BDI Strategist/Account Director, Amanda Kirby

QUICK SHOT: Increase the Impact of Your Nonprofit Matching Challenge

5 steps to make the most of this fundraising opportunity!

By Amanda Kirby, Strategist/Account Director

Looking for a powerful strategy to pair with your next nonprofit fundraising appeal? Try a nonprofit Matching Challenge campaign! Whether you want to tackle the “summer slump” of falling donations, or inspire increased generosity at the end of the year, a Matching Challenge offer can help.   

Don’t let the work of securing a matching gift deter you! The payoff is well worth the investment of your time and energy. In fact, Matching Challenge campaigns consistently see a higher response rate AND higher average gift than their non-Match alternatives

Wondering how to boost your upcoming nonprofit Matching Challenge campaign? Here are 5 steps to make the most out of this critical fundraising opportunity!

1. First step, done!

Good news – securing and promoting your Matching Challenge means you are already set up for success! Once you’ve secured a challenge gift, a Matching Challenge campaign provides a strong motivator to the donor. What’s not to love about your gift going even further to help those in need?

Unsure about whether to proceed with a Matching Challenge or not? Check out my colleague Matt Rayburn’s Quick Shot to see why Matching Challenges work better than campaigns without a match offer!

2. Make it multi-channel

There’s a ton of opportunity to share this nonprofit Matching Challenge campaign with donors and even prospects. BDI recommends a multi-channel approach to increase the impact of this offer: 

  • In Direct Mail, don’t be afraid of the Follow-Up! A follow-up appeal to your Matching Challenge campaign can boost net revenue and ROI. 
  • When considering Digital touchpoints, eAppeals and website communications are key.
    • Make sure the Matching Challenge opportunity is prominent on your home page AND donation page. 
    • Consider a website lightbox for a low-cost way to really boost this message. 
    • And of course, make sure to share this campaign on your organic social media channels
  • Promoting this Matching Challenge in Digital Media channels like Facebook and Display is also a good way to acquire donors outside of the heavy fall fundraising months. 

For BDI’s client partners, the BDI Academy Library offers several resources – including thank you letters, a press release and strategy guide – to support your nonprofit Matching Challenge campaign.

3. Bold, clear message

A Matching Challenge can be a difficult concept to explain, and different matching gifts may have different parameters. (Is this a Matching “Challenge” where the donor is challenging other donors to match this gift? Or is it a true “Match,” meaning your organization will receive the entirety of the gift only if donors raise a certain dollar amount?) 

Clarity and truthfulness in communication is a MUST. We must balance this transparency with a clear and easy-to-digest message from the matching donor. 

But how?

  • Consider clear headlines and statements.
  • Use graphics that represent the donor’s gift going even further to communicate this message quickly, especially in Digital.
  • Make sure your letter clearly outlines the details of your Matching Challenge campaign.

If your organization follows certain accreditations such as ECFA or Citygate, it’s always a good idea to review against their guidelines as well. 

4. Expand your audience

Did you know the average monthly donor doesn’t just give once a month? That’s right! On average, monthly donors give 13-14 gifts per year. A Matching Challenge is a great way for these Monthly Donors to see their extra gift go even further. 

Consider reaching Mid-Level and Major Donors, especially if you have a large goal for your Matching Challenge. 

And there’s also the opportunity to target Lapsed Donors – consider including reactivation in your Matching Challenge strategy to help re-engage donors who may no longer be on your Active Donor file.  


For more information on how to maximize your nonprofit Matching Challenge campaign, download our FREE GUIDE with even more tips and multi-channel ideas to increase your impact.

As always, BDI’s team of expert fundraisers is eager to help you reach your goals and increase your impact – and a Matching Challenge offer is a great tool to do just that. If you’re interested in learning how these campaigns can benefit your organization, and the next steps to make it happen, I’d love to share more! My inbox is open for any nonprofit Matching Challenge questions you have.

Check out last week’s Quick Shot – “Guest Article: Why Are My Donors Leaving?”

  • Amanda Kirby, Account Executive

    Amanda Kirby, Strategist/Account Director

    Amanda Kirby has more than 12 years of marketing and fundraising experience, bringing the same detailed eye, strategic insight and heartfelt support to everything she does with the BDI team and the incredible clients we serve. Amanda started her agency career serving large national brands like Honda and Acura before moving on to manage key marketing efforts for a community developer in Los Angeles. Since then, she found her calling working with nonprofits and faith-based organizations, including Rescue Missions, The Salvation Army, Food For The Poor and World Vision.

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