From the December 2006 Watchdog Report
The Union of Concerned Scientists
(UCS) recently conducted a fundraising campaign, "Save
the Science," which promised that the UCS board of directors
would "match all contributions from UCS members from now until
July 21 to expand our critical work on scientific integrity."
Another campaign, "No New Nukes," made a similar promise,
"Donate now and your gift will be doubled!" What donor
could pass up the chance to "double" the effect of their
gift and bring in additional resources for the charity with generous
board members ready to match donations "dollar for dollar?"
Donors may be disappointed to learn that,
in fact, "board members were not matching donations out of
their own pockets," according to Cheryl Schaffer, director
of finance & administration at UCS. Rather, UCS simply used
money it budgeted from donor contributions outside of the campaigns,
and later reallocated it for the matching gift campaigns with the
board's approval. In other words, budgeted funds were merely being
shifted among different programs or accounts within the organization.
The solicitations may have confused donors into thinking that UCS
would only receive the "matching" funds on the condition
that the donation was made by the July 21st deadline, and that UCS
would miss out on these additional resources if they did not donate
AIP believes that UCS should be more
forthcoming in their solicitations that the source of the "matching"
funds is really money that the charity has or will receive anyway,
regardless of whether or not a donor makes a contribution to the
matching gift campaigns. Deciding how donor contributions will be
used within the organization and budgeting for different programs
is part of the board's job, and is not the same thing as matching
donor contributions with their own money. UCS said the campaign
was successful, and that they plan to conduct similar campaigns
in the future.