What if we told you there was a sure-fire way to get your supporters excited about donating to your #GivingTuesday campaign? Good news, there is: matching grants. A matching grant on #GivingTuesday can be a game-changer for your campaign. But how do you go about getting one? How do they work? Is there a strategy to them?
We went in-depth about all of that in our latest #GivingTuesday webinar, “Leveraging Matching Grants and Partnerships to Grow Your #GivingTuesday Campaign.”
But here’s the breakdown of how matching grants work, why they are such great motivators for your supporters, and how to secure one for your #GivingTuesday campaign.
Matching Grants 101
A matching grant is just a large donation you leverage as an incentive to bring in other donations. You do that by offering it as a “match,” which means that any donation will be doubled. The terms can vary. Most commonly, nonprofits offer a 1:1 match, meaning that donations are doubled, but the matching grants tool on Mightycause allows for all kinds of matches.
Psychology of Matching Grants
The reason matching grants are so effective at motivating people to donate is that they’re tailor-made to appeal to the psychology of donors:
- Creates urgency. By offering the chance to make their money go further for a short period of time, a matching grant can be the tipping point in someone’s decision to donate right now.
- Makes their money go further. At the end of the day, a matching grant appeals to people’s love of a good deal. It’s a marketing tool that uses the same tactic as a “BOGO” or “buy one, get one” store at a retail store, giving donors the option to get (in this case, give) more for their money.
- Creates a clear, actionable CTA (call to action). When it comes to donating, people generally like to be told in clear and direct terms how to help. With a matching grant, you have a perfect CTA: Donate now to double your donation!
- Empowers donors giving in smaller amounts. Unfortunately some supporters who don’t have much to give may opt out of the donation process altogether. But a matching grant empowers those donors who give in smaller amounts, by giving them the opportunity to boost the impact of their donation.
Learn More About the Matching Grants Tool on Mightycause
Mightycause has a powerful, easy-to-use tool that allows you to add your matching grant to your #GivingTuesday page. Our support article will walk you through adding a matching grant and choosing the best options for your grant.
3 Steps to Securing a Matching Grant
There are three basic steps to securing a matching grant, for #GivingTuesday or any campaign. Prospect, cultivate, ask.
- Look at your inner circle first. Before you start cold-calling and trying to start new relationships, look at your existing supporters. Your Board of Directors is an excellent place to start! Why not ask them to pool together their annual donations into a matching grant? Major gift donors and existing sponsors are also hot prospects, as they’ve shown that they support your cause in a big way. Things like match pools from engaged volunteers can also work well, and it gives your nonprofit’s biggest supporters a new and meaningful way to support your work!
- Create a list. A simple spreadsheet organizing your prospects, and keeping track of your conversations with them, can go a long way!
- Look for three important factors when researching. When your researching your prospects for this year’s #GivingTuesday campaign, you’ll want to look for three important factors:
- History: Have they given to your organization or similar charities in the past? Do they have a strong history of philanthropy in general?
- Wealth: Since a matching grant is a large donation, you’ll want to make sure you’re not barking up the wrong tree (and creating an awkward situation for everyone involved). Is your prospect in a position to give a large amount to your cause?
- Affinity: Do they have a connection to your cause? Or do they show an interest in similar causes?
Cultivation & Relationship Management Tips
- Meet in person (if possible). Meeting in person whenever possible is important! Setting up a meeting over lunch or coffee, or inviting your prospect to your office, can help you build a stronger personal relationship with the person you’ll be asking. It’ll also help you read nonverbal cues about whether or not your prospect is interested in your cause and helping with your campaign (which can be much harder to gauge over phone or email).
- Assign one person to manage the relationship. Have one person at your organization be the point of contact for each prospect. This will prevent your prospect from feeling passed-around, having to repeat information, and allow you cultivate a strong personal relationship.
