Personal Philanthropy

Matching Funds as a Private Giving Strategy

Fundraising campaigns can leverage major gifts in several ways. One of the most successful strategies is to issue ‘matching ‘ challenges, where a key donor promises to match funds raised, usually to a specified level and within a certain timeframe. The arts organization can then galvanize their base of smaller donors by telling them that their donations will be doubled if they contribute by a certain date. Some arts organizations have tripled a seed donation by using this leveraging strategy:  i.e., by working a large government grant into the equation along with the large private gift, or finding another private donor or two to match the initial gift if the organization is successful in its campaign with smaller donors.

This fundraising strategy is an excellent approach to building towards a financially secure future while taking care of immediate operational and programming needs. The original gift may be held in a long-term fund, with the matching funds put to immediate use. Arts organizations often find that this approach helps them attract the kind of donor who is interested in building a legacy in the arts world and takes a strategic approach to deploying their philanthropic capital.


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