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Matching Gifts to Drive Engagement: Q&A With the Experts

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Published January 31, 2022 Reading Time: 5 minutes

As you’re looking at nonprofit fundraising trends to explore in the coming year and beyond, one initiative that you certainly do not want to overlook is corporate matching gifts. You may want to get started with company gift-matching for the first time, or you may be looking to ramp up your existing efforts. Either way, it’s important to start with a solid understanding of the key concepts and practices involved in donation matching.

To provide your team with this information, we’ve partnered with the matching gift fundraising experts at Double the Donation to learn more.

Meet Adam Weinger, President of Double the Donation

Adam Weinger

Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of tools to nonprofits to help them raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs.

Double the Donation assists nonprofits with identifying match-eligible donors and driving more matches to completion. Not to mention, the software integrates directly into other nonprofit technology solutions (such as Classy!) to provide a seamless matching gift fundraising experience.

Classy reached out to the team at Double the Donation, experts in the matching gift fundraising space, to answer some critical questions for our nonprofit audience.

Classy: What are corporate matching gift programs?

Double the DonationCorporate matching gift programs are a popular form of corporate philanthropy offered by many charitable-minded businesses and companies. These programs typically encourage employees to donate to registered nonprofits that they care about, then submit a matching gift request to their employer. The employer reviews the request, verifies the initial donation that was made with the nonprofit, and sends their matching gift to the organization in addition.

Classy: Why are matching gift programs so important for nonprofits?

Double the Donation: A matching gift fundraising strategy is particularly beneficial because it allows organizations to make the most of corporate and workplace giving programs, collecting what are essentially bonus donations for their causes and doubling or even tripling fundraising revenue. As a result, matching gifts can significantly increase fundraising efficiency and overall ROI.

Company matches also allow donors to get further involved in a nonprofit cause that they care about. When supporters can secure an additional donation for their favorite charity, they know their own gift can go twice as far even without having to make more of a financial sacrifice on their end. In fact, we’ve found that many donors are more likely to give in the first place if they know their employer offers a corporate match.

Classy: Do most nonprofits utilize matching gifts?

Double the Donation: Unfortunately, corporate matching gift programs are continuously underused. That’s clear when you look at the multiple millions of employees who are eligible to participate, compared to the small percentage of those who are even aware that the programs exist.

Many companies fail to promote these opportunities to their staff, leaving the responsibility on nonprofit organizations to pick up the slack. So while many donors are likely eligible for these programs, there’s a severe knowledge gap that continues to get in the way of organizations maximizing their corporate revenue.

Classy: It sounds like nonprofits should do a lot more to market matching gifts. Do you have any suggestions on strategy?

Double the Donation: Through our experience working with thousands of nonprofit causes, we’ve seen a few marketing tactics that tend to produce particularly fruitful results.

For example, many organizations looking to integrate their matching gift and overall fundraising strategies aim to include matching gift information directly within the online donation process.

This typically includes:

  • An embedded search widget on the donation form
  • Company-specific program guidelines and eligibility criteria on the confirmation page
  • Personalized donation follow-ups and next steps through email

Beyond the giving experience itself, other top suggestions include:

  • Sharing matching gift information on social media
  • Highlighting opportunities through mass email marketing efforts
  • Providing additional educational resources on your nonprofit’s website on your “ways to give” page, site navigation, dedicated matching gift page, and more.

There are a lot of ways to get the word out about matching gifts, and we strongly encourage organizations to incorporate two or more of these promotional strategies into their efforts.

Classy: What are matching gift program guidelines, and what criteria is typically included?

Double the Donation: Matching gift guidelines are set by each company that offers this type of program. The guidelines essentially communicate to the staff whether a particular donation is eligible for a corporate match.

These guidelines typically include a few main types of information, such as:

  •  Eligible employees (full-time, part-time, retired, and even spouses)
  • Qualifying nonprofits (certain mission categories or exclusions, any registered 501(c)(3) organization)
  • Donation sizes (usually has to fall between a specified minimum and maximum amount)

Then, the business determines how long after their employee makes a donation that the gift is eligible for a match. And finally, the company chooses a particular match ratio, which is most often dollar-for-dollar.

Classy: How can a nonprofit get donors interested in matching gifts?

Double the Donation: One of the most effective ways to increase donor interest in matching gift strategies is to focus on the doubled (or even tripled) mission impact that donation matches provide. If a donor’s $500 donation went to feed five families for a week, make sure to highlight that. Should a donor secure a company match, their gift can feed ten families instead.

Another popular strategy that can help boost interest⁠—and action⁠—is to emphasize the urgency of submitting company matching gift requests. Many companies set matching gift deadlines that align with the end of the calendar year in which the initial gift was made. That’s why many organizations choose to increase their matching gift marketing efforts during the year-end giving season. Similarly, if you know that a donor works for a company that has a 30-day matching gift request period following the initial donation, it’s a good idea to follow up with them as that deadline grows near.

Classy: What is the easiest way for nonprofits to increase their matching gift revenue?

Double the Donation: The simple answer is matching gift software. More and more nonprofits rely on fundraising software to maximize the amount of money they raise while minimizing the time and effort required at the same time. Matching gift software follows the same basic premises⁠—which is essentially the need our company aims to meet.

At Double the Donation, our product leverages a searchable matching gift database alongside comprehensive automation software that streamlines the matching gift process from beginning to end. This means that nonprofits can use our tools to increase awareness about matching gifts among donors, collect employment data to screen for match-eligible supporters, and trigger automated follow-ups that guarantee no donor falls through the cracks.

We also ensure that our matching gift software integrates seamlessly with top fundraising platforms such as Classy to make the process of getting started with matching gifts as easy as possible for everyone involved. The easier the process is for donors and organizations alike, the more dollars you’ll collect for your mission.

Classy: What else should fundraisers know about matching gifts?

Double the Donation: Two to three billion dollars is donated to nonprofits through matching gift funds annually. When it comes to matching gifts, one of our favorite things to remind nonprofit fundraisers about is that there’s more opportunity to tap into. Our research shows that an additional $4-7 billion in available matching gift dollars is left on the table each year. Just think of what that extra funding could mean for every local animal shelter, university, medical research center, or social service in your community.

By now, we know that matching gift programs are a common occurrence. More than 26 million people work for companies that match gifts, meaning a good portion of any nonprofit’s donor base likely falls into that category.

The good news is that it’s a growing offering as well. As consumers and employees become increasingly passionate about supporting socially responsible companies, more businesses are looking to roll out corporate giving programs and expand their offerings than ever before.

Matching gifts offer a win-win-win situation for each party involved⁠—including the initial donor, the matching company, and the nonprofit receiving both donations. Effective matching gift fundraising increases a nonprofit’s corporate and individual revenue and strengthens supporter relations.

If your organization is looking to establish or grow your matching gift strategies, the partnership between the fundraising experts at Classy and Double the Donation can help!

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