Matching Gift Process: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide

Matching Gift Process: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide

As one of the most popular forms of corporate philanthropy, matching gifts are on the rise. This CSR tactic provides an easy way for organizations like yours to double incoming donations. However, many organizations are not taking full advantage of matching gifts⁠—largely due to a lack of understanding (among donors and staff alike) about the prevalence of the offering and the simplicity of the matching gift process.

Though it can vary based on specific companies and organizations, the basic matching gift process follows these key steps:

Here's what the matching gift process looks like.

In this guide, we’ll dive deep into the matching gift fundraising process so that your team can be well-informed about the opportunity at hand.

Use this resource to build confidence in your understanding of matching gifts; then, you’ll be all set to help educate your donors about the matching gift process as well.

Step 1 in the matching gift process

Step 1: An individual donates to a nonprofit.

The first step in the matching gift process occurs when an individual makes a personal donation to an organization. This is a prerequisite for the gift-matching initiative, and it’s essentially what kicks off the rest of the procedure. After all, you can’t match a gift without a gift to match!

Luckily, there are tons of ways for individual donors to support their favorite causes. Depending on the companies the donors work for, different giving types may be eligible for matching gift program participation.

For example, an individual may give via a cash donation, online giving page, peer-to-peer campaign, direct mail, event contribution, and more. Meanwhile, some companies enable employees to give matchable donations through their CSR platform. And others will even match gifts of securities, such as stocks and mutual funds!


Here's what making a donation can look like in the matching gift process.

Here’s how the matching gift process can begin using an online donation form.

According to matching gift research on the topic, “The more options an employee has to give and to get their gift matched, the more likely they are to utilize available company matching opportunities.”

Step 2 of the matching gift process

Step 2: Their matching gift eligibility is determined.

Unfortunately, not every donation made to a charitable organization is going to be match-eligible. Not only do donors need to work for participating companies to qualify for corporate gift matches, but the donations themselves must also meet certain criteria in order to be approved. Thus, after a donor submits their personal donation, it’s time to determine whether that gift will be matchable.

In order to do so, you’ll need to compare the recently contributed gift against the donor’s employer’s matching gift guidelines. These should include:

  • Types of qualifying employees
  • Types of qualifying nonprofit causes
  • Minimum and maximum match amounts
  • Match submission deadlines
  • Matching gift ratios

Though some donors may go into the process fully aware of their matching gift eligibility status (for example, if their employer had previously promoted the opportunity to its staff), many will not know whether their company even offers such a program. That’s why more and more organizations are choosing to incorporate matching gift promotions immediately following the giving experience⁠—including on the donation confirmation page, follow-up emails, and more.

Luckily, top matching gift tools (that include access to a comprehensive matching gift database) should provide your donors with access to employers’ matching gift guidelines as well as links to company-specific match request forms. This will enable users to determine matching gift eligibility in just a few clicks.

Here's what determining eligibility can look like in the matching gift process.

A quick search using a matching gift database tool can provide detailed eligibility data.

Step 3 of the matching gift process

Step 3: The individual submits a matching gift request.

Each matching gift an organization receives is the direct result of a matching gift request from a donor to their employer. And though the online submission process can vary by company, it typically involves the following steps:

1. An employee logs into the company’s matching gift submission website.

While some employers develop their own matching gift submission process internally, most contract behind-the-scenes facilitation of the program to a matching gift program provider designed specifically for the purpose. Those companies are typically provided with an online portal through which they manage their employer matching gifts programming.

Matching gift submission process step 1 - screenshot

For donors looking to submit their matching gift requests, the first step is to log into their employers’ online portal with their unique username and password. (Hint: Those with difficulty logging in may have access to support assistance through the management provider!)

2. The employee searches for the nonprofit they donated to.

Once logged into their employers’ giving portal, the employer/donor should be prompted to locate the organization to which they gave from within an online database. For example, an individual may be asked to provide the nonprofit’s:

  • City
  • State
  • Country
  • Zip code
  • Name (or keywords)
  • Tax ID number (EIN)

Matching gift submission process step 2 - screenshot

While a donor may not have all of the above information, entering as much of the data as possible will increase the likelihood that they’re able to select the correct organization in the following step.

Top tip! For this reason, we recommend providing your donors with easy access to your organization’s contact information and other essential details, so they have everything they need to submit their matching gift requests.

3. The employee selects the correct nonprofit from the search results.

After an employee provides the requested information about the organization they donated to, the matching gift management platform compares data against thousands of nonprofits in the system. Typically, a number of organizations meeting the search criteria are then compiled, and the employee is encouraged to select the correct listing with which to complete their request.

Matching gift submission process step 3 - screenshot

If the organization is not found, the individual is typically able to add a new organization by manually entering the nonprofit’s information—such as their mailing address and tax ID number⁠—to submit their match request.

4. The employee registers their donation.

After selecting the correct organization from the provided list, the employee donor is then able to provide details about their most recent donation to the nonprofit. Information requested will typically include:

  • Payment type
  • Donation amount
  • Donation currency
  • Date of payment
  • Match amount requested (as calculated using the company’s predetermined matching ratio and maximum match amount)
  • Optional anonymity or memorial status
  • Optional donation program designation

Matching gift submission process step 4 - screenshot

Ultimately, this data will be reviewed by the donor’s employer (or matching gift management provider) to ensure the donation meets the company’s matching gift eligibility criteria.

5. The employee submits their matching gift request.

This final step is the simplest of them all!

After providing detailed information about their nonprofit donation, the donor is asked to review the information for accuracy and submit their gift request to the company for processing and review.

Matching gift submission process step 5 - screenshot

Step 4 of the matching gift process

Step 4: The employer reviews and verifies the match request.

At this point, the donor will have completed their portion of the matching gift process⁠—and the rest will fall on the nonprofit receiving funds and the company contributing funds, respectively.

Now, the employer will typically review the employee’s matching gift request and ultimately determine whether to approve the matching donation. One of the key stages in this process involves the matching company ensuring that the initial donation was actually made. Otherwise, they won’t want to match a nonexistent donation!

While some companies manually verify each donation, many utilize gift receipts as proof of an individual’s personal contribution. In this scenario, the company will simply analyze the provided donation receipt and matching gift request to ensure the donation meets the company’s matching gift standards. If so, the donation match will be approved.

Here's what donation verification can look like in the matching gift process.

A gift receipt, like this, may function as proof of an individual’s personal contribution.

In other cases, however, the organization’s team will be responsible for verifying that the original donation was made as reported to the donor’s employer. When this occurs, the nonprofit will be required to attest to the validity of the original donation in order for the company to issue its matching gift.

(Tip: if you do get a request for donation verification, see to it as quickly as possible to avoid unnecessary delays in the matching gift disbursement process!)

Step 5 of the matching gift process

Step 5: The employer matches the donation.

Once the original donation is verified and approved, the actual disbursement process is triggered. As a result, the company offering the matching gift will issue its corporate donation in the amount offered by its matching program (typically at a dollar-for-dollar rate of the employee’s initial gift, but depending on the preset matching gift ratio).

Here are a few things for organizations to consider when it comes to this step in the matching gift process:

Disbursement schedules

Different companies have different disbursement schedules, so it may take a while for companies to process the verification and issue the check. Many businesses opt for a monthly distribution, but more information about a specific company’s timeline can often be found online or by using a matching gift program database.

Grouped donation matches

If a company receives multiple matching gift requests from multiple employees to the same nonprofit, they may decide to combine the matches together in a single donation.

For example, let’s say Ashley requested a donation match for $100 and John requested a match for $500, both to the Cat Rescue Club. Ashley and John’s employer, the Home Depot, may provide the Cat Rescue Club with one check worth $600 rather than two separate donations.

Here's what match disbursement can look like in the matching gift process.

Here’s what a corporate matching gift may look like, once disbursed.

Step 6 of the matching gift process

Bonus Step: The nonprofit thanks its donors!

Though this final step is not technically required for organizations looking to increase corporate revenue with donation-matching, recognizing donors for their participation is a critical component of an optimized matching gift process.

Consider this sample recognition message, which reads:

“Dear Jenny,

Thank you for your generous support of Cat Rescue Club.

We are pleased to inform you that we have just received a corporate matching gift as a result of your recent contribution. We appreciate the time you took to initiate the matching gift process.

Cat Rescue Club greatly appreciates your continuous support.


Matching Gifts Manager
Cat Rescue Club”

Here's what match recognition can look like in the matching gift process.

Here’s an example of an effective matching gift recognition.

Following up after receiving a match enables your team to close the loop that may otherwise be left open. If a donor is never made aware that their match request was successful, they’re not likely to participate in a matching program again in the future. When you confirm the completion of the match, however, you leave a positive impression of both your organization and the matching gift process for donors to hold onto.

Not to mention, sending out a thank-you message after collecting a matching donation allows you to communicate your appreciation of the donor and their support. Once again, feel free to remind the individual of the increased impact that their matching gift has brought to your cause.

Matching gifts can seem like an immense task for nonprofits and donors who are unfamiliar with the programs and all they entail. When you take a closer look at what’s really involved, however, getting your donations matched is entirely doable⁠—some might even say easy!

Just remember, equipping your team with the right tools for the job is essential, especially for those looking to further streamline and simplify the matching gift process from start to finish.

Interested in learning more about the matching gift process and other strategic corporate fundraising opportunities? Check out our other educational resources:

Learn more about optimizing the matching gift process with Double the Donation.

