Challenge Grants

Why We Offer Them

Occasionally we offer a challenge grant instead of an outright grant.  Reasons include:

  • We like your proposal but don’t know your organization very well.
  • We believe that a challenge grant will help you enlist new and additional support for your project and your organization.
  • We want to maintain our guideline of not funding any program or project alone.
  • We simply do not have enough funds to support the undertaking at the requested level.

Challenge grants present an outstanding opportunity for a nonprofit to recruit new donors and supporters.  For this reason, our conditions require the match to be money “new” to the organization – either from new donors or donation increases from existing donors

Challenge Grant Conditions

  1. The challenge grant period will last a defined period of time.

If we agree with you to offer a series of annual challenge grants, each challenge grant period will last a maximum of six months.

  1. Donations over-and-above the amount an existing donor [individual, foundation, corporation, or congregation] gave your organization the year before the challenge begins, will count toward the challenge.

For example, if someone increases her donation from $5,000/year to $7,000/year in the first year of the match, $2,000 of her donation counts each year, as long as she continues giving at the $7,000 level.

  1. Donations from donors, who have donated in the past, but not in the year prior to the start of the challenge, can count. Donations from these donors in subsequent years of the challenge will count as well.
  1. Donations from donors who give for the first time in response to the challenge will count. Any donations made in subsequent years of the challenge will also count.
  1. Multi-year pledges made in response to the first year’s challenge will count every year.
  1. A pledge made in a particular challenge year, for payment in a subsequent year, will count in the year in which the pledge is made.  It will not count in subsequent years.
  1. If you raise more than the challenge amount during the challenge campaign, the overage can count toward the following year’s match.
  1. If you raise more than 50% but less than 100% of the challenge amount, the amount you do raise will be matched.

If you have not raised funds equal to the challenge amount near the end of the challenge period and wish to extend it, this can be negotiated.  No challenge period can extend beyond December 20 of a given year, however.

  1. At the end of each challenge period, we would like an accounting of
    • Where the funds came from
    • How you determined they are matching funds
    • What you did differently or additionally to raise them.

We may use your redacted report as an example for other grantees, to help them think through the variables of a challenge grant.  However, we will not share your general report with any organization with a mission or situation similar to yours, or share your specific sources with anyone.

Challenge Grant Exclusions

  • Service contracts
  • Fees for service, including tuition, training fees, etc.
  • A same-size or smaller donation that a donor made the year before the challenge is implemented 
  • Donations received outside of the challenge period
  • Foundation grants unless specifically made to meet the challenge
  • Government grants