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Matching gift letters

What Happens After a Donor Makes a Matching Gift Submission?

HURRAH! You’ve done it.

Your nonprofit has gotten a donor to see the light and submit a matching gift request.

Now what?

The most difficult work is done. Your promotional effort has worked. The responsibility is now in the hands of the donor’s employer — at least momentarily.

Well, you can sit back and twiddle your thumbs … but not for long. Pretty soon the ball will be back in your court, and it’ll be your turn to handle things. The donor’s company is not going to blindly accept their employee’s submission.

The donor’s submission process is going to vary from company to company, but it will roughly follow similar patterns:

  1. Employees log into the company’s matching gift submission website
  2. Employees search for the nonprofit they donated to
  3. Employees select the nonprofit from the search results (if not found, they enter the organization’s information)
  4. Employees register their donation and submit the matching gift request

After a donor makes a matching gift request submission to his or her employer, that company then needs to process the request.

Your nonprofit is going to have to be involved, albeit rather peripherally, in that process.

What should your nonprofit expect to receive from a company that’s just received a matching gift request from one of your organization’s donors?

Well, expect a letter for starters. It may come by mail, email, fax, plane, train, or automobile. Okay, so maybe not those last three, but definitely mail, email, or fax.

The letter will basically be asking for verification that the employee made the donation and that you’re the nonprofit that the employee says you are. It will be a quick and painless process. The letter will usually come through a third party company that handles matching gift requests for the employer at hand and it will ask you take a few verification steps.

It should be quick and painless for your nonprofit.

To help clear up any potential questions you may have, let’s walk through a sample letter from a company to a nonprofit.

In the case of this sample:

  • Corporation X represents your donor’s employer
  • Y Nonprofit represents you, the ones receiving the donation
  • Company Z represents the third party business handling the corporate giving program

Corporation X’s Corporate Giving Program

Dear Y Nonprofit,

Company Z is Corporation X’s vendor that helps process and fulfill requests through the corporate giving program. As Corporation X’s vendor, we at Company Z work to ensure that the donation process goes as smoothly as possible. Part of that process involves guaranteeing that funds requested by employees are allocated to the correct charities.

We have great news! An employee has made a match request on your behalf!

That match request now needs your confirmation.

In order to complete the confirmation, please follow the link below.

“Link to Company Z’s vendor portal with Corporation X”

Once on the site, create a new account or log into your existing account if you already have one.

If creating a new account, you will be prompted to answer a series of questions which are as follows:

  • Organization contact information
  • Contact information for the specific employee handling the request
  • A registration code unique to your case — ABC-DEFG
  • A match ID unique to your case — 12345

You will be able to set up a username and password and then confirm the match request that is currently pending.

Questions? Please call us at 111-222-3333 or email us at support@companyz.corporationx.com, and one of our representatives will be able to assist you.

Thank you for all the great work you do.

Best,

Company Z Support

111-222-3333 / support@companyz.corporationx.com

As you can see from that letter template, it is not going to take much to confirm a matching gift request and see those extra funds come in, but you will need to essentially verify that the employee making the request did in fact make the donation that he or she reported. And the letter will give you all the information needed to do so.

To help track your progress, a matching gift best practice that we recommend, keep records of any confirmations your organization makes.

That way, you know to be expecting funds and can cross them off the list when the employers donate them.

It is quite common that donors will submit a matching gift request without telling the nonprofit that they are doing so. They are certainly not required to tell the nonprofit anything. Therefore, the first chance your organization has to begin tracking these submission requests is when the employer contacts you. Take advantage of that knowledge.

One of the best and most proactive steps a nonprofit can take to keep donors around is thanking quickly and often.

Don’t officially thank the donor until you receive the matching gift donation from that donor’s employer; however, if you are keeping careful records of matching gift submissions in progress you will be able to prepare to send out acknowledgments sooner and you will be less likely to lose track of a donor, and / or that donor’s records, in the shuffle.

The matching gift submission process is by no means brain surgery. In fact, many of the third party vendors that corporations use have handled submissions for so long the whole experience is as streamlined and timely as possible.

