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4 Crucial Things You Need to Know About Matching Gifts

Published by Adam Weinger

4 Crucial Things You Need to Know About Matching Gifts

How would you like to have donations to your organization doubled? Sounds too good to be true, right? After all, this is the buy-one-get-one-free opportunity of your dreams.

When you are looking for the secret to raising more funds for your nonprofit, you are willing to try any new, promising techniques. The solution is simple: matching gifts.

Matching gifts will revolutionize how you think about fundraising and managing your donor engagements. Utilizing a good matching gifts program is essential to ensure you maximize the impact of each and every eligible donation to your organization.

So, you may want to incorporate matching gifts into your fundraising strategy, but you still have no idea how to take advantage of this sector of corporate philanthropy. You may be asking:

  1. What is a matching gifts program?
  2. Why don’t more people take advantage of matching gifts?
  3. How do I promote matching gifts?
  4. Which matching gift tool is best for my nonprofit?

Don’t worry! This post will answer all of your questions and provide you with the information you need to know to start optimizing your fundraising strategy with matching gifts.

So, let’s dive in and prepare you for an entirely new source of nonprofit revenue!

1. What is a matching gifts program?

Matching gifts programs are, unfortunately, an underutilized source of revenue for nonprofit organizations. The sad truth is that many nonprofit development officers have no idea what they are missing.

Have you ever wondered how to tap into the corporate sphere with your fundraising campaign? Over half of the Fortune 500 companies, along with many other corporations, offer their employees a matching gifts program.

With these programs, a corporation matches its employee’s charitable donation with a 1:1, 2:1, or even 3:1 ratio! Effectively, if an individual employed at an eligible company donates $100 to your organization, their employer would then donate $100, $200, or even $300 to your organization.

So how do corporations know when their employees are donating to charitable causes?

The matching gifts process is easy and simple — for you, your donor, and their employer. The process typically proceeds as follows:  

  1. An individual donates to your organization.
  2. The donor searches a matching gift database to determine if they are eligible for a matching gifts program.
  3. The donor submits the appropriate forms to their company.
  4. The employer matches their donation to your organization.

This program is the best resource to maximize your donor’s giving potential. It will allow you to optimize a gift of average size and help donors make a difference for your organization.

2. Why don’t more people take advantage of matching gifts?

By now you are probably asking yourself: If matching gifts are as beneficial as they seem, then why don’t more people take advantage of them?

Unfortunately, just like many nonprofits do not know how to take advantage of corporate philanthropy, most people are unaware of their own eligibility for these programs. It’s likely that your donors and prospective donors simply do not know what matching gifts are or if their company offers it.

Just look at this list of top matching gift companies from Re:Charity and you will see that many popular companies offer programs and people don’t even know about it!

Only about 7-9% of donors are taking advantage of a matching gifts program. This means an incredible amount of money that could go to your organization is left untapped. Around $2-3 billion is donated to charities through matching gifts per year, while an estimated $4-7 billion goes unclaimed.

Because most donors don’t know about matching gifts, your nonprofit needs to do everything in its power to encourage donors to use matching gifts.

3. How do I promote matching gifts?

If you are serious about wanting to promote matching gifts to your donors, there are plenty of concrete ways to go about doing so.

You should consider doing the following:

Provide access to an online matching gift tool.

Many of your donors likely use an online method of donation. Donors want easy and they want fast — they want to be able to give from the comfort of their own homes and their own devices. So you should also make it as easy as possible for them to participate in a matching gifts program.

As you read in the first section, part of the matching gifts program requires donors to determine whether or not they are eligible to participate. The best resource you can provide to donors is a matching gifts database search tool.

This tool will provide information such as:

  • Whether a company has a matching gifts program.
  • The minimum and maximum match amounts. These can vary based on the company. Some companies match anything from single digit to four digit donations!  
  • The ratio at which a company will match. While some organizations only contribute at a 1:1 ratio, it is not uncommon to find even more generous ratios that have the potential to quadruple a donor’s contribution.
  • Employee eligibility. Find out if the company will match gifts for full-time, part-time, or retired employees.
  • Volunteer grants. Some corporations are willing to donate on behalf of volunteers. They will likely donate a certain amount for a specific number of volunteer hours. A company might donate $250 for an employee’s 25 volunteer hours, and $500 for 50 hours, etc.
  • Types of nonprofits the corporation will give to. Types of nonprofits that companies generally include in their matching gifts program are educational institutions, health and human services, arts and cultural organizations, civic and community organizations, environmental organizations, and religious institutions.
  • Submission process details. The tool should also provide basic information about the corporation’s submission process and deadline. This could be providing the corporation’s contact information or a link to their giving page.

1 in 3 donors stated that they would be more likely to donate, and donate more, if they knew about matching gifts. They would know that their donation is making a greater impact.

To see how to include a matching gift search tool on your website, check out this site.

Follow up with donors about their matching gift status.

Don’t give up on getting your donors to participate in a matching gifts program simply because they have already finished your donation process. Many corporations allow a window of time — some even offer up to a year — for employees to turn in their forms to receive a matched gift!

Following up with your donors after their donation is the key to informing more people about matching gifts. Email is essential to increasing your matching gift revenue.

People donate to charitable organizations such as yours because they want to make a difference. They will be grateful for the opportunity to maximize their impact and increase your ability to do good.

Consider emailing your donors and asking them to check their eligibility for matching gifts. Use a call-to-action in the subject line to increase the likelihood that they open your email. This can be:

  • Do you want to have your donation to [organization name] doubled?
  • Double your contribution to [organization name] with employer match.
  • Help [organization name] [organization’s immediate goal] by participating in a matching gifts program.

Emails reminding donors about matching gifts that are sent within 24 hours of a donation have an open rate 2-3 times higher than the average nonprofit email! Don’t lose out on this opportunity!

4. Which matching gift tool is best for my nonprofit?

Are you still concerned about which matching gift tool you should choose to implement? Don’t worry! There is a database out there that will be perfect for your organization and help you tap into the benefits of corporate revenue.

No matter the size of your organization, matching gift database tools will benefit you greatly.

Double the Donation Matching Gift Tool – for small to medium organizations

Double the Donation’s matching gift database is the perfect industry-leading tool for small and medium-sized organizations. This database provides information on over 20,000 companies and subsidiaries and has the most comprehensive set of matching gift resources!

This tool can be integrated into the company’s website and maintains your organization’s branding creating a seamless experience for the donor.

Double the Donation also provides the option to display your own customizable link on their site. You can raise awareness of your organization and simultaneously gain access to the best matching gifts database for your donors.

360MatchPro – for large organizations

360MatchPro is best for large nonprofits and higher education institutions that already bring in more than $25,000 in matching gifts revenue a year. This platform provides a complete matching gifts marketing automation.

Remember, this platform is most effective when the organization is already taking advantage of matching gifts, not for those organizations just starting out.

This platform can screen donors’ email domains, donation form information, and email responses to identify matching gift opportunities among your donor network. You can ensure that every donor who begins with matching gifts finishes the process by sending automated, customizable messages to them throughout the process.

You can use this platform to analyze your donor data and predict how much you will be able to add with matching gifts. This will allow you to better plan your fundraising strategy and reach your goals for your cause.

Matching gifts are the best way to take advantage of corporate philanthropy and maximize the impact of your existing donors. If you still have questions, find your answers in this guide to matching gifts.

Make sure you don’t let this extra revenue pass you by! Encourage your donors to check their eligibility and do everything in your power to make the process as easy as possible for them.

About the author:

Adam Weinger

Adam Weinger

Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of tools to nonprofits to help them raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs.