road map to challenge grants

The Road Map to Securing a Challenge Grant

A challenge grant is a commitment made by a grant making organization to donate a set number of funds to a nonprofit or educational institution once that grantee has raised a certain amount of money as specified by the challenge.

They provide an excellent revenue opportunity for nonprofits.

If your organization is interested in applying for one and pursuing the opportunity, you’re in the right place.

Use the advice below as a road map for securing a challenge grant and successfully reaching the fundraising bar set by your grant’s parameters. 

Like with any fundraising effort, obtaining a challenge grant takes proper planning and preparation. They should be treated like contingency offers. There’s an inherent risk, but also a great possible reward on the other side of things.

One of the more tedious aspects of grant seeking is the writing of grant proposals. However, the good thing about a challenge grant proposal is it forces your nonprofit to explicitly design its strategy for attaining the grant. The boy scouts are definitely onto something with their “always prepared” motto.

In order to properly plan for a challenge grant a nonprofit or educational institution has to look forward. Assessing and predicting future organizational behavior and needs is crucial. Think through what your nonprofit needs six, nine, twelve, eighteen months out. Work backwards to plan out the steps you’ll need to take.

Questions to Ask During the Challenge Grant Application and Appeal Process

#1: What is our nonprofit’s current and/or standard approach to fundraising?

By asking this question, you are determining if a challenge grant is worth it for your nonprofit or educational institution. Think through how your organization traditionally fundraises. What methods are you using to reach your financial aims?

Do you use any of the following fundraising strategies?

  • annual fund campaigns
  • matching gifts
  • major giving programs
  • monthly donor programs
  • special events
  • and more

For each of these various strategies what methods do you employ to bring in the most donations possible?

  • newsletters
  • direct mail
  • phonathons
  • email

There are a multitude of options and combinations of fundraising methods and strategies. Consider where a challenge grant fits among your preexisting system.

#2: What do my donor and prospect pools look like?

Take a tally of who your current donors are. What traits characterize them? What types of donors are you missing from your donor pool that you think would be a good organizational fit?

You could even perform a prospect screening.

Think through how a challenge grant could tap into prospect groups you hadn’t previously been able to reach.

#3: What upcoming events will pair well with challenge grant promotions?

Like the right cheese and a good wine, the perfect pairing of event and challenge grant can help your efforts convert into reaching the grant’s required funds raised threshold. When thinking through what scheduled campaigns and events would be helpful in securing a challenge grant, remember the application process timeline.

Grant submission instructions and guidelines will typically outline a process timeline. If the challenge grant appeal takes five months and you have an event in four months that you want to use the challenge grant to encourage increased donations for, that plan won’t work.

Your answers to those questions are going to steer your challenge grant planning.

After the approval of your challenge grant appeal, you’ll be set to start the work of actually bringing in enough funds to fulfill the grant requirements.

Use the overarching goal of reaching that match threshold to encourage donations from your supporters.

As a general best practice, it is a good idea to consider offering some kind of special gift for those who upgrade or newly join in to help you reach your goal.

Techniques to Cast a Wide Net and Ensure That Your Nonprofit Doesn’t Miss the Challenge Grant Match Mark.

In our Ultimate Guide to Marketing Matching Gifts, the whole marketing process is designed around the concept of raising awareness.

With matching gifts, the biggest obstacle between your nonprofit and receiving a matching gift is how little most employees know about the corporate giving opportunities available to them.

Raising awareness of your challenge grant is of the utmost importance as well. These grants are great for donation incentives, but the encouragement only works if donors know what is happening.

For promotion, you’ll want to:

  1. incorporate your challenge grant information into your communications
  2. get your board involved
  3. target certain donor segments

Let’s look at these promotional strategies one at a time.

#1: Incorporate Your Challenge Grant Information Into Your Communications

Information regarding your nonprofit’s challenge grant and its implications in your fundraising budget should be incorporated into your various communication channels.

Take a similar approach to what you would do for matching gift marketing. Dedicate some space on your web page to informing visitors of how the grant works and what the funds will accomplish. Mention the grant as part of your asks to encourage donations. The knowledge that even more can come from your funds can be just the nudge a prospect needs to become a donor or a donor needs to contribute a little more than was predicted.

Add challenge grant details to your emails, newsletters, direct mail, social media, and phone calls. Get creative with how you’re promoting the opportunity. For example, your staff could have a challenge grant call to action as part of their email signatures.

Here is an example challenge grant letter:

Challenge Grant Letter

 

The goal is to saturate the market with your challenge grant marketing.

#2: Get Your Board Involved

Your board is one of your biggest assets. Have them lead a fundraising charge. Their social and business networks are invaluable resources for the development of your nonprofit. Much of fundraising is about who you know, and board members tend to know a lot of people. This is a great chance to expand your donor pool by bringing new donors into the fold.

Some challenge grant guidelines even stipulate that funds have to be from new donors, so if you’re in that situation make sure you’re looking to the valuable resource you have in your board.

#3: Target Certain Donor Segments

Sometimes it can really help overall results to focus in on certain segments. It is a lowering of quantity to upgrade the quality of the asks you can make. If you have a massive list of donors in your database, you need to be able to prioritize and target those you think will be most receptive to the challenge grant incentive and are most in need of increased attention from your fundraisers.

Examples of segments to target are:

  • major donors
  • major donor candidates
  • millennials
  • lapsed donors

The segment possibilities are endless. Decide what would work best for your organization.

Challenge grants will not simply fall into your nonprofit’s lap. They take research and planning to find, effort to get approved, and strategy and skill to successfully secure. Challenge is in the name for a reason. However, with the right approach, your grant seeking should go smoothly. And once your nonprofit has its newly matched funds, waiting to help serve your mission, all the work will certainly be worth it.

Read our Ultimate Guide to Challenge Grants >

Challenge Grants

The Ultimate Guide to Challenge Grants

Have you ever made a deal with someone that you would do something in the present in return for a future reward upon accomplishment?

