Have you heard about Matching Grants programs? Matching grants are an effective source of funding projects of all sizes, however they appear to be more effective and realistic for smaller size projects, especially the ones with strong community involvement.
When you submit a grant proposal to a funder (private or government), often times you will not hear a definite “no”. Many foundations and government agencies practice matching grant programs, which are often called “challenges” by nonprofits. A grant maker can offer a grant on condition that in order to receive it, the nonprofit organization must raise an equal amount of funds to match their offer.
There are many reasons why grantors offer matching grants. A few examples of these reasons are below:
-The grantor likes the idea of your proposed project, but they also want to know if the community likes it and supports it as well;
-The grantor wants to see if you are capable of raising money yourself to sustain the project;
-The grantor thinks that the funding you are asking for is not sufficient for the size of your project;
-It is a common practice for this grantor to offer such challenges.
Here is an example: a grantor offers you a $10,000 grant to support your project only if your organization fundraises at least $10,000 from other sources (materials and community labor often count). It might sound unrealistic to you at first (and, let’s be honest, you would much rather just get a $20k grant without much pain) but it is doable and is done by organizations every day.
The most common way to receive a matching grant offer is through a standard grant application process. On the other hand, it has been a standard practice for many grantors to initiate contact with nonprofits regarding a matching grant, normally if the organization previously received funding from other foundations. Grant donors who work in the same field of giving communicate and gladly share their experience and practices with each other.
Accept and embrace it as an opportunity! Think about it this way: if your nonprofit successfully raises funds for your project and proves to the donor that you are capable to sustain yourself and meet the matching grant requirements, they may give you a full grant next time when you apply. Always remember, that establishing good connections and relationship with funders is essential for your organization’s success and growth.
Here is a great effective way to raise necessary funds faster rather than going door to door: search for grantors in your area who fund similar causes and apply for their grants. Reach out to several foundations (instead of just one), clearly letting them know in the proposal that you have a matching grant offer, the amount and the name of the grantor. There is a good chance that these foundations will contribute to you simply because their peer already reviewed your project and thought its impact will be beneficial for the community.
It is also important to realize that when you tell your potential donors that you have secured a matching grant, they will donate to your organization more eagerly, knowing that their donations will double the impact.
A lot of work is ahead of you, but the results will be awarding. Best of luck!