Matching gifts are often offered as an employee benefit along with healthcare and a retirement plan. However, many donors are unaware of these matching gift programs and their own match-eligibility.
Put simply, matching gifts are donations made by a company to a nonprofit that their employees have already donated to. Nonprofit organizations should know the ins and outs of this type of corporate philanthropy so they can share the information with their donors.
In this article, we’re going to walk through the following:
- The elements of matching gift guidelines
- The process of collecting matching gifts
- Best practices for increasing matching gift revenue
- Leveraging the right matching gift software
By the end of this article, your organization will be ready to start raking in the matching gift revenue. Let’s get started!
The elements of matching gift guidelines
Although each company gets to set its own specifications, the elements involved in corporate matching gift guidelines are always the same.
Match ratio: The match ratio refers to the amount that the company will donate in relation to the amount donated by the employee. A 1:1 match indicates that the company will donate the exact amount donated by the employee, thus doubling the donation.
Minimum and maximum: These numbers will clarify how much a donation must be to qualify for a match and how much per year a company will donate in matching gifts per employee.
Employee status: Often the employees level within the company can impact the other elements. For example, a Senior VP at Gap, Inc. qualifies for a higher maximum than a part-time sales associate, while a partner at SOROS Fund Management LLC qualifies for a lower match ratio than a full-time employee.
Nonprofit eligibility: Sometimes, the nonprofit the employee donates to will impact the matching gift amount. For example, ExxonMobil offers a higher match ratio for donations made to educational organizations than the ratio offered for donations made to arts and cultural groups.
Deadline: Donations do have a shelf life when it comes to matching gifts. Companies will always specify when a matching gift request needs to be submitted, either a firm date or a window from the date of the initial donation.
These elements shape every matching gift program out there. Becoming familiar with these elements will allow your organization to field questions from your donors and present the most helpful information to them.
Tip: Be aware of the deadlines set by companies that employ many of your donors. You can time your matching gift appeals around those deadlines.
The process of collecting matching gifts
Whether donations are collected through digital fundraising or a good old-fashioned check, the process for collecting matching gifts is always the same:
- Employee makes initial donation
- Employee submits matching gift request to company
- Company confirms that the donation qualifies for a match
- Nonprofit verifies donation was made as reported
- Nonprofit receives the corporate matching donation
The most vulnerable step in the process is step two. Unfortunately, many donors have never heard of matching gifts and therefore do not know to submit their matching gift requests.
If your organization puts a bit of extra energy toward marketing matching gifts to your donors, you can bridge that gap in knowledge to increase your overall revenue.
Best practices for increasing matching gift revenue
When it comes to increasing matching gift revenue, spreading the word about matching gifts to your donors is the first step. There are several ways to inform your donors about matching gifts and none of them are mutually exclusive — use as many of these suggestions as possible!
Dedicated matching gifts page
An easy way to transition casual browsers on your website into active donors is by setting up a dedicated matching gifts page. This is a page where you can include all the information above about what matching gifts are, how the programs are defined, and what the process is.
You can also use this page to encourage donors to find their own employers’ matching gift guidelines. One way to do this is by including a matching gift search tool so your donors can discover their match-eligibility right then and there.
Did you know that 84% of donors are more likely to give if they know that their gift will be matched? That is why it is so important to make sure that your donors are able to find out if they qualify for matchinging gifts.
Include a link to your dedicated matching gifts page in your website’s navigation bar to ensure that as many visitors as possible find the impactful information about matching gifts.
Matching gifts in the donation process
Another great place to include matching gifts is in the actual donation process. Allegiance customers can actually incorporate Double the Donation’s matching gift search tool as a field on their Allegiance donation forms.
As donors are entering their donation amounts and their contact information, they will also be asked for their company name. The language around it is fully customizable, but the end result is the same: the donor identifies their employer.
Once the donation is submitted, the donor is presented with their company-specific matching gift information on the confirmation page. This information is presented in a simple, visual, easy-to-understand format so that the donor understands without needing prior knowledge of matching gifts.
If the donor doesn’t enter their company name on the donation form, they will be presented with the search tool again on the confirmation page regardless.
Matching gifts on social media
In this day and age, there’s no faster way to reach a wide audience than social media. It can be quick, it can be detailed, it really can be anything the author wants it to be. Nonprofit organizations can be using these platforms to inform their donors about matching gifts.
Did you know that just mentioning matching gifts in your fundraising appeals can result in a 71% increase in response rate and a 51% increase in the donation amount? Sharing matching gift information and resources becomes a no-brainer.
You can include a quick blurb about the impact that matching gifts can have on your organization and a link to your dedicated matching gifts page. Link back to that matching gifts page as often as possible. The goal is to help as many people as possible discover their own match-eligibility.
Leveraging the right matching gift software
The number one most effective thing you can do to enhance your matching gift efforts is utilize the best software. Allegiance has partnered with Double the Donation to provide the next level of matching gift software.
360MatchPro, Double the Donation’s most robust tool, is a super-platform that completely automates your matching gift program. Not only does it eliminate the need for a matching gifts manager at your organization, saving you time and money, but it also removes human error from the equation.
360MatchPro follows through on every available matching gift opportunity by utilizing the most extensive matching gift database available. This database is comprised of over 20,000 entries, including parent companies, subsidiaries, and spelling variations.
Every donation flows into 360MatchPro and is automatically sorted into an automated email stream, which will follow up with donors based on their match-eligibility. If an employer has been identified, the donor will receive company-specific matching gift guidelines.
If the donor does not identify their employer, they will be sent an email encouraging them to look up their match-eligibility using the search tool that is linked in the email.
In addition to email automation, 360MatchPro also provides actionable insights for improving your organization’s matching gift efforts. These insights are a visual and numerical summation of all of your matching gift data.
Takeaway: Matching gifts are an opportunity for collaboration between your organization and your donors. You can work together to raise more money and further your mission by taking advantage of the corporate philanthropy programs that your donors qualify for.
Plus, by utilizing the most advanced software out there, your organization can increase revenue while decreasing effort. How often are nonprofits presented with that option? There’s $4-7 billion in matching gift revenue going unclaimed every year. Get out there and start claiming it!