Advancing its goal to help grantees explore new fundraising strategies, The Coleman Foundation recently awarded a sum of $588,000 to forty-eight Illinois non-profit organizations across the Foundation's three program areas as part of its 2015 #ILGive for Giving Tuesday Matching Grants Program. Giving Tuesday, which occurred last year on December 1, 2015, is a national day of giving celebrated on the first Tuesday after the Thanksgiving holiday.
This was the third consecutive year in which the Foundation provided grantees with a matching gift incentive to drive gifts from individual donors on Giving Tuesday. Matching grants in these three years now total $1.25 million.
Informed by the experiences of grantees during Giving Tuesday campaigns in 2013 and 2014, the Foundation structured a matching grant opportunity for 48 invited grantees. The Foundation offered to match donations which were made online on December 1, 2015 to the degree to which the gift exceeded the donor’s largest single donation (made on or offline) in 2014, up to a set maximum to each organization. For example, if a donor who had made two gifts of $100 and $50 during 2014 made a $175 gift online on December 1, 2015, the Foundation matched $75 of the gift -- the difference between the gift amount ($175) and the baseline, the donor's largest gift of last year ($100). Donations received by individuals who had not previously given to the organization were matched dollar-for-dollar.
The 48 participating organizations raised just over $1.2 million from 5,175 donors. Nearly a third of total funds were raised from over 2,500 new donors. As the intended impact of the program is for participating organizations to increase their capacity to raise funds from individual contributors using online methods, particularly through social media channels, one story shared by a participating organization was particularly compelling :
"Giving Tuesday and the Coleman Foundation challenge really pushed us to look at a more varied approach to communicating our story. So we not only shared the opportunity for the matching grant in our traditional annual fund mailing, but we launched an aggressive social media campaign, urging staff, volunteers and board members to share their affiliation with our organization via social media. One of our staff members posted our Giving Tuesday request on Facebook. Her 26-year-old daughter "liked" and "shared" that message. Then one of her daughter's friends "liked" and "shared" it with her contacts, which included her sister who lives in California but calls Chicago her home town. She donated a first-time gift of $5,000. That is remarkable, and taught us a valuable lesson about the importance of reaching out to a younger audience in a new way. We couldn't be more thrilled about this lesson, and we certainly credit the opportunity the Coleman Foundation challenge provided. It nudged us a bit out of our comfort zone to think more creatively and more comprehensively about our annual fund efforts. We thank you for that."
This matching grants program was aligned with #ILGive, a statewide, non-partisan movement to support nonprofit communities in Illinois by increasing individual giving. #ILGive is a multi-year initiative that launched on December 1, 2015 as a compliment to the nationwide #GivingTuesday campaign.