Nonprofit Stock Donations and Matching Gifts: What to Know

Nonprofit Stock Donations and Matching Gifts | What to Know

Donations of stocks, mutual funds, and other securities are increasing in popularity as a way for individuals to support their favorite causes. After all, these gifts offer exclusive financial benefits both to the donor contributing the gift and the nonprofit receiving it. But what about nonprofit stock donations and matching gifts? Are gifts of securities typically eligible to be matched by donors’ employers?

These are good questions⁠—and they’re cropping up more around nonprofits and donors alike. As a nonprofit fundraising professional, you surely understand the value of corporate matching gifts and are seeking to get as many company matches flowing into your mission as possible.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide that will cover everything your team should know about stock donations and matching gifts by exploring the following topics:

Ready to dive into the world of securities and gift matches? Let’s begin with a brief overview of nonprofit stock donations.

Donating Stock to Nonprofits: FAQ

Just getting started with nonprofit stock donations? These are some frequently asked questions⁠—and answers⁠—on the topic.

The basics of nonprofit stock donations and matching giftsWhat are stock donations?

Stock donations are a unique method of giving in which individual donors can support nonprofit causes by transferring ownership of stock shares from themselves to the organization in question.

Stock donations are also referred to as gifts of securities, which typically encompasses transfers of stocks, bonds, or mutual funds.

In order to secure the full financial benefits of a stock donation, the donor should have held the stock for at least one year from the time of the gift. The organization then has the option to sell the stock immediately upon receiving the donation or allow its shares to continue to appreciate in value.

What are mutual fund donations?

While stock donations typically involve the transfer of shares within a single company, mutual funds can include a portfolio of thousands of stocks, bonds, and other securities compiled as a single entity.

But when it comes to donating assets to charity, mutual fund donations function similarly to stock donations⁠—and similar rules apply regarding mutual fund and stock donations and matching gifts. Most companies that match gifts of stock will also match mutual fund donations and vice versa.

One thing to note, however, is that the mutual fund transfer process can be a bit more complicated than that of single stocks and may require a more hands-on process by the organization receiving the securities.

Why do individuals donate stocks to nonprofit causes?

Nonprofit stock donations are becoming a favorite giving method among donors for multiple reasons. For one, gifts of securities such as stocks enable donors to contribute more to an organization and its mission than they might be able to on their own.

If an individual purchases $100 in stock from a company that has since appreciated to double in value, they will be able to funnel $200 toward a cause that they care about⁠—despite having only paid $100 for the initial stock shares! (And if the donor’s employer will match their stock donation, the end value can reach higher than $400⁠—but more on that later.)

Additionally, when donating stocks that have been appreciating for more than a year, donors actually contribute 20% more to the nonprofit than if they had first sold their stocks and made a cash donation with the proceeds. That’s because when an individual sells their stock, they’re subject to pay significant capital gains taxes, which are not applicable should they transfer the stock to the receiving organization.

Are all stocks able to be donated to nonprofit organizations?

Most stocks will be eligible for donation purposes to most nonprofit causes. However, some organizations may place certain stipulations on the types of companies whose stocks they will and will not accept.

For example, the American Heart Association refuses donations of stock or other interests in companies relating to tobacco, nicotine delivery, or cannabis. In the case that an individual attempts a stock donation that is not accepted by the organization to which they gave, the securities will ultimately be returned to the donor.

Nonprofits That Accept Stock Donations

Many nonprofit organizations accept charitable gifts of stocks and mutual funds, and the trend is continuing to grow. In the next few years, we can expect more and more charitable causes to collect and incorporate gifts of securities into their overall fundraising strategies.

As of now, we’ve pulled a list of a few well-known causes and their current guidelines for donating stock.

Donors interested in contributing stock to a particular cause are encouraged to explore their website, as the information regarding stock donation acceptance is often included within the organization’s “ways to give” page.

American Heart Association accepts stock donations and matching gifts.

1. American Heart Association

The American Heart Association (or AHA) gladly accepts gifts of stocks (and mutual funds) from generous donors and provides easily accessible guidelines and instructions for multiple methods of doing so.

Here’s what their website had to say:

“You can use stock to support the organization through:

  • Electronic transfer – Your broker can transfer shares using the AHA’s Depository Trust Company (DTC) number and account number to ensure delivery.
  • Mail – You can mail paper certificates to the AHA.

Electronic Delivery of mutual fund shares is the most secure and practical delivery process available. If you would like to donate a gift of mutual funds to the American Heart Association, please contact us to confirm AHA’s brokers can accept the funds.”

Read up on the full program guidelines here.

LLS accepts stock donations and matching gifts.

2. Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, also known as LLS, encourages charitable donations of stock and mutual fund assets as well. They even provide a brief overview of the tax benefits offered to stock donors who are considering the option!

Here’s what their website had to say:

“If you own stock or a mutual fund that has appreciated in price since you purchased it, consider using that asset for your charitable giving. You get an income tax deduction for the full market value of donated securities that you have owned more than one year and you will avoid the capital gains tax on the appreciated value.”

Read up on the full program guidelines here.

ASPCA accepts stock donations and matching gifts.

3. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

The ASPCA is another organization that accepts stock transfer donations as a way for donors to support their cause. Within their plethora of suggested giving methods, gifts of security are highlighted along with detailed instructions on how to conduct the transfer process.

Here’s what their website had to say:

“For credit to ASPCA – American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – Prior to transfer, please call the organization with the name of stock and number of shares to be transferred.”

Read up on the full program guidelines here.

Syracuse University accepts stock donations and matching gifts.

4. Syracuse University

Syracuse University provides donors and prospects with information regarding multiple kinds of stock donations⁠—including marketable securities, closely-held securities, electronic stock transfers via DTC, and mutual fund transfers. Their site also prominently displays contact information for the university’s advancement department which will help facilitate the transfer!

Here’s what their website had to say:

“When planning to make a gift of securities to Syracuse University, please notify Advancement Services. Gifts of publicly traded securities that have appreciated in value allow you to claim a charitable deduction for the full market value of the securities on the date the gift is made. You pay no capital gains tax on the appreciation.

Gifts of stock in closely held corporations may result in substantial tax benefits in the form of charitable deductions and avoidance of capital gains taxes. Closely held securities can be especially attractive in funding charitable remainder trusts or charitable remainder lead trusts. Because special regulations apply to gifts of this kind, we encourage you to consult your tax adviser and the University’s development staff when considering such a gift.”

Read up on the full program guidelines here.

Piedmont Healthcare accepts stock donations and matching gifts.

5. Piedmont Healthcare

Piedmont Healthcare utilizes its website to encourage stock donations by interested supporters. One way they do so is by briefly highlighting the benefits to both their institution as well as to the donor contributing the appreciated securities (of both stocks and mutual funds).

Here’s what their website had to say:

“Gifts of appreciated securities, such as stocks or mutual funds, that have been held for over a year are a wonderful way to support Piedmont while potentially realizing important benefits for yourself.

Instruct your broker to transfer shares to Piedmont Healthcare Foundation by contacting Truist Bank via phone or email.

Contact your mutual fund company about the process of transferring mutual fund shares. A special form and signature guarantee will likely be required by them to initiate a charitable transfer.”

Read up on the full program guidelines here.

FSU accepts stock donations and matching gifts.

6. Florida State University

Florida State University provides stock donors (and prospective donors) with detailed instructions that outline the securities transfer process. The FSU Foundation incorporates tips and tricks for donors aiming to contribute stock to the university, whether electronically or with physical certificates.

Here’s what their website had to say:

“When donors’ securities are held in a brokerage account, the donor instructs their broker to transfer the securities to the university’s account.

Donors should also request that their brokers send confirmation of transfer to the FSU Foundation, Inc. The confirmation should indicate the donor’s name, the security being transferred, the Foundation account which should be used, and the date of transfer. Donors should then follow up with a letter to the FSU Foundation with instructions regarding their gift designation so that the gift can be properly credited.”

Read up on the full program guidelines here.

National Kidney Foundation accepts stock donations and matching gifts.

7. National Kidney Foundation

The National Kidney Foundation includes stock donations as one of their suggested ways to support the institution⁠—along with other giving ideas such as cryptocurrency, vehicle donations, fundraising events, and more.

This organization provides interested stock donors with a downloadable PDF made available through their “Get Involved” web page.

Here’s what their website had to say:

“Please complete and email the included form to Cornerstone Advisors Asset Management prior to transfer.”

Read up on the full program guidelines here.

Lazarex accepts stock donations and matching gifts.

8. Lazarex Cancer Foundation

The Lazarex Cancer Foundation also encourages stock donations within their “How You Can Help” page. This section quickly highlights the significant tax benefits to the organization and the subsequently increased impact a supporter’s gift can make.

Here’s what their website had to say:

“Did you know that your gift could go further by donating stock directly? Direct stock gifts let us use 100% of your donation, rather than losing up to 37% of it to capital gains tax. Thus, you can make a bigger impact at zero additional cost to you. If you would like to make a stock donation, please contact the Lazarex team.”

Read up on the full program guidelines here.

Matching Stock Donations: The Basics

Clearly, stock donations are a great stream of additional fundraising revenue for nonprofits, and they’re becoming an increasingly sought after resource. At the same time, organizations are looking to get their charitable donations matched by donors’ employing companies.

So, do the two ideas coincide at all? Here’s what your fundraising team needs to know about the relationship between nonprofit stock donations and matching gifts.

Are stock donations typically eligible for corporate matching gift programs?

The #1 factor that determines whether an individual’s stock donation is eligible for a match through their employer is who their employer is and what that company has established in its matching gift program guidelines.

