Companies of all sizes often choose to participate in employee matching gift programs. After employees of the participating companies donate to a nonprofit organization, they can request a match from their employer, which effectively doubles the initial donation.
Matching gifts can, and should, be used in conjunction with all types of fundraising, from peer-to-peer campaigns to special events, in order to double the donations made by supporters. In this article, we’ll review four effective ways that nonprofit organizations can maximize their revenue from employee matching gifts:
- Incorporate matching gifts in the donation process
- Spread the word about matching gifts
- Make timely matching gift appeals
- Make the most of matching gift software
Let’s dive in!
1. Incorporate Matching Gifts in the Donation Process
As your organization works to raise money, be sure to include employee matching gifts in a way that enhances the donation process rather than leading the donor off track. For example, if you keep your donation page clean and simple, you can mitigate the risk that you distract donors before they complete a donation.
To accomplish this, consider including matching gifts on the confirmation page after a donation has been submitted. A quick explanation of employee matching gifts and an encouraging call to action for donors to check their match-eligibility can also go a long way toward boosting your revenue.
Providing a matching gift search tool, like the one offered by Double the Donation, on the confirmation page can help donors find company-specific matching gift information and take immediate action toward getting their donations matched.
Make sure that the matching gift information provided on this page is detailed, digestible, and actionable. You don’t want your donors to have to click link after link to find the matching gift guidelines that apply to them. Present them with the applicable minimum and maximum donation amounts, the match ratio, and a link to where they can actually submit their matching gift request.
2. Spread the Word About Matching Gifts
Since some donors may not have heard of employee matching programs, and sometimes have limited knowledge of their own match-eligibility, it is important to spread the word about matching gifts. After working with nonprofits for years, Double the Donation has found that lack of donor awareness is one of the biggest hurdles organizations must overcome to maximize matching gift revenue. In that light, it’s crucial you bridge that knowledge gap for your supporters.
There are a lot of benefits to informing donors about matching gifts. For example, just mentioning matching gifts in fundraising appeals can result in a 71% increase in response rate and a 51% increase in the average donation amount.
Consider creating a dedicated matching gifts page on your website to put the concept of matching gifts front and center for your audience. You can use this page to house all the information a donor might need about matching gifts, including:
- A definition of matching gifts
- Breakdowns of the elements commonly found in matching gift guidelines
- The process of submitting a matching gift request
All of this can help familiarize your donors with employee matching gifts, which can further encourage them to request matches from their employers. Our strongest recommendation for what to include on your dedicated matching gifts page is a matching gift search tool, like the one offered by Double the Donation. This tool can be easily embedded on webpages and allows donors to find out if they qualify for employee matching gifts.
You could also present an extensive list of companies that match employee donations. Either your donors can find their company on the list and reach out to their human resources department to learn more, or ask if they qualify for such a program. In fact, 84% of donors are more likely to move from your dedicated matching gift page to your donation form if they know that their gift qualifies for a match.
In addition to a dedicated matching gifts page that lives on your website, social media is another way to communicate with your audience and share information about matching gifts. Below are a few examples of social media posts about matching gifts.
You can link to your dedicated matching gifts page in these posts to ensure that it leads your donors to reliable information about this incredible opportunity.
3. Make Timely Matching Gift Appeals
Arguably one of the most important aspects of successful matching gifts is timing. Your organization should consider the timing of individual email follow-ups directly to donors after they’ve donated. Send an email within two hours after the donation is made that explains what matching gifts are and accentuates how they impact your organization.
These emails can be used to convey how much your organization appreciates the donors’ support, make them feel like a crucial member of the team, and show how much further the matching gift takes their donation.
Additionally, consider including matching gifts in all of your seasonal or time-sensitive campaigns. For example, one of the most opportune times to mention matching gifts is during year-end fundraising. You can appeal to both new and existing donors, emphasizing the opportunity to double their impact made from just one donation.
Giving Tuesday is another great example of a campaign in which your organization can include information about matching gifts. Not only does mentioning matching gifts often spur higher donation amounts, but including this information will also ensure that your donors know of steps they can take after their donations are submitted to double their impact.
Beyond these seasonal campaigns, check out this eye-catching and straight to the point example from the National Kidney Foundation:
It’s helpful to remember that matching gifts are an opportunity to talk to your donor base without sending another donation appeal. They have already donated, but you’re now reaching out and showing that those donations can go twice as far with a match from their employer.
4. Make the Most of Matching Gift Software
Leveraging the right software can help reduce some of the effort required to encourage and elicit matching gift requests from your donors. For example, you can integrate Double the Donation’s 360MatchPro with Classy. With this tool, donations automatically flow into the platform and are filtered into an appropriate automated email stream based on their match-eligibility.
These donations are tracked so you can see when a match-eligible donor has submitted a request. This tracking and automated outreach is synthesized into actionable insights presented visually and numerically, including figures like the number of match-eligible donations, submitted match requests, and the amount collected in matching gifts.
The automated emails take care of optimizing the timing of your matching gift appeals. For example, you can set an email to automatically go out to new donors two hours after the initial donation, one week later, two weeks later, or all three.
By automatically reaching out to all of your donors about matching gifts, you are removing the lack of awareness from your donor base and giving them the opportunity to help your organization claim some of the $4-7 billion in matching gift revenue that is left on the table each year. The revenue is out there, all you have to do is work with your donors to claim it.
Matching gifts aren’t tricky, it just takes a bit of time and effort to communicate to your donors the details of how they work. By leveraging the right software in conjunction with the best practices outlined above, your organization can kick back and watch as the matching gifts roll in.
Adam Weinger is one of the leading experts on corporate giving programs. He’s the president of Double the Donation, a company which helps organizations raise more money from employee matching gift and volunteer grant programs. Adam is a frequent contributor to many leading nonprofit magazines and blogs in addition to Double the Donation’s blog.