Dresher Foundation: Matching and challenge grants

“We do a lot of matching and challenge grants with our operating support,” says Robin Platts, executive director of the Dresher Foundation. “We'll give an organization $60,000 now, and when it raises another $30,000, we'll give it another $30,000.” Dresher often stipulates terms of the match, such as that it has to be new donors, or it has to be specifically money raised or contributed by the organization’s board, or wherever the foundation perceives that there's a weakness in the organization’s fundraising that could be strengthened. “We outline the parameters for what the match or the challenge could entail, so it’s not just a quick fix,” says Platts. “For example, if we agree that the board needs to build its fundraising capacity, having one board member help with a grant isn’t necessarily meeting that criteria. And it’s not really building capacity long-term. We believe using a match or a challenge as a capacity building tool requires careful crafting.” The Dresher Foundation finds that this can be especially helpful in building fundraising capacity for smaller nonprofits. “For any nonprofits that face immediate cash flow challenges, it can be hard to focus on the long-term fundraising strategy,” says Platts.

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