Kids and parents have arrangements like this all the time. Clean your room and you can have thirty extra minutes of television time tonight. Watch your sister this weekend and we’ll pay for your concert tickets next month. The agreements typically follow a similar trend. The recipient must first complete a task that is in some way a form of self-improvement (i.e. a neater living situation or quality time with a sibling) and then he or she gains the preset reward that exceeds self-improvement. It is a bettering, incentive driven method of deal making.

What if I told you those agreements have a relative in the philanthropic community? Well, they do. They are called challenge grants.

What are challenge grants?

Challenge grants are usually given by corporations, foundations, trusts, or government agencies. They are mostly granted to nonprofits and higher education institutions.

In many ways, they are as they sound, grants with a challenge built in to the structure.

Challenge grants are funds given by a grant making party to a nonprofit organization or educational institution following the successful fulfillment of a predetermined list of requirements.

Let’s unpack the challenge grant definition.

Grant makers agree to give the selected grantee a set amount of funds upon completion of a preassigned task, known in this case as the challenge. These challenges are not easy feats. They involve considerable effort and work on the part of the nonprofit or educational institution.

The challenge can have one or many components. For example, there could be a set requirement that an organization bring in x number of new members.

The biggest factor is almost always a fiscal one. The challenge grant boils down to how much a nonprofit needs to raise in order to receive a grant of x dollars in funds.

Learn more about the definition of challenge grants.

What are challenge grant ratios and amounts?

Previously in this blog, we’ve discussed ratios for matching gifts. With employee matching gift programs, an employer determines a set ratio for how they will match employee contributions to eligible nonprofits. For instance, if a donor works for a company with a matching gift program that honors a 2:1 match ratio and that donor gives your nonprofit a $100 dollar donation and submits the appropriate paperwork, the employer will give $200 on top of the initial $100.

Challenge grants also have match ratios, but they tend to operate slightly in different ways. With a challenge grant match that is set at 2:1, the grantee puts in the two and the grant maker puts in the one. So, if a challenge grant is for $20,000 at a 2:1 ratio, the grantee has to raise $40,000 in order to receive the $20,000 from the grant maker.

Sample Four Year Challenge Grant
(Grant maker providing $1 for every $2 an organization raises)

Challenge Grants

Challenge grant ratios and amounts vary and it’s common to see challenge grants with ratios such as:

  • 1:2 (Grant maker will provide $2 for every $1 an organization raises)
  • 1:1 (Grant maker will provide $1 for every $1 an organization raises)
  • 3:1 (Grant maker will provide $1 for every $3 an organization raises)

How do challenge grants benefit nonprofits?

From a pragmatic standpoint, donations are donations are donations. All fundraising has its challenges and adversities. With challenge grants those specific circumstances can actually be addressed at the beginning of the process. They remove some of the unpredictability associated with campaigns. The grants especially compliment capital campaigns.

Challenge grants can do a lot for nonprofits and educational institutions. The grants can:

  • infuse campaigns with reinvigorated energy
  • help guide fundraising strategies
  • lead organizations to up their data tracking methods and systems
  • bring in new donors and prospects
  • increase funds raised from current donors
  • fold former supporters back into the donor pool
  • and more

Benefits are going to range from situation to situation and all the potential positive outcomes are too diverse and numerous to list. Those six points, however, should give you a sense of the ways in which seeking and receiving a challenge grant can be a boon for your nonprofit.

When considering challenge grants, it is important to also think through the big picture ramifications and how the relationship between grantee and grant maker can be mutually beneficial.

After the successful granting of funds through a challenge grant, both parties can expect:

  • the grantee to see a boost in awareness from the public endorsement by the grant maker
  • the grantee to find a way to publicly honor the grant maker
  • the grant maker to see a boost in their image from the public charitable contribution

Since grant makers can be corporations, foundations, trusts, or government agencies, the reasoning behind giving this particular type of donation cannot be pinned down in one concise sentence. What can be said is that there are clearly benefits for the grant maker as well as the grantee.

There will always be multiple factors at play for why, for instance, one corporation decides to pursue any type of corporate giving, challenge grants included. Just understand, that if your staff can understand the major factors at play in drawing these grant makers to challenge grants, your staff can better cater their grant proposals to appeal to those in charge in order to increase the likelihood of your proposal’s acceptance.

How can you get started seeking challenge grants?

In order to successfully plan a challenge grant, a nonprofit or educational institution needs to look forward and gauge future organizational actions and needs. Consider what your nonprofit wants to accomplish six months to a year from now. Then backtrack to understand what you will need to get to that point.

During the process, ask:

  • What fundraising events will I want to actively promote my challenge grant efforts in conjunction with? Your answer here needs to take into account the grant maker’s timeline for evaluating and deciding whether or not to go forward with your organization’s application. If the application process is four months and you want to use the challenge grant in three months, your timing will not work out.
  • What is the makeup of my donor pool (and prospects too)? First, it never hurts to get to know your donors better. Second, you’ll want to be strategic in designing the way you seek your challenge grant around what your donors and prospects would be most receptive to.
  • What are my fundraising standbys? Fundraising is a broad field, and most nonprofits take a customized and tailored approach. One nonprofit might favor events. A university or college might prefer phonathons. Flesh out your list of common fundraising methods and consider how challenge grants could accompany those efforts.

With a solid understanding of your answers to those questions, you’re ready to start planning. Your plan will draw from your answers to create the ideal circumstances for acquiring funds for a challenge grant.

Once your challenge grant proposal is approved, you’ll begin the work of reaching your set dollar amount. With the umbrella goal of fundraising to meet the match, you can use that as the incentive to encourage contributions.

Employ a wide range of approaches to meet your financial requirement, like:

  • including information on your challenge grant within your various communications
  • encouraging your board to participate
  • targeting certain donor segments
  • and much more

You’ll be pleased with how well your donors and prospects respond when they know what their contributions can turn into with the help of your challenge grant.

