4 Ways to Maximize Employee Giving Revenue With Matching Gifts
This blog was written by Adam Weinger, president of Double the Donation and leading expert on corporate giving programs. Adam is a frequent contributor to many leading nonprofit magazines and publications, in addition to Double the Donation’s blog.
Companies of all sizes often participate in matching gift programs and initiatives to give charitably, fuel their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, and support the causes their employees care about. After eligible employees donate to a nonprofit, they can request a match from their employer—doubling the initial employee donation.
Employee giving programs and subsequent matching gifts offer a powerful opportunity for nonprofit organizations to amplify their giving campaigns with little added effort. By tapping into the generosity of individual donors and their employers, nonprofits like yours can double—or even triple—the impact of incoming gifts.
In this article, we’ll review four practical ways nonprofits can maximize funding from employee giving campaigns and matching gifts. These include the following tried-and-true practices:
- 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.
Matching gifts can and should be used to amplify all types of fundraising—from peer-to-peer campaigns to special events and more—to make the most of tax-deductible donations coming your way.
The results are significant, with organizations seeing substantial growth in their individual and corporate philanthropy revenue.
1. Incorporate Matching Gifts in the Donation Process
Integrating employee giving directly within the donation process is an excellent way to uplevel year-round employee engagement and enhance your organization’s fundraising. Donors are typically at their highest engagement level at this time, increasing the likelihood that they’ll get involved when presented with the opportunity to participate in matching gift programs.
There are a few key ways to accomplish this. First, consider adding a quick blurb about matching gifts on your online donation site alongside seamless payment methods, like credit card, Venmo, PayPal, and other preferred options. This blurb can be as simple as “See if your employer will match your gift!” above an optional employment data field. Additionally, a matching gift search tool, such as Double the Donation’s, can be easily embedded in Classy donation forms.
Then, you’ll also want to promote matching gifts on the confirmation page after a donation has been submitted. A brief explanation of matching gifts and an encouraging call to action for donors to check their match eligibility can go a long way toward boosting employee giving revenue and retention.
Ensure that the matching gift information 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 the form they’ll use to submit their matching gift request.
Here’s a look at Double the Donation’s matching gift search tool, embedded into an organization’s online donation form:
After the individual completes their donation, details regarding the company’s matching gift program automatically populate on the gift confirmation page:
This resource allows donors to receive detailed information and be prompted to take the suggested next steps immediately after giving.
2. Spread the Word About Matching Gifts
Since donors may be unfamiliar with employee-giving programs and sometimes have limited knowledge of their match eligibility, spreading the word about the opportunity is crucial. After working with nonprofits for years, Double the Donation found that lack of donor awareness is one of the most prominent hurdles organizations must overcome to maximize matching gift revenue.
In that light, you must bridge the knowledge gap for your supporters.
Luckily, there are a lot of benefits to informing donors about matching gifts. For example, research indicates that 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.¹
Other ways to increase matching gift awareness include creating a dedicated matching gifts page on your website to highlight 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 and an overview of how these employee-giving programs support your organization’s social impact
- Breakdowns of the elements commonly found in matching gift guidelines (minimums and maximums, match ratios, qualifying employees and causes, submission deadlines, and more)
- Lists of companies offering matching gift programs (or an embedded matching gift database search tool)
- Information about how a donor can locate matching gift information in an efficient way if they don’t find their company
- How to advocate for a matching gifts program to a non-participating employer
- The basic steps for submitting an online (most common) or paper matching gift request
The above information can help familiarize your donors with employee-matching gifts, encouraging them to request matches from their employers. 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, social media is another great way to share information about matching gifts. This allows you to leverage the widespread reach of social networking sites, like LinkedIn, driving awareness of the charitable giving opportunity and empowering donors to get involved.
Below is an example of an attention-grabbing social post. Be sure to incorporate existing social media best practices, tailor your content to each platform, and communicate the value of the opportunity.
You can even link to your dedicated matching gifts page in these posts to ensure that it leads your donors to reliable information about the opportunity and how they can get involved. A social media post might pique your followers’ interest, but there’s only so much you can include. Linking to additional resources on the topic—like your dedicated matching gifts page with detailed incentives—is a must.
3. Make Timely Matching Gift Appeals
One of the most critical aspects of successful matching gift solicitation is timing. At the very least, your organization should consider sending individual email follow-ups directly after donors give.
We recommend sending your matching gift appeals between two and twenty-four hours after the donation. This message can explain the matching gift opportunity and reiterate how they impact your organization and its mission. If you have access to donor employment information (such as the data previously collected during the giving process), you can tailor your messaging to reflect an individual’s employee giving specifics.
Here’s an example:
These emails can convey how much your organization appreciates the donors’ support, make them feel like crucial team members, and demonstrate the amplified impact of their initial gifts.
From there, consider incorporating matching gifts in your seasonal or time-sensitive campaigns, like disaster relief or cause awareness day campaigns. For example, one of the most opportune times to mention matching gifts is during the year-end fundraising season.
Doing so can appeal to new and existing donors, emphasizing the opportunity to double the impact of just one donation. Previously on-the-fence donors are more likely to contribute when they know a match is available. Meanwhile, existing donors have the opportunity to amplify their gifts made in the year without reaching back into their own wallets.
Check out this sample matching gift email sent in the last few weeks of the year:
Remember that many companies close their employee-giving request windows at the end of the calendar year. Thus, it can be an excellent chance to drive unclaimed matches to completion using year-end urgency.
Giving Tuesday is another example of a campaign where your organization can include information about matching gifts. Not only does mentioning matching gifts spur higher donation amounts, but including this information will also ensure that your donors know the steps they can take after their donations are submitted to double their impact.
Matching gifts allow you to talk to your donor base without sending another donation appeal. They have already supported your cause, so you’re now reaching out and showing that those donations can go twice as far with a match from their employer at no extra cost to them.
But timing is critical. You’ll want to catch supporters at high levels of engagement—such as immediately following their initial donation or in the year-end giving season—to maximize matching gift conversion rates.
4. Make the Most of Matching Gift Software
Leveraging the right software can reduce some of the effort required to encourage matching gift requests from your donors.
Luckily, you can integrate Double the Donation’s 360MatchPro with your Classy fundraising tools. Thanks to the innovative partnership, donation records automatically flow into 360MatchPro and are filtered into an appropriate email stream based on match eligibility.
From there, donations are tracked in 360MatchPro, providing updates through the matching gift lifecycle and producing actionable insights in an easy-to-understand way. Metrics include the number of match-eligible donations, submitted match requests, and total revenue collected in matching gifts.
Take a look at a sample dashboard below:
The software also offers automated and personalizable email streams that make optimizing the timing of your matching gift appeals a breeze. We recommend triggering an email two hours after the initial donation is submitted—and one or two weeks later if the match remains unclaimed.
Automatically engaging with donors about matching gifts increases awareness among your donor base and provides the opportunity to help your team do more with employee giving and fuel the sustainability of your program. The revenue is out there; you must work with your donors to claim it.
By leveraging the right software, adopting seamless integrations, and implementing the best practices outlined above, your organization can kick back and watch as the matching gifts roll in.
- “Corporate Giving and Matching Gift Statistics [Updated 2023],” Double the Donation, last accessed July, 13, 2023, https://doublethedonation.com/matching-gift-statistics/.
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