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How To Hook the Perfect Major Donor for Your Matching Gift Campaign

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How To Hook the Perfect Major Donor for Your Matching Gift Campaign

A matching gift campaign needs committed major donors -- like this one, shaking the hand of the person across the table.


Nonprofits are often tasked with "doing more with less." As need rises and the funding landscape shifts time and again, it's more important than ever that organizations diversify their revenue streams. This means getting creative and figuring out how to leverage every dollar into more.

A matching gift campaign is a great way to tackle this issue. The idea is simple: you can entice donors to give by telling them that every dollar they donate will be matched by another entity. This can be a corporation or sponsor – or it can be a single individual who donates a large sum for the purpose of serving as a matching gift.

But how do you make this happen? Where are these donors willing to back your campaign this way??

Well, there's a really, really good chance they're already on your list of supporters.

Securing a Major Donor for Your Matching Gift Campaign

What constitutes a major donor will vary from organization to organization. For example, if most of your donations are below $100, then someone who makes a $500 donation is a major donor for your organization. For another nonprofit, that threshold might be $1,000, $10,000, or more.

Look for a major donor who either hasn't given at all this year, or one who might be willing to give an additional gift. Try to spot a major donor who typically gives at year-end – you can approach them before they've made their annual gift.

Don't overlook your board members or volunteers. You already know they support your work, and they generally have a good idea of the financial need. If they've given before, approach them directly. If not, a general call to action for the whole board or volunteer base is appropriate.

Approach Your Major Donor

When you engage in conversation with a potential matching gift donor, lead with the benefits to them. They obviously care about the work your organization does, so remind them of all the ways their donation will further your mission. Show them the increase in impact their funds will have when they're doubled through a matching gift.

Make it clear that providing a matching gift is an opportunity for your major donor to multiply their impact. Not only are they giving you funds, but they'll be encouraging others to match their efforts, as well. 

And every matching gift that helps expand your individual donor program is a step closer to financial sustainability for your nonprofit.

Give Them a Timeline

Help your donor move from interest to action by giving them a timeline of your campaign – including a deadline for their decision. 

You'll play into the feeling of exclusivity by giving your major donor a deadline. Let them know you understand if they need time to think about it, so you'll give them until the deadline before moving onto another potential donor on your list. 

But don't make it sound punitive! If they hesitate to participate in your matching program this year, thank them for their consideration and make sure they know that another opportunity will come around next year. 

Communicate & Celebrate!

Follow-up is one of the most important pieces of any giving campaign. Unfortunately, it's also one of the most overlooked. 

Never forget to update and continue to thank both your major donor and everyone else who contributed to your fundraising campaign. Celebrate with them when you meet your goal, and send updates and impact stories throughout the year.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

Matching funds are a slam dunk when it comes to making your funding stretch further and further. All you need is one donor willing to back your campaign.

It’s a win/win for both you and your donor – so don’t be afraid to ask!


Don’t miss the expanded version of this article and many more resources when you join NPO Centric’s membership program for nonprofit leaders! >>