Matching Gifts: 5 Essential Tips to Boost Your Donations
How much do you know about matching gifts? How much do your donors know?
A lack of knowledge about matching gifts means that between $6 and $100 billion in potential donations is left on the table every year, according to Double the Donation.
Don’t let that be you!
We’ll walk through everything you need to know about matching gifts and provide helpful tips, such as:
- Get familiar with different types of matching gifts.
- Find the right matching gift software for your nonprofit.
- Incorporate matching gifts at your next fundraising event.
- Develop a matching gift marketing strategy.
- Research the top matching gift companies.
Let’s get started!
1. Get familiar with different types of matching gifts.
If you’re used to only promoting employee matching gifts programs, then you’re missing out on two other ways to double your donations. With more matching programs, you open up more avenues for increased donations.
Let’s take a look at the different types of matching gift programs:
A. Employee matching gifts
The type of program that you’re probably most familiar with is employee matching gifts. With this kind of program, companies will match their employees’ donations.
Usually, companies match gifts at a 1:1 ratio, but some companies match gifts at an even higher ratio!
Even though the payoff is high, many donors don’t submit a matching gift request because they don’t know that their company even has a program.
It’s up to your nonprofit to educate donors about these programs and provide them with the resources they need to submit a request.
B. Top supporter matching gifts
Seek the help of your major supporters and board members by asking them if they’d offer a matching challenge.
They might be willing to contribute a significant donation if you can raise an equivalent or higher amount.
C. Corporate or small business matching gifts
Reach out to local businesses and see if they’ll match donations up to a fixed amount.
Small businesses have a doubled incentive to say yes: not only do they get to donate to a charitable cause, they also get the positive press that comes along with it!
Once you’ve got the cooperation of a few local businesses, you can start to promote your matching gift offers. Don’t forget to include details about the offer and information on the company.
For instance, The Alzheimer’s Society does a great job of promoting their matching gift partnership with Deloitte for #GivingTuesday. They not only include an engaging image, but they also explain the offer by saying “individual gifts up to $11,000 will be matched.”
The takeaway: If you’re just promoting one type of matching gift program, then it’s time to vary your strategy. Corporations aren’t the only ones who can match gifts!
2. Find the right matching gift software for your nonprofit.
If your nonprofit wants to market matching gifts to the best of your ability, you should invest in database services. Database services offer your nonprofit the tools to make the matching gift process easier for donors.
Here are two different database services your nonprofit can use:
A. Double the Donation
Double the Donation is a database tool that helps you promote matching gifts to your donors in many different ways. With their services, you can create and customize a matching gift page where donors can learn about their employer’s program.
You can also seamlessly include Double the Donation’s search tool on your dedicated matching gift page so that donors can find their company’s giving details without leaving your website.
Additionally, your nonprofit can integrate matching gift information into your donation forms. That way, matching gifts are fresh in their minds as they contribute. See what the plugin looks like on the ASPCA’s donation page:
360MatchPro is more suited for larger organizations because it can help you automatically remind donors about matching gifts after they’ve donated.
The software works by analyzing donors’ email domains or the companies they search for during the donation process to send them specific information about their employers’ program. In other words, 360MatchPro handles the hard work for you.
You can send the information about specific companies instead of just sending donors a follow-up email with general information on matching gifts. 360MatchPro organizes all that information for you:
The takeaway: By utilizing a database to help you out, you can integrate matching gifts into your donation process — even automatically, with some software!
3. Incorporate matching gifts at your next fundraising event.
When donors make a contribution to your fundraising event, you already know that they’re invested in your cause. Why not take the opportunity inform them about matching gifts, too, while they’re in the giving mood?
You can let donors know about matching gifts before and during all kinds of events, but the way you should do it depends on what kind of event you’re organizing.
Let’s dive into two types of events you could incorporate matching gifts into!
A. Promote matching gifts at your charity auction.
One of the most popular and successful charity events you could throw is a charity auction.
At a charity auction, your donors bid on donated auction items throughout the night, and those with the highest bid at the end of the night walk away with their prizes. All the revenue goes to your charitable cause.
Many charitable auctions bring in a musical performer or a comedic emcee to read out the highest bids on a live leaderboard at the front of the venue.
At a live charity auction, all the attention is on the emcee and the leaderboard. With everyone’s eyes and ears focused at the front of the room, your emcee has a great opportunity to educate auction attendees about matching gift programs.
You can also take the opportunity ahead of time to reach out to corporate sponsors in the planning stages. You might be surprised by the companies who will offer to match bids at your auction.
Hint: If you’re planning a silent auction, mobile bidding software makes the logistics of charity auctions easier for everyone! Instead of paper bid sheets, your donors just use the phones they brought with them, and your volunteers don’t have to take the time to count up paper bid sheets by hand as your donors wait for the results.
Plus, with BidPal’s mobile bidding software, you can even open up bidding to donors who couldn’t make it to your venue.
B. Play into the holiday spirit with matching gift events.
The end-of-year holidays are already known as charitable time, so why not tap into that spirit with your event?
Throw a winter-themed charity gala with the glitz and glam your donors love, or put on a year-end concert to benefit your annual fund.
Don’t limit yourself to November and December, though! There’s a holiday of some kind waiting for you in every month of the year.
A costume theme party can pay off around Halloween. Charge half price tickets for those who come in costume to encourage everyone to get into the spirit of the event! You could also host a happy hour for St. Patrick’s Day or a singles’ cocktail hour for Valentine’s Day.
