Nonprofits often overlook two important ways to generate revenue: corporate employee matching gifts and volunteer grants. These corporate giving programs are two ways for your nonprofit to increase donations.
Each company has different requirements and stipulations for their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, but your nonprofit should have a general understanding of what these programs are and how to promote them to help your nonprofit raise more money.
Matching Gift Basics
Matching gifts are donations that a company makes to an eligible nonprofit after an employee has made a contribution. After the initial donation, the employee submits paperwork either through an online company portal or to the HR department. This process in full is broken down below:
Companies usually match gifts at a 1:1 ratio, doubling an employee’s donation. However, some employers will match contributions up to a 4:1 ratio, depending on the amount of the donation and the nonprofit that receives it.
For example, ExxonMobil offers a 3:1 match for donations made by employees to higher education institutions, while offering a lower match of 1:1 for donations made to cultural institutions. Additionally, an employee’s position in the company can sometimes impact the match they are eligible for.
Top Companies With Matching Gift Programs
There are so many great matching gift programs out there, but here are a few that stand out:
- Johnson & Johnson: The healthcare company based in New Jersey matches donations to nonprofits starting at $25 and goes all the way up to $20,000. Part-time and full-time employees are eligible to have their gifts matched at a 2:1 ratio, while retirees can have their donations doubled at a 1:1 ratio.
- Soros Fund Management: This U.S. investment management firm knows how to match employee donations! Like Johnson & Johnson, the minimum donation is only $25, and Soros caps matched donations at $100,000. Employee donations are matched at a very impressive 3:1 ratio, while partner contributions are matched at a 2:1 ratio.
- The Ford Foundation: Founded in the 1930s by father and son duo Henry and Edsel Ford, the Ford Foundation seeks to improve human welfare. One of the ways they accomplish this mission is by offering their employees a generous matching gift program. Although retirees are not eligible, all part-time and full-time employees can have donations ranging from $25 to $30,000 matched at a 3:1 ratio.
- BP: In addition to founding the BP Foundation, a charitable organization built to support philanthropic activities around the world, BP has an exceptional employee matching gift program. In addition to matching employee donations to eligible nonprofits, BP will also match funds raised by an employee in a peer-to-peer campaign.
How to Promote Matching Gifts to Donors
While some employees are fully aware of matching gift opportunities their employers provide, others may not know that their donations go twice as far, just by filling out a little paperwork. Your nonprofit can increase awareness by highlighting matching gift options on your website, on social media, and immediately following the donation process.
Keep in mind that these suggestions are not mutually exclusive, and a comprehensive matching gift marketing strategy leverages all three channels. What’s most important is that your matching gift efforts don’t interfere with the donors making their initial donations. Let’s take a look at each one separately.
On Your Website
A dedicated matching gift landing page provides information for casual website visitors before they’ve decided to donate. According to The Big-Give Research Initiative, 84 percent of donors are more likely to give if their gift is eligible to be matched, so make sure this information is easily accessible for your visitors.
There are two ways to do this. First, provide information about matching gifts along with a list of companies that match. For example, check out the Seattle Symphony’s matching gifts page below.
Pro Tip: Make it a long list so that potential donors can see how common matching gift programs are and will be more encouraged to reach out to their own employer.
In addition to providing information on matching gifts, consider including a matching gift search tool right on your page as well. Take a look at the ASPCA’s dedicated matching gift page on their website.
On Social Media
M+R Benchmarks reported that nonprofit social media followers grew 44 percent on Instagram, 15 percent on Twitter, and 13 percent on Facebook. With such a large number of social media users engaging with nonprofits, your team can’t afford to miss out on promoting matching gifts on sites like Facebook and Twitter.
The National Kidney Foundation offers a great example of how to effectively market matching gifts on Facebook. By posing a question to followers and then providing them with quick information and a link about matching gifts, the foundation was able to reach a large audience. This post was liked by more than 450 followers and shared nearly 200 times: each share represents exposure to a whole new network.
Immediately Following the Donation Process
A prime time to talk with your donors about matching gifts is during the actual donation process. This is one of the rare occasions when you can be 100% sure that your messaging is aimed toward an audience that is actively supporting your organization.
So when exactly is the most effective moment to mention matching gifts? In order to maintain the high conversion rates from your Classy donation form, we recommend focusing your matching gift efforts in your post-transaction communications.