For example, some companies consider gifts of securities a particular form of in-kind donation (which are, unfortunately, not match-eligible in most cases). In that case, stock donations made by employees of these companies may not be eligible to request a financial match.

On the other hand, many businesses have classified stock donations as a form of monetary gift (in the likes of cash, debit/credit payments, or bank transfers) or a common exception to the in-kind donation rule. Donors employed by these companies are typically able to secure a gift match on behalf of your organization⁠—so long as the value of the stock falls between the businesses’ predetermined thresholds.

Additionally, you’ll want to keep in mind that, as gifts of securities continue to grow in popularity among donors, we can expect many companies to begin adopting stock-inclusive matching gift program criteria for employee gifts in the near future.

How can I know if an individual’s stock donation qualifies for a match?

Let’s say your organization has just received a generous stock donation from a supporter of your cause. You may already know that their employer offers a matching gift program, and you’re looking to determine whether the stock gift is eligible for a match as well. Or, perhaps you’re unaware of whether the employing company matches any sort of employee donations to begin with. In either case, the answer should be located within the corporation’s matching gift program guidelines.

Nonprofits looking for this information may decide to conduct an online search for a company’s publicly-facing matching gift program guidelines to determine whether stock donations are mentioned. Donors seeking the information on their employers’ giving program can do a similar search of online resources, or they may look to internal documentation in an office policy handbook, workplace giving portal, etc.

However, the easiest way to uncover match-eligibility status for any donation⁠—stock or otherwise⁠—is by utilizing a matching gift company database.

Luckily, Double the Donation offers the most comprehensive database available, with detailed listings for tens of thousands of companies. Nonprofits and donors alike can begin typing a company’s name within the embedded autocompleting search tool and be instantaneously met with match qualifications, types of eligible donations, and more.

Find out a company's policies for nonprofit stock donations and matching gifts with a searchable company database.

If the provided guidelines mention stock donations as a viable option for matching donations, you have your answer⁠—the gift of stock is likely matchable for your cause!

If available documentation fails to reference gifts of securities at all, on the other hand, it’s likely that the donation would not be eligible for a corporate match. However, we recommend encouraging donors to inquire about the possibility with their companies to find the most definitive answer to the question at hand.

What are corporate stock donation matches worth?

When a stock donation⁠ (that has previously been identified as eligible for a corporate matching gift⁠) is requested by a donor, the employer typically agrees to match the value of the stock on the day on which the stock transfer was made.

Thus, nonprofit donors are able to secure a match by their employer equal to the purchase price plus the appreciated value of the stock⁠—which is typically greater than the individual’s initial financial investment!

Nonprofit stock donations and matching gifts process

What trends are expected regarding stock donations and matching gifts?

As of 2022, it’s estimated that the majority of companies with employee donation-matching programs do not currently provide matches for gifts of stock and mutual fund contributions. However, more and more companies are matching these gifts⁠—and leading the way toward others eventually following suit.

The more popular stock grows as a form of nonprofit giving, the more companies will adopt stock-inclusive matching gift program guidelines.

And when you take a look at the financial benefits to parties on both sides of the transaction (one research study reported fundraising growth of up to 55% for organizations that allowed non-cash donations such as stock as viable donation options!), and the ease with which gifts of securities are becoming, it’s likely a trend that we’re just seeing the beginnings of.

Companies That Match Stock Donations

Companies that match employee stock donations do so for the same reason as to why they match cash donations. These typically include corporate tax benefits, increased employee engagement, and positive public relations efforts.

Though not all businesses with gift-matching programs consider stock donations as matching gift eligible, many do. Here are a few examples of companies that match stock donations made by their employees to qualifying charities!

Chevron matches gifts of stock donations.

1. Chevron

Chevron is well-regarded as having a generous corporate matching gift program, agreeing to match up to $10,000 in charitable donations per employee on an annual basis. And the best part is that they do match the market value of stock donations that their employees transfer to nearly all nonprofit organizations.

Here’s a glimpse at what Chevron says about stock donations and matching gifts:

“Gifts can be given to nonprofits on the Chevron Humankind site via a payroll deduction or credit card payment, or given directly to the nonprofit offline (e.g. check, cash, stock, etc.).”

Read up on the full program guidelines here.

Google matches gifts of stock donations.

2. Google

Google offers both full and part-time employees the opportunity to participate in its corporate gift-matching initiative! Gifts worth up to $10,000 (including stock donations) will be matched to many nonprofit causes, including educational institutions, health and human services, cultural and community organizations, environmental nonprofits, and more.

Here’s a glimpse at what Google says about stock donations and matching gifts:

“Your gift must be in the form of check, credit card or marketable securities with a quoted market value. Gifts of securities will be matched with cash. The value of the stock will be calculated using the price at the close of the market on the day of transfer of the security.”

Read up on the full program guidelines here.

General Electric matches gifts of stock donations.

3. General Electric

General Electric has matched a wide range of employee donations since 1954. In fact, it was the first corporation to roll out a corporate gift-matching program, though it was a fairly limited offering compared to what we see now!

Since then, GE has expanded its employee giving program to encompass new methods of giving⁠—including contributing securities⁠ such as stocks—as well as more nonprofits being eligible to receive funding.

Here’s a glimpse at what General Electric says about stock donations and matching gifts:

“Gifts may be made via cash, check, debit/credit card, or stock. Gifts may also be made by current payment from an entity such as a personal foundation or donor advised fund if that entity has been funded solely by the eligible GE participant.”

Read up on the full program guidelines here.

Merck matches gifts of stock donations.

4. Merck

Merck & Co. matches numerous types of employee donations to charitable organizations. Within the company’s matching program criteria, they include a fairly detailed account of stock donations⁠—including the process for requesting a corporate match and the benefits employees receive from giving this way.

Here’s a glimpse at what Merck says about stock donations and matching gifts:

“Matching funds can be requested for one-time cash, check, credit card, or stock donations, via the Merck Gives Back (MGB) website.

When making a stock donation, enter the market value of the stock on the day you issued the stock to the nonprofit organization. The organization will be asked to confirm the realized value of the stock donation and the Merck Foundation P4G program will match funds equal to the realized value of donated stock.

You can deduct the full current value of the stock (regardless of purchase price) and avoid the capital gains taxes associated with selling the stock for profit; therefore, you pay no taxes on the appreciated value of the stock and take the full deduction for the current value of the stock.

You may not donate Merck stock options; however, you may donate Merck stock after you exercise your options.”

Read up on the full program guidelines here.

State Farm matches gifts of stock donations.

5. State Farm

State Farm Insurance matches donations made by current full-time employees, part-time team members, and retired workers alike⁠—in any way they give to nonprofits. This includes gifts of securities and mutual funds, for which they detail a few stipulations of match eligibility.

Here’s a glimpse at what State Farm says about stock donations and matching gifts:

“Donations of Mutual Funds Units and Securities traded on the New York Stock Exchange, American Stock Exchange or NASDAQ National Market meeting the following requirements:

  • The eligible donor must be the sole owner or have final authority to transfer ownership of the security or mutual fund unit to the eligible organization.
  • Ownership must be signed over to the eligible organization.

Please note: The exact value of the donated securities or mutual fund units will be based on the closing market price the date the transfer is complete.”

Read up on the full program guidelines here.

Verizon matches gifts of stock donations.

6. Verizon

Verizon offers its employees multiple matching gift program options, the individual matching grants program being the one in which stock donations are considered match-eligible contributions. The company matches to nearly all 501(c)(3) organizations (or an equivalent internationally), with schools being eligible for a $5,000 donation or stock match and other nonprofits for a $1,000 donation or stock match.

Here’s a glimpse at what Verizon says about stock donations and matching gifts:

“Donations must be in one of the following forms: Personal check, Paypal, money order, payroll deduction, credit/debit card payment, wire/bank transfer, transfer of stock certificate.”

Read up on the full program guidelines here.

Apple matches gifts of stock donations.

7. Apple

Apple offers a slightly different type of corporate stock donation-matching program but will match certain gifts of securities nonetheless. Instead of matching any kind of stock donations, Apple matches stock donations only of the Apple company itself.

Here’s a glimpse at what Apple says about stock donations and matching gifts:

“Visit the Employee Giving portal to request a matching donation for your volunteer time or to make a one-time or repeating monetary donation to the charitable organization (or cause) of your choice using a credit card or PayPal account. You can also request a match for a monetary or stock donation you’ve already made.

To be eligible, your monetary donations must be paid in full — not pledged — via cash, personal check, credit card, PayPal, or Apple stock.”

Read up on the full program guidelines here.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to nonprofit stock donations and matching gifts. Some companies will match employee gifts of securities, while others will not.

But the good news is that more and more corporations are beginning to be inclusive of stock and mutual fund donations within their employee matching programs. That means you’ll want to keep an eye out for new programs being established and existing matching gift companies expanding their eligibility criteria.

Interested in learning more about matching gifts and other nonprofit fundraising opportunities? Check out these other Double the Donation resources:

Elevate your monetary and stock donations and matching gifts with Double the Donation.

Maximizing your giving day and matching gifts revenue with the tips in this guide.

Maximizing Your Giving Day Revenue with Matching Gifts

Hundreds of institutions are gearing up for their yearly Giving Days, many of which are rapidly approaching come springtime. But what you might not know is that Giving Days and matching gifts go hand in hand⁠.

This is especially true when nonprofit or university fundraisers are able to effectively align the two ideas—and that’s why we’ve created this resource to guide organizations like yours through the process of doing so.

Specifically, this guide will cover everything you need to know about Giving Days and matching gifts, the impact of each on overall fundraising, and what your team can do to set your cause up for success.