Learn more about seeking challenge grants.

What’s the difference between challenge grants and corporate matching gifts?

Although they can both fall under the larger category of corporate giving and use some of the same structures, once you understand them both, they are easy to differentiate.

Unfortunately, as if to add to any potential confusion, challenge grants can sometimes be referred to as matching grants, not to be mixed up with employee matching gift grants.

On a basic level, matching gifts are mostly in the hands of the donor and challenge grants are mostly in the hands of the nonprofit. Both have a donation match element but the surrounding circumstances are vastly different.

Employee Matching Gifts:
Employee matching gift programs are corporate philanthropy programs where companies match donations made by their employees to nonprofits employees choose to support. There are five basic steps:

  1. A supporter makes a donation
  2. A supporter realizes his company has an employee matching gift program
  3. A supporter submits a matching gift request
  4. The company confirms the details with the nonprofit
  5. The company submits a donation according to whatever their program guidelines allocate

Learn more about matching gift programs.

Challenge Grants:
In the instance of a challenge grant, a nonprofit makes an arrangement with some funding entity (which may or may not be a corporation) to receive a certain set dollar amount upon completion of a preset challenge, like raising x amount of dollars.

A direct comparison of the two processes alleviates confusion.

The general confusion stems from their seeming similarities. Both rely on a nonprofit, a donor to that nonprofit, and a third party entity to work together in order to be successful. Both function off of preset match ratios. And both can essentially provide bonus funds for the nonprofits the donations are going towards.

The great thing about the two is that a nonprofit can pursue both and doubly benefit.

With the two matching avenues at play, an organization can acquire a donation due to the added impetus of their challenge grant, receive a matching gift from that donor’s employer, fulfill the match challenge requirements thanks in part to those funds, and earn the agreed upon grant.

Fundraising is an all hands on deck endeavor that truly thrives when nonprofits approach it from a creative and multi-step approach.

challenge grants definition

What Are Challenge Grants

Challenge grants can massively boost a recipient nonprofit campaign’s final fundraising numbers. Challenge grants are less about reaching a fundraising goal and more about surpassing one. They are largely beneficial for nonprofits and educational institutions.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know much of our content is focused on the matching gift and volunteer grants side of corporate giving. Challenge grants can fall within corporate giving as well, although they aren’t exclusively part of corporate giving.

Due to the cross-over with corporate giving, we’ve decided to focus some attention on these valuable grants, and there’s no better place to start than with a definition.

Challenge Grants Definition

Challenge grants are funds given by a grant making party to a nonprofit organization or educational institution following the successful fulfillment of a predetermined list of requirements.

That’s the basic definition, but to better explain the meaning behind it and the grants as a whole, the definition can be divided into three subcategories, or, more accurately, sub-questions:

  1. How do they work?
  2. What organizations serve to benefit from challenge grants?
  3. Why pursue a challenge grant?

Let’s begin with “how they work” to deepen your understanding of the fundraising opportunity.

How Do They Work?

Essentially, a nonprofit enters into an agreement. Per this agreement, the nonprofit works to raise a set number of funds. Once the fundraising campaign crosses that dollar amount threshold, the second party to the agreement grants the nonprofit funds of a previously specified amount.

Think about the process in terms of a volcano. The agreement is the volcano and the funds raised are the lava. Prior to an eruption, the lava builds inside the volcano. That process, pushing just to the edge of eruption, is all the work a nonprofit does to get to that funding threshold. Once the lava reaches a certain level, or the funds hit that set number, the volcano erupts. The volcanic eruption is equivalent to the point at which the grant maker grants the promised funds. From there the lava flows freely and over time (a long time) an island forms — a high revenue fundraising campaign turned quarter turned year.

Challenge grants are typically given out by foundations, trusts, corporations, or government agencies.

The preassigned funding threshold is not a lowball number, but rather a lofty goal that nonprofits have to reach in order to secure the grant.

The challenge can have multiple components. As part of the arrangement a grantee may have to increase its membership to a certain number or sell a specified amount of campaign t-shirts. The terms of challenge grants will vary from nonprofit to nonprofit and from grant maker to grant maker according to individual situations.

The grants function according to match ratios, just like employee matching gifts do. For example, with a challenge grant match that is set at 2:1, the grantee is responsible for the 2 and the grant maker is responsible for the 1. Given that, if a challenge grant is for $30,000, the grantee must bring in $60,000 in donations before receiving the grant maker’s $30,000.

Per the grant making organization’s stipulations, different applicants could be eligible for different ratios. For instance, the National Endowment for the Humanities’ most recent challenge grant program stipulations stated that recipients had to honor a 3:1 ratio, with the exception of a select few types of universities and colleges that could follow a 2:1 ratio.

Grants with high dollar amounts can even be set up to be earned and distributed in segments over a set period of time. Consider a $100,000 grant to be achieved over three years. In year one the grantee raises $50,000 and is matched for $25,000. In year two the grantee again raises $50,000 and is matched for $25,000. Finally, in year three the grantee raises $100,000 and is matched for $50,000.

Sample Four Year Challenge Grant
(Grant maker providing $1 for every $2 an organization raises)

Challenge Grants

Challenge grant ratios and amounts vary and it’s common to see challenge grants with ratios such as:

  • 1:2 (Grant maker will provide $2 for every $1 an organization raises)
  • 1:1 (Grant maker will provide $1 for every $1 an organization raises)
  • 3:1 (Grant maker will provide $1 for every $3 an organization raises)

What Organizations Serve to Benefit from Challenge Grants?

Some challenge grants are aimed at a specific subset of the nonprofit sector, while others are more universally open to all nonprofit organizations.

