Hey nonprofiteers! Please enjoy this guest post by our friends over at Double the Donation about the awesome benefits of matching gifts.
The end of the year is an excellent opportunity for fundraising organizations to reflect on recent developments—including changing donor behaviors, industry-wide engagement patterns, and areas of ongoing growth. It’s also an exciting time to look ahead to the future and explore expected trends.
One realm that seems to be constantly shifting is that of the corporate donation-matching industry. Yet, with a complete grasp of the opportunity at hand, nonprofits like yours can be better prepared with the tools and knowledge to drive success in the coming season.
Here are our picks for 2024's key trends in matching gifts:
- More companies launching matching gift programs
- Existing programs seeing expanded eligibility guidelines
- Nonprofits taking an increasingly proactive marketing approach
- Simplified matching gift participation process
The following insights reflect our understanding of the shifting matching gift landscape and what our team expects to see in the year ahead. Many factors can impact these findings—from growing levels of company participation to the introduction of new and innovative technology.
Remember: having the right data at your fingertips can help inform your organization’s strategic plan for engagement—ultimately producing greater individual and corporate fundraising results.
Read on to find out how!
1. More companies launching matching gift programs
Companies are continuing to roll out new matching gift programs every day. This is due, in part, to the growing demand for socially responsible businesses by employees and consumers alike. And the end result is more available funding for organizations like yours!
In fact, Double the Donation’s corporate giving research indicates that the number of Russell 1000 companies offering matching gift programs grew by more than 11.8% in the last three years. Meanwhile, an estimated 39% of companies plan to expand their workplace giving initiatives—including matching gifts and volunteer grants—in the near future.
Moreover, for companies not fully prepared to launch a complete matching gift initiative just yet, alternative options (like custom or “one-off” matching gift programs—where an employer matches donations to a single organization) are emerging as an easy first step. Such developments, along with increasingly affordable corporate giving management software, are working to make donation-matching accessible to businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Top tip: Don’t discount donors from your matching gift outreach based on a previously ineligible contribution! Some supporters might have switched employers from one gift to the next, while other companies may have recently initiated new programs.
2. Existing programs seeing expanded eligibility guidelines
As new employers are matching gifts for the first time, many long-term matching gift companies are also widening their program criteria to establish increasingly inclusive giving initiatives. In doing so, businesses are able to better engage with their employees and produce a greater impact for the organizations they support.
By broadening matching gift guidelines (e.g., decreasing program minimums, increasing maximums and ratios, and opening up programs to a wider range of nonprofits), companies can demonstrate their renewed commitment to supporting the causes and missions their employees care about.
Likewise, the positive effect on your organization's fundraising efforts includes an increase in match-eligible donations that might not have met the employers' eligibility criteria in the past. The previously cited Double the Donation research even discloses that higher matching gift caps yield higher levels of engagement. Meanwhile, reduced minimum amounts eliminate possible barriers to program participation.
Top tip: Make it easy for supporters to access their employers’ up-to-date matching gift guidelines. Look for a user-friendly matching gift database tool that’s constantly updated to provide the most accurate information possible. The less research an individual has to do on their own, the more likely they are to participate if ultimately eligible!
3. Nonprofits taking an increasingly proactive marketing approach
Corporate matching gifts have historically been considered a more passive form of fundraising revenue. However, organizations today are continuing to adopt an increasingly hands-on approach to the source through strategic matching gift marketing and communications efforts.
This shift essentially moves away from the belief that if a donor works for a matching gift company, they’ll know and take the initiative to complete the request on their own. Instead, fundraising professionals are now actively and thoroughly promoting the opportunity to guarantee qualifying individuals are aware and encouraged to take part.
To demonstrate this idea, a recent research report indicates that 100% of the Top 30 fundraising organizations incorporate matching gifts in their donor-facing engagement strategies. Meanwhile, a steadily growing number of nonprofits are automating their messaging efforts—and integrating matching gifts directly into the online donation experience—to ensure no gifts slip through the cracks.
Top tip: Engage your donors using multiple outreach avenues to employ an effective omnichannel marketing strategy. This can include your website, email blasts, fundraising appeals, direct mail, text messaging, and more.
4. Simplified matching gift participation process
Despite taking an active role in matching gift marketing, the responsibility of requesting a match still lies with the individual donor. However, companies, nonprofits, and their associated technology continue to do their part in streamlining and improving the supporter’s experience.
For example, the majority of companies have now moved away from paper matching gift forms, instead opting for a tech-enabled digital request process. This allows donors to skip steps such as printing and mailing their forms and enables software like Double the Donation to guide donors directly to their online submission portals.
But the developments aren’t stopping there! Even more recently, select companies have begun offering a fully streamlined auto-submission process for their employees. This allows qualifying users to complete their requests faster than ever before—with no redirects or separate logins necessary.
Top tip: Keep an eye out for new ways to streamline the matching gift process for your donors—and be sure your fundraising tech stack is complete with the tools you need to do so. By continuously simplifying the processes involved in matching gift requests, businesses and organizations can work in tandem to reduce friction, overcome roadblocks, and make it easier for donors to get involved.
Matching gift trends: Key takeaways
- Matching gifts continue to evolve in new and exciting ways, and the opportunity for fundraising organizations holds more potential than ever before.
- Corporate donation-matching offers unique benefits for all parties (i.e., the nonprofit, the donor, and the company), which is a primary reason why the programs continue to grow in popularity.
- By embracing these expected trends, your team will be better equipped to connect with donors, foster meaningful corporate relationships, and achieve scaled-up fundraising and engagement success.
Technology (such as the Funraise + Double the Donation integration) continues to streamline and improve the matching gift process, making it easier for donors, nonprofits, and companies to get involved.