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Challenge Grant Tactics

Recipients of our challenge grants have used a wide range of approaches to raise funds and strengthen their organizations. We list below some actual tactics recent grantees have employed, and we encourage you to use whatever approaches you think would be effective for your organization. We always welcome you to share your story with us so that others can learn from your experience.

Your board could challenge itself to increase:

  • The number of board members making personal gifts
  • The amount each board member contributes
  • The amount each board member raises from others

You could encourage your individual donors to help meet the match, using tools such as:

  • Direct mail
  • E-mail campaigns or websites
  • Personal solicitations
  • Phonathons
  • Offering special incentives to new and upgraded donors

You could design a campaign targeted toward specific types of donors, such as:

  • Lapsed donors
  • Major donors
  • New prospect groups
  • Program-specific donors
  • Young donors
  • Families and friends of program participants
  • Staff
  • Event guests who are not donors

You could design special events to increase:

  • Amounts raised before the event (e.g., event sponsorships, other donations related to the event)
  • Amounts raised at the event (e.g., envelopes on tables and in program books, remarks during program, paddle auctions)
  • Amounts raised after the event (e.g., follow-up, thank-you and solicitation letters)

See our Challenge Grant FAQs for special conditions on event fundraising


You could add the challenge message to every communication, for example:

  • Announce the challenge in your newsletters, on your website, on your emails and other written correspondence
  • Add a “P.S.” about the challenge to every solicitation letter
  • Add a paragraph about the challenge opportunity to every proposal
  • Encourage staff, board and volunteers to mention the challenge at meetings and events

Please also see Successful Strategies.