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Marketing Guide Matching Gifts

The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Matching Gifts

Earth has always been spherical, but it took until the Greek philosopher Pythagoras in the 6th century BC to dispel the myth of a flat world. Likewise, matching gifts exist, but a lack of donor awareness could be holding your fundraising back.

The most common reason why people don’t submit matching gift requests is because they don’t know if their employer offers such a program.

Corporate giving is a big deal, with 65% of Fortune 500 companies offering matching gift programs. Furthermore, promoting matching gifts increases donation response rates by 71%, and the average donation increases by 51%. Not only do matching gifts double donations, but they stand to increase the original donations, so the matched gifts become larger, too.

View these and more matching gift statistics.

Nonprofits need every dollar they can grab, and matching gifts are an effective way to increase your fundraising without demanding much out of donors. Submitting matching gifts is an easy 5-minute process, and marketing matching gifts doesn’t have to be difficult, either.

Learn how your organization can boost matching gift outreach via:

  1. Email
  2. Social media
  3. Your nonprofit website
  4. Internal promotion
  5. Direct mail

From email to website updates to direct mail, we’ve got the tips and tricks to make your matching gift marketing a success.

1. Email

How do you spend no money and grab the attention of thousands of people while expending zero breath? Email provides instantaneous outreach to donors, so you can say, “Hi. What’s up? Have you thought about matching gifts today?” and people can reply just as fast. Snail mail cannot keep pace, and, at $0.49 a stamp, why would you pay to slow down?

Acquiring matching gifts through email is a lot like a game of chess. There are multiple pieces that all do different things, and, while one piece could win the game all on it’s own, it’s more likely that a focused strategy and a team effort will produce optimal results. Success hinges on a slow, steady procession of the right moves, and not reckless bombardment with all and any emails.

Email Newsletter from Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association (CMTA)

CMTA Matching Gift Newsletter

Our focus is on understanding the functionality of the most important pieces of the email process in terms of marketing matching gift programs. Calendars and strategies matter, but no plan can succeed without the proper tools. We’re here to tell you about the best tools.

Acknowledgement Emails

When you receive a gift, you say thank you, and this is a great time to promote matching gifts. The donations are fresh in the donors’ minds, and a little nudge saying that they can double their donations without shelling out another cent can go a long way.

Acknowledgement Email from the Piedmont Healthcare Foundation

Matching Gift Acknowledgement Emails

Acknowledgement emails thrive because you can provide links to dedicated matching gift pages using text or graphics, such as those Double the Donation provides for its clients.

Learn more about matching gift acknowledgement emails.

Newsletters

With enough space to write a little blurb or a full article, newsletters are a great place to educate donors about matching gifts.

Email Newsletter from the National Kidney Foundation

Matching Gift Newsletter Example

A newsletter dedicated to matching gifts is the best strategy, but splitting space with another topic or including a graphic advertising matching gifts in a newsletter about another topic can work, too. Loyal donors read your newsletter, so it’s a good place to provide in-depth information about the benefits of corporate giving.

Learn more about matching gift newsletters.

Email Signatures

Chances are that you send a ton of emails. Every message is an opportunity to promote matching gifts. An email signature typically details contact information, but it’s also a great place to advertise.

A simple blurb or a flashy graphic about corporate giving can increase awareness and be that needed push for donors to take a quick five minutes to submit matching gift requests.

Learn more about matching gift email signatures.

Takeaway: Whether you market matching gifts in your email signatures, newsletters, or acknowledgement letters, emails allow you to showcase matching gifts in a prominent way.

2. Social Media

People flock to social media to discover the internet’s best content. You don’t need to produce viral memes every day, but, if you want to promote matching gifts, you do need to provide compelling and engaging information on a consistent basis.

There are approximately as many social media outlets as there are stars in the universe (give or take a few), so it’s best to focus on the sites most relevant to promoting your matching gift program: Facebook and Twitter. Both platforms require a nuanced approach.

Why should you focus matching gift marketing efforts on social media? How do you maximize your social media efforts? Can this all be done without shelving out a sizable sum for featured advertisements? Social media is a vital, contemporary marketing approach through which you will see results without breaking the bank.

