Learn the catalytic strategies and steps to securing a matching donor in time for the end-of-the-year giving.
Generosity in the US is growing.
GivingTuesday.org estimates that 35 million adults participated in Giving Tuesday in some way (giving gifts of time, skills, goods, advocacy and more) in the US in 2021. That's a 6% increase over 2020. GivingTuesday.org also reports that donations of crypto increased 500% in 2021 over 2020.
Whole Whale, a digital consulting firm, used a linear regression to predict the total market cap on Giving Tuesday, 2022. The number is $3.2 billion USD––an 18% increase over 2021, which was a record-breaking year in its own right at $2.7B.
So, with the total number of philanthropists set to increase, along with the total amount of wealth given, how can you set your organization up to maximize this opportunity? I'll share some ideas in this blog.
What makes a Giving Tuesday campaign successful?
Successful Giving Tuesday campaigns typically meet the following three criteria:
1. Clear fundraising strategy
The clearer the strategy is––internally, among your staff and volunteers, and externally, to your potential donors––the more successful your campaign will be. Donors are more inclined to support an initiative to clean three miles of beach than to just clean an unspecified amount of beach. Likewise, donors will be more likely to donate toward a campaign that has a $30k fundraising goal than to one that has no fundraising goal. Donors are more likely to donate to a campaign that has a target date––like Nov. 29, 2022––than one that doesn't. You get the idea.
2. Good communication
The more points of contact you have with your potential Giving Tuesday donors, the more likely they are to understand your mission, your campaign goals, and how they can partner with you in making a positive impact on the world. Email campaigns, public and private in-person events, online events (like virtual tours or workshops), social media posts, physical mail and website articles and blog posts are all examples of communication-boosting instruments.
3. Use of technology
The reality is that use of technology in the philanthropic space is growing. People are more likely than ever to make electronic donations, including crypto, than ever before. Additionally, they'll want to see real-time campaign progress when they give. Evidence suggests that the more your nonprofit incorporates technology into its fundraising campaigns, the more you'll be able to raise.
The power of matching donors
Donation-matching has become a popular fundraising method, as it engages the high-end and everyday donors alike. The high-end donors, by presenting them with an opportunity to further exercise their generosity to your cause, and the everyday donors, by giving them the opportunity to unlock those matching gifts and double the impact of their generosity.
Three organizations, the University of Georgia, the Alzheimer's Association and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, all raised over $1M USD in a 12-month span by using a corporate donation-matching platform called Double the Donation.
A study performed at Tufts University found that donors are more likely to participate in a donation-matching campaign when they feel both challenged and important. The study presented three scenarios to donors:
- Their donation of $10 USD would unlock a $50 matching donation
- Their donation of $10 USD + someone else's donation of $10 USD would unlock a $50 matching donation
- Their donation of $10 USD + two donations of $10 USD made by other people would unlock a $50 matching donation
This was the donation rate for each scenario:
- Scenario 1: 2.35%
- Scenario 2: 2.34%
- Scenario 3: 3.68%
This shows that donors not only want to feel important to the success of the fundraising campaign, but that they're also stimulated by the challenge of (collectively) meeting a goal.
Why include crypto?
There are several reasons why you should consider including crypto in your donation-matching campaign:
- There are tax benefits to donors of crypto. As we approach Q4, owners of crypto will be looking for opportunities to capitalize on these tax benefits by donating their crypto.
- The majority of the US wealth is held in non-cash assets like crypto. While many people don't have cash to spend on philanthropy, they do have non-cash assets to give. If your nonprofit is set up to receive crypto and other non-cash assets, you have positioned it to receive donations from a broader pool of donors.
- Crypto is an exciting new technology. It's safe, decentralized, and its adoption projects to continue to grow. By including crypto in your Giving Tuesday campaign, you'll be on the cutting edge of adoption among nonprofits.
How to find a matching donor
If you haven't recently, take a look at the gifts your nonprofit has received, and pay close attention to the "giving tiers" that form. These will be different from one organization to the next, but every nonprofit can easily sort their donations into simple categories like large, medium, and small. As a reference, GivingTuesday.org tiers donors into the following categories:
- Micro: Under $100
- Small: $100–$500
- Midsize: $500–$5,000
- Major: $5,000–$50,000
- Supersize: Over $50,000
Once you've recognized your "major" and "supersize" donations––or whatever the largest category might be for your nonprofit––identify the donors making those contributions. They are the biggest believers in your cause, and they are championing it with their wealth. They are your potential matching donors.
Curating a VIP experience for your top donors
Anymore, 85% of your nonprofit's funding will come from the top 15% of your donors. So, if you don't already, consider ways that your nonprofit can create VIP experiences and specialized communication for this community of top donors. Let them in early on your future plans, provide guided tours, share video reports at year's end, give them early access to special events, send them swag bags and give them access to members of your organization's leadership through activities like galas and cocktail hour meet-and-greets. The goal? To make them feel like the highly valuable members of your team that they are.
Once you have engaged your high-end donors through whatever form of VIP experience makes sense for your nonprofit, making an ask to match your Giving Tuesday campaign is a much easier task.
Qualities of the right matching donor
You'll know you've identified the right matching donor if they meet the following criteria:
- They're passionate about the cause: When someone cares, it shows. Read the tea leaves on this one. Do they attend your events? Do they contribute to the cause? Do they network on your nonprofit's behalf? Do they provide counsel or bring ideas to your leadership team? Do they engage with your social media accounts? All of these things are indicators that they're passionate about the world-changing work you do.
- They have wealth to give: Since you obviously don't have the ability to look at your donors' bank accounts, you'll have to infer this information from their previous giving patterns. Have they made large gifts? Have they made regular gifts? Have they made valuable non-cash donations like property, vehicles, or a backup generator? These are indicators that they might have the wherewithal to contribute to your upcoming fundraising campaign as a matching donor.
