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6 Ways to Launch a Giving Tuesday Matching Gift Campaign

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Published November 6, 2020 Reading Time: 8 minutes

Updated on September 7, 2022. 

According to Classy’s The State of Modern Philanthropy 2022, over 10 times more donors are acquired on Giving Tuesday than any other day. Meanwhile, organizations see double the conversion rates on Giving Tuesday than on any average day. The opportunity for considerable increases in traffic to your nonprofit website and donation page can lead to great fundraising results. You might as well make the most of it with a donation match. Corporate matching gifts can form a compelling strategy for year-end fundraising. Below are some of the most effective ways to kick off your matching gift campaign this Giving Tuesday:

Not only do matching gifts enable your organization to increase corporate funding, but they also serve as a powerful donor engagement opportunity with individual supporters. Double the Donation’s research reports that over 26 million individuals are eligible for matching fund programs.

Unfortunately, more than 78% of this group has never been informed of the opportunities at hand, which is why a significant component of a matching gifts campaign revolves around increasing awareness. Executing strategies like these can help you take advantage of the $4 to $7 billion in matching funds that go unclaimed each year.

Ready to get started? Let’s jump in.

1. Research Donor Information to Identify Lucrative Opportunities

Like any good fundraising campaign, start with donor research. A few main donor data insights⁠—particularly regarding their employment status⁠—will help you get started. This includes:

  • The companies that offer the best matching gift programs;
  • The companies your donors work for;
  • The overlap between the two. (i.e., donors who work for the companies with the best matching gift programs)

The answer to the first question lays the groundwork for your campaign. It can show you where to focus your efforts and ensure you make efficient use of your time by targeting donors with the most generous matching gift programs.

For context, gift matching programs can vary greatly depending on the company. Some might offer matching gifts at a one-to-one ratio, while others will provide two, three, or even four-to-one contributions. Participating companies can also establish boundaries surrounding the types of organizations they’ll contribute to, categories of employees who qualify to request matches, and the timeline during which they allow submission requests. There are typically also minimum and maximum amounts that a company will match per employee per year.

Access to this information is essential for both your organization and its donors; luckily, many resources are available to assist. For example, this compilation of top matching gift companies shares a list of well-known businesses that match gifts and a summary of each program offered. You can even use corporate databases like 360MatchPro by Double the Donation to get detailed information about matching gift guidelines for thousands of companies. (Hint: this particular software can be integrated directly into your Classy platform for easy access to matching gift information!)

Next, examine where your donors work. You might be surprised to learn that many already work for companies that will double or even triple their donations to a nonprofit. Then, you can apply the insights you gained from researching matching gift programs to their specific matching opportunities. For example, you may explore your most recent, high-value donors to see if they are eligible for matching gifts to help prepare for your Giving Tuesday donation strategy.

2. Communicate with Donors to Encourage Matching Gifts

You’ll likely send many fundraising appeals on Giving Tuesday to urge supporters to get involved in your campaign. You may communicate with donors across multiple channels, including newsletters, blog posts, email marketing, text messaging, direct mail, social media, and more. 

Don’t forget to incorporate matching gift information within your campaign messaging to drive the most significant results. According to previously cited Double the Donation matching gift research:

  • Over 84% of survey participants say they’re more likely to donate if a matching gift is offered.
  • 1 in 3 donors states they’d even give a larger initial donation if a match is applied to their gift.
  • Mentioning matching gifts in fundraising appeals results in a 71% increase in response rate and a 51% increase in donation amount.

These metrics show that donors respond positively to matching gift appeals in marketing. Once they know about matching gift requests, they will be happy to participate. Plus, it can allow you to increase individual support even before corporate matching is incorporated substantially.

3. Set Giving Goals

As you prepare your fundraising and overall communication strategies for Giving Tuesday, setting goals and expectations surrounding your matching gift campaign is essential. These objectives should be specific, measurable, and realistic to help motivate donor participation and team member momentum.

For example, you might set a goal to ask a certain percentage (say, 75%) of your identified match-eligible donors to submit matching gift requests to their employer. This can help you adjust your communication strategies and place matching gifts at the center of promotional materials and donor outreach.

A few other examples of Giving Tuesday matching gift goals might include:

  • Response to matching gift messaging
  • Percentage of donors’ match eligibility statuses identified
  • Total amount raised from matching gifts
  • Number of matching gifts ultimately received
  • Percentage of available matching gift revenue secured
  • Number of new donors who submit matching gift requests
  • Number of recurring donors who submit matching gift requests

Collecting, tracking, and analyzing detailed matching gift metrics like these will also help you plan future outreach strategies regarding matching gift fundraising. For instance, you might see that gift matching emails sent within the first twenty-four hours after the donation process have exceptionally high open rates (hint: they typically do). To increase donor email engagement, you can use these practices for future messaging strategies to increase donor email engagement.

To further simplify the process, some tools automatically track valuable fundraising data to ensure that you have accurate and up-to-date matching gift information. For example, 360MatchPro and Classy can track your data-driven goals to keep your organization on track by using only the most effective matching gift strategies.

4. Incorporate Matching Gifts in the Giving Process

Promoting matching gift opportunities at the height of donor engagement levels is essential, and directly within the giving experience⁠—on Giving Tuesday, no less⁠—is one of the best times to do it. Luckily, it’s easy to incorporate matching gifts within the donation experience, especially when it comes to online donations.

Make the most of this strategy with a few key locations where you should include matching gifts.

