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Matchfunding: how it affects universities’ crowdfunding programs


Matched funding challenges are widely used on giving days, but less so in crowdfunding. I researched 3 universities who have been using matchfunding as part of their crowdfunding programs to see what effects it had on their projects.

The schools were chosen because they have each been matchfunding for over 2 years: the University of York, the University of Southampton, and Somerville College, University of Oxford.

Average donations to a matchfunded project are double

york matchfunding

First, I looked at the average donation to projects with and without matched funding and found that it nearly doubles when matchfunding is present. This is likely to be because donors want to “unlock” more of the matchfunding and see their donations going further.

The effect of matchfunding in universities' crowdfunding programs

I then looked at the average number of donations the projects received, and found that matched projects receive nearly twice as many. I’d suggest that the projects that knew they were receiving matchfunding set their goals higher, but also put greater effort into promoting their projects in order to unlock the matchfunding that was an offer.

The effect of matchfunding in universities' crowdfunding programs

Matched funding can triple donations

The result of the above factors is that matchfunding produces projects which raise over 3x as much as those without (excluding the matched funds from the total raised).

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A positive effect on crowdfunding

A limiting factor to this analysis is that it’s almost certain that projects deemed to be of higher quality are likely to receive larger amounts of matchfunding. But matched funding clearly has a significant and positive effect on crowdfunding campaigns.

Susie Braithwaite, Deputy Director of Development, University of York, has observed: 

Matched funding gives crowdfunding projects an initial boost, getting their campaigns off to a flying start. This momentum builds confidence in asking which can present a barrier to fundraising.”
The effect of matchfunding in universities' crowdfunding programs

Duncan Knox

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