The challenge is on

May 9, 2012

Recently, our local public radio station offered a challenge in their on-air fund drive.  It generated excitement and the phones rang like crazy. But they fell a bit short.  So they came back on the air, thanked everyone for participating, and then announced that they’d need to offer the funds back.

This week, the lead story in the Chronicle of Philanthropy is about matching grants and challenges.  They question whether the concept is running out of steam. They examine whether we’re being up front about the terms we present to the public. And they offer some common sense advice for doing it right.

Our experience shows that challenges and matches are a powerful way to provide an extra incentive to “give right now.” And we don’t think they’re out of steam yet, even as the technique becomes ever more popular.

Our advice:
Keep it simple. Be rigorously ethical and honest about what actually happens when a donor contributes. Then follow up once it’s over. Tell people how it went, and what the impact was.
Beyond connection to your mission, credibility is your number one asset.  
Would you be pleased to see a story about your campaign on the front page of your local newspaper?  As you make the most of a great opportunity to raise more money, be sure the answer is yes.