  • Within your Giving Tuesday campaign donation page: ⁠Your donation form can be a fantastic chance to request employment data, especially for those donors whose employment status you don’t already have on record. Supporters already provide data about themselves, such as their name and contact information⁠. What’s one more little detail to ask for? Be sure to mention matching gifts where you collect this information, as donors tend to be more willing to enter employment data when they know how it will be used.
  • On your gift confirmation screen: Your confirmation screen is where you thank donors for contributing to your Giving Tuesday campaign and, in this case, provide additional information about matching gift opportunities. Specifically, you’ll want donors to recognize matching gift eligibility and urge them to take action. You can even include direct links to their employers’ matching gift request forms when you have the information available. They can go straight from your giving page to the company’s matching portal!
Matching gift donation page exampleMatching gift example thank you page

Continuously promoting matching gifts throughout the donor experience will allow you to increase awareness of these opportunities while donors are already actively involved in supporting your organization. Leverage the momentum gathered during the donation process and allow the excess to drive matching gifts to completion as quickly as possible.

5. Follow Up with Giving Tuesday Donors Afterward

To receive a matching gift, donors must submit a matching gift request to their employer. Unfortunately, not everyone will do so directly after completing their initial donation on Giving Tuesday. Luckily, a little communication from your organization goes a long way regarding marketing matching gifts.

We recommend following up with donors in the hours or days after Giving Tuesday to remind individuals about match opportunities and encourage them to complete their employee submissions. Consider these tips as you do so:

  • Timing is everything: Double the Donation reports that sending matching gift reminder emails within 24 hours of a donation results in a 53% open rate. That’s 2-3 times higher than the average nonprofit email open rate. However, you don’t want to send your matching gift message too soon after the donor submits their initial gift. In that case, it can often be discarded as a part of your automated donation confirmation email.
  • Provide as much targeted information as possible: Donors don’t want to conduct a lot of research on their own to submit a match request. Simplify the process by sharing company-specific program details with individuals whose employment data you have on file. This should include the company’s minimum and maximum match amount and types of qualifying employees and nonprofits to determine match eligibility. Then, share additional details such as match ratio, submission deadlines, and links to submission forms when available.
  • Encourage donors to keep you in the loop regarding the request process: Once donors request their matches, you generally won’t hear back unless you’ve been asked to verify the initial gift or when you receive the match. However, it can be challenging to track matches and estimate incoming corporate revenue. That’s why we recommend incorporating an easy-to-follow link in your matching gift follow-up emails for donors to inform your team when they complete their end of the matching gift request. Then, be sure to thank them for their time and effort.
Matching gift email example

You know that your donors are dedicated to supporting your nonprofit and its mission. They’ll likely be interested in participating when they’re aware of the opportunity to further that support with matching gifts. Sometimes it just takes a reminder or two to help drive as many matches to completion as possible. The days following Giving Tuesday will be a vital opportunity for doing so.

6. Keep Promoting Matching Gifts Year-Round

So far, this guide has primarily focused on matching gifts for your upcoming Giving Tuesday fundraising campaign. It’s an excellent opportunity you don’t want to miss out on, particularly when you craft your Giving Tuesday plan to lead into a well-thought-out rest of the year-end giving season strategy.

But your matching gift efforts shouldn’t end there! Marketing matching gifts to your supporters can also be an effective year-round initiative. Here are a few best practices to help make it happen:

  • Follow up on previously made donations: Companies often set generous deadlines for matching gift program participation. Common deadline structures include a set number of months (usually six or twelve) after a donor makes their initial gift, the end of the calendar or fiscal year in which the gift was made, or even several months into the following year. 

This means that while donors securing their matches immediately after making their donations can be convenient, there may still be opportunities to follow up on available matches previously made gifts, even going into the new year.

  • Provide matching gift information on your website all year long: Your nonprofit’s website is arguably your most valuable marketing asset, so it makes sense to incorporate matching gift information where relevant. For the best results, we recommend creating a dedicated matching gift web page, adding a section on matching gifts to your “ways to give” page, and even incorporating matching gifts on your navigation menu. 

Then, throughout the year, as you continue to mention matching gifts in your marketing and donor communications, be sure to link back to these online resources where supporters can learn more about the opportunities and how to get involved.

The bottom line is that if you’ve yet to explore the power and possibilities involved with corporate gift-matching, hosting a Giving Tuesday matching gift campaign can be an excellent way to jumpstart your efforts. However, you’ll want to keep growing your matching gift fundraising initiatives long into the future with the hope that every available match will eventually be claimed!

Start Your Giving Tuesday Matching Gift Campaign Today

Keep these matching gift strategies in mind as you push through the final stretch of Giving Day planning. Research, communication, and goal-setting are vital yet simple ways to implement a successful matching method just in time for one of the most philanthropic days of the year. And you don’t want to overlook the vast benefits of an optimal donation experience and strategic follow-up messaging.

Just think about what your organization will be able to do with double the revenue. Happy fundraising!

Automate your matching gift fundraising with the industry-leading solution from Double the Donation. The 360MatchPro platform provides nonprofits with tools to identify match-eligible donors, drive matches to completion, and gain actionable insights. 360MatchPro integrates directly into donation forms, CRMs, social fundraising software, and other nonprofit technology solutions to capture employment information and follow up appropriately with donors about matching gifts.

Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of matching gift tools to nonprofit organizations and educational institutions. Adam created Double the Donation to help nonprofits increase their annual revenue through corporate matching gifts and volunteer grant programs. 

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