By Ed Gairdner, COO of The Good Exchange

These days, charities and other good causes face stiff competition for support and are often tasked with bridging the gaps left by cuts to local government budgets. Efficient fundraising and collaboration, where like-minded organisations join forces to address areas of local need, are therefore more important than ever. An approach I always suggest to organisations familiar with these challenges is match funding, which has been proven to add significant value to charitable fundraising efforts. The key benefits are two-fold: boosting the amount of money raised and encouraging greater collaboration in the process, which increases the likelihood of projects achieving full funding and enhances the overall impact.

Here’s how it works: A funder or donor offers their money as a match funding grant, where it is matched on a £1 for £1 basis, doubling the amounts raised on an applicant organisation’s project and incentivising people to fundraise and to give more.

They are also encouraged to do so more quickly to enable their chosen charities and good causes to benefit from the doubling of grants and donations before the fund runs out. Money isn’t always just doubled, we’ve seen match funding campaigns where multiple funders have joined together to triple the amount raised from each individual donation or fundraising activity!

By uniting funders and the fundraising public in a collaborative drive around a social cause or local need, the match funding approach also encourages charitable projects to utilise multiple sources of funding rather than relying on grants alone. Match funding has also been shown to increase the average donation size, encouraging backers to give money beyond their budgets for philanthropy, given the potential for boosting the end-result.

Funders are quickly realising the benefits of collaborating and offering innovative ways of allocating their grants through match funding of donations via fundraising and crowdfunding platforms. They can drive additional grants as well as engage donors and fundraisers, to benefit a much wider pool of charities and community organisations. The ‘platform era’ is making this all possible, facilitating collaboration by groups of funders who can join forces to rapidly and proactively identify and provide funding to those in need, even if they did not previously know each other.

As funders rarely cover 100% of any project’s costs on their own, by sharing funding information more easily and transparently and offering grants and donations as matched funds, these technology-enabled collaborative networks of funders can ensure projects are fully funded without the need for multiple applications. This could make all the difference between a small charity continually struggling to pay the bills and facing closure, to being able to deliver its core service well into the future. Combine this approach with match funding, which provides a compelling motivation, and you have a proven recipe for fundraising success.

Indeed, the numbers speak for themselves. The Rosemary Appeal, for example, raised more than £1.8m from public donations, boosted by match funding grants, which drove charitable giving to the appeal and contributed significantly to the charitable project achieving full funding. Charities including the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) are also embracing this approach and have gained access to new funders and taken advantage of match funding grants to raise money much more quickly. A local business named them charity of the year and its employees undertook several fundraising activities including BBQs and a marathon. The money raised was then matched with a match funding grant, doubling the money available. This enabled the NRAS to raise funds over a short space of time and maintain their free of charge telephone-based help-line for adults (and their relatives) who have Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and for the children and the parents of children diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA).

We’ve seen time and again the effectiveness of match funding in maximising the ultimate impact of charitable grants. It acts as a powerful incentive to drive public engagement and donations, and what’s more, if offered through an online technology platform that automatically manages all the matching calculations and distribution of matched funds, it is an approach that can be adopted simply and easily and we would encourage all grant givers that want to incentivise the charitable causes they fund to do more to drive their own income and fundraising charities that want to increase donor and fundraiser engagement, to look at using it.