Matching gifts are a type of corporate philanthropy that allows donors giving smaller donations the opportunity to maximize the impact of their donation on an organization.
In a matching gifts program, a company donates to a nonprofit organization in response to one of their employees giving a gift.
These gifts can range in maximum size and ratio, but many companies will match an employee’s donation at a 1:1 ratio, starting at $25.
Identifying match-eligible donors can be tricky. Sometimes donors themselves don’t even know if they’re eligible to submit a matching gift request! Nonprofits who are unable to identify their match-eligible donors could be missing out on twice as many contributions.
For larger nonprofits (and even smaller organizations), automated communications can be a hassle, especially when it comes to matching gift information. Nonprofits often don’t know what messages to send to what donors at what time, leading to frustration and unmatched donations.
Let’s face it: your time is limited. You can’t realistically reach out to every donor. The key is to get actionable insights on your database. You can then allocate your time to focus on the best opportunities that can substantially grow your nonprofit’s matching gift revenue.
Automated matching gift software is a type of computer program that helps nonprofits discover and communicate with donors who may be matching-gift eligible.
The automated software will determine whether or not a donor is eligible, and then reach out to the donor to encourage them to submit a matching gift request. It also keeps track of what stage in the matching gifts process a donor is, so your nonprofit can know whether or not someone needs additional follow-up.
Another way to help your nonprofit’s matching gift strategy is to include a software option that helps your donors determine if they’re eligible or not.
For example, a plugin (like the one shown here from Double the Donation) can be embedded anywhere on your website so that a donor can discover for themselves whether or not their employer offers a matching gift program.
Donors just type in their employer, and then the plugin searches through a database for matching gift information.
Did you know that as many as 78% of match-eligible donors have no idea whether their company offers a matching gift program? While companies want employees to take advantage of matching gift programs, the program may only be mentioned in one email in a year and on page 37 of an employee benefit book that never gets looked at.
Thus, it falls on the shoulders of nonprofits to raise awareness among donors. But before you can do so, you have to determine who is matching gift eligible.
It doesn’t make much sense to send out matching gift emails to all of your donors. Some of them won’t be eligible due to their company’s guidelines, and others will work for companies that don’t have matching gift programs.
Instead of wasting your time and your donors’ time, you can identify which of your donors is match-eligible, making your communications more streamlined and targeted in the long run.
There is a reason few organizations can answer the questions, “Do you know which of your donors are matching gift eligible but haven’t submitted matching gifts? And how much more could your organizations raise if they had submitted a match?”
Identifying match-eligible donors is tough!
There is no single method that will work all the time, every time. Instead, use a combination of six identification tactics that will help your nonprofit pin down your matching gift-eligible donors more easily.
Email domains are an easy indicator of donors’ matching eligibility.
For example, email@example.com almost certainly works at The Home Depot (or used to, anyway) and is matching gift eligible.
You can also include a matching gift field on your donation forms.
Instead of leaving an empty field, you can standardize your search options, making it easier to filter for and reach out to match-eligible donors.
You’re likely already including a matching gift search tool on your confirmation page to provide your donors with the forms and instructions they need to submit a request. The key is to log the usage of the tool and associate the company that the donor selects with their donor record.
Matching gift emails are a great way to promote matching gift programs to all of your donors. The key is to know which of your donors received the email, then visited your matching gift page, and ultimately which of your donors found their employer. Make sure you’re logging this identification for future outreach.
You can feature matching gifts in all donation acknowledgement emails. Encourage your recent donors to click on a link that takes them to your dedicated matching gift page. Then, log their usage for your matching gift plugin to identify whether or not they are match-eligible.
Your donor database is filled with thousands or perhaps even millions of donor records. You likely have employer data for some of these donors. You can screen those records in bulk to determine which of your donors likely works for a company with a matching gift program.
Your donors want to support your organization. And they often do on a regular basis!
However, once a donation has been made, it’s easy for donors to forget about the process and go on with their day.
As a result, organizations need to encourage donors to submit matches.
Sending out regular communications about matching gift basics, deadlines, and statistics will help keep matching gift programs in the front of donor’s minds and remind them that they should submit their match requests. A tool like 360MatchPro can help you automate your communications.
Of course, you’ll want to segment and target your communications accordingly. If a donor isn’t match-eligible, it doesn’t matter how many times you send a matching gift email; they won’t be able to double their donation to your nonprofit.
However, if you can identify your matching gift-eligible donors from the beginning, you can more easily target those supporters who are willing and able to submit matching gift requests to their employers.
Your donors are most engaged when they’re making a donation.
Include a streamlined matching gift search field on the donation form so you can log matching gift eligibility in your CRM and track donors’ usage of the tool itself.
You can also place a matching gift search tool on the confirmation screen immediately following your donation page.
You should maintain a page on your website with matching gift information.
This info should encourage donors to submit matching gifts and explain why they’re important to your cause. Link out to this page via your website, social media, and emails.
When possible, track which donors are visiting the page and accessing their company’s electronic forms and instructions.
Trigger automated matching gift messages to donors based on what you know about them.
If you know they work for a company with a matching gift program, email them the exact link to the electronic submission process along with the guidelines and instructions they need.
If you don’t know whether they’re matching gift eligible, direct them to your dedicated matching gift page.
You can’t personally call every single donor, but you can point out 100 matching gift prospects and ensure that they’ve submitted their matching gift requests.
To determine your best prospects, examine donor records for supporters who you know are matching gift eligible and have identified themselves as match-eligible.
They should also have easy-to-use electronic submission forms and make substantial donations.
You can promote matching gift programs to your supporters all day long, but unless you have a way to dig into your donor database and look at the insights from your matching gift tool and your manual outreach, your communications and promotions won’t mean much.
Actionable insights will highlight new opportunities to improve your matching gift performance and enable team members to spend their time as effectively as possible.
When you’re able to look at potential matching gift opportunities within your database, generate reports, and analyze pertinent data points, your staff is better prepared for current and future matching gift outreach and promotion.
Donors with unknown matching gift eligibility.
Matching gift opportunities identified and waiting on action from a donor.
Matching gifts waiting to be verified by your organization.
Matching gifts submitted and verified by your nonprofit but not yet received.
Small to medium organizations looking for matching gift advice should check out Double the Donation’s expert guide.
Get best practices for smaller nonprofits on how to promote corporate giving programs and boost funds.
Interested in learning more about the companies with the best matching gift programs?
Check out our list of top matching gift companies that have high matching gift ratios and maximum match amounts.
Volunteer grant programs are another way your nonprofit can raise money and volunteer hours!
Many organizations offer volunteer grant programs, and you can check out the top companies on our helpful guide.