We’ll walk you through the following key topics:

If your organization hosts an annual Giving Day (or is looking to organize one), you’d be remiss if you didn’t incorporate matching gift practices into your overall plan.

Ready to find out how? Let’s jump in.

Giving Days + The Importance of Matching Gifts

Giving Days are often some of an organization’s biggest money-makers. These campaigns enable fundraisers to collect large amounts of much-needed revenue that help sustain their missions throughout the rest of the year.

Matching gifts can work to elevate the ROI on these strategically planned efforts. At the same time, they provide a positive experience for donors and fundraisers alike.

Here’s what you need to know in order to make the most of each fundraising tool:

What are Giving Days?

A Giving Day is generally a 24-hour period in which a nonprofit or educational institution drastically ups its fundraising efforts in order to engage with donors and solicit a large amount of revenue in a short time. Giving Days typically rely heavily on online fundraising and may encompass a number of events as well.

Comprising a relatively small portion of the year (typically 1/365), Giving Days tend to see significant results⁠—with some organizations collecting the majority of their fundraising revenue during the limited amount of time.

Although fundraising groups of all shapes and sizes might establish an annual Giving Day tradition, these tend to be particularly popular among colleges, universities, and other school fundraisers.

Where do matching gifts come in?

Corporate matching gifts enable organizations like schools and other 501(c)(3) nonprofits to maximize existing support and increase revenue. And this happens without having to ask your donors for more of their hard-earned dollars. All you have to do is encourage them to participate in their employers’ workplace giving initiatives!

Here's how Giving Days and matching gifts help raise money.

At a critical time like your annual Giving Day, support will likely be at an all-time high. That means getting those contributions doubled (and sometimes even tripled) is more important than ever.

Not to mention, fundraising studies report that the existence of matching gift opportunities is often a driving factor in donor decision-making. For example, 84% of donors stated that they’re more likely to give charitably if their employer offers to match their dollars. At the same time, 1 in 3 individuals surveyed indicated that they’d make a larger donation should a match be applied.

The bottom line is that you don’t want to miss out on the key benefits of matching gifts at any time⁠—let alone your most important fundraising day of the year.

Raising More with 360MatchPro: A Feature Overview

The right software can be the difference between a fruitful, goal-surpassing Giving Day campaign and one that ultimately falls short⁠—and surely, you’re looking to establish the former.

Find out what 360MatchPro by Double the Donation can offer, and see why it’s the leading solution in the nonprofit and school fundraising spaces.

Let’s walk through an overview of top features, functions, and benefits:

User-Friendly Company Search Tool

Millions of donors who work for companies with employee gift-matching programs are never made aware of the opportunities through their employers. One of the best ways to counteract this knowledge gap is by providing your supporters with Double the Donation’s intuitive matching gift company search tool.

This widget⁠—which can be embedded within your online donation form, confirmation page, dedicated matching gift web page, Giving Day campaign page, and more⁠—prompts donors to enter their employer’s name in an optional search box. As the donor begins typing, the smart tool auto-fills suggested company names, taking into account typos, spelling variations, and subsidiaries.

The donor selects the correct company from the search tool, which then pulls employer-specific matching gift program information from an extensive matching gift company database. Now, the individual has access to their donation eligibility criteria and online match request forms (if available) and is encouraged to take the next steps.

Double the Donation's search tool can be used to increase revenue for both Giving Days and matching gifts.

Match-Eligible Donor Screening

Studies show that employing more than one approach to donor eligibility screening results in an average of 77% more identified match-eligible gifts. Luckily, 360MatchPro utilizes four main identification methods⁠—donation form search tools, confirmation pages, donor communications, and email domain screening.

The more opportunities you have to determine whether a particular donor is eligible for a corporate match, the more likely you are to ultimately receive a match from that individual.

Double the Donation's donor screening tool can be used to increase revenue for both Giving Days and matching gifts.

Automated Email Follow-Ups

Following up in the first 24 to 48 hours after a donor makes a gift can be a great way to inform or remind individuals about matching gift opportunities, share program guidelines, and keep your organization and its mission at the forefront of their minds. However, managing a ton of donor follow-up emails can be a huge undertaking on a typical day⁠—let alone on a Giving Day when you’ll likely process multiple times the normal number of donations.

That’s where automated email communication comes in! With Double the Donation’s email streams, organizations can enable customizable follow-up messages that trigger at just the right time to drive matching gifts⁠ while ensuring no donations fall through the cracks.

Double the Donation's automated follow-up tool can be used to increase revenue for both Giving Days and matching gifts.

Streamlined Data Management

Effective matching gift fundraising relies on the ability to collect, track, and analyze key data points. For this reason, 360MatchPro allows organizations to view where donors are in the gift-matching process, determine percentages and totals of matching gift eligible dollars, forecast matching gift revenue for the future, and more.

This functionality provides users with real-time data that can be used to measure current success, identify areas with room for improvement, and locate the highest-value revenue opportunities going forward.Double the Donation's data management tool can be used to increase revenue for both Giving Days and matching gifts.

Top-Notch Customer Support

Any software can have a bit of a learning curve, and ensuring you have the help you need to learn the ropes effectively is of utmost importance. This is especially true when you have a huge upcoming fundraising initiative like a Giving Day.

At Double the Donation, each new client has an onboarding specialist of its own to get up and running quickly⁠—sometimes in less than 24 hours! These matching gift fundraising experts are ready to guide you through the process of getting started, provide you with tips and tools for optimal practices, and be there to answer any questions your team may have.

Interested in learning more? Get in touch with the Double the Donation team today to request a personalized demo.

4 Key Tips for Matching Gifts on Giving Days

Looking for practical and actionable steps you can take to improve your fundraising strategies regarding both Giving Days and matching gifts? You’ve come to the right place!

Here are four tried-and-true practices that we recommend for optimal success:

1. Highlight matching gifts in all Giving Day communications.

More than likely, you’re already planning your upcoming Giving Day communication plan, which will comprise a number of different marketing channels and strategies to spread the word. Be sure to incorporate matching gift information in all of them!

Remember, donors are more likely to give⁠—and to give in larger quantities⁠—if a matching gift is available. Providing additional touchpoints about matching gifts during your Giving Day can be exactly what some of your supporters need to encourage them to make their donations.

This might include email blasts, social media posts, digital newsletters, blog posts, text messages, phone calls, fundraising appeals, and more.

2. Collect employment information during the giving process.

In order to provide donors with employer-specific matching gift guidelines, you’ll first need to have a record of the companies for which individuals work. And the best⁠—and fastest⁠—way to uncover this information is by simply asking them.

Donors already provide you with a ton of information during the donation process, such as their name, contact information, payment details, and more. What more is one additional, optional question?

When you prompt your supporters to provide the name of their employer directly within your online giving form, you can store that information with each donor record to use for effective matching gift communication strategies in the future.

Then, you’ll be able to communicate to a donor not only whether their employer matches donations but whether their particular gift is eligible for the program and how soon they must submit a match request. And for companies whose matching gift request forms are available online, you can even provide the donor with the exact form they’ll need to complete!

3. Prioritize your highest-value prospective match donors.

When you automate your low and mid-level donor communications through 360MatchPro, you allow your team to retain more time and effort to put toward your particularly high-value prospective matching gifts. That might mean making a personal phone call to explain the importance of matching gifts, walking through the process of requesting a gift match, writing a personalized thank-you letter that highlights the increased influence of matching gifts, and more.

You already know the effect that a major gift can have on your institution’s Giving Day. Now, just imagine that impact being doubled when a huge donor participates in their company’s gift-matching initiative. It’s certainly worth going a few steps further to ensure these individuals are aware of the programs in place and how they can plan a role in your success.

4. Get your fundraising tools set up ASAP.

It’s not too late to get set up with the matching gift tools you need, even if your organization’s Giving Day is quickly approaching. But you certainly don’t want to wait any longer! The sooner you plan to get your Giving Day software up and running, the more time your team will have to prepare for the big event, get acquainted with the solution, and troubleshoot any issues that may arise.

The first step is to take a good look at your organization’s tech stack. If you’re lacking a matching gift software solution⁠—such as the industry-leading platform described above, 360MatchPro by Double the Donation⁠—it’s time to make that investment.

(Tip: Many organizations have reported raising several times the initial subscription cost on their Giving Days alone, providing a positive ROI sometimes within the first 24 hours of purchasing!)

Once you have your matching gift solution in hand, ensure it’s live and functioning within your online donation pages by the time your Giving Day rolls around, and you’ll be all set for success.

Final Thoughts

Giving Days and matching gifts share a lot of the same goals: to raise substantial amounts of revenue, provide donors with new and exciting ways to support their favorite causes, and equip fundraising teams with more efficient practices, to name a few. When the two fundraising components are intertwined, nonprofit and school fundraisers tend to see better results than they could have imagined.

With so many dollars flowing to organizations like yours on these special days, it would be a huge missed opportunity not to get those gifts matched when eligible. And luckily, Double the Donation is here to help!

To learn more about Giving Days and matching gift efforts, check out some of our other resources below:

Improve your giving days and matching gifts with Double the Donation.

Phonathons: The Fundraiser's Ultimate Guide & Top Tips

Phonathons: The Fundraiser’s Ultimate Guide & 15+ Top Tips

Raise more with matching gifts in your next phonathon.

Phonathons are a tried-and-true resource for all sorts of nonprofits and higher education institutions to engage donors and raise money effectively. While the benefits of a phonathon campaign are fairly straightforward, running a successful campaign is no easy task.