Tweet from the American Lung Association of the Midland States

Tweet without a link to a matching gift service

Whether or not you employ a matching gift service, a simple tweet or Facebook post can spread the word to donors.

Learn more about social media for matching gifts.

Year-End and New Year Appeals

You can’t donate in 2010 and submit a matching gift request for that donation in 2015. Donations have lifespans, so you need to promote matching gifts to eligible donors before the clock runs out.

End of Year Appeal from Atlanta Animal Rescue Friends (AARF) on Twitter

AARF Tweet Matching Gift End of Year Appeal

Year end and new year appeals remind donors of impending matching gift deadlines. These appeals can be made via social media, too, but email appeals allow you to chronicle the exact deadlines and provide more depth about the importance of submitting matching gift requests before it’s too late.

Learn more about year end and new year appeals for matching gifts.

Takeaway: Social media is a great way to keep people up-to-date on your nonprofit’s campaigns, but this medium can also be used to promote matching gifts. Just be sure to link to a place where donors can learn more information.

3. Website Strategies

A website is much more than a homepage, and, with lots of donors choosing the convenient route of donating online via credit cards, the opportunities abound to broadcast matching gift programs.

Your website is your home on the internet, and it’s where you’re required to host people everyday. While many visitors are strangers, the goal is to impress everybody and to make sure that all parties leave feeling satisfied and looking forward to their next visit.

Dedicated Matching Gift Page from ASPCA

Matching Gift Page from Adrian College

A functional website is necessary because it’s a great place to market matching gifts. The majority of nonprofits permit online donations, so incorporating matching gift marketing alongside regular donation calls to action on your website is common sense.

Homepage and Across Your Website

For the love of matching gifts, let the people know that corporate giving exists! Or at least make it easy for them to find out on their own.

Navigation Bar on the Homepage of Lafayette Partners in Education

Add Matching Gifts to your Website's Navigation

Banner ads function as proverbial advertisements on any webpage, and a link in your navigation bar allows donors to intuitively discover matching gifts. The links should lead to a dedicated matching gift page, where you can inform donors about all the nitty-gritty matching gift details.

Learn more about implementing matching gift promotion on your homepage and across your website.

Dedicated Matching Gift Page

Donors require a landing page where they can learn about matching gift programs and discover if their employers participate in corporate giving. A dedicated matching gift page can relate relevant facts, such as matching gift statistics or annual donation numbers, or allow donors to search for information via a plugin, such as Double the Donation offers.

Dedicated Matching Gift Page from the Atlanta Botanical Garden

Matching Gift Page from the Atlanta Botanical Garden

The goal is to give donors a place both to learn about matching gifts and to be spurred into action to submit the necessary forms.

Learn more about building your own dedicated matching gift page.

Ways to Give Page

This is where people learn about all of their donation options to your nonprofit. From regular donations to fundraisers to matching gifts, there are a ton of ways to support your organization, and you want to advertise them all.

Ways to Give Page from Alliance Theatre

Alliance Theatre ways to give page

Don’t forget to include matching gifts on your ways to give page, as a little link can lead to a major increase in fundraising.

Learn more about ways to give pages.

In the Donation Process

The best time to promote matching gifts might be when your donors are actually making their donations. You can incorporate matching gift asks on both donation forms and confirmation screens.

There’s no time like the present, and if people are already in giving moods then why not remind them about how they can give twice as much thanks to corporate giving.

Learn more about how to implement matching gift promotion in the donation process.

Blogs

Blogs tell your nonprofit’s story, so why not share ways for donors to double their donations so that you can keep telling that story? A dedication to featured content provides in-depth stories about the importance of matching gifts while educating people on how to submit the necessary forms.

Matching Gifts Incorporated into a Blog Post

Matching Gift Blog

Even just including a graphic that advertises matching gifts on the side of a blog that’s about another topic can help to increase awareness.

Access our prewritten matching gift articles that you can use.

Takeaway: Your website is the one place where most donors come to learn about your mission and, ultimately, make a donation. Promoting matching gifts on your website is a great way to encourage donors to give more and make a matching gift request.

4. Internal Promotion

Walt Disney tells us that, “when you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.” Employees of any company should believe in that company’s mission wholeheartedly, and they should want to discuss their good work.