The four main benefactors behind the grants are:

  1. corporations
  2. government agencies
  3. trusts
  4. foundations

A foundation or a government agency might be more likely to limit its grants to a select type of nonprofit, simply based on the nature or the focus of the foundation or agency. A corporation with a broader corporate giving program will most likely be more flexible with its eligibility parameters.

Similar to matching gift eligibility guidelines, many challenge grant programs will accept applications from a variety of 501(c)(3) organizations and educational institutions, including:

  • arts and cultural organizations
  • community based social services
  • environmental organizations
  • healthcare based organizations
  • K-12 educational institutions
  • higher education institutions

Like with any organization seeking a grant, researching and zeroing on the ones best suited to help your nonprofit or educational institution is the best path to take.

Why Pursue a Challenge Grant?

Challenge grants provide a unique combination of incentive and encouragement to reach new fundraising peaks with the knowledge that an even bigger reward awaits your organization if you can meet those goals.

A nonprofit working towards a challenge grant can use the momentum and the impending additional contributions to:

  • fund new projects and programs
  • reinvigorate and grow their donor base
  • target a specific donor segment
  • and much more

Clearly defined goals are always welcome and recommended with fundraising. A challenge grant is a next level of goal setting. Challenge grants are ultimately cause and effect. Reach this first amazing goal and surpass it with the help of a grant maker. You’re fundraising towards an exact number, which donors will respect and be more inclined to help you reach than not.

Impress upon them that their donations go beyond the amount they physically contribute. A $100 dollar donation to a nonprofit with a challenge grant program is more than a $100 dollar donation.

The stakes are raised, and so too are the donations.

View our Ultimate Guide to Challenge Grants >

NationBuilder Matching Gifts with Double the Donation

NationBuilder Integration with Double the Donation’s Matching Gift Service

Does your nonprofit use NationBuilder? Are you looking to incorporate matching gift information into both your website as well as the NationBuilder donation forms?

If so then this guide is for you. Please follow the below steps to get Double the Donation’s plugin up and running with NationBuilder.

Double the Donation’s Relationship with NationBuilder:

NationBuilder is a leading platform for nonprofits and communities and envisions a world where everyone has the freedom and opportunity to create what they were meant to create. NationBuilder builds the infrastructure for a world of creators by helping leaders develop and organize thriving communities.

Double the Donation is a leading provider of employee matching gift data and tools to nonprofits.

This guide was put together to help organizations who use NationBuilder platform incorporate Double the Donation’s employee matching gift plugin. NationBuilder and Double the Donation are two separate and unrelated companies.

Requirements:

At risk of stating the obvious, the below steps and screenshots are applicable to organizations which already have an account with Double the Donation and NationBuilder.

If you don’t have an account with Double the Donation you can:

If you don’t have an account with NationBuilder you can:

Integrate Double the Donation’s Matching Gift Plugin into NationBuilder:

Method #1: On a dedicated NationBuilder matching gift page

Step #1: Go to your NationBuilder control panel.

Step #2: Add a new page. We recommend:

  • Calling the page “Matching Gifts” without the quotes
  • Setting the slug as “matching-gifts” without the quotes
  • Setting the page’s status as “Published”
  • Setting the page type as “Basic”
  • Setting the page to be included in the top navigation

Step #3: Under the page’s content tab, write the core matching gift content for the page. This is your opportunity to explain matching gifts to your donors. For example:

Did you know many companies match donations from their employees to our organization? It’s true. In fact last year we raised $10,000 from matching gifts. Below you can access our matching gift search tool which will enable you to access information on your company’s matching gift program along with forms, guidelines, and instructions. 

Thanks for taking the time to check if your company offers employee giving programs which can double the impact of your donation.

Click “Save Content”

Step #4: In a separate browser window log into your Double the Donation account and copy the standard Double the Donation plugin code.

Step #5: Add the Double the Donation plugin code to your page’s Template panel then click save. Please note:

  • Double the Donation plugin will appear wherever you place our plugin code.
  • You’ll need to grab the plugin code from your Double the Donation account management pages which has your API_Key.
  • We recommend placing our plugin after the main content section.

Add Matching Gift Code to NationBuilder

 

Step #6: Verify that Double the Donation’s plugin is up and running on your dedicated matching gift page.

NationBuilder Matching Donations

Method #2: On a NationBuilder donation form

Step #1: Go to your NationBuilder control panel.

Step #2: Go to your NationBuilder donation page.

Step #3: In a separate browser window log into your Double the Donation account and copy the standard Double the Donation plugin code.

Step #4: Add the Double the Donation plugin code to your page’s Template panel then click save. Please note:

  • Double the Donation plugin will appear wherever you place our plugin code.
  • You’ll need to grab the plugin code from your Double the Donation account management pages which has your API_Key.
  • We recommend placing our plugin after the submit code.

NationBuilder Add Matching Gift Code to Donation Form

Step #5: Verify that Double the Donation’s plugin is up and running on your donation form.

NationBuilder Matching Gift Search on Donation Forms

 

Method #3: In NationBuilder’s autoresponder emails that go out after  a donation is made

Step #1: Navigate to your organization’s donation page

Step #2: Navigate to the “Autoresponse” option under “Donation Settings”

Step #3: Feature matching gifts in the autoresponder email that gets sent out when someone makes a donation. We suggest:

  • Include matching gift wording such as:

Did you know many companies match donations from their employees to our organization? It’s true. In fact last year we raised $10,000 from matching gifts.

Please click here to see if your company will match your donation and to access the appropriate forms, guidelines, and instructions.

  • Include a matching gift graphic to really call attention to matching gifts.
  • Link both the text and the graphic to your matching gift page.

NationBuilder Matching Gift Autoresponder Email

 

Want to Get Started with Double the Donation’s Service?

Click here to sign up >

 

Have Questions?

