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How to Organize a Match for GivingTuesday


For organizations that are fundraising, one of the most effective tactics in the GivingTuesday toolbox is “the match” – the limited window creates a sense of urgency to convince a donor to act fast for greater impact. According to Classy’s State of Modern Philanthropy 2021 report, campaigns that leverage donation matching raise three to five times more money than those that do not. Plus, in an increasingly “odd” year-end season, a match could be a great way to activate your major donors. 

Bonus read: How to Engage Your Major Donors During GivingTuesday

What’s a match?

Match funding is an incentive tool that uses the pledge of one person (or group) to inspire other donors to participate and collectively give a specific amount to support an organization or cause. The premise is that every donation made by a supporter is doubled or more. Matches are often either capped at a certain amount or time period; both create urgency, which is critical to a matching challenge.

Matches are a great incentive for donors to give. It doesn’t have to be a lot of money in the match pool.  The ratio of the match doesn’t matter all that much either –  studies show that 100% (1:1) matching ratio (and even ratios as low as 30-50%) are more effective dollar for dollar than higher matching ratios.

recent survey conducted by Double the Donation showed that 84% of donors are more likely to give if a match is offered and that one in three donors is more likely to make a larger gift when a match is applied.

What about those GivingTuesday matches I keep reading about on the Internet?

In honor of GivingTuesday, some companies, like Facebook, have offered matches to any nonprofit on their platform.  These matches can certainly give your campaign a boost, but we strongly encourage you to read all rules and instructions before deciding to participate in one of these programs. In this toolkit, we’re talking about how to secure a dedicated match that will be guaranteed to your organization and its supporters. 


Where to find a matching donor

Major Donors: Take a look back at your largest donors from last year’s event or campaign and give them a call. Pitch the idea of either doubling or tripling the impact of the gift they were probably already planning on making at EOY. You can pool several donors’ gifts together to create one larger matching challenge. See below for a draft email you can send .

Brittany Packnet tweet that says: TIme for another #GivingSpree! Today we can MATCH up to $3500(!) in donations to your local: -food banks -homeless shelters - domestic violence networks Let's make sure our neighbors have what they need. Reply with your donation receipt + link

Board Members: Challenge your board to come together to pool a match fund out of their regular give/get. Ask them if anyone in their network would join in.

Foundations: Ask your current foundation supporters if they’d consider using their discretionary fund to provide a small match to your organization (and all of the other organizations they fund too!)

Vendors/Sponsors: Check in with your vendors or gala sponsors to see if they’d consider putting up a match (see below for a case study from a nonprofit that raised $46,000 against a $17,000 goal by doing this!)

An Influencer or Local Celeb: No, we don’t mean Oprah. We mean a local celebrity or micro-influencer who’s passionate about your cause.

Local Businesses and Corporations: According to Bonterra, during GivingTuesday Week 2023, over 31 million employee-made gifts were matched by participating corporations. These matched donations brought in  $29.7 million in additional funding for nonprofits. On top of that, the average gift made by an employee on the CyberGrants solution during GivingTuesday week was $413, 127% higher than the average gift size across all Bonterra products, $182.  Partnering with local companies and their employees is a huge opportunity for your organization.

How to structure your match for success

There are all kinds of different ways to organize your match. The bottom line is that you should organize your match to in a way that can help you achieve the goal of your #GivingTuesday campaign. For example, with different rules in place, a match campaign can increase the total amount given, the number of givers, and/or the average donation size. Consider these different categories of goals and their implications. Note that the types of goals are not mutually exclusive – a campaign can hit on multiple types of goals. (From The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Matching Grant Playbook)

Goals to Raise Revenue

Goal Example
Increase the Total Amount Given A campaign could establish a fundraising goal with a match amount to be made available if individual donors collectively raise a specified amount
Increase the Total Number of Givers A campaign could be structured with few restrictions, such as being open over an extended period or making a larger match amount available, both of which enable more individual donors to give
Increase the Average Donation Size A match campaign could offer to only match individual donor contributions that are at or above a certain dollar amount, encouraging each individual donor to give more
Unlock Specific Funding Streams A campaign could require a certain amount to be raised in order to unlock funds from different types of revenue sources, such as government grants


Goals to Influence Behavior – More Than Just Writing A Check

Goal Example
Create Repeat Donors A match campaign can offer a % match for a one-time donation or a higher % match for donors who pledge a recurring monthly gift
Target a Specific Audience to

