As a fundraising leader, you’re probably aware of the many benefits matching gifts have. When organizations receive matching gifts, they’re essentially receiving two donations for the price of one.
To receive a matching gift, donors just have to submit a request to their employers. If the donor’s gift and your organization qualify, the company will send you a check for the same amount (or larger depending on the corporation’s matching gift program).
Many nonprofits miss out on matching gifts because they don’t have a strategy to promote these programs and just hope that donors will put in a request. While this approach may generate some funds, you won’t make the most of matching gifts if you don’t market them.
Nonprofits can use the following five strategies if they want to receive more matching gifts:
- Understand the different types of matching gifts.
- Create a matching gift marketing strategy.
- Promote matching gifts at your next fundraising campaign.
- Familiarize your team on the top matching gift companies.
- Manage matching gifts with automation software.
By putting these tips into place your organization will be able to optimize your matching gift promotion. Let’s get started with the first tip!
1. Understand the Different Types of Matching Gifts
Most nonprofits are familiar with corporate matching gifts, but did you know that there are many types of matching gift programs?
Your organization can (and should!) take advantage of every type of matching gift so that you can raise more money for your cause.
Let’s take a look a three different types of matching gifts and ways you can incorporate them into your fundraising strategy.
A. Employee Matching Gifts
Generally, this is the type of matching gift program that most organizations are familiar with. This is the kind of program where companies match their employees’ gifts.
The standard match is one for one, but some companies offer higher matching gift ratios. Plus, many programs will accept matches from full- and part-time employees as well as retirees.
Employee matching gift programs usually have some restrictions on the type of organizations and donations that are eligible. Donors also have to put in their requests before a specific deadline.
The challenge with these programs is that many donors aren’t aware that their employer offers matching gifts, and if they are, they don’t know how to submit a request.
Organizations need to make an effort to promote employee matching gifts and show donors how easy the process can be.
B. Challenge Matches
Your organization can ask foundations, major donors, and companies to participate in a challenge match.
Here’s how it works: your organization agrees to raise a certain amount of money by a specified deadline. If you’re successful, the supporter will match your donations so that you end up raising twice as many funds!
Challenge matches are perfect for crowdfunding campaigns and capital campaigns because you can show donors that you have the support a of a major contributor and your organization doesn’t have to do any extra work (other than reaching your goal) to receive the funds.
C. Company or Small Business Matches
Similar to employee matching gifts, company or small business matches are when you reach out to a local company to see if they’ll match donations up to a fixed amount.
What sets this program apart is that donors don’t have to work for the company to have their gifts matched. Best of all, donors don’t have to submit a request either!
Additionally, it’s a win-win situation for you and the business. Your organization gets double the funds and the company receives some promotion in the process.
Just take a look at this example from the Alzheimer's Society:
As you can see, the Alzheimer’s Society choose to use a company match on #GivingTuesday as a way to generate more funds.
Your organization can also use company matches for giving days or other online fundraising campaigns to boost participation. Donors will be much more willing to give knowing that their gift will be doubled.
2. Create a Matching Gift Marketing Strategy
As we mentioned earlier, many organizations don’t put enough thought into marketing matching gifts. As a result, nonprofits don’t take advantage of all the benefits that matching gifts can offer.
Just like your organization has a strong fundraising strategy, it’s important to create a plan surrounding how you’re going to market matching gifts.
The key is to educate donors on matching gift programs, provide them with the resources they need to submit a request, and remind them to have their gift matched before the deadline is over.
We’ll cover three ways you can promote matching gifts: on your organization’s website, via social media, and during donation.
A. Your Organization’s Website
Since supporters come to your website to learn more about your organization and ways they can support your cause, there is no better place to promote matching gifts.
Organizations can create a dedicated matching gift page or post information on their “Ways to Give” page. Either way, your organization should include:
- A basic definition of matching gifts.
- General guidelines and requirements for submitting a request.
- Resources where donors can learn more about their specific matching gift program.
One way to help donors learn more about matching gifts is by embedding a matching gift search tool to your page like Mercy Corps did on their website.
With the matching gift tool, donors are able to search for their company and learn about the eligibility of their gift as well as specific guidelines and requirements.
B. Social Media
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are also great places to promote matching gifts. It’s more than likely that your organization is already promoting fundraising campaigns on social media so it makes sense to let donors know about ways they can make their gift go further.
Social media posts need to be short and sweet if you want to grab your donors’ attention. Here are a few tips you can use when promoting matching gifts:
- Link to your matching gift page so donors can learn more information.
- Include a visual element to draw attention.
