“You have only 6 days left to help meet our 16 for 1 matching gift challenge.  If we don’t hear from you by midnight Sunday we’re coming after you.  AND…we know where you live.”

Now that the Christmas carols are fading and the wrapping paper has found it’s way to the trash bag, we can next look forward to the deluge of matching gift appeals that will bombard us between now and year’s end.

Few fundraising tactics are less understood and more abused than the “matching gift” challenge.

So, this week, as your inbox fills with matching gift appeals The Agitator will reprise some of the most-read, most-commented-on posts regarding matching gifts.

Here’s the post from last December that got the discussion on matching gifts going because it triggered a request from Agitator reader Cindy Courtier  that we explore the ins and outs of matching gifts in the spirit of separating myth from fact.






I thought a holiday motif would be appropriate to remind us of the many myths we take for gospel. Some are true, some are not.

As in: “Feed a cold, starve a fever.” [True] … “Don’t sit too close to the television you’ll hurt your eyes.” [Not true] … “Don’t swallow your gum; it stays in your stomach for seven years! [Not true] … “Don’t crack your knuckles or you’ll get arthritis.” [Not true], and “Chicken soup is what you need for that cold.” [True]

poinsettiasAnd the seasonal admonition: “Don’t eat the poinsettia, it’s poison.” Although poinsettias are absolutely harmless, the fact is that poison control centers across the nation receive thousands of calls this time of year from panicked folks whose kid or dog ate the poinsettia.

And so the same goes with fundraising. Lots of myths, aphorisms and the equivalent of ‘old wives tales’. Some true, some not, and many for which there’s little proof one way or the other.

We’ll be exploring these a lot in the coming year as we intensify our focus on evidence-based fundraising as opposed to myth-based or even experience-based fundraising. So, please send along the ‘old wives tales’ or ‘best practices’ you’d like us to explore.


P.S. In case you have a poinsettia or two as holiday decoration around the house please don’t forget to water ’em.