Change the Demographics of Support

A campaign could target a specific geographic area or design its marketing efforts to reach a specific target audience and influence them to get involved with a charity or cause
Increase Other Assets or Capacity

for a Match Recipient

Dollars could be matched every time an individual donor pledges an amount and also provides their email address, increasing the match recipient’s email database.
Develop Match Funder Partnerships A pledged match from a foundation could be used to inspire other high-net-worth individuals or foundations to

pledge as well, and in so doing, establish a meaningful relationship between the new funders and the match recipient

Increase the Distribution of Funding Particularly around events, like GivingTuesday, matches can be structured so that more organizations can be identified and receive funding, allowing donations to spread to more diverse match recipients


Goals to Raise Awareness

Goal Example
Raise Awareness of the Cause / Org. Increase the Community Buy-In A match funder could provide matching dollars based on individual respondents visiting a designated website, making a donation and adding a personal story about why they support the cause
Increase the Visibility of a Funder A match funder seeking to establish their reputation for working with a specific cause could provide an annual matching gift that is recognized with accompanying outreach and messaging

Draft email to send to a potential match provider

Timing: send during early GivingTuesday planning

Subject Line: Can you help us propel momentum on GivingTuesday?


We’re excited to participate in GivingTuesday to help kick-start [ORGANIZATION NAME]’s giving season.

I’m writing to ask for your help as we are thinking about strategies to leverage GivingTuesday to amplify the work of [ORGANIZATION NAME] to new audiences. Research shows that even a small matching or challenge grant makes a big difference with new, lapsed, and younger givers. These are among our key goals on GivingTuesday. We would like to spur additional engagement and attract new supporters with matching funds or a challenge grant.

As a generous supporter, you know how important our work is to the community; we would like to grow our base of individuals who step up to fund our life-changing work. I would appreciate an opportunity to share with you our specific GivingTuesday goals that a matching gift would help us to achieve.

Thank you for being among our most dedicated supporters. Your giving has a significant impact on our mission to [INSERT PHRASE ABOUT YOUR WORK]. I’ll follow up with you to discuss this exciting campaign.

Thank you so much for your commitment to our work!


Case studies

In the Spring of 2020, Project Hope Worldwide had to cancel its gala due to COVID-19. Like many organizations, they raise the bulk of their budget from their gala and were very worried about what fundraising might look like for them this year. The organization called the folks who would have normally sponsored their gala to ask if they’d consider pooling a match fund for their upcoming“Give Hope From Home” #GivingTuesdayNow campaign. This group of major donors enthusiastically pulled together a $17,000 match fund. Paired with a p2p strategy, the match helped Project Hope Worldwide raise $46,000 in 24 hours to support their mission. Learn more about Project Hope Worldwide’s success in our recent interview with their development director.

A GIF with a flag banner at the top and confetti is pouring down across the whole graphic. The text sys: GivingTuesday December 3, 2019, We did it! $7431.67 Parr's will match that with $5,000! #WeMadeJoePayRed Clay Dance Company, an Afro-Contemporary dance company in Chicago, pooled a matching fund from their board of directors for their GivingTuesday 2019 campaign and raised their largest amount ever. They paired their match with a storytelling strategy that showcased stories told from the youth they serve.

Demopolis City Schools Foundation asked their local car wash company to provide a $5,000 match for GivingTuesday 2019. The business owner is well-known in the community, so they came up with a campaign to inspire folks to “Make Joe Pay.” In a rural town of 7,500, they raised $7,700. The match yielded them a grand total of $12,700. Amanda Barnes, their single part-time staff person says that “community members came to drop off checks all throughout the day – it was a little bit of work to put together but it was a lot of fun and totally worth it.”

Can't get enough about matches?

Big Tips for Securing Matching Funds (The Seattle Foundation)

Your Guide To #GivingTuesday Matching Funds (Global Giving)

The Matching Grants Playbook (The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation)

Prep Now for GivingTuesday Matching Donations (Wired Impact)


Other ways to access a match

Get signed up with your local GivingTuesday movement! Often, the leaders of these campaigns organize matches, prizes, or contests for your geographic area or issue area. They’re also a joy to be a part of. 11 out of 10 people recommend participating in GivingTuesday with their local community movement!