Creating a good match between your organization and an appropriate fundraiser will result in a higher return on your time and investment. Not just higher overall donations but higher quality donations, that is from people who will be willing to support you again in the future.

So how do you go about the process of matching? Primarily this is an information gathering and discussion oriented process that occurs during the initial planning stages. This should happen months or even a year or more ahead of the expected date of your fundraising event or program.

The 5 Matching Points:

1. Mission – Consider the mission and purpose of your organization. If you plan a fundraiser that fits well with the mission of the group, a consistent harmony will be created that not only raises money but also supports the cause that your group represents.


Art museum: opening night party, art auction, craft show

School band: special concert

Social Services: Direct gift requests using fundraising letters, a house party or direct
solicitation of key donors.

2. Style – Consider the personal preferences and interests of the members, donors or volunteers in your organization. What type of fundraiser would appeal most to your audience?


Casual: picnic, ice cream social

Formal: gala, dinner

Socialites: gala events, fashion show

Competitive: contests, ticket sales challenges, prizes

Sporty: walk-a-thon, sports tournament

Busy: no-bake bake sale, online sales, direct donation

3. Donation Capacity – One of the most important factors is your audience’s capacity and inclination toward giving. Would they be willing to donate at levels expected for a live auction, formal dinner, or other gala? What ticket price would be appropriate for your audience?

4. Planning Time – How much time will it take to plan the fundraiser? How many months in advance does planning need to begin? How many man hours, by staff and/or volunteers, will be required to plan the fundraiser? If it’s an event, how many volunteers will be needed on the actual day of the event? Evaluate whether your group has the capacity and willingness to devote the time needed for the fundraiser in question.

5. Return on Investment – Does the potential revenue justify the costs that would be incurred by the fundraising program? Will the fundraising event or program bring in much more than what it cost?

Perhaps you’re wondering what weight to give each of these five matching points. It all depends upon what will most benefit and appeal to your audience. Often it’s a combination of factors. The first time a fundraising program or event is used should also be viewed as a learning experience. You’ll likely discover ways to raise more and create an even better match the next year.

Posted on 20 October 2006

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