One thing that phonathons have historically struggled with has been identifying donors who may be eligible for a matching gift from their employer⁠—and pursuing those corporate matches to completion.

So how do you optimize matching gifts in your phonathons? Here at Double the Donation, we’ve compiled a number of tips and tricks to effectively communicate with your donors about matching gifts and raise more in phonathon revenue overall.

To plan a successful phonathon campaign, be sure to:

  1. Focus on the larger mission.
  2. Create a standardized script.
  3. Practice with mock calls.
  4. Schedule calls when donors are home.
  5. Set nightly/weekly fundraising goals.
  6. Use phonathon management software.
  7. Train callers on matching gifts.
  8. Implement screening and segmentation.
  9. Include matching gifts in call scripts.
  10. Prepare for donor questions.
  11. Equip callers with matching gift resources.
  12. Follow up with match-eligible donors.
  13. Track and incentivize successful conversations.
  14. Keep an eye on trends in employer information.
  15. Integrate your fundraising and matching gift tools.
  16. Bonus! Fundraising advice from phonathon experts.

Here are the steps involved in a successful phonathon fundraiser.

By adding matching gifts to your phonathon strategy, your campaign will see even greater success. If you can capitalize on that potential during your phonathon, you’ll see a massive increase in funds brought in.

Are you ready to find out how to optimize your organization’s upcoming phonathon to raise more? Let’s dive in.

Focus your phonathon on your nonprofit's mission.

1. Focus on the larger mission.

The most successful fundraising campaigns are focused on more than raising a certain dollar amount. If you can help donors understand why your cause is a worthy one, then you are far more likely to succeed. By highlighting the larger purpose of the campaign, you can motivate both donors and callers to feel good about what they’re doing!

To illustrate our point, take a look at two possible phonathon script introductions:

  • Phonathon Script Introduction #1: “I’m calling on behalf of University X to raise money for our annual phonathon campaign. Would you consider making a donation of $100 to the university’s endowment fund?”
  • Phonathon Script Introduction #2: “I’m calling on behalf of University X to raise money for our annual phonathon campaign. Would you consider making a donation of $100 to the university’s endowment fund? Every dollar you donate will go to scholarships for students in financial need!”

See the difference? In both cases, the caller is asking for the same dollar amount. But in our second example, the donor understands how their donation will be helping someone in need.

Create a script for your phonathon.

2. Create a standardized script.

For many of your callers, this will be their first phonathon campaign. The idea of getting on the phone with alumni to ask for donations can be extremely intimidating.

Creating a detailed and interactive script can help ease the nerves of new callers and standardize your donor’s experience. Here are the key components to any phonathon script:

  • Introduction: Answer the most basic questions: Who are you? What is your relationship to the organization running the campaign? Why are you calling?
  • Statement of purpose: Why is your organization asking for donations? What will the contributions be used for?
  • First ask: Make the initial request for a donation. What is the suggested donation amount? If the donor has made a donation previously, how much should the caller suggest they donate this year?
  • Gift confirmation: Success! How do we close the deal? How do we deal with different payment methods?
  • Answers to common objections: Not everyone wants to donate. How do we respond to common objectives such as a lack of interest, recent issues with the organization, or other giving priorities?
  • Non-pledge close: For those calls that don’t end in success, it’s important to help close the conversation gracefully to maintain the relationship with the donor.

A great script is arguably the most important component of a successful phonathon, as it’s a resource that every caller will use. Spend significant time working with your organization’s communication director to put this resource together.

Practice for your upcoming phonathon.

3. Practice with mock calls.

Having a team of well-trained callers is the secret to any successful phonathon campaign.

Prepare callers by organizing mock calls. During this time, they’ll read through the provided script and respond to a variety of different “donor personas.” See how they respond when a donor has questions about the campaign, voices objections, or is looking to complete their transaction.

This strategy will help you callers feel more at ease when it comes time to dial a real donor’s phone number. Plus, it can help get some of the roadblocks and uncertainties out of the way early!

Schedule calls for your phonathon.

4. Schedule calls when donors are home.

One of the most common challenges for phonathon callers is simply reaching the donor in the first place.

To improve the chances that your donors pick up the phone, consider calling during the hours when they are most likely to be home and available. These are some of our favorite times to do so:

  • Monday – Thursday, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM. If you call within this time window, most donors will be home from work. Yet, it’s early enough that you reduce the risk of waking anyone up (tip: cranky donors rarely give donations).
  • Sunday, 5:00 – 9:00 PM. At this time on a Sunday, most donors will be finished with their weekend errands and are likely available for a conversation.

Make sure that you’re planning to reach donors when they’re ready and able to chat for the greatest fundraising success.

Set goals for your phonathon.

5. Set nightly/weekly fundraising goals.

Setting goals greatly increases your chances of fundraising success. Encourage your callers to set nightly or weekly donation goals to instill a sense of accomplishment when they reach and exceed their objectives.

Then, there are plenty of opportunities to make the most of your tracking results. We suggest that you:

  • Identify any knowledge gaps and situations where additional training is needed.
  • Assign your most effective callers to your highest-value prospective donors.
  • Communicate the concrete donation impact of your callers’ fundraising goals.

Setting detailed objectives helps your organization keep track of how many donations you’re bringing in within a certain timeframe. You can even leverage some friendly competition between callers this way!

Use phonathon software.

6. Use phonathon management software.

Consider purchasing phonathon software from a well-established vendor, such as industry leader Wilson-Bennett Technology’s DonorConnect. This type of tool can save you time, money, and many of the technical headaches that would ordinarily get in the way of a successful campaign.

Common tasks that phonathon software handles include:

  • Managing and updating your donor database.
  • Automating pledge verification via email.
  • Tracking call results.
  • Issuing reports on campaign progress.

By automating these time-consuming tactical steps, you can spend your time managing callers, increasing donations, and engaging in deeper relationships with supporters.

Ensure proper phonathon caller training.

7. Train callers on matching gifts.

Using matching gifts to boost phonathon funds starts and ends with your callers. These individuals are the voice of your campaign, working hard to help you fulfill your mission. They need to be prepared to both speak to and answer any questions a prospect may have regarding matching gifts.

While you may understand the value of capturing employer data and pursuing a matching gift from your donors, your caller and digital engagement teams may not. Make sure the people who will be having those real-time conversations understand the what, why, and how of matching gifts.

Consider these four components of effective matching gift phonathon training:

  1. Materials: Document how callers should ask about matching gifts and the process by which they should share company rules, guidelines, and instructions.
  2. Speakers: Who at your organization is responsible for matching gifts? Invite him or her to speak with your callers.
  3. Practice: Have your callers pair up and do trial runs on a few matching gift companies. Provide feedback as needed.
  4. Coaching: Like with anything, there’s always room for improvement. Listen for matching gift asks during calls and provide guidance to improve techniques.

Ensuring your team is on the same page about matching gift goals will make the ask that much easier when the opportunity arises. Being a caller for a phonathon is no easy task. But with proper training, you’ll situate your callers in the best possible position to make matching gift asks.

Screen and segment your phonathon donors.

8. Implement screening and segmentation.

Make the most of your callers’ (and your donors!) time by pre-screening and segmenting your calling list beforehand in terms of matching gift prospects.

Think of it this way: would you rather call 10 people and have 1 person respond positively, or call 5 and have 3 people respond positively? By segmenting your contacts prior to reaching out, you’re ensuring that each call is a more valuable use of your team’s time and resources.

For matching-gift-related segmentation, you’ll be enacting a three-point process:

  • First, pre-screen your file for matching gift eligibility. It is likely that a sizable percentage of your existing prospects are matching gift eligible. Know who they are in advance.
  • Second, append relevant information to your file. Append employer data and phone numbers to either your entire file or best prospects.
  • Third, segment your calling list accordingly. Assign your best callers to high-value match-eligible prospects. Not only are those candidates’ donations likely to get matched, but they are likely to have higher average donation amounts. If they don’t respond the first time, this group might even be worth a second call!

Increasing matching gift eligibility awareness is only going to help your campaign. Give your callers the information they need to have the biggest impact.

Of course, call volume is always going to be crucial for successful phonathons. But if your organization can be even 10% more deliberate about who you’re calling, it can have a great impact on your call conversion rate.

Include matching gifts in your phonathon.

9. Include matching gifts in call scripts.

With over 18 million individuals working for companies with matching gift programs, many of your phonathon donors are bound to be eligible for a corporate match. Your callers should always be asking donors if their employer offers a matching gift program.

Here’s how (it’s as easy as A-B-C!):

  • A: Ask every time. Few donors are thinking about (or are even aware of) matching gifts. Let them know about the potential.
  • B: Be persistent. Donors sometimes default to, “I don’t think so,” when asked if their company will match their donation. Have callers ask for an employer name and then quickly research that specific company.
  • C: Come prepared. If a donor submitted a matching gift in the past, come to the call prepared with the company’s matching gift information. Make the process simple and easy for your donors.

Let’s walk through an example of how to properly incorporate matching gifts into your script. A normal phonathon call will consist of the following steps:

  1. The caller introduces themself and the organization that’s fundraising.
  2. The caller asks the potential donor if they are willing to donate.
  3. The potential donor says yes/no.
  4. If the answer is no, the caller politely thanks the prospect for their time and ends the call.
  5. If the answer is yes, the caller begins the donation process with the new donor and helps guide them through the experience.

Once the donation is secured, have your caller make the matching gift ask. Use a template similar to this:

Many companies actually match donations made by their employees to schools and other nonprofits. Do you know if you or your spouse works for a company that offers a matching gift program? I’m happy to do a quick check to see if your company will double or possibly triple your donation.

