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December 11, 2014

Report: 'Contingent Match' Offers Spur Recurring Donations

A study by researchers at Duke and Harvard universities suggests charities can boost fundraising by offering matching grants contingent on a threshold of one-time contributors upgrading to recurring gifts, The Wall Street Journal writes.

The paper, published in the American Marketing Association's Journal of Marketing Research, incorporates tests on donation site GlobalGiving.org in which the "contingent match" from an unnamed donor would kick in if 25, 50, 75, or 100 percent of contributors commit to automated monthly gifts.

The 75 percent threshold generated the most response, with 4.7 percent of donors upgrading—probably because it neither sets the bar too low nor seems unreachable, as would 100 percent, according to researchers. GlobalGiving now offers the 75 percent match incentive on most of its campaigns and has seen recurring donations double, said Kevin Conroy, the site's chief product officer.