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Getting Started with Matching Gifts: Easier Than You Think!

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(EDITORS NOTE: This articles comes from our friends at Double the Donation, who provide an easy matching gift tool that integrates with DonorDock's online giving pages.)

Does your organization have a strategy in place for making the most of corporate matching gifts? If not, you’re likely giving up thousands of dollars in free revenue toward your cause.

And not only do matching gifts provide you with extra funding, but they also provide donors with the ability to make twice as large of an impact on a cause they care about without having to reach back into their wallets to shell out more cash. This strengthens their relationship with your organization, increases engagement levels, and allows them to see themselves as a critical component of your fundraising strategy.

So how can you get started? It’s likely a lot easier than you might think.

In this quick guide, our team of matching gift fundraising experts will tell you what you need to know to help you carry out the following key tasks:

  1. Understanding Matching Gifts
  2. Enlisting Donation Page Customization
  3. Leveraging Personalized Donor Outreach

Ready to dive into matching gifts quickly and effectively? Let’s jump right in with the basics.

1. Understanding Matching Gifts

If you’re getting started with matching gift fundraising for the first time, you likely have some questions about how it all works. Luckily, matching gift research has been conducted by fundraising experts to help teach us what we need to know about these programs and how to make the most of them.

But first, a basic definition: corporate matching gifts are a particular form of corporate giving where companies match donations made by employees to charitable organizations. These essentially offer a “BOGO” sale on fundraising gifts, providing nonprofits with two donations for the cost of soliciting one.

And these programs tend to be more accessible than you might think! Take a look at these statistics demonstrating matching gift program availability:

  • More than 26 million individuals work for companies with matching gift programs.
  • 65% of Fortune 500 companies match employee donations.
  • On average, $2 to $3 billion is donated to nonprofits through matching gifts each year.

But what kinds of donations are eligible for company matches? Although the exact criteria vary from business to business, here are some facts about typical matching gift guidelines:

  • 91% of companies match donations at a 1:1 rate, while others opt for lower (e.g., .5:1) or higher (e.g., 2:1 or 3:1) match ratios.
  • 93% of participating businesses have a minimum match requirement equal to or less than $50, with the average minimum falling at $34.
  • 80% of participating businesses’ maximum match amount lies between $500 and $10,000, averaging $3,728.

Other than the obvious advantage of bonus funding for your cause, matching gift initiatives can also benefit nonprofits in these ways:

  • 84% of people indicated that they’d be more likely to donate if it was being matched by their employer.
  • 1 in 3 donors stated that they’d likely give a larger gift if a match was offered, leading to an average 51% donation size increase.
  • Mentioning matching gifts in fundraising appeals typically results in a 71% increase in response rate.
  • Sending matching gift follow-ups within 24 hours of a donation results in a 53% open rate, which is more than 2-3 times the average nonprofit email rate.

Not to mention, highlighting matching gift opportunities to donors is also a fantastic way to retain their support over time! Plus, the businesses involved received increased employee engagement and overall corporate social responsibility, which means matching gifts are a win-win-win situation.

2. Enlisting Donation Page Customization

Despite matching gift programs’ wide availability, many eligible donors remain unaware of the opportunities. To combat this knowledge gap, one of the best practices you can take is to highlight matching gifts in multiple locations throughout your nonprofit website⁠—including in a dedicated matching gift page, on your “ways to give” page, and directly within your donation page.

Why the donation page? Nonprofit supporters typically interact with your organization and its fundraising efforts at multiple points throughout the donor journey⁠. Most often, engagement levels are the highest while actively completing the donation process⁠—within your online donation page.

That makes it the perfect opportunity to highlight matching gifts! There are a few ways you can do this, but our favorite involves embedding a comprehensive employer database search tool directly within your donation form. This extensive resource allows users to quickly and easily conduct online searches to determine companies’ matching gift program availability and guidelines.

And when donors interact with this tool, you can ensure they’re exposed to matching gift information within the page itself, driving additional matches while also receiving the conversion benefits mentioned above.

3 Leveraging Personalized Donor Outreach

Even after incorporating matching gifts in the online donation process, not everyone will choose to request a match at this time. That’s why we suggest following up after the donation is submitted to remind donors about these opportunities.

For example, strategic email marketing tactics can reiterate the impact of matching gifts after-the-fact and drive additional corporate gifts along the way. Consider these tried-and-true practices for personalized outreach success:

  • Send your follow-up 2-3 days after you receive the donation.
  • Thank the donor for their initial contribution.
  • Provide company-specific information about their employer’s matching gift program.
  • If the individual’s employer is unknown, direct them to resources available (such as your matching gift database) that they can use to quickly determine their eligibility.
  • Incorporate integrated email buttons encouraging donors to confirm when they submit their employer request (or that their gift is not match-eligible).
  • Follow up after receiving a company match to thank the original donor for their part in the bonus gift.

Not only does your matching gift outreach encourage donors to submit requests with their employers, but it also provides recipients an additional engagement point with your organization. This keeps your cause at the forefront of the supporter’s mind for longer and can further strengthen the relationship between the donor in question and your nonprofit cause.

The longer you wait to incorporate matching gifts into your fundraising strategy, the more corporate dollars you miss out on for your cause. This is the perfect time to get started⁠—and now you know what you need to do!

Once you and your team have a solid understanding of matching gift opportunities, you can begin marketing these initiatives to supporters through donation page customizations, personalized follow-ups, and more. Good luck!

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