Monday, 17 November 2014

A perfect match

Heard of matched funding? It’s when an organisation or person offers to match gifts that donors make with their own donations. When we give £10 to a cause they also give £10 to the cause.
A number of non-profit organisations have made use of matched funding, for example:
I have a digital fundraising idea that puts a twist on matched funding. I want to focus on a perspective that we rarely hear about: the view of the matcher. They gain satisfaction from inspiring others in philanthropy and from seeing their resources multiplied.
But why do we only offer this opportunity to a few? What if we could all lead others in giving?
That’s the core of my idea. I see four stages to it:

Stage 1 - a need arises

Imagine we work for a charity with a focus on global poverty. Zimbabwe is suffering in drought. Farmers are struggling to grow crops for food. Our charity has enough irrigation expertise to help, but needs financial resources to act.

Stage 2  - a donor becomes a leader

Karim has been a donor to our organisation for many years. He gives £50 per month via direct debit. We email Karim, and many others like him, with a question - will they make a donation? Their gift will help these farmers, and provide matched funds that inspire others to give.
It’s March -  one of the months when council tax isn’t due. Karim has some spare money. He is inspired by the need and makes a donation of £300 to our fund for matching gifts.

Stage 3 - a leader inspires others

In October we run a major campaign highlighting the drought and subsequent food shortages in Zimbabwe. We articulate a key message: matched funding is available, so every donation you make is doubled.
Rissa is touched by what she sees. She’s also impressed by how far her money will stretch. She makes a donation of £50, which she sees become £100 thanks to Karim.

Stage 4 - a leader rewarded

We send Karim an automated update about Rissa’s gift. It uses striking graphics to illustrate the impact of his donation. So far £250 of his gift has been used, inspiring gifts of £250 more from nine other people. He’s found this immensely rewarding - he never realised he could lead others in generosity.

That’s the idea: a group of regular donors who discover another dimension to giving, and a group of new supporters who follow their example.

Adopting this approach to matched funding clearly requires more administrative effort than the established model. However, this work can be avoided by building a reusable engine to track the funds and automate the donor updates.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet me.

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting idea James; it's exciting to think how much Karim will be inspired in the future to give again. I know I made my first gift to my HE institution purely because they said it would be matched.

    I'm curious, how did your train of thought go that you came up with the idea?