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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.

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 >

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/.

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