Double your Money Today! 100% Return Guaranteed!

Double your Money Today! 100% Return Guaranteed!

Posted on August 26, 2013 by Michael Corley, consultant with The Patterson Foundation

We want to believe claims like these, but our heads tell us that these are unrealistic. The old saying, “If it’s too good to be true. Then it probably is,” tells us to tread with caution when encountering substantially above-average outcomes.

There is, however, one area in which the claim of doubling your money in one day is real, is legal, and is accountable. Philanthropy. When individuals, corporations or foundations offer a matching challenge to raise funds, in other words when these philanthropists guarantee a 100% return to a donor, the results are stunning.

Time and time again donors respond. At The Patterson Foundation, we have experienced the effectiveness of offering matching challenges in support our partners.

The most recent example of this was our matching challenge in support of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. The Center for Disaster Philanthropy (“CDP”) is a fairly new organization that is maturing rapidly. Its model is sound and it is positioned to profoundly impact how donors respond to disasters.

When Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast last fall, we felt that CDP had the expertise to be a leader in the distribution of funds. We also believed it should use the experience from this disaster to expand its knowledge so it can share with other cities in the future.

In order to accomplish these two objectives, CDP needed to raise money…quickly.

After several discussions with Bob Ottenhoff, the CEO of CDP, we determined the best approach was to offer a matching program. TPF committed to matching 1:1 money that CDP raised for two purposes: 1) Raise enough money for Hurricane Sandy disaster relief efforts so that CDP could make impactful decisions 2) Raise operating funds for CDP so that it could continue building its sustainability model and share its expertise after the next disaster

Why a matching challenge? As Bob Ottenhoff states, “The TPF match gave us credibility in the funder community. While we had to work very hard to raise the funds, we were able to mitigate some of the concerns of funders by announcing the matching challenge. Plus, the match gave us extra incentive to work hard.”

Results? We anticipated each fundraising effort taking a minimum of six months to complete. Almost immediately, the $200,000 matching challenge for Hurricane Sandy relief was achieved. Within six months, $200,000 matching dollars were raised for operations. So while TPF invested $400,000, we provided (and received) $800,000 in “return.”

Not only does the matching challenge offer a return to the ones donating the money, the match itself provides significant marketing muscle to the organization raising money.

Ask anyone in fund development and they will tell you the power (and confidence) that a 100% match provides. (PLEASE NOTE: It does not replace the need for hard work and commitment.) Our experience leads us to believe this is accurate.

If you are a philanthropist and you want to accelerate fund development efforts for a partner, offer a 100% (or more) return to donors. Match their donations 1:1 and watch the excitement and the results.


  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


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