Seriously, why else would a person dedicate his life to any profession? Okay, some people work for money, but in the nonprofit sector the ultimate goal is not to make a profit, but to deliver a positive effect upon the world.

Matching Gift Fundraising Guideline

Matching Gift Coordinator Planning

Matching Gift Team

Identify a leader and form a matching gift super squad. Pull people from marketing, volunteer coordinating, IT, and all departments in order to streamline your matching gift processes and implement a culture of matching gifts. With someone in charge of the process, you’ll be assured that matching gifts are being promoted to all donors, and there’s someone to answer donors’ questions about how or why matching gifts matter.

Learn more about how to organize a matching gift team with our free downloadable resources.

Team Execution

With your matching gift super squad in place, it’s time to execute. There are the typical marketing mediums, such as email, social media, and print advertising, but don’t forget about word of mouth.

Not only might your employees spread the word about matching gifts, but they may double as donors. Informing your internal staff about matching gifts reminds them to tell both each other and members about matching gifts, and, while your website, emails, or social media accounts might grab someone’s attention, nothing spurs a person to action quite like spoken assurance from a trusted face.

Your internal memberships include staff, donors, volunteers, and other members. Strategies to internally promote matching gifts all start with a dedicated matching gift coordinator or team, but these people need to spread the word and share the responsibility with everyone who is involved with your nonprofit. A dedicated matching gift staff addresses specific roles in the matching gift process and is intended to get all of your matching gift efforts streamlined such that you bring in more corporate-matched donations than ever before.

Important Information to Record to Track Matching Gift Performance

Reporting Matching Gift Year-Over-Year Growth

Internal promotion is far from the ‘sexy’ way to market matching gifts, but it may be the most effective strategy because it’s literally in your face and gets straight to the point.

Learn more about matching gift team execution.

Takeaway: Hiring a matching gift expert (or team) will ensure that you have a point of contact on everything matching gift related. This can lead to better outreach and marketing strategies for matching gifts.

5. Direct Mail

Welcome to the wide world of matching gift marketing materials that require an envelope and a good old fashioned stamp. Direct mail includes letters, postcards, paper inserts, newsletters, and return envelopes, all of which might sound like archaic forms of marketing, but, when you’re marketing matching gifts both online and off, you’re reaching a wider audience, which means more matching gifts, and ain’t that the goal.

You think paper marketing is out of date? Well, does science have news for you.

Matching Gift Postcard from the University of Michigan

Matching Gift Postcard

The debate between paper books and e-readers has raged on for years, and the dispute is analogous to deciding between print versus online marketing. Of course, employing both types of marketing works best, but this article focuses on the benefits of printed materials.

A 2014 study reported that people who use e-readers are worse at story comprehension. Readers of paper texts are better at both placing plot points in order and mentally reconstructing stories. This means that when people read paper mail, as opposed to email, they might be reading the same content, but interaction with physical ink and paper does something to help people to better remember what they’re reading.

Common sense would advise that you don’t just want people to read about matching gift programs, but that you want people to remember them.

Learn more about direct mail for matching gifts.

Takeaway: Your matching gift marketing strategy shouldn’t forget direct mail. Some donors will prefer learning about their corporate philanthropy programs by reading something tangible.


The world is not flat, and your bottom line shouldn’t be, either. Properly market matching gifts through a variety of strategies in order to increase fundraising. Then you can hold a hulking sphere of cash and use it to do some good for the world.

Donor Awareness Matching Gifts

Nonprofits: How to Increase Donor Awareness about Matching Gift Programs

Modify your DonorPerfect donation confirmation emails to include matching gifts

Here at Double the Donation, we often write about the benefits of corporate giving programs, but we also touch upon marketing these programs to your donors. Informing individuals about the possibility of literally doubling donations via matching gift opportunities is step one to extra financial support, but step two is ensuring that these marketing efforts are working!

We’ll touch upon some common marketing efforts to get your donors ramped up to submit that matching gift request form to their employer, but also how to tell if your strategy is working.

 

Marketing Matching Gift Programs

Getting your donors aware about matching gift opportunities is the biggest obstacle your organization will have to overcome in order to receive more funds through these programs. There are billions (yes, billions!) of unclaimed dollars from corporate giving programs because donors are just simply not aware that they can ask their employers to match donations to eligible nonprofit organizations.