Scripts take the guesswork and pressure out of calls. Plus, if your request process is standardized, you’re in a better position to evaluate and adjust according to the results.

Prepare for questions from phonathon donors.

10. Prepare for donor questions.

Some donors will be hesitant to give, especially if they’ve never contributed financially to your organization before. If they have questions about your mission, your particular fundraising need, or anything else that might be holding them back, you’ll want to have the answers prepped and ready.

Additionally, your donors might have questions about matching gift opportunities. Be sure your callers are able to provide basic information on company gift-matching by answering questions such as these: What is a matching gift? How do I figure out if my company will match my gift? What’s the submission process?

Making sure that everyone is on the same page with regard to these questions will help ensure that your callers can give supporters the most thorough and accurate information and best drive as many donations as possible.

Equip phonathon callers with resources.

11. Equip callers with matching gift resources.

Do your callers have the information they need to help donors? They obviously can’t be expected to memorize the program guidelines for all the thousands of companies that offer matching gifts⁠—so where can they find that information to pass along?

That’s where your matching gift company database comes in! This type of tool allows users to conduct a quick search of an employer name and receive detailed guideline information in seconds. Equip callers with access to this comprehensive database to uncover the following:

  • Employee eligibility
  • Types of qualifying nonprofits
  • Match ratios
  • Match minimums and maximums
  • Forms and guidelines
  • Submission deadlines and instructions

Providing callers with this ample information will help them quickly and easily answer common questions from donors. Once a donor has expressed interest in requesting a matching gift, you want your caller to be able to help in any way they can. Don’t miss out on a matching gift due to a technical or otherwise avoidable issue!

Follow up with phonathon donors.

12. Follow up with match-eligible donors.

If a donor has expressed interest in matching gifts on the phone, your organization has to follow up afterward to increase the likelihood of your turning interest into action.

Immediately after the conversation, send an email with matching gift request instructions for the individual’s employer. You’ll also want to include matching gift reminders across various donor communications, including:

  • Pledge acknowledgments
  • Thank you’s
  • End-of-year reminders

Telling donors their gift is eligible for a match is only one component of boosting matching gifts. It’s far more valuable if you pair that information with actionable next steps.

We also recommend embedding matching gift information into your website. Give your alumni and supporters a trusted place to find their matching gift info and guided the next steps on an easy-to-find webpage, so they can take action after speaking with your ambassadors. This helps interested supporters discover gift matching and double their own donations!

Track and incentivize successful phonathon efforts.

13. Track and incentivize successful conversations.

Are your callers held accountable and rewarded for their overall fundraising and matching gift performance? One of the best ways to ensure that callers know how important matching gifts are to your phonathon is by implementing tracking with incentives.

Giving your callers something to work towards will only help your fundraising efforts. Then, once they reach and surpass their goal, provide them with a small token of appreciation⁠: such as a t-shirt, hat, mug, or even public recognition!

Tracking and incentivizing fundraising results also gives you a positive metric for tracking caller proficiency and efficiency. This enables you to define where your phonathon is doing well and where it has room for improvement. Once you’ve isolated those areas, you are in a great position to adjust your efforts as needed.

Note any trends in your phonathon fundraisers.

14. Keep an eye on trends in employer information.

As you start to collect employer information from your alumni and supporters, you may notice trends in company data. Be sure to ask questions like these:

  • Do a lot of your donors work for the same companies?
  • In similar industries?
  • In specific locations?
  • Do those common companies your donors work for have strong matching gift programs?
  • Is there a concentrated area of match-eligible donors you could target for your next campaign?

These are all characteristics you can determine with greater accuracy the more donors you collect employer data from. While these are nice-to-know facts for general fundraising initiatives, they can also have a more significant impact on your greater matching gifts strategy.

Therefore, make sure you’re considering matching gifts when analyzing those trends for future initiatives. You never know when that information could come in handy for future events, digital outreach, or even a future phonathon!

Integrate your phonathon and matching gift tools.

15. Integrate your fundraising and matching gift tools.

Phonathons and other digital engagement events can be huge operations, and a lot can get lost in the shuffle if you don’t have the right tools. Luckily, providing a scalable system for your fundraising ambassadors and callers is an easy and effective way to organize your donor data. With matching gifts added to the mix, you’ll want an automated system to take care of all the nitty-gritty details for you.

We recommend using a phonathon system to manage all your digital engagement needs⁠—particularly one that integrates with powerful gift matching tools! Donor Connect by Wilson-Bennett Technology and 360MatchPro by Double the Donation offer an integrated solution that allows callers to retrieve and communicate valuable matching gift information when speaking to donors in real-time.

It takes virtually no effort from your team to get set up with the integration, and you’ll be able to start using it right away in your next digital engagement event. Automate the best practices listed above by incorporating the autocomplete search tool within Donor Connect scripts, automated email outreach, and regularly updated donor data.

Bonus! Advice from phonathon experts

Bonus! Fundraising advice from phonathon experts.

Hear from the phonathon fundraising experts at Wilson-Bennett Technology: a phonathon management services and software company serving nonprofits since 1998.

Todd Smith

Founder and CEO – Wilson-Bennett

Ensure training is ongoing throughout the campaign and each caller receives assistance, along with reminders, before calling begins each session.

We always encourage callers to excel while teaching methods to overcome negative comments.

During training, be sure to explain campaign policies and procedures, ensuring callers make the highest quality call on behalf of your institution.

Todd Smith is the founder of Wilson-Bennett's phonathon software company.

Rob Schlitts

President – Wilson-Bennett

“Play chess with your phonathon.”

Matching the right prospects up with the right caller makes for a great connection, conversation, and ultimately a gift. Your alumni and student callers will both enjoy the ability to connect with prospects that share similar traits and experiences.

A well-trained student caller will always be the engine of a successful phonathon.Rob Schlitts is the president of Wilson-Bennett's phonathon software company.

Many organizations take advantage of the fundraising opportunities phonathons provide. However, most don’t think about the potential of incorporating matching gift promotions into those invaluable donor conversations.

By following these tried-and-true phonathon fundraising tips, you can set up your team⁠—and your mission⁠⁠—for long-term success. Looks like it’s time to get calling!

For more information, be sure to check out our other educational fundraising resources below:

Raise more with matching gifts in your next phonathon.

Check out these effective nonprofit fundraising ideas that don't involve selling.

Fundraising Ideas That Don’t Involve Selling

Every year, nonprofits, faith-based groups, and schools need new fundraising ideas. What’s more, it’s crucial to include fundraising ideas that don’t involve selling.

Let’s face it: donors and families don’t like to sell merchandise on your behalf. Yes, they’ll do it—if they have to—to support your cause, but they don’t like it. In fact, many families don’t like selling so much that they’d rather just donate by buying the merchandise themselves. However, then they’re stuck with items such as chocolates, foods, and useless items they don’t want and will likely throw away.

Discovering alternate fundraising ideas that don’t require selling merchandise is vital to your fundraising strategy. Now, let’s dive into 5 key fundraising ideas that don’t involve selling!

A shoe drive fundraiser is a great fundraising idea that doesn't involve selling.

1) The Top Fundraising Idea: Shoe Drive Fundraiser

The top fundraising idea that doesn’t involve selling is a shoe drive fundraiser! One of the top reasons why it’s the top non-selling fundraising idea is because your community doesn’t have to sell merchandise on your behalf. Plus, they don’t even have to contribute financially.

Also, it’s the most socially responsible fundraiser you can host! When you host a shoe drive fundraiser, all you do is collect gently worn, used and new shoes. In the process, your community will keep shoes from going into landfills, and in turn, you’ll save the environment. Talk about social responsibility!

Once the footwear gets picked up by a well-known shoe drive fundraising company, you receive a check. Simple, right? What happens to the shoes from there is fairly straightforward. They get sent to small business owners in developing countries in need of merchandise to sell so they can escape poverty.

A Grow-A-Beard event is an effective fundraiser idea that doesn't involve selling.

2) Grow-A-Beard Fundraiser

Sure, this grow-a-beard fundraising idea is catered to men, but women can still support them! November is known for the Movember movement, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t ask the men in your community to grow their mustaches and beards for your cause! If they feel connected with your organization, they won’t hesitate to join in.

Also, if your community has a veterans’ group or sports team, you can partner with them. To get started, all you have to do is ask your male supporters to grow their facial hair for a month. As part of the initiative, each participant agrees to help you raise funds. And this is where you can ask women, girls, and boys to join in on the fun!

Your fundraisers have to ask sponsors to support them (and your cause) as they grow their facial hair! Encourage participants to turn to their family and friends for monetary support. By the way, if you get a group of men who work for a business to participate, perhaps it’s something their corporation will also support.

A chef competition is a creative fundraiser that doesn't involve selling.

3) Chef Competition Fundraiser

Are you or people you know foodies? Well, an excellent and tasty fundraising idea is a chef competition! Think of it as your own Master Chef competition.

All you have to do is recruit amateur chefs (and even bakers!). Then, find a venue. Start by considering a school cafeteria or the hall of a church in your community. After securing a venue, invite and promote your chef competition and invite people to attend your event. This fundraising idea will be a lot of fun for your community, because people will actively participate and vote on which chef or team offered the best dishes.

In exchange for a charitable donation, everyone gets to participate, and the experience will be one that will be memorable for your community and your cause!

A film festival is another fundraiser that doesn't involve selling and will bring the community together.

