How to Source the Right Donation Match Partner for Your Nonprofit

7 min
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Korrin Bishop

Donation matching is a powerful way to inspire your supporters to give. While many nonprofits think of donation matching as a year-end effort or something for which you need a major corporate sponsor, sourcing the right matching partner can happen year-round and leverage a variety of partners.

 Don’t Let These 8 Donation Match Myths Hold You Back

In this post, we’ll walk you through the different types of donation match partners and how to leverage your existing relationships to find the right one for your organization. We’ll also cover how to frame your pitch to a new match partner and align your expectations upfront to ensure a successful campaign.

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1. Explore Donation Matching Partner Types

The first step to securing the right donation match partner is to decide which type you want to pursue. Each has its own pros and cons.

Corporate

A corporate matching partner involves collaborating with a large business.

Given their generous budgets, if you’re able to secure a corporate matching partner, they may be able to offer a pretty sizable donation. Since today’s consumers are demanding more social responsibility and impact from the companies they support, brands also often already have giving programs established for cross-collaboration, so you won’t necessarily be pitching them a new idea.

However, corporations also receive many requests for support from nonprofits, so it can be more difficult to make your proposal stand out, especially if you’re a smaller organization with less audience reach.

Download the Guide to Pitching Corporate Sponsors

Small Business

A small business matching partner is typically a local or regional company within your service area. Think local boutiques, accounting firms, or restaurants, for example.

These businesses can be easier to reach than corporations because they receive fewer proposals overall and already have a shared interest in serving your community. Positive publicity through a partnership with your nonprofit can also have an even greater impact for them locally. If you’ve already partnered with local businesses before, there’s the added benefit of having a foot in the door before making your matching ask.

Learn How To Tap Into Local Partnerships

However, since they’re smaller, their philanthropy budgets likely are, as well. They may not be able to offer a large matching amount, which could leave you needing to find an additional partner. Depending on the size of your community, you may also have fairly limited options for small businesses to ask, and they may already be committed to other local nonprofits.

Influencer

An influencer matching partner is an individual with a large social media following.

Given their wide audience reach, influencers may be able to use crowdfunding to establish your matching fund. This means that rather than them personally providing the matching funds, they ask their audience to chip in what they can. Once that amount is raised, you can use it to match donations to your campaign. This can be a great way to get more people interested in your cause while securing your matching funds.

There’s no guarantee, however, that the influencer will be successful with their crowdfunding efforts. Just like with any fundraiser, you’ll need to invest the time and effort to equip them with the tools they need and empower them to be as successful as possible.

What You Need in Your Nonprofit’s Fundraiser Toolkit

Major Donor

This type of individual matching partner is a high-tier donor who can donate a match amount in full.

If you’ve already been cultivating your relationships with major donors to your nonprofit, this might be an easy ask to make. If a donor was already interested in making a large gift, they may appreciate knowing you’ll use it to double the impact of each dollar. This could be the selling point you need to secure the gift.

However, not all nonprofits have connections to major donors, especially if they’re still newer. In addition, building these types of donor relationships takes time, so you may find it’s too early to ask an individual for that level of support.

Multiple Individual Donors or Partner Organizations

While finding one major donor to front your match can be a great strategy, you don’t have to rely on just one match donor or big partner. Instead, you can leverage multiple individual gifts to create a match that drives urgency and draws other donors off the sidelines. 

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If you’re having a hard time gathering the full match amount you need from one business or person, consider combining donations from different sources. This can be a handful of different donors, a combination of a local business and an influencer, or any number of collaborations. Knowing you can mix and match funds to support your matching efforts can help you to leverage match funds year-round for a variety of campaigns.

2. Leverage Existing Relationships

As you’re deciding which type of matching partner you want to pursue, take some time to review your current partnerships with both businesses and individuals. Make a list of those who might be interested in expanding their relationship with your nonprofit and increasing their impact.

When having these conversations with existing partners, always start by thanking them for the support they’ve offered previously and review some of the ways their support specifically made an impact. You can tell a story of a client who benefited from your services, for example, or highlight key data on your activities from the past year. Once you’ve thanked them and demonstrated your value, explain how a matching donation can create an even greater impact through each dollar after your successful campaign. 

You can also highlight how you’ll include your partner in your publicity when talking about potential matching funds. If individual donors would rather not have attention drawn to them, let them know they can be framed as an anonymous matching partner.

3. Make Your New Partner Pitch

If you’ll be making a pitch to a brand new potential partner, first ask key people in your network for relevant introductions. Does a board member know someone at the corporation you want to contact? Does one of your local partners already work with an influencer you’d like to ask? Leverage those connections to get your foot in the door.

You’ll also want to have a pitch deck ready. A pitch deck is a handout, slide presentation, or combination of materials that you’ll give a potential partner that makes the case for your ask. You’ll want to include things like:

  • Your nonprofit’s mission, vision, and values
  • Stories and data showing your impact to date
  • What your ask is and the impact it will have
  • What you’re willing to offer the partner in return

Consider including different match levels the partner can select, with your offered incentives increasing with the match amount.

Above all, remember that storytelling is a powerful tool. Use it to inspire your potential partners and sell the vision of what their support would mean for your cause.

Free Download: The Guide to Nonprofit Storytelling

4. Align Your Expectations Upfront

Once you’ve found an interested partner, ensure they are the right partner for your campaign by aligning on your expectations upfront. 

Plan to ask questions such as:

  • What does the partner expect from our nonprofit? What do we expect from the partner?
  • How many social media or newsletter mentions are we expected to share that highlight our partner?
  • Will our partner help us share the campaign through their social media channels?
  • Does our partner want to have their logo on our website or any other materials? Will our logo appear on theirs?
  • How will we measure success? Does our partner require any specific reporting?
  • How will we protect the identity of our matching partner if they wish to remain anonymous?

Having open, clear communication from the start demonstrates to both you and the partner that this relationship is a good fit. 

Find the Right Matching Partner for Your Nonprofit Through Effective Research and Pitching

Finding the right matching partner for your nonprofit can take your campaigns to the next level. By conducting some initial research and tapping into your network, you’ll be well on your way to securing a valuable relationship.

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