- They don't want too much control: Donors can be motivated by many things. It's not uncommon for high-end donors to want to sit on the board or hold office within the organization––and perhaps they should! After all, they're some of the greatest supporters of the mission. Just make sure that you're comfortable giving them the influence they expect to receive.
- They're willing to match: Ultimately, every matching donor has to opt in. You'll probably get a few "nos" along the way, and that's ok. Just keep mining your donor base until you find the right fit for your donation-matching campaign.
Types of donation-matching campaigns
Below are a couple of variables that you can explore with your nonprofit. Mix and match until you find the right combination for your organization and your donor base.
1. Pool of matching donors
Donors want to know the maximum matching gift they'll be committing to make at the end of your campaign. What if you get a $10M USD donation? Are they expected to match it?
First of all, procure a predetermined, fixed number of matching donors. For example, target ten of your top donors to match the campaign's total. This way, if the campaign raises $25,000 USD, each donor is only "on the hook" for $2,500.
Note: If you predetermine to have ten matching donors, but only secure eight, you can still have those eight match at a tenth of the campaign total.
2. "Up to" amount
Secondly, determine if you want to cap the matching amount. For example, continuing to play out the scenario from earlier, require those matching donors to match the campaign's total up to $75,000 USD. This way, if your campaign happens to raise $1M USD (which would be amazing!), each of your eight donors are still only "on the hook" for $7,500 USD each (one tenth of $75k USD), and your campaign total will be $1,060,000 USD, including the "matching amount."
This significantly simplifies "the ask," because now you've limited your matching donors' liability to $7,500 USD. It's easier to get a "yes" to that.
3. Fixed duration
Determine ahead of time when your donation-matching campaign will end. For example, you might pick 11:59pm on Tuesday, November 29, 2022 (which is Giving Tuesday). Another option is to make one of your nonprofit's public events the official conclusion of your campaign, where you announce the total amount your campaign has raised.
Fixed duration campaigns also allow you to strategically curate your communications with your donors and potential donors. You can plan a few in-person events, host online seminars, create an email campaign, share updates on social media, and prepare an exciting way of closing the campaign when it ends.
4. All-or-nothing scenario
Another way to reduce your donors' exposure to liability––and simultaneously create an incentive for non-matchers to give––is by making your donation-matching campaign an "all or nothing" scenario. That means that the donor (or donor pool) only matches if half of the goal is raised.
This is especially useful when you have a fixed amount that you need to raise (for example, the price of a new delivery truck at, say, $78k USD). So, if you're raising $78k USD to purchase a new delivery truck for your nonprofit, your donor (or donor pool) is only committed to matching if you manage to raise $39k USD by the end of the campaign.
Making the ask to match
More often than not, two things will be true of your top donors:
- They are individuals who have been successful in their respective fields––that's why they have wealth to give––, and
- they are already passionate about your mission––that's why they're giving their wealth to your nonprofit. They're already "in".
Both being true, they will understand the numbers that support donation-matching as a highly successful fundraising tool––so don't be shy to ask.
Here are three characteristics of a good "ask":
- You state your mission: The day-to-day needs of your nonprofit might change, and get a bit "into the weeds", but your central mission is unwavering. Start your "ask" with a mission statement to help your donors understand how this "ask" fits with the mission that they already support.
Here are some examples of mission statements:
- At PawPalz, our goal is to ensure that every pup who comes to our shelter finds a loving forever home.
- For more than 25 years, our commitment has been to provide pro-bono legal representation and consultation to the homeless community of Ford Heights, IL.
- Our mission is to provide counseling training to educators. Over our ten years of operation, we've trained 4,118 educators from 293 US school districts––impacting an estimated 84,000 students nationwide.
- You make the campaign goals specific: Which campaign would you be more likely to support? One that is raising money for "child health", or one that is raising "$125k USD to provide cancer treatment to five underprivileged children from Phoenix, AZ"? Details matter! The more specific your campaign goals are, the more likely your matching donors are to get excited about it.
Here are some examples of specific campaign goals:
- We can feed each of the 48 children at the orphanage with $2 USD per day. This campaign's goal is to pay for a year's worth of meals, which costs $35,040 USD.
- The goal of this campaign is to raise $400k USD––the estimated cost of the new seminary building, which will allow us to train 50 more students per semester. That's 100 new students per year!
- Our herd of twelve African elephants faces challenges of water scarcity and the threat of poaching every day. This campaign aims to raise $40k USD, which will allow us to hire two full-rangers to maintain the grounds and patrol the property to ensure their health and safety.
- You make details of their participation clear: The more specific your "ask" is, the better your donors understand it, and the more likely they will be to accept your invitation to match. Additionally, for legal purposes, all campaign information (like an all-or-nothing trigger or the campaign's end date) must be clearly stated in your communication with your donors in order to be legally binding. Reach out to your donors with a clear campaign gameplan, and communicate it as plainly and simply as possible.
Here are some examples of clear participation details:
- Please consider matching the campaign's donations up to $7,500 USD.
- The campaign will run through the month of October: from 12:00am on Oct. 1, 2022 until 11:59pm on Oct. 31, 2022.
- Should you accept, you will be committing to match one tenth (1/10) of the total amount raised by the campaign when it ends at 11:59pm, Oct. 31, 2022.
If your "ask" states your mission, and how your Giving Tuesday campaign supports the mission, and if you present specific campaign goals and clear participation details, you can be confident that you're setting your nonprofit up for a great donation-matching campaign. And, in so doing, you'll secure essential funding to continue making the world a better place.