The Big Give offers matching grant to encourage online donations for Whitechapel Gallery


The Big Give is a charity project crowdfunding ‘supermarket’ site established by Alec Reed, founder of the Reed employment agency, apparently (according to an interview in Intelligent Life magazine) following a brainstorm that led to the idea of creating a ‘virtual charity’ using the existing architecture beneath the successful Reed job-seekers site.

Originally launched in October 2007 to encourage high-wealth philanthropy by simplifying the process of matching a corporate or major donor to a specific project of interest, the site is also used by more everyday folks wanting to give the odd £25 or so.

What is interesting from the individual donor point of view is that, as well as the usual project search functionality, The Big Give also offers ‘matched funding’ on certain projects. This works by the Reed Foundation, or others, pledging to match the value of donations for specific projects up to a certain amount. Basically meaning that your donation is worth double to the charity you choose.

The latest matched funding campaign is in support of the Whitechapel Gallery in East London that re-opens this weekend.

Matched funding is an approach that I have seen work very well in traditional direct mail fundraising appeals, but this is the first time that I can recall seeing it on such a charity project ‘supermarket’ site. It would certainly be interesting to know how much more quickly the Big Give projects selected for matched funding achieve their donation targets than the others.

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