Match Considerations Funders Might Require
nonprofit management tips

Many funders require organizations to supplement grant funding with other resources. This required “match” can help stretch a funder’s limited dollars and can also boost confidence in your proposed program.

“Committed local dollars or in-kind resources speak loudly,” said Barbara Floersch, executive director of The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles, Calif. “They tell the funder that the community is behind your work, that your organization is well-connected, and that the proposed program is likely to succeed.”

Match requirements vary among funders, and some don’t ask for any match at all. But when funders do require matching resources, keep these points in mind.

1. When funders demand “cash match,” you’ll have to find additional dollars to supplement the grant award. These dollars can come from other grants (although federal grants can rarely be used to match other federal grants), earned income, donations, or your organization’s savings account.

2. When “in-kind match” is allowed, the funder will accept match in the form of donated goods or services to which you have assigned an appropriate dollar value. Be sure the cash value you claim is reasonable and defensible, and that the items are crucial to program operation.

3. Rules vary between funders. Some only accept cash match, but some accept both cash and in-kind. Some require that all matching resources be firmly pledged before being included in the proposal budget, but others do not. Some require that match equal a specific percentage of the grant-request, but others require that match equal a specific percentage of the overall program budget–that’s very different. Some expect match, but don’t specify how much. Study each funder’s requirements carefully.

4. Whether cash or in-kind, if match is not documented it does not exist to an auditor. Be sure that your organization has a solid system for documenting all the match it claims. Documenting volunteer time, for example, requires signed and dated time sheets verifying hours served.

“When match is included in the budget, it’s a formal part of your deal with the funder,” said Floersch. “Be realistic, and make sure the match meets funder requirements.” © Copyright 2016, The Grantsmanship Center. All rights reserved.