How to Identify a Matching Gift Donor for Year End

A matching gift as part of your year-end appeal is an excellent way to maximize donor involvement.

Take time well in advance of year end to plan. Identify a major donor (an individual, group or business) who will make a significant-sized contribution to your nonprofit by December 31. That sum can be leveraged as a “matching gift” during your year-end appeal series.

Finding, cultivating, and securing a matching gift donor can take some time. Starting the process in early fall or even midsummer is by no means too early – especially if you want to have your matching gift lined up when you begin preparing your appeals come September. Good preparation this far in advance can pay big dividends for your nonprofit.

Identify potential major donors

Use these factors to assemble a list of possible major donors from your data base:

  • supporters who have a passion for your cause
  • supporters with financial means
  • supporters who are on your board
  • supporters who own their own businesses
  • supporters who have invested in your organization regularly
  • supporters who have systematically increased their giving

Ask with professionalism and passion

Approach potential donors one at a time. Make an appointment to personally share with each what’s going on in your organization. Be thorough – take along development tools, such as a PowerPoint presentation, display boards, a new information packet or a recent case statement report. Explain that you’d like to secure a donor for a matching gift appeal.

If the appeal is for a specific project, share your excitement.

Have a figure in mind

Know a ballpark dollar amount that’s reasonable for the size of your nonprofit and the revenue stream you can expect. A donor may want to front the entire gift, or you could approach two or more donors and combine their resources for the match.

Communicate the "win-win" nature of year-end matching gifts

  • Participating donors are motivated. They understand that if they contribute before January 1, they will receive a tax deduction for the year and their gift will have more impact for the organization – twice as much, to be exact.
  • The major donor is encouraged. How gratifying – to know your financial gift inspired like-minded supporters to step up to the plate for an important cause. (Plus, the major donor receives a major tax deduction).
  • Your organization grows. Matching gifts can mean new donors, repeat donors and larger gifts from previous donors.

The biggest winner? The people you serve. They benefit from the services, support and relationships you’re able to provide them because of the matching gift revenue boost. And at the end of the day, that’s what you’re all about, anyway.


More on year-end appeals for your nonprofit

Your year-end appeal fundraising checklist ...

Simple year-end appeal timeline to help you get it all done ...

Use a year-end online appeal to snag last -minute donor gifts ...


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