Brewer Direct

Matching Challenges: The Secret to Maximizing Donations

Matching Challenges: The Secret to Maximizing Donations

The Nonprofit Marketing Experts

If you’ve been scratching your head in an effort to dream up a creative way to entice donors, you need to consider matching challenges, a proven means of doing so.  

The premise of a matching challenge is simple: present potential donors with a set length of time in which a donation will be worth double what it otherwise would be.  Matching challenges involve donations which can be used to encourage giving from others. There is also typically a set donation goal to be reached within this window of time.

Why do matching challenges work?

What often makes matching challenges so successful is the specificity of the fundraising goal to be reached and the length of time in which to reach it.  Offering further data regarding potential outcomes with these matching funds can also increase the effectiveness of a matching challenge, motivating donors who normally choose not to take action and those who usually contribute to give even more!

At Brewer Direct, we found out just how much more effective matching challenges can be: in comparing a 2015 control offer with a matching challenge the following year, the results were impressive, as you can see below.

                                                                                               Response                                    Avg. Gift                                         Net Revenue/Piece

2015 Control Offer                                                              6.94%                                        $41.86                                                                 $2.38

2016 Matching Challenge                                                 8.27%                                        $52.40                                                                 $3.80

In the end, our matching challenge yielded a $1.42 net revenue increase per piece!

Dean Karlan, in his article “Small Matches and Charitable Giving: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment” in the Journal of Public Economics arrives at the same conclusion.  For instance, a study similar to the one outlined above resulted in an increase in donors by nearly a quarter and 18% more in donations compared to an identical campaign.

Understanding the efficacy of matching challenges is only the beginning – how do you put together a compelling campaign, including clearly communicating your goal to your donor base?

We’ve distilled the process of creating an effective campaign down to just three steps. Check out our Putting Together a Matching Challenge Campaign in 3 Steps blog to learn more!

For a more in-depth discussion of Matching Challenges, take a look at our latest Direct Edge post.


-Lolly Columbo

VP Client Service


For 30 years, Lolly has been on the front lines with some of the most recognizable charities such as The Salvation Army, Operation Blessing International, CBN and others. Lolly brings a wealth of experience in direct response, Spanish marketing and broadcast to make her an invaluable asset when it comes to serving her clients’ fundraising needs.


To reach out to Lolly, click here.