You can promote matching gifts both before and during these special holiday-themed events.
Make sure to include links to matching gift information in promotional materials you send out to your supporters. Encourage them to submit their matching gift paperwork as soon as they buy their ticket to your event.
And while you’re at the event, remind everyone again about matching gifts when you have the spotlight during your live appeal. You can piggyback on your donor’s excitement about the holidays.
The takeaway: No matter the time of year, a fundraising event is the perfect time to remind your donors about matching gifts while they’re already in the giving spirit.
4. Develop a matching gift marketing strategy.
Companies will only match gifts if employees submit the proper paperwork. That’s a lot of responsibility to place on the donor.
Luckily, there are ways you can encourage your supporters to request a matching gift all the way through the donation process.
We’ll show you the three best places to include information about matching gifts.
A. Include matching gift information on your Matching Gifts page and donation form.
Teaching your supporters about matching gifts is one thing, but you should also provide donors with a place where they can learn more in-depth information. That’s where matching gift pages come in!
The more knowledge that your donors have, the more comfortable they’ll be with submitting a request.
What should you have on your matching gift page? Here are a few things to include:
- A matching gift tool donors can use to find their employer’s program.
- Statistics about matching gifts and online donations.
- An explanation of how matching gifts impact your nonprofit.
- FAQs about matching gifts.
Additionally, a page dedicated to information on matching gifts will give you a resource to link back to when you promote matching gifts on social media or email.
Don’t forget to include matching gift information on the donation form itself.
Texas A&M’s Association of Former Students has the right idea. Their donation form includes a plugin where donors can search for their company’s program. After donors complete their search, they can enter in their company name and matching ratio.
B. Promote matching gifts on your social media accounts.
If your nonprofit has a strong presence on social media, then you should consider promoting matching gifts on your active accounts. Here’s an example of what you can post on Facebook:
The National Kidney Foundation sends a clear, short message letting donors know about matching gift programs. Additionally, they’ve included a link to their matching gift page so that supporters can learn more.
While every social media platform is different, here are some general rules to help you:
- Always link to a page or article where donors can learn more information.
- Keep your posts short and sweet. You don’t want to bombard supporters with too much information (that’s what the link is for!).
- Show followers the difference their contributions are making using videos and images. That way, they can see the advantages of doubling their donation.
C. Feature matching gifts in your confirmation and acknowledgment messages.
The donation process doesn’t stop after a gift has been made, so continue to promote matching gifts after a donor has contributed. Follow-up with your donors, reminding them to submit a request to their company.
Take a look at the donation confirmation page for The Piedmont Foundation as an example:
After the acknowledgment, The Piedmont Foundation includes a “Make Your Donation Go Twice as Far” section about matching gifts. At the bottom, there is a tool that donors can use to search for their company’s program.
This tool makes it easy for donors to learn more about their company’s program after they’ve made their gift.
You don’t have to limit yourself to confirmation pages or emails. After your campaign ends, you can send out a general thank-you message to everyone who donated or even your entire email list.
Thank-you emails are a great opportunity to acknowledge those who matched their gifts this time and to encourage all your supporters to match their gifts next time.
The takeaway: Consider where you’re placing information about matching gifts to make the most of your marketing strategy.
5. Research the top matching gift companies.
More companies offer matching gift programs than you’d think, though all programs work slightly differently. Double the Donation keeps tabs on the top matching gift companies and their programs so nonprofits don’t have to!
Do a search in your database for donors who work at these top matching gift companies so you can send individual information to them.
Here are three companies from the list and the reasons they made the cut:
A. General Electric
General Electric actually set the standard for corporate matching gift programs. Its program, initially named the Corporate Alumni Program, dates back to 1954.
Nowadays, GE will match donations as low as $25 from all full-time, part-time, and retired employees. Almost all 501(c)(3) organizations are eligible to receive matching gifts.
B. Soros Fund Management
Though only full-time employees or partners can submit matching gift requests, Soros Fund Management sets its maximum annual matched gift limit higher than any other company in the United States: $300,000, or up to 3 times the amount of gifts up to $100,000.
Luckily for employees who don’t have $100,000 to give, any donation upwards of the $25 minimum is eligible to be matched up to 3 times the original donation amount.
ExxonMobil structures its program a little differently — the company matches gifts at a different ratio and for a different maximum amount depending on the type of organization its employees donate to.
Employees who donate to arts and cultural organizations can have up to $2,000 matched at a 1:1 ratio, but employees donating to higher education institutions can have up to $7,500 matched at a 3:1 radio. The latter equals out to a maximum donation of $22,500 contributed by the company!
The key to maximizing your donations is to vary the types of matching gifts you promote to your donors.
When you provide donors with the tools and information to help them understand matching gifts, your donors will find the process of submitting a request easier.
For more on incorporating matching gifts into your fundraising efforts, check out these additional resources:
- Complete Guide to Charity Auction Software. Now that you know how to promote matching gifts, you need a way to generate donations for your cause. This guide will guide you to the perfect charity auction software for your event.
- Event and Fundraising Software. Events are great ways to raise awareness and funds for your nonprofit. Plus, you can promote matching gifts to double what you raise. Learn more about using fundraising software to plan your next event.
- Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Tips. With peer-to-peer fundraising, you have the potential to gain new donors and have their contributions go further with matching gifts! Learn how to plan a peer-to-peer- campaign.