- Use each meeting & phone call for discovery. Find out about your prospect! Learn who they are, what they’re interested in, if there’s a particular aspect of your nonprofit’s work that interests them, and what appeals to them. This will help you finesse your ask!
- Keep it personal. Nonprofits don’t cultivate relationships with business, organizations, or prospects — they cultivate relationships with people. So keep it friendly and personal!
- Track conversations & outcomes. Use that spreadsheet you created! Log phone calls, meetings, emails, and any other contact with your prospect, along with any notes about what was discussed.
Tips for Asking
- Keep your ask open. When you go in with a specific number or way to partner in mind, you may find that the answer is no. Keep the conversation open — try to let your prospect guide the conversation about numbers! And prospects who aren’t able to provide a matching grant this year may be open to partnering with your nonprofit to bolster your #GivingTuesday campaign in other ways (like sharing your campaign, hosting a happy hour event, etc.)
- Pitch it as a mutually beneficial partnership. You’ll need to refer back to what you learned about your prospect through research and in your conversations with them, but use your knowledge to appeal to them! For businesses, for instance, the promise good publicity for their philanthropy is a great way to seal the deal. And for individual donors and board members, the possibility of being able to use their donation to bring in new donors and help build long-term support for your work can be appealing.
- Don’y turn on the pressure. No one likes to be put on the spot or pressured! Keep it friendly, personal and avoid pressuring your prospect. Even if the answer is no, if the experience of working with you was a pleasant one, they may be open to supporting you in the future!
Promoting Your Matching Grant
In order for your matching grant to do its job, you need to promote it! Here’s how to effectively market your matching grant.
Email is one of the biggest drivers of donations on Mightycause, and one of the most important ways you can promote your matching grant. When you have a matching grant available, it should be a centerpiece in your #GivingTuesday email marketing plan.
You should plan at least one email announcing the matching grant, and follow up with reminders in all of your emails about your #GivingTuesday campaign. You can also include it your monthly e-newsletter if you send one! Repetition will make sure it sticks in people’s minds (and give folks on your email list multiple opportunities to learn about the matching grant, in case they missed an email from you.)
Plan on sending an email reminder when you grant becomes active!
If your grantor wants to be acknowledge, make sure you include a link to their business’ website (if they have one) and thank them for generously providing the grant in your emails.
You should plan on scheduling the following posts on social media:
- Announce the match
- Remind your followers about the match (creating a graphic or short video is a great way to grab your followers’ attention)
- Announce when the match begins
While the match is active, post updates on how much you’ve raised and how close you are to meeting the match, and make sure to mention it in every post with a CTA to donate!
On Your Mightycause Page
You should promote your matching grant heavily on your Mightycause page! You can follow the steps in this support article to add your matching grant so it displays on your page.
But don’t stop there! You should also mention it in your story (a graphic is a great, eye-catching way to draw attention to your matching grant), along with the start and end dates. If your grantor is a business or corporate sponsor, you can include a logo and link to their website.
Wrapping Up & Saying Thank You
Once the match is met and your campaign is over, close the loop with your grantor. Share information about how much you raised in total for the day and while the match was active, and don’t be afraid to share specifics! Showing the impact a matching grant had is a great way to motivate a grantor to provide another in the future. Make sure to tie up any loose ends with the grantor quickly, such as providing a letter acknowledging the donation.
A speedy, personal and sincere thank you is key in making the experience of providing a matching grant fulfilling and positive for your grantor! So be sure to thank them — publicly and personally. Here are some excellent ways to say thanks:
- Have your entire staff sign a thank you card
- Create a short video with your staff thanking your grantor for their help (and it doesn’t need to be fancy — a video shot on a smartphone is perfectly fine!)
- Thank them on social media and email
- Have your Executive Director or Development Director treat them to lunch, or at least make a personal call to thank them for their grant
The “thank you” period is the beginning of the stewarding process with your donor — and doing it well is vital to ensuring their ongoing support.