TechnoServe: Matching Gift Challenge


TechnoServe is a nonprofit focused on providing entrepreneurs, farmers, and other hardworking people in the developing world with the training, tools, and connections they need to flourish and break the cycle of poverty. They have a strong mid-level donor audience, and our ongoing goal is to engage with these donors in unique ways throughout the year.

For the past few years, we have engaged mid-level donors in July of each year with a unique appeal. Our challenge was to create an engaging ask that spoke to the donors’ level of giving and increase performance over the prior year.


We developed an appeal with a unique matching gift challenge ask. This ask engages high-level donors by asking them to give to inspire other donors by contributing to a pool of funds that will be used later in the year as a matching gift.

This ask is incredibly powerful because it speaks directly to the donors’ extra level of generosity by bringing them “behind the curtain” – we are not just asking them to give to TechnoServe, but to be part of how we inspire others to give and make an impact. Moreover, it does generate a matching gift that we use at year-end to encourage giving from lower-dollar donors. We set a goal of $50,000 for the campaign and set a deadline for donors to respond.

The appeal itself incorporated a higher-touch feel, with a large envelope, a fold-out newsletter, and a letter from the CEO. We shared stories of how donors’ gifts are impacting TechnoServe’s program participants around the world and reiterated the ongoing need.

We targeted not just donors who are already giving at a high level annually, but those who have shown they have a capacity to give more.


This appeal resonated incredibly well with TechnoServe’s mid-level donors. It generated 118.75% more revenue than the prior year’s campaign. The average gift increased as well, by 25.76%. In total, the cost to raise a dollar was just 18 cents!

This appeal generated a matching gift that was used to increase donor response in our 2020 year-end campaigns, and will serve as a model for mid-level giving in the coming year.

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