Match Your Mission Case Studies Part 2: Kelowna's Gospel Mission

In our last blog post, we touched on how match campaigns work and why they work so well for big organizations like Union Gospel Mission Vancouver. Match campaigns both engage with major donors (encouraging them to up the matching amount) and help grassroots donors feel like they're making a bigger impact. But match campaigns can work just as effectively for smaller organizations too. In this post, we explore how a fairly simple strategy raised close to $30,000 for Kelowna's Gospel Mission.

Kelowna's Gospel Mission

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission (KGM) is a shining example of how matching campaigns can work wonders even for small organizations with less reach than a large charity like UGM. The beauty of match campaigns is that bigger matches aren’t necessarily better.

The match campaign came about through an anonymous donor contributing $15,000 with the hope of encouraging community generosity. With the lessons of UGM’s match campaign fresh in our minds, we quickly went to work on a match campaign for KGM on a smaller scale but with just as much focus on urgency.

KGM’s previous match campaign was for Thanksgiving, executed in September 2014 through; an external online charitable account for individuals.

We wanted to do things differently this time around by creating a distinctive KGM campaign landing page to bring the focus back to supporting the KGM cause. The call to action was simple: “Match Our Mission: Every donation in February will be matched thanks to a generous donor”.

The challenge of matching donations within 30 days again provided that sense of urgency while allocating enough time for donors to give. The match announcement ended on a powerful message: “Please help us turn homelessness into wholeness”; effectively making the appeal about the mission with the added incentive of a matching gift.

As an online campaign, Match Our Mission followed the winning formula of five eblasts, sent throughout the month to KGM’s 2,600 subscribers along with sponsored Facebook posts all pointing to the match campaign landing page. The page itself was tied to the Mission (providing meals for Kelowna’s most marginalized) and the impact a gift can have ($100 gift doubles to $200 which enables us to feed 56 people).

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The effect of this is twofold; demonstrating how the match will multiply the donor’s gift and illustrating the tangible results of that impact. As we have learned and others have pointed out here, match campaigns cannot succeed solely on the doubling effect; the success ultimately lies in the compelling message of change that would be unattainable if not for the donor’s gift.

The Results

On the last day of Match Our Mission, we sent out a final reminder along with a progress report: we needed $2,000 more to reach our match goal of $15,000. This last ask proved to be our most effective (deadlines are motivators to giving) as donors rose to the occasion and made up the $2,000 and then some.

The campaign concluded by exceeding the goal to raise $23,995.99 in web revenue--nine times the amount raised in February of the previous year--amounting to a grand total of $32,858 with an average gift of $148 (a 35% increase from February 2014). In our eyes, this was a huge win for Kelowna Gospel Mission and the people of Kelowna, especially during a historically low season for giving.

The success of KGM’s Match Our Mission campaign shows that match campaigns can work for charities big and small. Ultimately, matching is a win-win as donors can double the impact their gift can have while major donors have the rippling effect of legitimizing the campaign and endorsing that the cause matters to them.

Don’t just take our word for it, Brady Josephson of re: charity writes that match campaigns help tip over those on the fence about giving. It also encourages those planning on giving to give larger gifts.