When we put the tumultuous 2008 behind us, the big question our foundation faced in early 2009 was how to help our community with so many of our funds unable to make grants. Our response? Match Day. That spring, 14 of our funds contributed to a match pool, 99 nonprofits rallied their donors, more than 900 people stood in line to give money away, and $449,594 was raised in 10 hours-by the community for the community.
That winter was long and bleak, and Match Day was just the warmth and sunshine we all needed. As one donor put it — after waiting in line for two hours to give his gift — “The best part of Muskegon is down here.” There is no question that here in Muskegon County, Mich., Match Day was magical!
When you hear stories of small community Match Days and statewide efforts like GiveMN, it’s tempting to jump in and create an event of your own. As one of the first community foundations to hold a Match Day in our state, we are frequently asked to offer advice on the subject. Register for the November 10 Magic of Match Day webinar and you’ll hear ours and others’.
The best piece of advice we can give is to create your event for the right reasons. Think it through carefully and land on the right ones and the right timing for your foundation and community. Then the details of your event will follow.
Two of our affiliate counties have also held Match Days, and the third is considering it. They had the benefit of learning from our mistakes (as will you during the webinar), and they created different-and wildly successful-events in important ways for their communities.
We’re often asked when we’ll do another Match Day. Our answer comes as a quote from one of the nonprofit directors who participated in our event: “You can’t match Match Day!” We hope the events that necessitated our Match Day will not be repeated. And if a need does present itself, we know the magic of the original Match Day was in the people who showed up. We’ll just have to find the right way to tap into that magic again.
Heidi Sytsema is donor services director at Community Foundation for Muskegon County.