How Matching Gifts Can Help Your Fundraising Team Succeed

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Matching gifts can have a huge impact on your organization. Learn how to successfully leverage this corporate giving program and boost your nonprofit’s revenue.

By Adam Weinger

As a nonprofit professional, it can be difficult running a fundraising campaign, especially when there’s competition for funds among many organizations with similar missions. But even in the current climate, it’s important to keep fundraising

You might have already run into scenarios where you have to get creative with your fundraising appeals in order to be successful. However, there’s an additional avenue you can take to boost your donation revenue: matching gifts.

What are matching gifts?

Matching gifts are a form of corporate philanthropy in which companies match donations their employees make to nonprofits after the employee has submitted the relevant request forms. Many companies match at the typical 1:1 ratio, but some companies will match at an even higher rate, such as 2:1 or 3:1!

Unfortunately, many organizations don’t leverage matching gifts as a primary source of revenue because they don’t have the resources, time, or staff needed to pursue it. This leaves a lot of money on the table that could otherwise go toward serving their mission.

So how can you incorporate matching gifts into your fundraising strategy?

We’ll discuss these top strategies that can help you successfully leverage matching gifts and double donations made to your nonprofit:

  1. Use a Matching Gift Database
  2. Incorporate Matching Gifts into Your Fundraising Events
  3. Promote Matching Gifts Across Multiple Channels
  4. Continue Engaging Your Supporters

Trying out these approaches can help boost your matching gift revenue without too much extra effort from your team! Let’s get started.

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1. Use a Matching Gift Database

It can be a challenge to make donors aware of employer matching gift programs, especially since this opportunity doesn’t occur to most individuals! To alleviate this issue, your nonprofit can leverage a matching gift database.

What is a matching gift database?

A matching gift database houses information on thousands of companies with matching gift programs, including the forms and guidelines needed for employees to submit their match requests.

A matching gift database is accessible by implementing a matching gift search tool plugin onto your donation pages, confirmation pages, and other areas of your website. All donors need to do is type in their company name, and the search tool will populate all the information they need about their employer’s matching gift program.

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But it’s not just about the ease with which donors can search for their companies. It’s about raising awareness in general. Now, more than ever, it’s important to leverage matching gifts as a source of income for your organization. This is because even during a global pandemic, matching gifts are continuing to make a difference.

Many companies like the ones listed here are expanding their matching gift programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This means companies are increasing their match ratios, matching gift limits, and other components of their programs to better assist organizations like yours.

A matching gift database that stays up-to-date with these changes can help your nonprofit keep donors informed. And when your donors know their gift can go twice as far, they’ll be more likely to give in the first place!

Bonus! Looking for more COVID-19 resources? Check out Double the Donation’s top resources for nonprofits.

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2. Incorporate Matching Gifts into Your Fundraising Events

In times when there’s not a global pandemic, your organization probably holds amazing events that bring your donors together with each other and members of your team. But you can also let your donors know about matching gifts at these events.

For example, if your nonprofit hosts an annual gala or auction, you can do the following:

  1. Have a presenter talk briefly about matching gifts during a speech.
  2. Direct your event attendees to the matching gift search tool on your website.
  3. Promote matching gifts as part of your outreach efforts before, during, and after the event.

This is also possible for virtual events! Be sure to include a segment on matching gifts so donors are aware this is an option. When your donors know their donations can go twice as far with little effort on their part, they will be more likely to continue giving to your organization and request that their employers match those donations.

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3. Promote Matching Gifts Across Multiple Channels

Marketing matching gifts can seem time-consuming, but there are many ways you can efficiently promote these programs to your supporters without too much added effort from your team.

You already communicate with donors in different ways. Build on those avenues to let donors know about matching gifts!

Try these top channels:

  • Your website. Donors who find their way to your website are obviously interested in learning more about your organization, and they may want to donate right then and there. Include information about matching gifts on your “Ways to Give” page, as well as on a dedicated matching gifts page and on your donation screens. This is also an excellent place to include a matching gift search tool plugin!
  • Social media. Keep posts short and to the point. Donors don’t want to see a novel on their newsfeeds. Include links to the dedicated matching gifts page on your website and incorporate graphics if you can. Even better, you can schedule periodic posts throughout the year so you don’t have to worry about your timing!
  • Email. If you’re already using email newsletters to keep donors in the loop about projects and events, use part of the space to promote matching gifts. Just like on social media, incorporate links to more information, as well as graphics.
  • Direct mail. Some donors prefer opening letters to opening their inbox. Keep these donors in mind when promoting matching gifts.

While there are many other ways to interact with your donors, be sure to prioritize your existing communication methods to promote matching gifts.

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4. Continue Engaging Your Supporters

After you’ve acquired a new donor and have received a matching gift from their employer, make sure you thank them and stay in touch. Donors like to feel appreciated. Your nonprofit can show gratitude by thanking individuals for their initial donation, as well as their employer’s matched donation.

Sometimes, those matched contributions take weeks or even months to process before they make it into your nonprofit’s hands. When you thank donors for submitting their matching gift requests to their employers after you receive the matched donation, you’re not only showing your gratitude, but also reminding donors they can continue to have their future donations matched by their employers.

Many employers also have deadlines for submitting matching gift requests. Make sure your nonprofit sends out prompt thank-you messages after someone donates. This should encourage donors to have their donations doubled as soon as possible if they didn’t already submit a request after the initial contribution.

Even when your supporters aren’t donating to your cause, it’s essential to continue building your relationships with them. Cultivating donor relationships goes beyond showing supporters you appreciate them. It also means you care about their involvement and want them to be part of your mission.

For example, you can continue engaging supporters by:

  • Encouraging them to volunteer with your nonprofit
  • Inviting them to events
  • Sending updates about recent projects and achievements

There are many ways you can build a strong relationship with your supporters. Doing this can also result in a one-time donor becoming a recurring donor, and then potentially a major donor down the road. If your organization gets a major gift matched, that has a huge impact!

Continue engaging your donors to keep them involved, keep them updated, and cultivate those relationships.

Matching gifts can give your fundraising efforts a major boost. Whether you choose to leverage a matching gift database, promote matching gifts at an event, use multiple communication channels, or take other routes, your fundraising team can achieve matching gift success.

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Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of matching gift tools to nonprofit organizations and educational institutions. Adam created Double the Donation in order to help nonprofits increase their annual revenue through corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs. Connect with Adam via email or on LinkedIn.

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