It never hurts to know what to expect though, and now you do. Make sure those letters do not get mixed up in the wrong place or filed away before anyone has had a chance to make the confirmation! They are your key to converting matching gift requests into matching gift funds. Don’t let your organization be the bottleneck holding up the process.

If your organization is going to seriously pursue matching gifts, it should assign the processing of requests to one staff member, probably on your development team. That way, when letters like the sample above come in, your whole office knows exactly who to send them to. And, that person will quickly gain familiarity with the process and be able to make and track the confirmations as efficiently as possible.

Matching Gift Acknowledgement

Feature Matching Gifts in Acknowledgement Emails

One of the best times to feature matching gifts is in acknowledgement emails to donors. For these messages, form letters are your friends.

Install an automated process to change a name here and a few phrases there and voila! You can reach thousands of people with personalized messages in the blink of an eye. There is no need to stray from the form email, unless you have too much time to twiddle your thumbs, but realize that the form of a form email goes beyond a series of universally applicable sentences. There is a physical structure to an email that you can use to better call your donor to take action to seek out a matching gift.

The best way to understand acknowledgement letters is to pick their structure apart. We’ll do that, and then run through the various types of acknowledgement letters.

Take a look at this acknowledgement letter from Piedmont Healthcare:

Piedmont Healthcare Foundation’s Acknowledgement Email to Donors

Matching Gift Acknowledgement Emails

What should you emulate? They open with a thank you. An acknowledgment letter is a thank you, and, while you can do more than just thank a donor, gratefulness needs to be your main objective. This person donated money to your cause, so your job is to let that person know that his money is both appreciated and put to work in positive ways. Make the person feel good and he just might donate again.

How do you move beyond merely thanking a donor? How do you urge the donor to seek a matching gift in an urgent but polite manner?

Sample Matching Gift Wording

Notice the Double Your Donation box as well as the blue text. Those are two locations to click in order to be taken to a destination where donors can discover if their companies have matching gift programs as well as access the necessary company specific forms, guidelines, and instructions.

Donors Arrive on Piedmont Healthcare’s Matching Gift Page on Double the Donation’s Servers
(https://doublethedonation.com/piedmont)

Matching Gift Page where Donors Can Access Matching Gift Information

 

The graphic in Piedmont Healthcare’s email is especially powerful because it does a plethora of work. It’s eye-catching, a clickable link, and incorporates both text and Piedmont Healthcare’s logo such that you know what you’re looking at. Unlike text, graphics grab the reader’s attention instantly.

If you don’t have visuals, you can either create your own or, if you’re a Double the Donation client, we have a host of premade images to choose from, such as:

pinklogo

 

View Double the Donation’s premade matching gift images which come in a variety of colors and sizes >

Next to Piedmont Healthcare’s graphic, the  wording of the text banner, “Make Your Donation Go Twice as Far,” is key, and Piedmont Healthcare nailed it. The text begins with an active verb and suggests that the donor take steps to do even more good. It’s simple, to the point, and with no annoying signifiers such as exclamation points or distracting color schemes.

Under the text banner is additional text that informs about matching gifts:

‘Did you know that many companies match donations made by their employees to our organization?’

This creates another opportunity for the reader to both notice and learn about matching gifts. The message is simple and precise.

Piedmont Healthcare closes the email with a receipt summary and then performs a simple sign off. That’s it. Keep the email short, sweet, and to the point.

Realize that every part of an email can do work, from the text to the physical layout of the objects on the screen. Never underestimate the psychological impact of little, subconscious triggers such as well-arranged content and syntactically sound sentences. Those parts of an email work best when they work together.

The above email from Piedmont Healthcare is an example of a thank you note from a nonprofit to a donor. The donor has yet to seek out a matching gift.

When you send a thank you email, you should do as Piedmont does. They use the email to both thank the donor and to ask the donor to pursue a matching gift. Many donors are either not aware of matching gift programs or need a little push to get them to use their company’s program. Play smart and ask for what you want.