Matched crowdfunding – what is it & how can I access it?

Is my crowdfunding project eligible for match-funding? Depending on where you live, or the type of project you are fundraising for, you may be eligible for matched crowdfunding on a range of different platforms in the UK.

What is matched crowdfunding?

Matched funding is the potential to attract extra funds into your crowdfunding campaign from organisations like local authorities, grant-giving bodies or charitable foundations.

Increasingly, crowdfunding platforms in the UK and elsewhere are agreeing partnerships with these more traditional sources of funding. It offers grant-giving bodies an easier way to distribute funds they offer to good causes, specific types of projects or campaigns that align with their own aims.

What kind of projects are eligible for matched crowdfunding?

At present, many of these funds focus on projects that deliver things like improving wellbeing, sustainability & environment, development & regeneration, developing skills & education, or projects that specifically benefit young people or the local community. If your project does any of these things you should definitely check out these schemes to see what extra funds might be available (aka FREE MONEY!!!)

The types of matched funding change all the time, but you can check out examples listed on:

How does matched crowdfunding work?

Each of the funding schemes has different eligibility criteria, but here are some common factors in many (not all) of the schemes:

  • Matched funding is usually only open to All Or Nothing campaigns
  • There may be a minimum target set by the funding scheme
    • eg £1,000, £4,000 or another amount
  • There will be a maximum % of your campaign target that can be pledged by matched funders
    • eg a maximum of 50% of your target, or 25% of your target up to a maximum of £5,000
  • Matched funders often act as “one of the crowd” – you don’t know whether a fund will back your project until they actually pledge money
    • This can make it hard to plan your ideal funding target. See the step-by-step guide below for more info
  • Matched funders usually only consider pledging on your project after you have reached a specific % of your campaign target
    • eg applications will only be considered when 25%, 50% or another amount has been raised via the crowd, so you may need to hit these targets early on
  • If you are eligible for more than one fund, you can usually attract pledges from more than one matched funder
  • Some matched funders will only support campaigns or projects run by community groups or social enterprises and not campaigns by individuals.
    • To make sure you qualify, you can partner with an existing group or organisation to attract these funds.

How can I access matched crowdfunding for my project?

Here’s a step-by-step guide to give you the best chance of accessing matched funds.

STEP 1: Find out what types of match funds are available

When planning your project, make sure to look on the different crowdfunding platforms to see what they offer in terms of matched funding. The types of matched funding change all the time, but you can check out examples listed on:

STEP 2: Read the eligibility criteria carefully

When you find details of the different funds available, make sure to read all of the eligibility criteria carefully to see if you qualify. Click the ‘Show full criteria’ links to see all the information funders have made available, so that you understand the exclusions (what they will not fund) and check that you can comply with all of the  terms & conditions attached to any matched funding you are applying for.

STEP 3: Choose the right crowdfunding platform & campaign type

It is really important to remember that when you are eligible a specific advertised fund, you will need to use the crowdfunding platform advertising the funding opportunity – these pledges don’t cross-over between platforms. For example, if the fund is available on Spacehive, you can’t attract this extra funding to a campaign on Crowdfunder (and vice versa).

SEE ALSO: Picking the right crowdfunding platform

STEP 4: Work out how the potential matched funding affects your funding target

When you are looking at different matched funds available you are likely to see terms like:

“Once an eligible project has raised 25% of their fundraising target from multiple pledges, Frome Town Council may pledge to fund a further 50% of the target up to a maximum of £5,000.”

It can be tempting to set a higher target to attract the maximum amount from matched funds (for example setting your target at £10,000 to attract the 50% funding offered) but remember, this will have a number of knock-on effects to your campaign.

In this example, you’d need to raise £2,500 from the crowd before the matched funder will consider your project. If they decide to pledge, and pledge the maximum of £5,000, this will bring your total pledges to £7,500, and you’ll still need to attract another £2,500 from other backers to receive any of the money.

Remember, on an All Or Nothing campaign, no funds are released if your don’t hit 100% of your initial target.

On the other hand, if you are confident you can raise, for example, £2,500 from your existing crowd, then it may be wise to set your campaign target at £5,000, and get the remaining 50% of your target from the matched funder. Of course, there is still the risk that the matched funder decides not to pledge on your project, so be careful about taking this for granted.

STEP 5: Set up your draft campaign page & apply for the relevant funds

The way in which you do this will depend on the crowdfunding platform you are using. As an example, here’s the step-by-step instructions for how to do this on the Crowdfunder UK platform.

The main things to remember here are to actually apply for the specific matched-funding fund you are targeting and to ask for support from your chosen platform if you are unsure about how to do this. Most platforms that offer matched-funding will have a support team dedicated to helping project creators get this right, so take all the advice you can get here!

STEP 6: Include all the info your potential matched funder needs to see

Alongside writing your pitch to be attractive to backers from the crowd, you’ll need to include information in your project description that makes it clear to the relevant matched funders that your project fulfils the aims of their fund. For example, if it is important to the funder that your project involves young people or happens in a specific area, make this really clear in your project description.

STEP 7: Launch your campaign, attract support & hit your target

This is obviously the hardest of the steps involved!! I’m not going to cover how exactly to launch your campaign, attract support and hit your target here, but you should definitely check out these posts for some excellent pointers:

What if I want to set up my own ‘matched donor’ scheme?

If you don’t qualify for any existing matched crowdfunding schemes, or if you like the idea of matched pledges and want to extend this in other ways, you could think about how to create your own matched donor drive within your own campaign.

This has been successfully used in lost of different campaigns. Here’s a quick overview of the idea by crowdfunding veteran Jamey Stegmaier – click the link below to read his tips:

If you find these resources useful, let me know in the comments below, or on twitter @RachelDobbs1. All of the resources I produce are available to download for FREE, but if you’d like to contribute to my future projects, say thank you or just do something nice for a fellow creative practitioner, feel free to donate by clicking the button below…

New to crowdfunding?
Check out my quick start guide to crowdfunding!!

Quick start crowdfunding beginners guide

Rachel Dobbs is an artist and educator & one half of artist collaboration LOW PROFILE. Rachel works on a range of arts and education projects, has a long-term interest in creative approaches to community development and runs workshops, teaching & training sessions for a range of formal & informal groups including students, arts practitioners and communities – contact me for more details.

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