Hey nonprofiteers! Please enjoy this guest post by our friends over at Double the Donation about the awesome benefits of matching gifts.
Picture this: You’re at a vending machine. You put in your crinkled dollar bill and select your favorite chocolate bar. As the bar shakes free from its holster, a second chocolate bar drops, too. In the world of fundraising, this is the equivalent of matching gifts.
When a company donates to the same nonprofit that their employee has already supported, that is a matching gift. These matching gift programs are the most popular type of corporate philanthropy.
We’ve put together this helpful introduction to matching gifts, which includes our top tips for boosting your overall revenue. And since there is $4-7 billion in matching gift revenue left on the table each year, you need the information here to start claiming these gifts!
Tell your donors what matching gifts are
The first (and most difficult) hurdle to jump before collecting matching gifts is lack of donor awareness. Often your donors have no idea what matching gifts are or if they are eligible for such programs. Let’s tackle those problems now so that you can close this gap in knowledge for your donors.
Matching gift programs are often offered by companies and corporations as an employee benefit, like medical insurance or a 401k. These programs are a promise from the company to match an employee’s qualifying contribution to a nonprofit organization or educational institution of their choice.
The reason that it’s so important to offer your donors matching gift information: they are the ones who request matches from their employers. A nonprofit can not submit a match request on behalf of their donor, the donor has to do it.
The process for collecting matching gifts is always the same:
- Employee makes a donation
- Employee submits matching gift request to their employer
- Employer verifies that the donation was made as reported
- Employer sends additional donation to the nonprofit
The most breakdown in this process occurs at the second step. That is why it is crucial to make sure you're featuring matching gifts where your donors are most engaged: the giving process itself!
Matching gift software, like Funraise's integration with 360MatchPro by Double the Donation, offers your donors the chance to discover matching gifts and their own match eligibility.
Learn the elements of employee matching gift guidelines
Although the process of collecting matching gifts is always the same, the matching gift guidelines vary from company to company. The specifics are up to the employers, but the elements that shape these matching gift programs are standard.
The match ratio defines how much a company will match in relation to the employee’s original donation. A 1:1 ratio is an exact match, which doubles the donation. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation offers an incredible match ratio of 5:1, which basically turns one donation into six!
Each program will define the minimum donation amount that qualifies for a match as well as the maximum amount that the company will donate per employee per year. If an employee qualifies for a 2:1 match, and their maximum for the year is $10,000, then a $10,000 donation would be matched 1:1 by the company. Maximum trumps ratio.
The next factor that impacts the matching gift is the employee’s status within the company. For example, a part-time employee at Gap, Inc. qualifies for a maximum match amount of $1,000, while a Senior VP qualifies for $10,000 in matching gifts.
The last factor that impacts the amount of a matching gift is the actual nonprofit receiving the funds. Some companies will define different matches for different nonprofits. For example, ExxonMobile matches donations to educational organizations and institutions at a 3:1 ratio and donations to arts and cultural organizations at 1:1.
Approximately two-thirds of companies with matching gift programs match employee gifts to nearly almost all 501(c)(3) organizations. The other third typically choose organizations and programs most closely related to their own mission.
Although it does not impact the actual match amount, it is also very important to consider the deadlines by which matching gift requests must be submitted. These deadlines are often quite generous, but the window for when a match can be requested will close.
With so many matching gift programs out there, it’s helpful to have a database of all existing program guidelines. Double the Donation’s comprehensive database of over 20,000 companies that offer matching gift programs is available to every Funraise customer using our recommended matching gift integration with 360MatchPro.
Keep an eye out for major matching gift companies
Matching gift programs are just getting more and more popular with time, and it will serve your organization well to know who the major matching gift companies are.
65% of Fortune 500 companies match donations from employees to a wide variety of nonprofits. Although corporations don’t always release specific figures, top contributors include Microsoft (more than $48 million annually) and GE (more than $37 million annually).
We recommend keeping a list of matching gifts companies and marking your calendar with the deadlines of the major companies in your area. Start with this list from Double the Donation and see which companies are well represented in your area!
For example, local nonprofits in Atlanta should be aware that The Coca-Cola Company’s matching gift deadline is February 28th of the year following the year in which a match-eligible donation was made.
Being aware of the major matching gift program guidelines can help you tailor your matching gift fundraising appeals.
Follow up with donors about matching gifts
The follow-up involved in driving matching gift requests can be a bit daunting. Your organization will need to keep track of each donor, where they work, how much they donated, if they know about matching gifts, and if they’ve submitted their match request to their employer.
However, it doesn’t have to be difficult at all. Funraise has partnered with Double the Donation to provide customers with 360MatchPro, Double the Donation’s most robust matching gift tool.
The 360MatchPro platform completely automates the matching gifts process from start to finish without requiring the donor to take additional steps that decrease conversion rates. The solution instantly recognizes the donor as either match-eligible, ineligible, or unknown (if they didn’t search for their company or use a corporate email).
Donors are then segmented by match-eligibility and added to automated email streams. The donors who have identified employers that offer matching gifts will be sent a link directly to their matching gift request forms or submission portal. Donors of unknown eligibility are sent an email encouraging them to search for their company and discover their match-eligibility.
From there, you can see how your donors are interacting with their emails and track the status of their match requests.
360MatchPro also synthesizes all of your donor data both visually and numerically to provide your organization with actionable insights for enhancing your matching gift efforts.
Funraise integrations are meant to make fundraising easier and more efficient, and 360MatchPro is an exciting addition to the Funraise offerings.
Make the most of matching gifts
In order to make the most of matching gifts, you have to shout about them from the rooftops! The amount of matching gift revenue your organization will receive is directly related to the amount of marketing you put behind matching gifts.
We recommend creating a dedicated matching gifts page to your website. This is a page that houses information about matching gifts as well as Double the Donation’s matching gift search tool, which is one of the many features of Funraise’s integration with 360MatchPro.
Donors are 84% more likely to donate if their gift will be matched, so make sure that your donors have a way to discover their match-eligibility.
You can also link back to this dedicated matching gifts page across your social media, in all of your emails, and even on physical mailers sent out to your supporters.
Another great place to incorporate matching gifts is on your donation confirmation page. Right after a donor has clicked “Donate,” share the opportunity to make their donation go twice as far.
By offering them the chance to discover their match-eligibility while they are still thinking about the reason that drove them to donate in the first place, you can make the most of their support.
Now that you’re an expert on matching gifts, it’s time to make a few changes and start raking in the revenue! With a dedicated matching gifts page and the power of 360MatchPro, your matching gift revenue will increase exponentially. You donors want to support your organization, all you have to do is show them how. Now let’s get fundraising!