4) Film Festival Fundraiser

Many people love movies, so a film festival is a great fundraising idea. Because of the digital age, almost everyone has a cell phone on them at all times. Due to technology and social media, people already constantly take pictures and shoot videos. So, take advantage of what people already do and ask them to do it for your cause.

Invite your supporters and other community members to enter their films into your amateur film festival. Select a date on your calendar when you can screen the movies. Also, think about different movie themes that might be of interest to your community. Depending on your community and your budget, screen the films at a local hall or auditorium, and charge attendees an admission fee.

Not only is this a great way to raise money, but it also brings the community together through common interests.

A karaoke fundraiser is an effective fundraising idea that doesn't involve selling merchandise.

5) Karaoke Fundraiser

Chances are, you have donors and supporters who love to sing. Plus, thanks to constantly-evolving technology, you no longer need heavy karaoke equipment. All you need is a good mic, an amplifier and a screen to stream lyrics.

Choose a date on your calendar for this engaging fundraising idea, and see if a local restaurant or bar will partner with you. In exchange for providing you with a venue, you need to effectively market the event and get as many people as possible to attend.

Then, the restaurant or bar will either allow you to charge an admission fee or provide you with 5 to 10 percent of the receipts for the evening. To secure even more donations, you can record the event and ask people to donate so that you can send them the MP3 music file.


Now you have five fundraising ideas to try that are fun, free, and doable! However, no fundraising event is really over until you send out thank you emails. Not only is it a great way to extend your thanks, but it also gives you a better chance of retaining first-time donors.

A good place to start is with an email list grouped by recurring or first-time donors. This way, you get to personalize the message for each group better. 

Sending a thank you email lets your donors know the value and impact of their contributions. When you build relationships with donors, you help them feel more inclined to continue supporting you, your cause, and other fundraisers you may have in the future.

Kristy Fonterela, the VP Marketing at Funds2Orgs, is the guest author for this post on fundraising ideas that don't involve selling.Author: Kristy Fonterela, VP Marketing, Funds2Orgs. Kristy Fontelera is a creative professional with a background in corporate and nonprofit social media advertising, content creation, and brand strategy. As the VP of Marketing, she works with a suite of global fundraising brands as well as manages national and local social media accounts for clients and entrepreneurs. Kristy enjoys new books, traveling, Fleetwood Mac, and picnics with her pup. Most of all, Kristy is a passionate individual that loves nothing than more than to help others make an impact in their market and the world.

Plan a Fundraiser that Engages Kids: 6 Top Tips for Schools

Your school undoubtedly enjoys supporting the programs and activities that your students love, and you should be able to continue to do so. But as an educator or member of the PTA, your time is limited. You have many tasks vying for your attention and it can be difficult to balance everything and still perform each task well.

School fundraising should not be another source of stress in your life. Fundraising for all of your kids and teens’ favorite programs can be fun and engaging for you, your students, and your community. However, to avoid becoming overwhelmed with stress as you organize the fundraiser, utilize an effective event fundraising software.  

To cultivate a fundraiser that kids will want to participate in and promote, you should:

  1. Plan a fun event.
  2. Stay organized.
  3. Encourage personalization.
  4. Allow healthy competition.
  5. Offer incentives.
  6. Make it shareable.

If you follow these 6 best tips for school fundraising, you will be blasting through your fundraising goals in no time—and getting your kids involved in the fundraising process. So, without further ado, let’s start learning how to create the best and most engaging fundraiser your school has ever seen!

1. Plan a fun event.

The best way to guarantee your students actually want to get involved in your fundraiser is to make it fun and simple. It is entirely possible that the goal of raising money is not enough to get the students to engage with the fundraiser.

Depending on the age of the kids, they may not quite grasp the importance of money in making sure the programs you provide can still be offered year after year.  

To ensure the students value the fundraiser, try planning your fundraiser around a fun event. To get some inspiration for fundraising ideas, click here.

A Fun Run or Jog-a-thon is an excellent example of a fun and easy event that’s well-suited for school-aged children.

The concept of a Fun Run or Jog-a-thon is simple. The student should recruit friends, adults, and family to pledge money for each unit of distance that they run or donate a lump sum for the entire distance. This could look like:

  • Uncle Joe pledges $3 for every lap ran by Timmy S.
  • Janet pledges $2 for every half mile ran by Ellie H.
  • Charlie donates $50 to Louis’ Fun Run fund.

An effective walk-a-thon allows for the kids to hang out with their friends and stay active while supporting their school.

2. Stay organized.

One of the hardest parts of organizing and promoting a large-scale school fundraiser is making sure all of your data stays organized. You may be unfamiliar with fundraising techniques and strategies—and that’s completely normal!

To stay organized and properly manage the information you gather from your Fun Run or Jog-a-thon you should employ a Fun Run/Jog-a-thon fundraising software, like 99Pledges.

The best software will track and manage the pledges made to your Fun Run or Jog-a-thon so that you don’t have to! Yes, you heard that correctly. You will never have to sit with a calculator adding up the money that each pledgor owes to your child’s fundraising page.

This technology will allow you to load each child’s information into the program and create a custom-made, individualized fundraising page for supporters to donate or pledge money to.

If you want to get kids and teens involved invested in your fundraising efforts, you need to have an organized system that can easily integrate students into its process.

3. Encourage personalization.

While you are all fundraising for the same end result, your fundraiser participants may have many reasons for becoming involved. Some people might participate because they are passionate about the cause or the program that your event benefits. Meanwhile, others may want to compete for incentives or simply participate in your fun event.

Whatever the reason for their participation, you should encourage students to personalize their fundraising page to entice more supporters.

With the right software tool, each student will be able to fundraise separately for a common goal. While some fields on their unique page may be consistent throughout all the supporters, such as the:

  • School name or program
  • Description of the fundraiser
  • Per participant goal
  • Date of the fundraiser

The students or their parents should still have the option to write a fundraising letter that offers an impassioned appeal for donations and pledges that will be more likely to draw in friends and family supporters.

This fundraising letter should:  

  • Describe the fundraising event in their own words.
  • Explain what the fundraiser benefits.
  • Convey the student’s reason for participating.
  • Provide donation information.
  • Thank the supporter in advance.

It is not likely that friends and family members will donate or pledge money simply because it is a good cause. They want the emotional appeal—they want to donate and pledge money because it is something the student is passionate about.

Feel free to encourage your students to make this fundraiser their own. This will not only cause the students to become more invested in the outcome of the fundraiser, but it will also boost your fundraising revenue!

4. Allow healthy competition.

One of the benefits of your PTA hosting a participant-based fundraising event is that the work is divided up among a wide range of people. While we know it can be difficult to motivate such a wide group of kids, make sure you don’t underestimate the power of healthy competition.

Friendly competition among friends has the potential to greatly enhance your fundraising revenue and encourage students to work hard to gain supporters.

The students should be able to have some sort of visual that represents how much each student is fundraising. A good software tool will display top donations that can serve as motivation for students to seek out additional support for their pages.

If you choose to do a walk-a-thon, or any variation of the event-a-thon, it is easy for the students to see how hard their peers are working. The student may be more inclined to walk further or read more or hit more baseballs if they can see how well other participants are doing.

While good, old-fashioned competition is one of the best motivators in fundraising among kids and teens, you must remember to provide some incentives that will further encourage the students to put effort into the campaign.

5. Offer incentives.

If you want to modify your fundraising strategy to maximize the number of students who are meaningfully engaging with your fundraiser, you should offer incentives to participants. Kids and teens love free stuff and added perks— but then again, who doesn’t?

To make competition a sustainable motivator and to help students stay excited about your fundraiser, you must give them a light at the end of the tunnel. They need something to look forward to and something to latch onto as they fundraise.

Don’t worry. The incentives don’t need to be elaborate or expensive, just something that will appeal to the kids and teens participating in your fundraising event.

Potential incentives you may want to offer include:

  • A pizza party for the classes with the highest participation rates.
  • Giving a percentage of the total earnings to the class who raises the most money.
  • Allowing the class to allocate the money they earn above their goal to a project of their own.

Depending on the age of your students, they may respond better to different incentives. Make sure you offer incentives that you know your students will love and want to achieve.

An easy way to incentivize all of your students at once is to provide fundraising team t-shirts. These can be custom made based on class, grade, or school depending on the size of your fundraiser. The kids will love the free merch and be excited to wear it, which will, in turn, promote the fundraiser.  

To see how you can increase excitement in your fundraiser with a tangible incentive, check out Bonfire’s custom school shirts.

6. Make it shareable.

The best tactic to include in your fundraising plan when hosting a school fundraiser that kids and teens will want to be a part of is to make it shareable on social media. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and so many more social media platforms have taken over how people communicate with one another and share news that is important to them.

Depending on the age of your students they may have their own social media accounts or, at the very least, it is likely their parents have accounts. Enabling students to share the fundraiser with remote friends and family members and to engage with the fundraiser on their own terms will make it more likely that the students actually want to participate.

You will be able to reach more people and encourage the students to promote their own fundraising page if the event-a-thon software that you use allows mobile sharing of personalized pages, your students and their parents are sure to want to spread the word about the school fundraiser.

Your school fundraiser should be easy and fun for everyone involved—student, teachers, parents, and supporters alike! With the right software, your walk-a-thon or other exciting fundraising events can engage your students and increase your fundraising revenue.

This post was contributed by Brad Dowhaniuk.

Brad Dowhaniuk is the co-founder of 99Pledges, which provides schools and teams with an easy-to-use, web-based fundraising solution to manage and drive success in Fun Runs, jog-a-thons, baseball hit-a-thons, and much more.