You can include matching gift information on your donation form, but be careful not to distract donors from following through with their donations.
Make sure that your donation process is as streamlined as possible so that when a supporter clicks on your “Donate” button they’re taken directly to a donation checkout page. Every extra step is a chance for the donor to get distracted or second-guess their decision, so keeping the process simple will optimize your conversion rate . It’s not about making people act without thinking, it’s about making it easy for donors to follow through with their commitment.
How to use 360MatchPro to Simplify Employee Gift Matching
When you integrate Double the Donation’s 360MatchPro with Classy, matching gift opportunities can be identified as soon as a donor enters their email address. If a donor uses a corporate email, that domain will trigger an email including that company’s specific matching gift guidelines.
The image above illustrates just how simple this process can be. Once a donor is identified as match-eligible, they are immediately directed to the matching gift request submission page on their employer’s website.
If the donor doesn’t use a corporate address, they will automatically be sent an email encouraging them to check their match-eligibility on a dedicated matching gift page that includes company forms, guidelines, and next steps for submitting a matching gift request.
Automatic emails ensure that every single matching gift opportunity is pursued. These emails are branded to match your organization’s logo and colors. You can see an example from the Cat Rescue Club below.
Matching Gift Best Practices
Once you’ve gained a full understanding of matching gifts and how they work, you’re ready to start activating your donors. First and foremost, remember that donors can’t request something they’ve never heard of, so use the tips above to spread the word about matching gift opportunities to them.
The initial donation is the start of any matching gift you’ll receive. You don’t want anything to distract or discourage a donor from submitting their donation, so make sure to keep your donation form simple, clean, and direct.
Once the donation is made, following up with donors can increase your matching gift revenue. With 360MatchPro, this follow-up is completely customizable and automated. Additionally, you’re able to track each donation and where the donor is in the process, as illustrated below.
This can relieve your organization of the need for a matching gift agent who manually tracks matching gifts and reaching out to donors. That, in turn, can save you money.
Past the follow-up, your organization will want to track the progress of these matching gift opportunities. This is another benefit of Double the Donation’s integration with Classy, which offers your organization insights into exactly which donors are match-eligible and where they are in the matching gift request process.
Also known as “Dollars for Doers,” volunteer grant programs are corporate giving initiatives that reward employee volunteerism with monetary donations to the nonprofits where employees dedicate their time. Even though there is often an overlap between donors to your nonprofit and volunteers who participate in fundraisers and events, you can still promote volunteer grants to both groups.
Not all companies offer volunteer grants, and those that do tend to have different criteria by which they distribute funds to nonprofits. Some programs require employees to cross a certain threshold of volunteer hours, while others have a set rate that they will donate for each hour an employee spends volunteering.
Top Volunteer Grant Companies
- ExxonMobil: Employees of ExxonMobil can take advantage of the corporation’s volunteer grant program after volunteering at a nonprofit for at least 20 hours. ExxonMobil gives nonprofit organizations $500 per 20 hours of employee volunteering, and workers can apply for up to four grants in a single calendar year.
- Allstate Insurance: Allstate offers a volunteer grant program that donates $500 for a minimum of 16 hours that a single employee volunteers with a nonprofit. Additionally, Allstate will give $1,000 to an organization when an agency owner volunteers for at least 16 hours.
- Dell, Inc.: When Dell employees volunteer for a minimum of 10 hours per quarter, the company will donate $150 to a nonprofit of the employee’s choice. Employees can request a maximum of four volunteer grants per year.
These are just a few of the many excellent volunteer grant programs out there.
How to Promote Volunteer Grant Programs to Donors
In addition to the strategies you use for marketing a matching gift program, you can talk directly to volunteers about the different programs that their employers might offer while they’re volunteering with your organization.
This can be a great way to connect with volunteers on a personal level and help them maximize the impact that they have on your organization and mission.
Nonprofit organizations should take advantage of the generosity of corporations and businesses by letting donors and volunteers know about matching gift programs and volunteer grant initiatives.
Every year, $4 to 7 billion in matching gift revenue goes unclaimed. With the new integration that Double the Donation built between its 360MatchPro platform and Classy, claiming some of that revenue is easier than ever for Classy customers.
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.