If your nonprofit has delved into the world of corporate philanthropy, you know about matching gift programs. These immensely popular programs are pretty simple: companies give the same amount of money to the same nonprofits as their employees. All the employees have to do is submit the proper paperwork and ensure that their donations are eligible under their employers’ program requirements.
Despite the ease of participating in these programs, corporate philanthropy is one of the most underutilized sources of fundraising revenue in the nonprofit space. Even though more than 65 percent of Fortune 500 companies offer matching gift programs, anywhere from $6 to $10 billion in potentially matched donations are left on the table.
If matching gift programs in particular are so profitable, what accounts for the wide gap in participation?
Overwhelmingly, donors don’t participate in matching gift programs because they don’t know about them, not because they don’t want to. Your supporters do want to make their donations go further, they just don’t know how.
That’s why it’s so important for your nonprofit to market matching gifts on your nonprofit’s website, the hub that your donors look to for information about your organization.
The right marketing strategy will emphasize to your donors that submitting matching gift requests is both easy to do and vital for your mission. In this post, we’ll show you how to incorporate matching gift information onto your website in the following places:
- Donation forms
- Confirmation pages
- Dedicated matching gift page
- Campaign announcements
- Seasonal messages
By following these matching gift marketing strategies, your donors won’t be able to ignore the value of corporate philanthropy.
Let’s get started!
1. Donation forms
As you might have guessed, the best place to include matching gift information on your website is your online donation form.
The online visitors that make it to your donation form obviously care about your nonprofit. They want to support you with a donation!
You can rest assured that these supporters are likely receptive to matching gift information—after all, matching gift programs give donors a way to boost their support for your organization without taking any more money out of their own pockets. All you require is a little extra time.
There are several ways to incorporate matching gift information into your donation form, including:
- A matching gift database plugin, which donors can use to search their employers’ program directly from your form.
- A sentence explaining what matching gift programs are and how your donors can check their eligibility.
- An eye-catching graphic sharing matching gift program information and encouraging donors to contact their employers for information.
You’ll be able to format some of these yourself easily with the right online fundraising software that allows for custom donation pages. Others, you might require the help of a nonprofit technology consultant to accomplish.
When you host matching gift information on your donation form, every potential donor will see it no matter how they reach your form. If donors go through a crowdfunding page, a social media post, your website, or a text-to-give form, they’ll land on your donation page.
Including matching gift information here is the best way to ensure that everyone, no matter where they encountered your nonprofit, has access to this vital information.
2. Confirmation pages
The second-best place to house matching gift information on your website is the next step in the donation process: your confirmation page.
Think about it from your donor’s point of view. They were inspired to give by something, whether it was a news story or a discussion they had with a friend. Whatever drove them to your form left an impact on them, but that impact is short-lived.
You’re asking donors to take an additional step to support your nonprofit after they’ve already made a donation. You need to ask as soon as you can to ensure that they are still in the same state of mind that they were when they decided to make the initial donation.
Your confirmation page is also a good home for matching gift information for logistical reasons. All corporate philanthropy programs set a deadline for matching gift requests. Ensure that your donors will have plenty of time to meet those deadlines by getting in their paperwork right away.
Don’t forget about automated donation confirmation emails that most online fundraising software allows you to customize!
Your donors are looking out for this email as a receipt of their donation, so they’ll be sure to pay attention to it when it arrives. Emphasize common program deadlines to encourage your donors to go ahead and submit their requests instead of waiting.
3. Dedicated matching gift page
You can’t limit your matching gift marketing to donors who have already decided to give. Instead, make sure that any visitor to your website can find the information they need about matching gifts.
There are some key benefits to dedicating a single page on your website to matching gifts:
- Information. At its most basic level, a dedicated matching gift page educates donors who probably don’t know much about corporate philanthropy. You can explain how these programs work, why they are important, and who is eligible to participate in them.
- Linking. If this page has all the information your donors need to know about matching gifts, that link is all you need to share in emails, on social media, and on other pages of your website. Conveying the necessary information becomes more streamlined!
- Perception. When you dedicate an entire page on your website to one topic, you show your donors how much importance you place on it. Demonstrating the value of matching gifts in this way will encourage more donors to seriously consider participating.
The value of a matching gift page goes beyond these benefits, though. Research shows that mentioning matching gifts in a solicitation increases the number of donations as well as the amounts of those donations, so you want to ensure that you include matching gift information wherever possible.
Consider providing an easy way for your donors to search their employers’ programs, either with a matching gift database search tool or directions to contact their HR department. Studies show that when presented with the maximum and minimum donation amounts eligible to be matched by their employers, most donors increase their donation amount.
Remember that casual website visitors are unlikely to stumble across your dedicated matching gifts page. Be sure to include a link to this page in your main navigation bar to make it easy to find.
4. Campaign announcements
Leaving matching gift information for donors to come upon on their own before and during the donation process is a great strategy, but what if you want to share matching gift information more actively?
You might be looking for an extra boost to a major capital campaign, your year-end fundraising efforts, or a spontaneous campaign that emerged from some civic, social, or environmental need. In any of these cases and more, matching gift revenue can help by providing that last push toward your fundraising goal.
Wherever on your website you host information about these important projects, include matching gift information, too! Consider:
- Embedding a matching gift search tool on your campaign page, along with a fundraising thermometer and other engaging page elements.
- Adding a link to your dedicated matching gift page at the beginning of blog posts sharing updates about your campaigns.
- If you’re hosting an event to benefit these campaigns, promote matching gifts on the event registration page.
- If you’re asking for signatures on an advocacy campaign petition, include a link to your donation form and matching gift information on the “thank-you” page!
Throughout these campaigns, you’ll also likely have set up a communications strategy. You’ll have identified the donors who have contributed or are most likely to contribute, and you’ve segmented them into lists in your email marketing software.
In your communications to these supporters, encourage them to participate in matching gift programs. Mention the specific impact that your current campaign is hoping to achieve, and explain how corporate philanthropy revenue can help you reach that goal twice as quickly.
5. Seasonal messages
One important element of corporate philanthropy to keep in mind is program deadlines. If a donor doesn’t submit paperwork on time, they cannot have their donations matched. And since there is no single deadline that every company follows, it isn’t feasible for your nonprofit to just send out one set of reminders to all your donors with the same information.
Instead, you should time your matching gift request submission reminders around some of the most common program deadlines.
Common deadlines include:
- A certain period of time after the initial donation.
- The end of the calendar year.
- The end of tax season.
The months of November, December, January, and April are popular for matching gift program deadlines. They’re also popular for other reasons, such as holidays!
When you send out your seasonal messages, be sure to include information about matching gifts that emphasizes the importance of the timing.
Especially during November and December, your donors will be thinking about charitable giving. The charitable spirit is high during these times, and it’s also the last chance your donors have to make donations that are eligible for tax deductions.
Post a holiday thank-you on your blog, your home page, and your Ways to Give page, including information about matching gifts. Encourage your donors to check whether any of those donations are still eligible to be matched! You can also include the same information in messages you send directly to donors, mentioning their specific recent donations.
Don’t let your nonprofit lose out on potential matching gift revenue. Take advantage of these matching gift marketing opportunities when designing your nonprofit’s website!
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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.