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Research proves match-funding can encourage donors to give more to charity

July 13th, 2016
A Great Match

It's a fact, more people are likely to donate to charity and give more money if they know their donation will be match-funded.

“A Great Match” is the first-ever in depth research carried out into match-funding in the UK, analysing data from 138,000 charitable donations.

Match-funding is when an employer, the government or philanthropic body matches a charitable donation — usually pound for pound.

The analysis was carried out with one of the UK’s largest online matching facilitators for charitable appeals, The Big Give, which jointly funded the report along with RBS and Charities Trust, which manages corporate match-giving programmes.


Researchers found donors gave 2.5 times more to charity on average when match-funded. The average value of a matched donation was £333 compared with only £132 for those which were un-matched.

Alex Day, Director of the Big Give, said: “In a time where fundraising is under increasing scrutiny, it is vital for funders and charities to work together to find innovative ways to encourage donations from the public.

“The research shows that match funding is a fantastic way to not just incentivise donations but to truly create a situation where the sum is greater than the parts.

“Our flagship match funding campaign, The Christmas Challenge, has raised £71m since 2008 by bringing funders, charities and donors together through match funding and we look forward to working with more partners to facilitate online match funding in future.”

Thom Kenrick, RBS Head of Community Programmes, said: “At RBS we are always looking for ways to help our customers and employees to donate to the causes that matter to them. We know that making giving easy is the most important factor and our experience shows that something as simple as boosting a colleague’s fundraising can make an enormous difference.” 

Linda Minnis, chief executive of Charities Trust, said: “In the corporate world, we are seeing a growth in the number of businesses offering their employees match-funding for payroll giving, fundraising or volunteering.

“While we know that some of the budgets available to encourage employee engagement are hugely generous, we also know that actual take up can be poor.

"If more employers offered matching and more employees took advantage of matching, the impact on the whole sector — for charities and good causes — would be that much greater.” 

Dr Catherine Walker, who wrote the report, said: “With a more demanding younger generation coming into both the workforce and the charitable giving arena there are greater expectations of the ways in which engaging with charities should be made easier.

“Companies and charities are expected to encourage and reward charitable engagement, and matching could play a pivotal role in this. It may seem like a ‘no brainer’ that if you offer to double a donation, then more people will give and maybe give more. However, previous research has been inconclusive. This is the best UK proof yet.”

The report identified a growth in the number of leading companies in the UK, which are now offering match-funding to their employees, who donate money via payroll giving schemes or through fundraising activities.

The report also predicted a growth in cause-related marketing, such as Innocent Smoothies donating 25p to Age UK for every bottle sold with a knitted hat.

However, it warned the UK market was much more cynical when compared to the rest of the world with only 14% believing their cause-related purchases made a significant impact compared to 29% globally.

The research analysed 138,000 donations made through The Big Give online giving portal, surveyed 1,215 Big Give donors, who made gifts in 2015 along with interviews with 17 companies, trusts, foundations, charities and experts involved in match-funding in the UK.

Download a copy of the report here > 

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