Here are three easy and effective marketing strategies to raise donor awareness about matching gift programs.

Include Matching Gift Information in Acknowledgement Letters

If your nonprofit organization is not already including information about matching gift opportunities in donor acknowledgement letters, then it’s a super easy way to start your marketing campaign. When an individual donates money to your organization, the hard part is done. Now you just need to get them to submit a matching gift request form to their employer – but how do you get them to do that?

Include a blurb about matching gifts in your acknowledgement letter. You’ve already got a committed audience, and since the acknowledgement letter doubles as a tax receipt, you can almost guarantee that the donor will read the letter to skim over key points. Make sure you emphasize that requesting a matching gift from their employer is easy and effective. Direct them to your Double the Donation webpage to allow them to check in just a couple of quick steps if their employer offers a matching gift program, and the steps they need to follow to do so.

It can be as simple as this: “Did you know that many corporations offer employee giving programs where they match donations to [your organization’s name]? The tax deductible component of your membership is normally eligible to be matched as well. Check with your employer today to see if they provide matching gifts!”

Make sure to mention that many companies now offer the opportunity to submit these forms online, so that makes the request that much easier. Your odds that a donor requests a matching gift from their employer are so much better if they’ve made a gift recently, so make sure your acknowledgement letters are timely!

 

Strategically Place Matching Gift Information on Donation Web Pages 

As with the above method, you want to make sure to include matching gift information in places that your donors (actual and potential) can see and process quickly. If an individual is on your organization’s donation page, then chances are that they didn’t end up there by accident. This is a great place to let them know that once they commit to the donation, then asking for a match from their employer will only take a few extra minutes. Donors are more likely to pull the trigger when they know it won’t be a long and arduous process, especially once they’ve already made a gift.

Put blurbs about matching gift opportunities on your donation pages, including on the “Donate Now” pages, and especially on the “Thank you for donating!” pages. It would be great as a “Next Steps” option.

 

Engage Your Donors on Social Media

Does your organization have a Facebook page? Twitter? YouTube? All of these are great places to let your donors know how grateful you are for their commitment to your organization’s mission, and a great place to let them know that they can literally double their donation by simply requesting a matching gift from employers. First and foremost, say thank you! This is a crucial part to ensure that they keep reading and engaging with your organization.

Post stories about how the money raised for your organization is helping grow your mission. Include asides about how matching gifts can doubly impact the cause! Facebook is a great place for short posts about matching gifts; Twitter is great for quick and succinct blurbs with links; and YouTube is a great place to submit a video thanking your donors for their contributions and extra efforts in matching gifts!

With social media, the marketing possibilities are endless.

 

Measuring the Impact of Marketing Efforts

The best advice we have on measuring your marketing impact is to create a chart. Create a graph of some kind (whatever your boss prefers, whether it’s a bar graph, a pie chart, or a nifty line chart in Excel) with the total amount of matching gifts received last year versus this year. Or last month versus this month. Use any time span that can really show you a difference between your pre- and post-marketing efforts. Can you see a discernible difference in the number of matching gifts being sent in?

Of course you can download our free Microsoft Excel Matching Gift Tracker and Dashboard >

You can also create a survey (there are many free online software tools) that allow you to send a thank you email to a donor who had submitted a matching gift request. Ask them how they learned about matching gifts, and include all of your marketing efforts, as well as an “Other” box with a free response option. This will help you realize which efforts are worth investing more time in (or at least focusing more on in the future), and which may be fruitless.

Your organization will also be able to identify if a majority of matching gifts are coming from one company in particular, or from a wide array of employers. This is notable because if your matching gifts seem to be coming from one employer, then it’d be a good idea to publicly recognize it as a valuable donor and partner to your organization.

There are a variety of ways to market matching gifts to your donors, and several other ways to measure the impact of these marketing efforts. Too much money goes unclaimed by nonprofit organizations due to a lack of awareness on the part of the donors about corporate giving programs. This shouldn’t be the case! Make sure you’re educating your constituents on a consistent and appropriate basis, and you could be well on your way to a high increase in the number of matching gift requests submit.