Matched funding is an excellent way of getting support from multiple organisations. These could be just businesses, just funding bodies or a mixture of the two. Quite simply, you ask one or more organisation(s) to pledge an amount of money on the basis that one or more other organisation(s) will also give financial support.
How to go about arranging matched funding
Firstly, work out your project idea as you would normally. Then identify one or more organisations that you think will be suitable to support such a project. If there are multiple organisations consider the size of each organisation and how much money you would like to ask each of them for - that is, how will you split the funding between them?
At this stage you should have one organisation that you think is best placed to provide the most support. This is the organisation that you should approach first.
When you approach your first organisation you should be clear from the outset that you are looking for matched funding. Tell them how much money you are looking to raise in total, and how much money you would like them to contribute. You should also tell them the other organisations you are planning on approaching.
If you are approaching several organisations, discuss your idea first with the organisation that is giving the most support.
If they are positive, they will most likely say something like, “We are happy to support you, provided you get the other organisation on board.” This is really useful! You can now approach the other organisations and tell them that, “[Organisation 1] has pledged their support, providing we can get the rest of the funds.” This is a very attractive proposition to a company - the fact that there is another organisation already promising their support gives the whole project credibility and is likely to encourage other organisations to be involved.
Why bother with matched funding
Matched funding is attractive to businesses and funding bodies because it means that they get more bang for their buck, and it can help mitigate concerns they might have about being the sole supporter of a project.
Examples of matched funding
Example 1 - one funder/ organisation
In this example you approach an organisation and ask them to support 50% of £1,000. They will provide this 50% once you have raised the other 50%. You might choose to run a couple of fund-raising events (a jumble sale and a raffle, for example) to raise the initial £500. (In turn, the prizes for the raffle could have been provided by a local business, which might be encouraged to donate since they have seen that another organisation is already happy to put down £500.)
The organisation providing the funding doesn't necessarily need to match pound for pound. You might be able to persuade them to provide £3 for every £1 that you raise. In this case you would need to raise £250, and they will pay the remaining 75%. Alternatively you might ask a smaller organisation to match 50p for each £1. This way you would need to raise £666.67, and they will find the remainder.
Example 2 - multiple funders
Hopefully you can see from the above example that matched funding can be quite flexible. A slightly more complex scenario could be:
You need to raise £10,000 for a year-long, cross-disciplinary (three disparate subject areas are covered) project. You choose to use matched funding to approach different organisations that reflect the different subject areas involved. You identify four organisations that you think will offer suitable support:
Organisation #1: a large organisation that covers one of the disciplines
Organisation #2: a smaller organisation that covers one of the disciplines
Organisations #3 and #4: both small organisations that cover the final subject area
You arrange your matched funding as follows:
So, organisation #1 agrees to match 50% of the total funding; organisation #2 agrees to match 20% of funding and organisations #3 and #4 both match 15% of the total funding.