Record High Donations Fuel 2019 #ILGIVE Matching Grants Program
Posted Jan 31, 2020
The seventh year of the Coleman Foundation’s #ILGIVE Matching Grants Program resulted in record fundraising by participating non-profit organizations. Seventy Foundation grantees collectively raised over $3.1 million during the program period which ran from November 1 to December 3 of last year. The Foundation awarded matching grants which totaled $715,800, the highest amount in program history.
Through seven years of matching awards the Coleman Foundation has created incentives for its grantees to learn how to raise funds from individuals in new ways, especially online and via social networks. In the face of last year’s estimate by the Giving USA Foundation that charitable giving by individual Americans in 2018 suffered its biggest drop since the Great Recession of 2008-09, the Foundation committed significantly greater resources to its matching grants activities.
In 2013, the Coleman Foundation began experimenting with different forms of matching grants on and around Giving Tuesday in an effort to identify match structures that more effectively aided its grantees in raising funds and helped it to more efficiently use its own resources. Through experience informed by the work of its grantees and associated research efforts, it has deployed matching grant dollars to generate donations for its grantees at higher rates.
Organizations were invited last fall to choose one of two matching grant offers to make to prospective donors. Each offer would promise a match by the Foundation of a gift that met or exceeded a specific dollar amount or “threshold.” These thresholds were identified based on research tests conducted as part of the Foundation’s 2017 matching grants program.
In the first offer, the Foundation would provide a $1,250 matching gift for up to ten gifts to the nonprofit of $1,250 or more. This relatively high match threshold, providing an incentive to donors to make larger gifts to an organization, was projected by researchers to result in the greatest amount of total funds collected in a matching grants campaign.
The second offer was positioned to result in the greatest number of donors who would give more than they would have if no matching offer was available. Under this scenario, the Foundation would match at $175 any donations of $175 or more which are received by the non-profit organization. In both scenarios, Foundation awards would be capped at $12,500 per organization.
Each of these threshold matches were set at levels intended to motivate donor behavior. Prior research indicated that dollar-for-dollar matches are unnecessary and, in many cases, depress donation levels. Donors may have an intended amount in mind that they wish the nonprofit to receive. The availability of a dollar-for-dollar match often results in them giving less, often half, of what they might otherwise donate.
33 organizations chose the $1,250 gift threshold and 37 chose the $175 threshold. 41 organizations reached the $12,500 cap (28 of whom chose the $1,250 threshold). The 4:1 ratio of funds raised from donors to the Foundation’s total matching grant payout (derived from $3.1 million in gifts made to 70 grantees and $715,800 in matching grants awarded to them) represented the highest (i.e. most efficient) match ratio in the history of the program.
The Coleman Foundation’s matching grant recipients for the 2019 program are as follows:
Almost Home Kids
The Arts of Life
Aspire of Illinois
Association for Individual Development
Avenues to Independence
Barbara Olson Center of Hope
Children’s Oncology Services, Inc.
Cancer Support Center
Cancer Wellness Center
Center for Enriched Living
Center for Independence through Conductive Education
Center for Independent Futures
Chicago Artists Coalition
Designs for Dignity
Easterseals Metropolitan Chicago
Economic Awareness Council
Elim Christian Services
Esperanza Community Services
Fox Valley Hands of Hope
Gateway to Learning
Gilda’s Club Chicago
Good Shepherd Manor
Helping Hand Center
Home of Hope of the Rock River Valley
Latino Alzheimer’s Alliance
Leukemia Lymphoma Society – Illinois Chapter
Leukemia Research Foundation
Little City Foundation
Maine-Niles Association of Special Recreation
Oak-Leyden Developmental Services
Our Place of New Trier
Park Lawn Association
Shore Community Services
Soaring Eagle Academy
St. Coletta’s of Illinois
STARS Family Services
Teaching Together Chicago (Center for Independence through Conductive Education)
The Douglas Center
Turning Pointe Autism Foundation
Twist Out Cancer
UCP Seguin of Greater Chicago
Urban Autism Solutions