how you feel #GivingTuesday is the right opportunity to ask donors for help with funding the project. Then, mention statistics about how donors are more likely to give if there’s a matching gift to bring some data into your case. The matching grantor will be less likely to say “no” if they know there is a tangible initiative they’d be helping to fund. Give your appeal some extra weight by reaching out by phone instead of email. Your donor will be more likely to reciprocate a more personalized form of outreach with a matching grant.
3. Don’t seek out new donors. Now is the time to deeply engage your current donors.
Think about it this way: It’s an uphill battle to get a business or a person introduced to your mission, and then believe in it so deeply that they’d be willing to give you a sizeable donation for a matching grant. Instead, focus your current donor pool. Can a major donor break up their end of year gift and instead donate a portion to a matching grant for #GivingTuesday? Is there a mid-level donor on the threshold of becoming a major donor?
Your donors are already familiar with your mission, so they’re already bought into the good work your organization can do. Instead of seeking a matching gift from a new entity, you’ll be more likely to receive support from loyal donors.
4. Use moves management to prospect matching grantors.
Every organization has at least one or two donors that ask, “How can I help more?” Here’s your opportunity to deepen the support you get from these donors through a matching grant. Matching grants can be more engaging for these donors because they know that their support isn’t guaranteed (you must fulfill the matched amount, first!). So, they’ll have more incentive to check the progress during #GivingTuesday and help you hit your goal by spreading the word about the match.
Another prospecting opportunity is to consider what volunteers are ready to upgrade to donor status. Using clean constituent data and useful prospect research profile templates, you can identify which volunteers are the most engaged in your organization and which campaigns or causes they care the most about. Reach out with targeted solicitations to these volunteers to emphasize how a matching gift can help support the initiatives that are important to them.
5. But, don’t assume all major donors want to give a matching gift.
One of the hallmarks of matching gifts is that you promote the match to your donors to increase the likelihood of getting their donation. So, if you have anonymous donors that shun the spotlight, don’t put pressure on them to make a matching gift (unless you’re comfortable promoting the anonymous gift on your own!).
Another group of unlikely supporters: grantors that provide solely restricted giving. It’s likely that their foundation or organization prohibits unrestricted giving, so #GivingTuesday matching grants are probably out of the question. Save your calories to focus on donors that have already shown an interest in unrestricted giving.
(Bonus): Steward your matching grantors!
Every nonprofit knows that stewardship is an important element of development, but not every nonprofit knows how best to modify their stewardship practices for international social media campaigns like Giving Tuesday. After all, many Giving Tuesday participants are first-time donors who found your nonprofit through a hashtag or a friend’s social media post.
To ensure that donors will support your nonprofit past November, reach out over email and social media specifically to all first-time donors to thank them for their contribution and share a little information about your nonprofit. Explain the other ways they can get involved, and ask for some additional information to help you round out their donor profile.