A simple way to boost funds with minimal effort is to allow your donors to double eligible donations through employer matching gift programs.
Matching gift programs are a form of corporate philanthropy in which companies financially match the individual donations their employees make to charitable organizations. While over 18 million individuals work for companies that offer matching gift programs, an estimated $4 to $7 billion in matching gift revenue goes unclaimed each year.
The primary reason for the discrepancy is a lack of donor awareness. By making a few simple adjustments to your fundraising strategy and messaging, you can help donors take advantage of this opportunity and double or even triple your matching gift revenue.
Below, we cover three best practices to successfully make the most of matching gift programs and the funds they could provide to your organization:
- Market your matching gift program to boost donor awareness
- Strategize with a developed research plan
- Maximize matching gift revenue with direct appeals
Incorporating matching gifts into your next fundraising campaign can create a new revenue stream that eases the strain on time and resources while bolstering funds, and taking just a few simple measures can bring the power of matching gifts to your next campaign.
1. Market Your Matching Gift Program to Boost Awareness
Lack of donor awareness about matching gift programs remains one of the largest roadblocks to accessing matching gift funds. In fact, 78% of donors who are employed by companies with matching gift programs are entirely unaware of their eligibility status.
This is why providing educational materials to your donor base and the public about matching gift programs is an essential part of strategy development when incorporating matching gifts into a fundraising campaign.
Follow these best practices and include the following information to market your matching gift program:
Educate Donors About Matching Gifts. Start by simply providing some matching gift basics to introduce donors to the idea of these matching gift programs. You can send out resources like lists of common matching gift programs and call on donors to reach out to their employers and inquire about their company’s matching gift policies. You can even use a tool like 360MatchPro by Double the Donation to check out the industry’s leading matching gift program database, through which donors can check their eligibility for matching programs in seconds.
Promote Your Matching Gift Program Through Multiple Channels. Include information about matching gifts through as many avenues as possible. Provide educational materials through the following:
- A dedicated web page
- Directly in your donation forms and confirmation pages
- Email outreach
- Social media appeals
Reinforce the information to donors so they have multiple chances to take advantage of the opportunity to double their donations.
Surface Your Matching Gift Request on Your Donation Forms. Mentioning matching gifts during your donation process results in a 51% increase in donation amount. This is the prime place to surface this opportunity because donors are in the middle of already taking action to contribute to your organization.
Classy donation forms integrate directly with Double the Donation to capture employment information, allowing you to follow up with donors about matching gift opportunities.
Promote matching gift appeals directly on your donation forms. The Classy and 360MatchPro integration makes this process simple by providing a streamlined search tool that takes spelling errors and parent or subsidiary companies into account.
Then, include information on matching gifts on a confirmation page as a safety net to capture the attention of donors who may not have given their full attention to the donation form. Automated matching gift software can allow your organization to embed information on matching gift eligibility or tools for donors to check their eligibility directly in the donation process.
Once you communicate the benefits, donors are more keen to follow up and submit their match. Mentioning matching gifts in your communications results in a 71% increase in email response rate from donors, so weave this into your outreach to boost donor engagement and funds.
2. Strategize With a Developed Research Plan
Set your organization up for matching gift success by conducting research on matching gift opportunities, setting goals for your matching gift program, and tracking data.
Some major items to research are top matching gift companies and donor employer status to maximize results. While most matching gift companies match at a 1:1 ratio, some even match at a 2:1, 3:1, or even 4:1 ratio. By targeting donors who work for companies with top matching gift programs you can prioritize communications with donors who may be able to triple their donation to your organization.
Companies like ExxonMobil and the Soros Fund Management typically match at a 3:1 ratio, and the companies below will match at a 2:1 ratio with high maximum limits (some capping out between $30,000 to $40,000):
- Johnson & Johnson
- Capital Group
- Air Products and Chemicals
- American Express
- FM Global
Most matching gift programs offer funds at a 1:1 ratio, but some even go as high as 4:1. Your organization might have donors that could quadruple their contributions.
As you develop your matching gift strategy, your database concerning donor employer information will only grow and allow you to continue strategizing for more effective and targeted communications with donors.
Utilizing tools that allow for functionality like email and matching gift submission tracking can help your organization track your matching gift success. Set goals based on measurable metrics to gauge how effective your approach is in creating more matching gift revenue so you can tailor your strategy to reach your fundraising goals.
3. Maximize Matching Gift Revenue With Direct Appeals
The informational resources used to educate your donors about matching gifts, and the donor data your organization uses in return to empower your strategy, are only as effective as the direct asks your organization makes to its donors. Create personalized, targeted outreach to your donors specifically asking them to 1) check their matching gift eligibility, and 2) submit a matching gift request to their employer.
When making your ask to a donor, create a simple and streamlined process for them by guiding them directly to their employer’s matching gift request forms if you have their employer information or their corporate email address. You can even take advantage of matching gift tools that automate emails to donors directing them to submit a matching gift request after they make a donation.
Send direct matching gift appeals to donors through targeted outreach. You can even automate and personalize these messages with the Classy and 360MatchPro integration.
Ideally, emails with matching gift appeals should not be sent as part of the digital receipt, because this may inhibit a donor from believing the email contains important follow-up steps. Ensure that email communications with these requests are always branded to make clear they are from a trusted source (your nonprofit). Donors who have just made a gift to your organization are clearly invested in your mission and are often excited by the idea of doubling their donation at no extra cost to themselves. You can peak donor interest and even boost donor retention by providing information about this savvy way to maximize impact.
Everyone wins with matching gifts; donors themselves love to give back as much as possible without having to reach back into their pockets, matching gift programs help companies become more plugged in to the communities around them, and of course, your nonprofit is able to receive twice the amount of money for the cost of soliciting one donation.
Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, Classy partner and the leading provider of matching gift tools to nonprofit organizations and educational institutions. Adam created Double the Donation in order to help nonprofits increase their annual revenue through corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs. Request a 360MatchPro demo today to learn how it can help you automate your matching gift fundraising.