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Top Matching Gift Q&A for Impactful Year-End Fundraising

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Published October 8, 2021 Reading Time: 4 minutes

This is a guest post by Double the Donation, a provider of industry-leading matching gift tools that integrate with Classy to facilitate employer matches directly through the checkout process.

The year-end fundraising season is critical for nonprofits looking to leverage increased levels of generosity and set their teams up for success going into the new year. One of the most powerful, yet often overlooked strategies for doing so involves corporate matching gifts.

Grab the Guide to Strong Year-End Fundraising

Whether you’re looking to get into matching gift fundraising for the first time or are simply aiming to expand your existing efforts this year, it’s important to have a solid understanding of corporate giving and the impact it can have on your organization. That’s why we’ve put together this Q&A guide to help answer some of the most common inquiries you might have before getting started.

Top Year-End Fundraising Matching Gift Q&A

This information can help you prepare for not only a successful year-end fundraising strategy but for effective revenue generation long into the future. Ready to prepare your fundraising team with the right matching gift strategies this winter? Let’s start with the basics.

1. What are corporate matching gifts?

Corporate matching gifts are donations made by companies that agree to financially support the nonprofit causes that their employees are already giving to. These are often made at a dollar-for-dollar rate, although some companies might match at lower (e.g., .5:1) or higher (such as 2:1, 3:1, or even 4:1) ratios.

Essentially, corporate matching gift programs allow companies to increase their corporate philanthropy efforts, boost employee engagement, improve their reputations among consumers, and drive social impact.

2. Why are matching gifts underutilized?

According to research from Double the Donation, an average of four to seven billion dollars in matching gift funding is left on the table each year. But why is this happening?

Although companies with matching gift programs employ more than 18 million individuals, the vast majority are uninformed of their eligibility. This means that the biggest obstacle to maximizing matching gift funding is a gross lack of awareness. As a result, millions of match-eligible donors are not requesting matches from their employers, and nonprofit causes are missing out on billions of dollars in potential corporate revenue.

3. How should I promote matching gifts to my donors?

Because matching gifts are such an underutilized resource, it’s critical that your team takes a strategic approach for marketing these opportunities. To reach supporters effectively, we suggest taking a multi-channel approach through the following outreach avenues:

  • Social media
  • Email
  • Website
  • Direct mail

Ultimately, your goal for these promotional efforts is to get more donors to request more corporate matches for your cause. That all starts with informing donors of these opportunities in the first place and making match-eligible supporters (both those who have and have not yet given to your cause) aware of their companies’ offerings.

In fact, studies have shown that 84% of supporters surveyed reported a higher likelihood of giving if there was a match being offered. So not only will effective promotional tactics help you secure matches for gifts you’ve already received, but they can also encourage additional donations that you might not have collected otherwise.

4. How can I incorporate matching gifts in the donation process?

Incorporating matching gifts in the donation process is a great way to leverage high levels of engagement to encourage participation in workplace giving. However, it’s important that you don’t complicate the donation experience in doing so. Here’s what we suggest:

  • Embedding a company search widget directly into your online donation form
  • Providing donors with company-specific program guidelines on the donation confirmation page
  • Encouraging next steps by equipping donors with links to their employers’ online submission forms and downloadable PDFs
  • Following up with match-eligible donors after they’ve made a gift to remind them to submit a match request with their employer

Studies show that throughout the donor journey, the majority of supporters find their engagement with an organization to be at its peak while they are actively making their donations. That makes it a fantastic opportunity to promote matching gifts and drive conversions.

5. What are common match request deadlines?

Every company that offers a matching gift program chooses its own program guidelines⁠—including donation minimums and maximums, match ratios, and, of course, the date by which an employee must submit their match request. When it comes to year-end fundraising, one of the most important considerations is the submission deadline.

Here are a few of the most common types of match request deadlines to consider:

  • Within a certain number of months after the initial donation was made (often between one and six)
  • By the conclusion of the calendar year that the donation was made in
  • A few months into the year following the one that the donation was made in (allowing for a grace period)

Since many companies allow donation match requests through the calendar year and afterward, the holiday giving season is a great opportunity to follow up with match-eligible donors who have given previously in the year. This allows you to collect additional revenue as the year draws to a close without asking existing donors to reach back into their own wallets.

6. How can I automate matching gift fundraising?

Automating the matching gift process is one of the best ways to streamline your efforts and boost efficiency across your organization. This allows you to save more of your team’s time and effort that can be reallocated to your highest-value matching gift prospects, which is especially critical considering everything your team will be doing to boost year-end giving.

To do so effectively, you’ll need to invest in a powerful automation tool. This platform should integrate with your online fundraising software, like Classy, and help manage the process from start to finish⁠—including through targeted and segmented donor follow-up depending on the individual’s likely eligibility for a match.

Double Your Year-End Fundraising Impact

Matching gifts are beneficial year-round, but their impact is multiplied during the end-of-year fundraising season when donors are feeling especially generous. By providing your fundraising team with a solid foundation for matching gift basics, you can ensure your efforts are maximized to effectively drive your cause forward.

Remember the potential that lies in corporate giving as you prepare for year-end fundraising. Good luck!

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