Use one of the following methods to learn more about Double the Donation’s service:

DonorPro Double the Donation Matching Gifts Integration

Salsa Labs Integration with Double the Donation

***Salsa Labs acquired DonorPro so some of these screenshots are from when the software was branded as DonorPro but the partnership between Double the Donation and DonorPro/Salsa Labs is still in place***

Does your nonprofit use Salsa Labs’s donor management and fundraising software?

Are you looking to incorporate Double the Donation’s matching gift plugin into the donation process and across your other fundraising channels?

If so, this guide is for you! Simply follow the steps below.

Double the Donation’s relationship with Salsa Labs:

Salsa Labs is a leading nonprofit software company that provides award-winning fundraising and donor management software for nonprofits all over the world.

Double the Donation is a leading provider of employee matching gift data and tools to nonprofits.

This guide was put together to help organizations who use Salsa Lab’s fundraising software incorporate Double the Donation’s employee matching gift plugin into their fundraising pages. Salsa Labs and Double the Donation are two separate and unrelated companies.

Requirements:

At risk of stating the obvious, only organizations that have accounts with both Salsa Labs and Double the Donation can use the integration.

If you don’t have an account with Double the Donation and Salsa Labs you can:

There are two ways to integrate Double the Donation’s plugin with DonorPro’s software and your general website:

  1. Within the donation process (using Salsa Labs)
  2. Across your other fundraising channels (using Salsa Labs and your primary website software)

This integration guide will give you step-by-step instructions for both methods.

#1: Within the Donation Process

There are five easy steps for incorporating the plugin into the donation process. Once you complete the following five steps your donors will be able to access company specific matching gift information directly during the donation process.

Screenshot of a DonorPro donation form with the Double the Donation IntegrationDonorPro Donation Form with Double the Donation's Matching Gift Plugin

 

 

Step #1: Log in to your Double the Donation account. You can do this at https://doublethedonation.com/members/.

Double the Donation Login

 

Step #2: Copy your account’s Double the Donation API key. This can be found on Step #3B: Embed Our Plugin Into Your Website.

Copy the Double the Donation API Key

 

Step #3: Log in to your DonorPro account. You can do so at http://client.towercare.com/user.

DonorPro Login

Step #4: Open the DonorPro configuration portal and paste your specific API key into the preexisting Double the Donation API Key field. You can access the field under the general configuration page by clicking on the Credit Card section.

DonorPro Double the Donation Integration Setup

Step #5: And Voila! Your Double the Donation / DonorPro integration should be complete. Go to your donation pages and verify Double the Donation’s matching gift plugin is activated.

DonorPro Donation Form with Double the Donation's Matching Gift Plugin

 

Donors will now be able to type in their company name and determine if their employer offers a matching gift program:

"DonorPro

When a donor selects their company they’re presented with everything they need to submit a matching gift to their employer including forms, guidelines, and instructions.

Sample Matching Gift Forms and Guidelines

That completes the Double the Donation setup within DonorPro. Now let’s look at how to incorporate Double the Donation’s matching gift plugin across your broader fundraising:

#2: Across Your Other Fundraising Channels

Step #1: Create a dedicated matching gift page on your main website.

Create a dedicated matching gift page on your own website

This is all done by using Double the Donation’s primary matching gift plugin which can be found in your organization’s Double the Donation account management pages. You’ll want to use the following steps:

  1. Log into your Double the Donation account
  2. Access the embed code
  3. Copy the embed code to the dedicated matching gift page on your own site
  4. Our searchable plugin will automatically load

Matching Gift Plugin Code Generates a Matching Gift Search Tool

 

Step #2: Direct donors to your dedicated matching gift page across your broader fundraising efforts.

Create a dedicated matching gift page on your own website

This includes in locations such as:

For our complete marketing toolkit which includes suggested marketing locations, downloadable graphics, sample wording, and examples visit https://doublethedonation.com/marketing-matching-gifts/.

Want to Get Started with Double the Donation’s Service?

Click here to sign up >

Have Questions?

Use one of the following methods to learn more about Double the Donation’s service:

The Truth About DoubletheDonation.com Coupons

Welcome to https://doublethedonation.com. You may be looking for a Double the Donation coupon or promo code or came across a site that claims to have Double the Donation coupons or discounts, but the truth is Double the Donation does not offer coupons or promotion codes. We offer clear and transparent upfront pricing.

Why Doesn’t Double the Donation Offer Coupons?

At Double the Donation we believe in offering the highest quality matching gift tools, the highest level of service, and the most affordable prices with no games or gimmicks. By simplifying our pricing we’re able to ensure that we spend the time, energy, and resources creating a great service and providing fantastic support. Ongoing or periodic discounts ultimately increase the overall costs for a business by creating the need to maintain discounting systems, different billing plans, and additional support – none of which benefit the nonprofits using our service.

Keep in mind some sites may offer you “doublethedonation.com Coupons” but this is not the case. There are some commonly used terms to look out for:

  • “Double the Donation Coupons”
  • “Double Donations Coupons”
  • “Double the Donation Promo Code”
  • “Double Donations Promo Code”
  • “doublethedonation.com Coupons”
  • “doublethedonation.com promo codes”

Is there a Nonprofit Discount for Double the Donation’s Service?

At Double the Donation all of our customers are nonprofits. Our goal is to offer our service as affordably as possible for all nonprofit organizations which use our service

Although you won’t find Double the Donation.com coupon codes anywhere, we’re dedicated to providing you with the best matching gift tools, exceptional service, and ultimately ensuring you see a really strong return on your matching gift investment!

View our straightforward pricing.

Matching Gift Acknowledgement

Retain Matching Gift Donors: The Cheat-Sheet (+Examples)

Nonprofits have all recognized the need to thank their donors for the kind support. But is your organization taking the time to thank individuals who submit matching gift requests? Matching gifts are often an overlooked area in fundraising in general, and in donor recognition especially.

Nonprofits thank their donors with the knowledge that a little recognition can go a long way when it comes time for donations the next year. The same applies for matching gifts. If you acknowledge a matching gift, you increase the likelihood of that donor submitting a matching gift in the future.

