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4 Matching Gift Best Practices to Grow Your Fundraising

Employer matching gift programs are some of the most impactful ways to inspire generosity among donors⁠ on an individual and a corporate level.

When a donor gives to a nonprofit organization, their employer financially matches the donation, often at a 1:1 rate. That usually means tons of free money for organizations like yours⁠—especially when you align your corporate fundraising strategies with major gifts.

But is your team making the most of these powerful giving opportunities? This guide will share four critical tips for elevating corporate gift-matching efforts and driving more matching gifts to completion. These include:

  1. Sharing general information on corporate matching gift programs.

  2. Mentioning matching gifts directly in your fundraising appeals.

  3. Sending post-donation matching gift reminder emails.

  4. Leveraging matching gift software to automate efforts.

These research-backed best practices (which cite Double the Donation’s findings) will drive organizations that implement the ideas closer to maximum matching gift success.

Ready to dive in? Let’s get started.

1. Share general information on corporate matching gift programs.

More than 26 million people across the U.S. currently work for companies that offer matching gift programs. However, approximately 78% (or over 20 million) of these individuals have no idea whether their employer matches gifts. This significant knowledge gap leads to a substantial funding gap⁠, with an estimated $4 – $7 billion in matching gift revenue going unclaimed per year.

To overcome this challenge, here are a few things your team can do to increase matching gift awareness among your donors:

  • Provide educational resources about matching gifts on your organization’s favorite social media channels⁠—such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.

  • Highlight matching gifts in multiple prominent locations across your nonprofit website, including a dedicated matching gift web page, your “ways to give” page, campaign pages, navigation menu, etc.

  • Incorporate matching gifts within the donation process, on your donation forms and pages, and confirmation screens.

  • Include matching gift information in your organization’s newsletter (whether digital or otherwise) and other email blasts.

If your donors have never been made aware of matching gift programs in the first place, they’re not going to be able to request a corporate matching donation on your organization’s behalf. And you can’t blame them!

When you take the time to begin sharing broad information about matching gift opportunities over time, however, donors will be more inclined to participate when they become eligible to do so.

2. Mention matching gifts directly in your fundraising appeals.

This practice expands on the previous tip to make matching gift opportunities more personal and tangible for your organization’s donors and prospects. In addition to sharing general information about matching gift programs, we recommend explicitly encouraging supporters to look into their eligibility and participate in available workplace giving programs. One of the best channels with which to do so is your organization’s fundraising appeals!

Here are a few essential facts to know:

  • 84% of individuals reported that they’d be more likely to donate if a matching gift was offered. This finding is reiterated with the statistic that nonprofit fundraising appeals that mention matching gifts result in a 71% increase in response rate over those that don’t include matching gifts.

  • 1 in 3 surveyed donors indicated that they’d make a more significant donation if a match was applied to their gift. Again this statistic is highlighted by the fact that mentioning matching gifts in donation appeals results in an average donation amount increase of 51%.

So what does that mean? First, matching gift availability can be just what you need to drive additional donors who want to give more to take the next steps and contribute to your organization⁠—and the perfect way to do this is within your donation asks.

It also means that you’ll likely miss out on additional individual donor support by omitting matching gift information in your appeals.

3. Send post-donation matching gift reminder emails.

Sending matching gift reminder emails is one of the best ways to drive successful matches after an initial donation has been made. At the same time, you don’t want to trigger your messages so soon that the communication is assumed to be part of an automated gift receipt and discarded as such.

For example, research indicates that matching gift emails sent within 24 hours of a donation results in a 53% open rate⁠—which is more than two to three times higher than the average nonprofit email open rate.

And you don’t have to stop after a single follow-up, either. Double the Donation’s findings report that sending a second match reminder message can increase the number of matches identified and submitted by up to 48%!

Just remember, the more you know about your donors (such as through prospect research and other matching gift-screening efforts), the more targeted your communications can be. And the more specific your follow-up communication, the more effective your messaging.

For example, sending a general “see if your donation is matchable by your employer” email will likely drive some matches. However, personalized and employer-specific messages such as, “Jared, your donation of $500 is eligible for a match by the Home Depot” will probably see greater results.

4. Leverage matching gift software to automate efforts.

Every aspect of effective fundraising⁠—from prospect research to online giving to matching gifts⁠—can be made better by equipping fundraisers with top-of-the-line tools and resources for success. This idea is illustrated by the fact that leveraging matching gift automation software can double or even triple an organization’s matching gift fundraising revenue.

Your software should also collect, track, and report on fundraising data to provide your team with powerful insights—including where your efforts are thriving and how you can improve your existing strategies to do more. Then, your organization can continue to adjust, refine, and strengthen your corporate fundraising.

In a nutshell, matching gift automation enables organizations to streamline and simplify their matching gift fundraising initiatives. They get to save more time and energy that can be put toward other mission-related tasks, but they’ll also ensure no prospective matches fall through the cracks.

Increasing matching gift fundraising is an easy way to drive donor engagement, boost average donation size, and develop partnerships with charitable-minded corporations.

By informing donors about matching gift programs, including matching gift information in fundraising appeals and donation follow-ups, and equipping your team with the best technology, you’ll be all set to reap the benefits of matching gifts long into the future. Best of luck!

Are you ready to take your fundraising to the next level? Book a consultation with one of our fundraising experts today! Book Here.


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