Leverage Corporate Philanthropy in Your Fundraising Strategy | NextAfter
Resources Home

Leverage Corporate Philanthropy in Your Fundraising Strategy

Published by Adam Weinger

*This is a guest post from our friends at Double the Donation.

Leverage Corporate Philanthropy in Your Fundraising Strategy

For your nonprofit, every fundraising dollar counts. But it’s not always easy to wrangle up the funds you need to continue serving your mission.

That said, what if we told you there is a way you can raise more for your organization without having to chase down more donors or ask existing donors to reach back into their own pockets?

Good news! You can accomplish this through matching gifts.

Matching gifts are one of the most common forms of corporate philanthropy. Basically, companies financially match the donations their employees make to nonprofits like yours. That means donors can essentially double their donations without too much added effort.

While corporate philanthropy takes many forms beyond matching gifts, we’re going to focus specifically on how incorporating matching gifts into your fundraising strategy can benefit your organization. Let’s begin.

Key Data on Matching Gifts

When it comes to making sense of matching gifts, it’s probably best to start by telling you that tons of organizations don’t actively pursue them. This giving channel might seem like the easiest and most obvious way to bring in extra revenue, but to many nonprofits, it takes extra time, energy, and resources that they may not have.

However, there’s a lot nonprofits may not realize about matching gifts and the value they hold for their organization.

Let’s start by discussing some key statistics from 360MatchPro:

An estimated $4-7 billion in matching gift funds goes unclaimed each year.

There are billions of dollars left on the table every year by organizations that could otherwise claim them. Nonprofits are missing out on tons of free money—if only they could establish a set process to reach out to donors who work for companies that match donations.

65% of Fortune 500 companies offer matching gift programs.

That’s right—a majority of Fortune 500 companies offer matching gifts. Matching gift programs are pretty commonplace; donors just aren’t aware that their employers offer one.

More than 18 million individuals work for companies with matching gift programs.

The chances that many of your donors work for companies with matching gift programs is actually pretty high. Over 18 million people are eligible for matching gifts through their employers.

84% of donors say they’re more likely to donate if a match is offered.

This is where it gets really interesting! Did you know that more than three-quarters of donors would donate if they knew their gift could be matched? If a donor is on the fence about giving to your organization, letting them know in some way that their gift may be eligible for a match through their employer could be the tipping point for their decision.

1 in 3 donors would give a larger gift if matching were applied to their donation.

Not only do matching gifts encourage donors to give at all, but they encourage them to give in larger amounts. That’s because when donors know their gift is going twice as far through a match, they feel more inclined to give a larger gift to have the maximum impact.

All of these points are important to understand if your nonprofit is going to incorporate matching gifts into your fundraising plan. If you’re ready to start working this information into your strategy, let’s continue.

How to Leverage Matching Gifts in Your Strategy

Making the most of matching gifts usually means finetuning your current fundraising strategy. But where should you start?

Luckily, you can incorporate matching gifts into pretty much any aspect of your fundraising. More specifically, we’ll focus on how you interact with donors during your fundraising appeals. 

According to statistics:

Mentioning matching gifts in fundraising appeals results in a 71% increase in response rate and a 51% increase in average donation amount.

Similar to what we mentioned earlier, donors who know their gift may be eligible for a match are more likely to donate, and to give in larger amounts. But that only happens if they’re made aware of the opportunity. Specifically mentioning matching gifts in your outreach is one of the most effective ways to bring in this extra revenue.

Sending matching gift reminder emails within 24 hours of a donation results in a 53% open rate, which is 2-3 times higher than the average nonprofit email open rate.

Doubling the open rate of your nonprofit emails might seem like a stretch, but research shows that when you remind donors about matching gifts within 24 hours of their donation, they’re more likely to open the email, which means they’re also more likely to submit a match request!

We’ve covered plenty of data at this point, so now we’re going to talk specifically about how you can leverage this data as part of your fundraising strategy. What are the areas you can use most effectively to spread the word about matching gifts?

Performing Effective Matching Gift Outreach

Performing effective matching gift outreach means diversifying your efforts. There are many marketing channels you can use to inform existing and prospective donors about their matching gift eligibility, and we’re going to outline how you can use each of them below:

Email

Email is frequently used as a way to update supporters (e.g., through newsletters), thank donors, and send other communications. Why not also leverage email as a way to increase your matching gift revenue?

To reiterate: Sending matching gift emails within 24 hours of a donation results in a 53% open rate, which means email offers a great opportunity to raise more. You’re already communicating with donors through this channel, and adding matching gift information to your thank yous, newsletters, and other outreach can do wonders for your fundraising efforts.

Website

Your website is likely the first place supporters go to learn more about your organization. And because your website offers all this information about your nonprofit, there are many places on it where you can promote matching gifts.

These include:

  • Your donation page. Promote matching gifts directly on your donation page. That way, supporters who go to donate will be notified that they may be eligible for a match right then and there.
  • Your Ways to Give page. Feature matching gift information on your Ways to Give page. This will also turn more prospective donors into actual donors, since we already know that they’re more likely to give if they know a match will be applied.
  • A dedicated matching gifts page. Devote an entire page of your website to matching gifts. This is a great place to explain what they are and how donors can ask their companies about getting their gifts matched. You can also link to this page from email outreach and other forms of communication.

Use your website to your advantage! The more you spread awareness around matching gifts, the more results you’ll see.

Direct Mail

Direct mail is still a very effective channel of communication for nonprofits. Not only does it provide a personalized touch for the recipient, but it’s also a fantastic way to promote matching gifts.

Feature an easy-to-type link in your direct mail outreach, or a QR code the recipient can scan, to take them to more matching gift information on your nonprofit’s website.

Social Media

Like the other channels mentioned above, social media is another great avenue to use when promoting matching gifts. Leverage your online platforms to share brief but informative messages about matching gifts, link back to your website’s matching gift information, and encourage more supporters to donate through calls-to-action.

According to Crowd101’s corporate giving statistics page, approximately $2-3 billion is still donated through matching gift programs each year. Don’t miss out on this opportunity by letting your marketing efforts fall to the wayside. Instead, actively use all of your outreach channels to your advantage to effectively leverage corporate philanthropy as part of your strategy.


When it comes to fundraising online and through other channels, there are many ways your team can incorporate matching gifts. Raising awareness is just the first step; from there, you need to actively cultivate your donors and make sure they see the process through. That means following up using these channels and demonstrating the impact their doubled donations can make.

From there, your organization will be in a great position to tap into corporate philanthropy and all of its benefits. Good luck!

Published by Adam Weinger