Acknowledge Your Matching Gift Donors

There are several strategies used to thank donors for their donations all designed around showing your donors that you appreciate their matching gifts.

Check out the following list of ways to acknowledge a matching gift request.

Acknowledgment Letters and Postcards

Many nonprofits use Thank You or Acknowledgment letters to recognize their donors when they make a donation. If the donor submitted the matching gift form at the same time as their donation simply modify the letter you were originally going to send to include a message about their matching gift.

If the matching gift form is submitted by the donor after the donation acknowledgment goes out you’ll want to additionally acknowledge the receipt of the matching gift form. Not only do donors want to know that the form is being processed but it’s an additional opportunity to create a experience without asking for another monetary donation.

Similar to acknowledgement letters, postcards are an effective way to say thanks to donors for submitting a matching gift and can be very cost effective. Here’s a sample matching gift postcard sent out after the matching gift check has actually been received by the organization (often many months after the match was initially submitted).

Sample Matching Gift Postcard sent by the University of Michigan (Front Side)

Matching Gift Postcard

 

Sample Matching Gift Postcard sent by the University of Michigan (Back Side)

Matching Gift Postcard Thank You

Email Recognition

If changing your pre-formatted donor letters is a hassle or you don’t have the funds to send a separate matching gift acknowledment, why not automate the whole process with a dedicated email for matching gift donors? It doesn’t have to be long or complicated. Just a few sentences thanking them for submitting a matching gift.

Sample Matching Gift Thank You Email Sent Out By NC State
Matching Gift Thank You Email

Be sure to highlight how important matching gifts are for the organization!

 

Newsletter Recognition Lists

If your organization sends out a regular newsletter consider creating a section where you list the overall financial impact of matching gifts which you’ve received in the last year.

Summary of Matching Gifts Received and the Impact on the Organization

If you want to take it a step further highlight the companies which provided matching gifts as well as the donors who took the time to initiate the matching gifts. This will publicly acknowledge your donors, while simultaneously increasing awareness of matching gifts among your other donors.

Recognizing Donors on Social Media

Does your organization have Twitter or Facebook accounts? Utilize your social media accounts to promote matching gifts by recognizing individuals by name who submit matching gift requests. Not only does this immediately acknowledge your matching gift donors, but it also alerts all your other followers about employee grant programs.

Sample Facebook Post From Halos of Hope Thanking a Donor for Submitting her Matching Gift

Matching Gift Thank You on Facebook

Save time, raise awareness, and increase donations – all with a single tweet or status update.

Microsoft Matching Gift Figures

Matching Gift Ratios and Amounts: How Much Will Companies Match?

You understand the basic concept of matching gifts. You know that in a matching gift program a company will match donations made by employees to a range of nonprofits.

That’s the general definition and a good start. However, in order to succeed in acquiring matched gifts you’ll need to understand the nitty-gritty of the program stipulations.

Well, here is the nitty-gritty!

The amount that a company will match is based on a combination of the matching gift ratios, maximums, and minimums.

Let’s break those three components down based on what we typically see in matching gift programs:

  1. Match Ratio
  2. Maximum Match
  3. Minimum Match

1. Match Ratio

This is a lot easier to understand than it sounds.

Companies determine how much to match for employee donations based on a preset ratio. The majority of companies match donations at a 1:1 ratio, or dollar for dollar.

In the case of a 1:1 ratio, if an employee gives your nonprofit $100 and her employer agrees to match it, you’ll end up with $100 from the company for a total of $200. You’ve doubled your donation!

Although you can expect to see a lot of 1:1 ratios, they can range from .5:1 all the way up to 4:1. Ratios are typically standardized across all employee types, but sometimes a company will stipulate that, for example, part-time employees or retirees or executives will have different match ratios.

For instance:

2. Maximum Match

Maximum matches have quite the range. You’ll see upper limits from $1,000-$15,000 on average, but there are plenty of matches that are outside that scope.

For instance:

3. Minimum Match

Usually, a company will set a donation minimum, meaning that if a donor’s contribution falls below that set amount, the company will not match the gift.  Most commonly, that dollar amount is $25, but it can range from $1-$100.

For instance:


Combine all three of these factors and you’ll be ready to predict what your nonprofit will rake in from those lucrative matching gifts!

Keep reading our additional resources for more matching gift tips and tricks:

  • Matching gift Program FAQs: Have a question about matching gifts you need answered? This article covers some of the most common queries about matched giving.
  • Matching Gift Software Vendors: If you’re an organization looking for tools to market matching gifts or a corporation searching for matching gift management software, this article is for you! We’ve compiled a list of top vendors to help your philanthropy program succeed.
  • Top Matching Gift Companies: Brush up on the top matching gift companies to see how much your organization could raise.
Matching Gift Acknowledgement

The 11 Must-Know Matching Gift Best Practices for Nonprofits

Have you ever been to a movie double feature? They are great. You get in the movie-going mood, take the time out of your busy life to make it to the theater, buy your popcorn, sneak in your candy, splurge on a huge soda, and then settle in for two great films. Oh, and most importantly, you’re only paying for one.

Matching gifts are fundraising double features; for the time and cost of acquiring one donation, you get twice the funding.

Once a donor contributes to your organization, they can submit a request to their company (if they have a program) to have their gift matched. If your nonprofit qualifies, the corporation will send with a check for the same amount or more depending on the company’s matching ratio.

However, just like it takes a bit of extra planning and time management skills to get yourself to a double feature, it will take your team a bit of extra work to secure those matched gifts.

To ensure that your nonprofit maximizes its efforts, we’ve curated a list of the 11 most valuable matching gift best practices:

  1. Study up on matching gifts. 
  2. Appoint a matching gift coordinator. 
  3. Raise awareness about matched giving. 
  4. Collect donor employer details when appropriate. 
  5. Strive for easy accessibility. 
  6. Keep records of the matched gifts through the entire process. 
  7. Thank your donors for submitting a matching gift request. 
  8. Cultivate relationships with donors’ companies. 
  9. Maintain and update your donor records. 
  10. Perform a prospect screening. 
  11. Track and review your progress. 

