SHERIDAN — Numerous businesses in Sheridan have been utilizing particularly effective fundraising methods. EMIT Technologies and Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Bighorns are just a few of the local businesses participating in matching funds, fundraising for all of their different causes.

This form of raising of money is defined by a private business or donor pledging to match every dollar raised by the community up to a certain amount. For example, a private donor might match up to $100, so the total funds end up being $200.

In the case of Habitat for Humanity, a private donor from Habitat’s board has established a matching challenge for the community up to $125,000. This means the local Habitat for Humanity has a potential $250,000 to gain from the challenge.

The donor established the challenge for the community in January of this year and will be open until December. Christine Dieterich, executive director of Habitat, said the fundraising opportunity impacts the community and the business.

“If the goal is met, this could cover 100 percent of the costs of two houses we’re building this year,” Dieterich said. “Construction costs are rising, so to keep the housing affordable, we’re going to have to take losses on our houses and depend more on increasing donations. The amount of money we take in needs to increase to continue doing what we do.”

Matching funds in this fashion is particularly effective for a number of reasons. First of all, it encourages community involvement and catches the public eye. Secondly, every dollar donated is doubled in value.

“Matching creates a leverage to gain support in a way other methods don’t,” Dieterich said. “People are more inclined to donate in a matching challenge. They think ‘my $20 is going to turn into $40, which makes it more worthwhile.’”

Matching challenges involve a lot of communication with the donor and ensuring that they are comfortable with the trajectory of the business.

In the winter of 2018, EMIT matched funds up to $100,000 to help reopen Antelope Butte. This is the largest scale matching challenge in which EMIT has ever participated. By the end of their charitable giving, $221,327 was raised, according to EMIT Director of Business Relations Josh Bauer.

“This type of giving encourages community participation from donors we don’t usually see,” Bauer said. “It doubles the impact of every dollar. Although we’ve done matching challenges in the past, Antelope Butte was the last best scale one we’ve done, and we will be doing it again. We want Sheridan to be a desirable place to live and work, as well as a destination for non-locals.”

Matching challenges put up by private donors in Sheridan have been effective forms of fundraising for nonprofits throughout the county.


By Marissa Brenneman