Underwriters vs. Matching Gifts

May 23rd, 2017

handshakeDo you host a banquet, gala, or dinner annually to raise funds for your organization? If you use AttendEasy, the answer to that question is most probably, of course! These events exist to not only raise funds for your organization but to reach new ministry partners as well.

A common approach among many organizations is to seek underwriters and/or sponsors for the event. This makes sense as it takes the burden off your shoulders as you plan. You then know that all funds raised that evening go straight to the cause and not the event. We’re writing today to bring you a different perspective on this common practice…

Have you ever heard of a matching gift given to an organization? Maybe yours has even gotten one. You know, where you have a sum of money provided by partners and they will “match” any donation from others up to a certain amount? We hear it during radiothons a lot: “We have a partner willing to match any donation of $300 or more made within the next 30 minutes.”

Matching gifts can be incredibly useful at your event. Not only that, but statistics show that they actually increase the money raised that night significantly.

Your ministry partners want to make a difference with their giving.

Let’s try this on for size: When I (as a dinner guest) hear you tell me that the event has been underwritten and completely paid for, the financial need is no longer relevant. My perception has changed to indicate that your organization does not need my money–or at least as much–since you just told me that you have very wealthy partners able to pay for this multi-thousand dollar event. So while I am so happy that an organization I support has the money it needs to continue the cause, my $50 monthly commitment now seems negligible or less wanted.

So let’s try a different perspective.

When I (as a dinner guest) hear you tell me that your organization has a ministry partner willing to match any gift of $600 ($50/month) or more, my ears perk up. This means that if I commit to a $50 monthly gift, the organization will actually get $100 a month because of the match, which will allow you to serve even more people!!!

With matching gifts, your dinner guests are challenged to give—often more—than what they initially planned. Think about it. If you typically donate $500 to an organization in a year and you were just told that if you increase your donation by just $100, the organization will actually gain $1,200, wouldn’t you consider it?

Now, you may be wondering: How do you get these “matching gifts”? Easy. The same way you got your underwriters. Ask.

If you have a few major ministry partners who tend to help underwrite your major events, simply ask them if they would be willing to give the same amount (or more) in order to challenge others at the event to give more. You can list these people and businesses in the program as a “Ministry Partners” (instead of “Sponsors” or “Underwriters”) and your organization will still receive the funds. It simply changes how you approach the ask at your event.

I hope this simple change helps your ministry thrive, having the capacity to serve more because of increased giving.

Andrea Trudden
Andrea Trudden

 

This article was developed with input from Jim Dempsey, National Director for Fund Development for Campus Ministry of Cru. Jim has helped ministries plan over 2,500 dinners and has seen this approach greatly increase giving at these events. To learn more, please contact Jim via email at jim.dempsey@cru.org.

 

Photo credit: Designed by Freepik

 

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