Follow these tips, lean back in your seat, and watch the credits roll!

1. Study Up on Matching Gifts

Here’s the good news: if you want to learn about matching gifts you will have no issue doing so.

The topic of matching gifts isn’t some incredibly intimidating subject like organic chemistry. Reaching an effective level of working knowledge is certainly possible.

Begin like you would with any subject by reading what you can. Try to build a strong foundation of knowledge, so that when you implement your program you’ll be set to handle obstacles as they arise.

Having a keen sense of matching gifts and what goes into obtaining them will be crucial in planning your program and standardizing your processes.

Learning, for instance, the matching gift guidelines for the three biggest companies in your area would help your team target donors from those companies. Chances are, some of your preexisting donors work at one of those three. Play the odds when picking and choosing when to research specifically and when to stay general.

2. Appoint a Matching Gift Coordinator

In the ideal situation, everyone on your organization’s team will be well-versed in matching gift programs. However, by appointing an expert to lead your team, you’ll have the time and resources to implement matching gifts into your overall strategy.

Your nonprofit will be better served hiring a matching gift coordinator than it would be having your whole staff know just a few facts about matching gifts. The coordinator is the expert, and the rest of your employees should know enough to field the questions that they can and pass along the rest.

The coordinator is the designated point-person for all matching gift queries and problems, as well as the staffer in charge of seeing the donations through until the end.

Your coordinator will be able to keep your various departments in the loop about what’s going on and need-to-know information.

All staff should be promoting matching gifts when relevant, but the matching gift coordinator will be the coach leading your team to victory.

If your organization wants advice when hiring a matching gift coordinator, why not consider hiring an executive search firm? The consultants can help you craft the perfect job description and lead you through the entire hiring process.

What if you don’t have the funds or employee base to designate a matching gifts coordinator?

Set aside some time and have a team do the research and put together matching gift materials including:

  • Educational packets
  • Letter templates
  • Newsletter copy
  • Answers to FAQs
  • Fast facts

With these resources, and resources like them, any member of your team should be prepared to handle most matching gift occurrences and problems.

3. Raise Awareness About Matching Giving

Once you have a solid understanding of matching gifts and an idea of how the process will work internally, it is time to spread the word. People need to know about matching gifts before they can request them.

No need to be coy at this point, the goal is mass awareness. Think like Paul Revere. The British may not be coming, but matching gifts are.

Lucky for everyone, technology has drastically improved since Revere’s days, so nonprofits now have plenty of ways to promote matching gifts.

Put matching gifts on your ‘ways to give’ page, like Girls Scouts of Greater Atlanta did:

Matching Gifts Featured on Ways to Give

Create a dedicated matching gift page, like the ASPCA did:

Dedicated Matching Gift Page

Outline matching gifts in an email newsletter, like CMTA did:

Matching Gift Newsletter

These are just three of many, many options. Get creative.

Matching gift promotion should span all of your communication platforms. Diversify your marketing so that it can reach a diverse audience of donors.

Note

Become a Matching Gift Expert! Grab our Free Ultimate Guide to Matching Gifts.

4. Collect Donor Employer Details When Appropriate

Part of your educational materials for donors will give them access to determine if their companies have matching gift programs, but if your staff is able to readily see the employer of any given donor in your database, they can then go the extra mile to obtain that donation.

A major gift donor who works for a company with a generous matching gift program can make a huge difference in a nonprofit’s annual budget.

You also don’t want to waste the time of your employees.

Knowing the companies donors work for will help you segment out matching gift prospects.

If you are promoting on, say, email, zeroing in on only the prospects with the most potential wouldn’t make sense. What about a calling campaign, though? Staff won’t have time to call all donors and prospects. That’s where employer info can make a world of difference.

5. Strive for Easy Accessibility

For a donor, securing a matching gift is an easy process that has the misfortune of sounding complicated. Brand it better.

Clear and concise language, with easy to understand directions will make your donors much more likely to seek out matching gifts. Donors who have already been kind enough to donate should not have to follow-up with a bunch more work.

 You can:

  1. List the typical steps involved in the process on your dedicated page
  2. Insert a matching gift widget that can help the donor search for her company’s program
  3. Send out informational mailed materials
  4. Highlight key matching gift statistics
  5. Point out a few of the companies that commonly match gifts for your nonprofit and detail those programs

Ensure that your nonprofit is a one-stop shop for all things matching gift.

6. Keep Records of the Matched Gifts Through the Entire Process

This task will usually fall under the matching gift coordinator’s jurisdiction.

Essentially, you’ll want to know what requests have been made, when they are processed, and when they have been fulfilled.

Keeping accurate records will guarantee that no attempted matching gifts slip through the cracks. There can be a lot of moving parts in the process among the donor, donor’s employer, and the nonprofit, and there will be some level of back-and-forth.

A clear trail of what has happened and what needs to happen will make interactions a lot easier and lot more efficient.

The more standardized and systematic the process you use is, the better the results will be.

7. Thank Your Donors for Submitting a Matching Gift Request

Donors involved with matching gifts have gone the extra mile for your cause. Your thank you should reflect that.

Just like matching gifts have doubled your donations, matching gift thank yous should be double as well. Thank once for the initial donation and a second time when the matched gift goes through.

You might want to put together a special event to honor matching gift donors. The goal is to show genuine gratitude towards what they’ve done to help, but something like a special event will also promote the program to those who are unaware of it.

If you don’t have the resources for an entire event, try publicly thanking those involved on social media.

Social media is a great place to promote matching gifts, but it is also a top outlet for acknowledgment. A strategic Facebook post can kill two birds with one stone by thanking a matching gift donor while getting the idea of matching gifts into the heads of your Facebook community.

