Matching Gift Campaign Success Stories

Matching gift campaigns are a highly effective tactic to encourage donor giving. They help donors feel their gift has a bigger impact while adding urgency because they contain deadlines. Sanky has seen strong success with a variety of different kinds of matches, including:

  • Anonymous donor matches
  • Board/trustee challenges
  • Major donor matching gift
  • Celebrity matches
  • Corporate matches

Promotion of the match can be tailored to fit the specific terms of the gifts (challenge match, dollar-for-dollar match, etc). Depending on the available amount and time of year, campaigns can range from one day, to a few days, to a few weeks or more.

Often major donors feel pride that their gift is helping inspire others to give as part of a unified campaign. For corporations, their brand and social impact gets significant exposure across web, email, and social platforms. For board members, it’s a way for their annual contribution to have a greater impact.

Regardless of the terms of the matching gift offer, Sanky believes a match spurs giving, especially as part of a holiday or year-end campaign.

Below are a few examples of match campaigns that Sanky has developed in the past.

Anonymous donor match

This integrated campaign for Episcopal Relief & Development focused on an anonymous matching gift challenge to help fund preventative care provided through their “nets for life” malaria prevention program. It used the matching gift language to inspire giving around Pentecost as well as Malaria Day. The foundation matching the gift wanted to remain anonymous so the language explained that the gift came from a “generous anonymous donor” and that all donations made by the deadline would be matched, up to $200,000. Language focused on urgency and the importance of their program in saving lives.


Result: The addition of a match increased online revenue by 350% and gifts by 560% over the prior year campaign!

Celebrity donor match

In June 2016, the African Wildlife Foundation ran a highly successful spring matching gift campaign. It ran in two phases –– first, a cultivation phase directing to a landing page detailing the sniffer dog program and inviting visitors to meet the dogs. Then, a match phase with an email appeal “from the desk of” actress and animal activist Candice Bergen. The combination of an interactive landing page and a matching gift opportunity from a celebrity provided a strong incentive for giving, and spurred the most successful spring campaign to date.


Result: Year-over-year income increased 150-200% for the months when the campaign ran.

Visit the landing page

Corporate match

Running over July 4th weekend, this 72-hour digital campaign was centered on a Delta matching gift. It linked the concept of Independence Day with the modern-day problem of human trafficking for Covenant House. The Delta brand was featured on the website –– homepage slider, fundraising modal, and donation form –– in all emails, and on all social properties for the duration of the campaign.


Result: This campaign helped boost revenue in early July, a time that traditionally is slow for fundraising.

One-day Match

On Black Friday, the African Wildlife Foundation ran a one-day matching gift social challenge asking people to donate instead of shopping on the biggest retail shopping day of the year. For every gift made, an anonymous donor would make a $50 contribution with an overall goal of 200 donations. Our in-house creative team used playful puns and stunning visuals to emphasize the match opportunity and remind people of the importance of wildlife protection.


Result: The campaign achieved its goal and, as a result, Black Friday was the biggest day for social giving of the year (even beating revenue brought in on December 31). This campaign was also awarded the 2017 Internet Advertising Competition Award for Best Nonprofit Social Campaign.

Laura Cole
Megan Quellhorst


Laura Cole
Megan Quellhorst

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