- Keep your message short.
You don’t need to use social media to give an in-depth look at matching gifts. But your tweets and Facebook posts can be a great way to remind donors to submit their gifts before it’s too late!
C. During Donation
Promoting matching gifts during the donation process means that donors will have matching gifts on their minds as they contribute. Plus, the earlier donors know about these programs, the more likely it is that they’ll submit a request.
How does your nonprofit promote matching gifts during donation? Organizations can embed the same search tool into their online donation forms so that supporters can search for their program as they make their gift.
Look at how Second Harvest incorporated the matching gift tool on their donation form:
This will not only let donors know if their donation is eligible to be matched but also encourages them to give more.
Think about it this way: a donor might come to your matching gift page with the intention of donating $10. However, if they find out their employer matches donations of $15 or more, that donor might decide to give the minimum requirement so they can get their gift matched.
3. Promote Matching Gifts at Your Next Fundraising Event
Fundraising events can be another great opportunity to let your supporters know about matching gifts.
As we mentioned before, there are many different types of matching gift programs that work well with online fundraisers like crowdfunding and peer-to-peer campaigns.
Moreover, some corporations have matching programs where they will match donations made to a peer-to-peer campaign.
Keep in mind that not all donations made to fundraising events will be eligible for a matched gift. For instance, tickets to a fundraising event often don’t qualify, but donations made during the event are often eligible.
As such, organizations, need to be aware of general matching gift policies so they can notify donors about which donations will qualify.
Here are a few ways you can incorporate matching gifts into these classic fundraising events:
- Charity auction or raffle. You can ask a corporation or major donor to participate in a challenge match. Once you reach a certain amount of funds through bids or raffle tickets, your goal will be doubled.
- Crowdfunding campaign. Remind donors about employee matchings gifts in your crowdfunding description and updates.
- Benefit concert, themed gala, and other charity parties. Make sure to promote mobile giving at these events and ask a corporation to sponsor your event by matching donations made during your fundraiser.
Matching gifts and fundraising events go great together because your donors are already eager to show their support and will be more willing to submit a request to their employer or donate during your event if they know it will be matched.
Bonus! Running a successful event is about planning ahead. Use Fundly’s event checklist to make sure you’re prepared.
4. Familiarize Your Team With the Top Matching Gift Companies
With so many matching gift programs available, it’s impossible to be well-versed in every company's program. That’s why tools like Double the Donation’s matching gift database make it easy to search through hundreds of up-to-date matching gift programs.
Even with this valuable tool, it’s important that your organization is familiar the the top matching gift companies.
What do we mean by top companies?
The top corporations will vary depending on your organization, but they will be the companies where the majority of your donors work and have programs with the most matching gift potential.
This could include businesses with:
- A high matching gift ratio.
- Low minimum donation requirements.
- Eligibility for full- and part-time employees and retirees.
- A high maximum donation amount.
For instance, Apple’s matching gift program should be on your nonprofit’s radar since the company matches donations as low as $1.
If you want more details on some of the best matching gift programs check out this list of of the top matching gift companies.
When your team is more familiar with these top matching gift companies, they can easily remind donors about deadlines, guide donors through the process, and provide specific information on requirements.
5. Manage Matching Gifts With Automation Software
Promoting and tracking matching gifts can take a lot of work, especially if you have thousands of donations to track.
Using a automation tool can help streamline your processes and save your team valuable time. In other words: matching gift automation software is like a CRM tool dedicated to corporate philanthropy.
With these tools, organizations can streamline their outreach, pinpoint donations with the most matching gift potential, and gain a better estimate of how much they’ve raised through matched gifts.
Matching gift automation software comes with features like:
- Email domain screening. When donors use their corporate email address during donation, the tool will identify their matching gift program and eligibility based on their domain.
- Automated tracking. Your organization will be able to track the status of donations by including a trackable link in thank-you emails. If a donor has already submitted a request, they can click the link and their donation will automatically be updated in your matching gift dashboard.
- Robust matching gift dashboard. With the dashboard, your organization will be able to track the status of donations, filter gifts by the most matching potential, and so much more. These tools can help your team focus on securing the most important matches.
Matching gift software is a vital tool that can support the rest of your marketing strategies and help your team stay focused on promoting matching gifts.
Now that you know how to raise more money with matching gifts, it’s time to put these strategies to work! Use these tips to help expand how you manage and market your matching gift initiatives.
Adam Weinger is the president of Double the Donation, the leading provider of tools for nonprofits to help them raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs. Connect with Adam via email or on LinkedIn.