Find a way to demonstrate your gratitude and ensure that the donors feel appreciated.

8. Cultivate Relationships with Donors’ Companies

You should also consider thanking your donors’ companies. The donor has brought the company to you, so make sure you’re taking your open shots.

Matching gifts can provide a much-desired introduction to major corporations with top-notch corporate giving.

When an employee asks her company to match her gift, by nature of the process the company will be exposed to your nonprofit. If you want to foster a new relationship, your nonprofit is going to have to impress the company.

By having all of your matching gifts ducks in a row, your staff can focus on building those corporate relationships, instead of troubleshooting submission issues.

9. Maintain Your Donor Records

A disorganized and dysfunctional donor database is really going to hold your fundraisers back when it comes to matching gifts.

With out-of-date information, your staff has no chance of making a real go of acquiring matching gifts.

You could send out mailers with blanks for donors to fill-in any changes to their personal details.

Once the information is in your system, your next move is going to be making sure those who need it can find it. Having data stored in such a manner that only one senior team member can even find it does your organization no good.

10. Perform a Prospect Screening

If you’re looking for donors with large capacities to donate and great matching gift programs, prospect screenings are going to be a big help.

A major insight prospect research can provide is the list of business affiliations of potential donors, like where they work and where their spouses work. If a donor’s spouse works for a major matching gift company, your donor will often qualify for those donations as well.

Matching gift participation rates can vary from 3% to 65% based on how much the individual companies promote their programs. With the knowledge derived from prospect screening, you’ll be able to take a well-prepared approach to finding matching gift donors.

11. Track and Review Your Progress

Students earn grades and receive progress reports. Professional athletes watch game tape and practice all week long. No one can get better without locating weaknesses and focusing on changing them.

This rule applies to matching gifts as well. An established system designed with achievement assessment in mind is a valuable asset.

So that you can properly grade your program track:

  • The matching gift money raised in previous years
  • The matching gift money raised in the time following your program’s inception
  • Your top matching gift employer
  • The costs and time it takes to acquire the gifts
  • The percentage of your total revenue that matching gifts account for

Simply advocating for matching gifts won’t be enough to run a successful program. Tracking data and looking at results is the best way to know how your nonprofit is doing and what its areas of improvement are.


Corporate giving programs are out there for the taking. Major corporations like GE and Microsoft have some of the best matching gift programs in the world.

Institute these matching gifts best practices and get ready for the second movie to start.

For more matching gift advice, check out these additional resources: 

  • Marketing Matching Gifts: Want more ways to promote matching gifts. This guide takes you through several ideas on how your organization can best market matching gifts.
  • Ultimate Guide to Major Gifts: Like we mentioned earlier, encouraging major donors to submit matching gifts can add even more money to your annual fund. Learn the ins and outs of major donors with this helpful guide.
  • Matching Gift Database: If you want more information on matching gift programs, take a look at Double the Donation’s matching gift database.


Microsoft Matching Gift Figures

Matching Gift Eligibility: Which Nonprofits Qualify?

Matching gifts are a goldmine for nonprofits, but there are some limitations on organization eligibility.

It is crucial that you know where your organization stands in terms of eligibility before seeking out matching gifts. If your organization doesn’t qualify, all of your effort is futile.

Since program standards vary company to company, there are no universal guidelines — you cannot know your eligibility for all matching gift programs. However, you can equip yourself with an understanding of the big picture eligibility standards and common exemptions.

Fortunately, we’ve outlined those standards for you here and answered the question:

What are the restrictions for the types of organizations eligible to receive employee matching gift funds?

1st) Most corporate giving programs match to educational institutions and various types of 501(c)(3) organizations, which are typically categorized as:

  • Higher Education — schools offering at least a two-year program of college level studies,„ schools or colleges within a university that conduct their own fundraising efforts (such as law or medical schools), seminaries and theological schools, alumni funds, foundations, etc.
  • K-12 Education — public or accredited private kindergarten through high schools, foundations established by the school districts to fund one or more eligible schools, etc.
  • Arts and Cultural Organizations — aquariums, libraries, museums, orchestras, public broadcasting stations, etc.
  • Community Based Social Services — animal shelters, child welfare, homeless shelters, low-income assistance, etc.
  • Environmental Organizations — conservation efforts, wildlife preservation, etc.
  • Healthcare Based Organizations — healthcare services, hospitals, substance abuse programs, etc.

Approximately 2/3 of companies with matching gift programs will match to an organization that fits into any one of those categories.

For the remaining 1/3, those companies will usually match for one or a select few from the above categories.

For example, ExxonMobil focuses its matching gift efforts on two programs: the “Educational Matching Gift Program” and the “Cultural Matching Gift Program.”

2nd) While most 501(c)(3) organizations and educational nonprofits are eligible for matching gifts from a vast array of companies, there are a few common restrictions, which include:

  1. Political Organizations
  2. Sports Teams
  3. Religious Organizations

Houses of worship such as churches and synagogues are often times restricted, but many faith-based organizations with major community outreach components such as food banks, job training, or homeless shelters are matching gift eligible.

Learn more about matching gift eligibility for religious organizations.


With this outline, you should have a good idea of your organization’s place in the matching gift world. Remember, these are just the standard practices, and there are certainly exceptions.

Find out more about matching gifts with these additional resources: 

  • 8 Corporate Matching Gift Questions: Ever wanted know the average matching gift rate or how to create your own matching gift program? If you’re a corporation looking into matching gifts, this guide has all the answers you need.
  • Matching Gift Software Vendors: Organizations looking to boost their matching gift outreach should look into management software specifically made for corporate philanthropy. Our list of tools can help start your search on the right foot.
  • Matching Gifts Ultimate Guide: Want to learn more about matching gifts? Our comprehensive guide will help your nonprofit understand matched giving and how to promote it.