Matching Gift Retention is the Future of Fundraising

With so many different ways to fundraise for our nonprofits, we’re being pulled in too many directions, and our ability to focus on the most impactful channels is becoming difficult. The future of fundraising is a strategy that enables organizations to overcome resource constraints and competing data sources to maximize fundraising and optimize programs.

Two areas that are worthy of tactical coordination are matching gifts and donor retention. In this post, we’re going to outline why retaining your matching gift donors, in particular, is going to have an amazing impact on your organization’s immediate revenue and long term sustainability.

Why retention needs to be your central strategy

The cost to acquire $1 from a new donor averages $1.25, yet retaining a donor comes at a significantly lower cost. According to research by acclaimed nonprofit researcher Adrian Sargeant, if an organization retains 10% of their current donors then their net growth in giving for the “typical” nonprofit will grow by 50%.

This data has historically focused solely on the individual donor and not taken matching gifts into account. Given that the majority of companies offering matching gifts are matching at a 1:1 ratio, while others can give as much as $4 for every $1 donated, there is an amazing amount of potential when we focus our retention efforts on match-eligible donors.

From a pure revenue generation standpoint, organizations will be able to dramatically alter their revenue projections if they can identify and retain donors who have historically been able to match their gifts.

So where do we begin?

Data stewardship will maintain your impact

A common source of frustration for donors is poor communication, which is typically a symptom of a much larger issue surrounding data integrity. It costs an organization $1 to verify a record upon entry, $10 to dedupe and clean data AFTER input, and $100 per bad record if nothing is done.

Identifying matching gift opportunities and maintaining donor retention both begin with having accurate data on your donors, so kick off your retention strategy by investing in data stewardship. This can be achieved by concentrating on small changes to processes that your organization may be missing right now:

This becomes especially important when leveraging impact-focused integrations like the 360MatchPro integration with NeonCRM’s donor management system, since having an accurate name and email on file will ensure that the automated marketing will be automatically delivered to drive more matching gift requests to completion.

An important process adjustment includes logging which businesses a donor works with. If you notice on LinkedIn or through your matching gift outreach that a person has changed jobs, be sure that this change is reflected in their account in your database of record.

Use personas to hone your retention message

Once your organization has established a confident foundation for your donor database, you will be able to begin strategic outreach and cultivation around donor retention. Rather than randomly calling people who have donated in the past, your organization can implement a data-driven outreach plan that centers around the creation of donor personas for your retention stewardship needs.

The concept of personas originally came from the marketing world as a way to group buyers into key segments of your audience. Since then, there has been some exciting work done around developing donor personas specific to the nonprofit industry.

Developing a persona to organize your work around can help to clarify the key items that will relate to your audience. Instead of creating mass messaging that doesn’t appeal to anyone, organizations should be crafting communications that speak directly to a specific audience.

An added step that your organization could be taking involves running reports specifically on donors who have requested matching gifts in the past. Being able to create a persona specifically around match-eligible donors will be an empowering step toward maximizing your impact. Take it one step further and create personas around new match-eligible donors versus lapsed match-eligible donors.

Make donor love central to your mission

Beyond poor communication, another reason that your organization may be losing donors is the donation experience itself. Review how easy it is to make a donation on your website and, more specifically, how clear your instructions around initiating a matching gift are.

Donor love should be at the center of the giving experience. You can do this by centering fundraising appeals around your organization’s mission and message as well as the donor’s role in making an impact. Make the experience about the donor’s ability to drive change and ensure that your organization is not taking a “me me me” approach to communications.

You can start by taking a hard look at your organization’s website since it will be one of the primary resources that donors use to determine whether they will be giving to your nonprofit.

No matter what your organization does, focusing on your mission will always ensure that donors feel an emotional attachment to your organization.

Donor retention is about ensuring that you are building a lasting relationship with the individual that is giving to you. Matching gifts take that relationship to the next level, involving a generous corporate partner as well as your individual donor. By combining matching gifts with a strategy focused on donor retention, you will be able to chart an exciting path towards sustainability and growth for your nonprofit.

Tim SarrantonioTim Sarrantonio is a team member at Neon One and has more than 10 years of experience working for and volunteering with nonprofits. Tim has raised over $3 million for various causes, engaged and enhanced databases of all sizes, procured multiple successful grants, and formulated engaging communications and fundraising campaigns for several nonprofits. He has presented at international conferences and is a TEDx speaker on technology and philanthropy. He volunteers heavily in his hometown, Niskayuna, NY.


Shoe drive fundraisers are an extremely cost effective fundraising method.

Shoe Drive Fundraising: A Mini Guide for Schools and Clubs

Shoe Drive Fundraisers: A Mini Guide for Schools and Clubs

What is shoe drive fundraising?

Shoe drive fundraising is quickly becoming one of the most popular fundraising options for schools and clubs of all sizes! As an incredibly simple and effective fundraising method, shoe drives are a fantastic way to engage your community, set a great example, and raise some serious funds.

Check out our quick guide to starting and directing your own shoe drive fundraiser! Use this table of contents to navigate the page and find some quick answers:

  1. Who conducts shoe drive fundraisers?
  2. How does shoe drive fundraising work?
  3. What are the benefits of shoe drive fundraisers?
  4. What are some ways to conduct a shoe drive fundraiser?
  5. How can I promote my shoe drive fundraiser?
  6. Additional fundraising resources

Shoe drive fundraisers are perfect for schools and clubs.

Who conducts shoe drive fundraisers?

Shoe drive fundraising is a great choice for practically any group or organization that heavily interacts with its members, constituents, or other stakeholders at the ground level.

This means that shoe drive fundraisers are especially well-suited for community-based organizations, particularly schools and school-based clubs.

Shoe drive fundraisers are perfect for schools!

Schools of all sizes can host extremely successful shoe drive fundraisers!

Kids outgrow shoes so quickly! Families tend to have plenty of gently used pairs of shoes lying around that no longer fit. A shoe drive fundraiser is not only an easy fundraising idea, it also lets parents cut out some clutter while helping support their local school.

Shoe drive fundraisers are a perfect choice for your club!

Clubs can also hit their fundraising targets with shoe drive fundraisers!

A shoe drive fundraiser will generate interest all around your school, but, depending on your club’s focus, these fundraisers also offer wonderful opportunities to raise awareness about a number of social and environmental issues!

During a time when both public and private schools around the country face budgetary struggles like never before, it’s important that schools remain aware of all their fundraising options. Shoe drive fundraisers are among the easiest fundraisers for schools to conduct, as facilitator services will typically provide schools with the materials they need and then collect the donated shoes.

Plus, this stress-free fundraising model makes shoe drive fundraisers and ideal choice for any small organization:

  • PTA groups
  • Parent-led booster clubs
  • Student-led organizations in schools
  • School or community athletic clubs
  • Small community-based associations

Check out the steps to conducting a shoe drive fundraiser!

How does shoe drive fundraising work?

With the right shoe drive fundraiser facilitator, the entire process is incredibly simple. They’ll help you set some realistic (but ambitious) fundraising plans. You’ll start reaching your shoe collection goals in no time!

Collect your donated shoes to hand over to your shoe drive fundraiser facilitator.

  • 1. Recruit some volunteers.

    Find the individuals in your school or club willing to help lead your shoe drive fundraiser, and invite them to get involved! They’ll mostly be needed for collecting shoes, identifying partners, and promoting the campaign.

  • 2. Promote your shoe drive fundraiser.

    Explain the shoe drive fundraiser to your school or club members, then ask them to bring their spare pairs soon. Share your campaign on your social media page and in your newsletter emails. Shoe drive facilitators like Funds2Orgs will even provide you with free marketing and fundraising tools for the length of your fundraiser.

  • 3. Collect shoes.

    Provide your donors with easy opportunities to donate their pairs of shoes. Set up a dedicated donation bin in an open location, or provide each classroom or chapter meeting with its own donation bin. As you collect the shoes, fill the special bags or containers provided by the facilitator.

  • 4. Reach your goal and contact your facilitator.

    After you’ve reached your shoe collection goal, contact your shoe drive fundraiser facilitator to arrange a time for them to collect all your shoes. The process is simple and stress-free!

  • 5. Receive your check!

    The shoe drive fundraiser facilitator will calculate the value of your collected shoes and issue a check for the funds you raised. Shoe drives can raise some major funds! For example, some schools and organizations have raised thousands of dollars after just six weeks!

There are several major benefits to shoe drive fundraising.

What are the benefits of a shoe drive fundraiser?

Shoe drive fundraisers are an ideal fundraising solution for schools, school-based clubs, and community organizations for a number of reasons, mainly these 4 key benefits:

Minimal Costs

It takes very little money to host and promote a shoe drive fundraiser. With Funds2Orgs, there are zero out of pocket costs!

Fast Funds

Receive a check for your raised funds in as little at 2 days after your shoe drive fundraiser facilitator collects them!

Global Philanthropy

Your donated shoes will be provided to entrepreneurs to re-purpose and resell in developing economies, stimulating organic growth.

Environmental Stewardship

Discarded shoes are notoriously hard on the environment. Recycling them in a shoe drive fundraiser is a productive way to be responsible!

Shoe drive fundraisers represent a low-cost, high-impact fundraising option for schools and organizations of all sizes! Plus, the most engaged shoe drive fundraiser facilitator services offer great learning opportunities on the environment and the global economics of philanthropy.

There are tons of ways to incorporate shoe drive fundraising into your fundraising goals.

What are some ways to conduct a shoe drive fundraiser?

Shoe drive fundraising is an extremely versatile fundraising method!

They work great as standalone fundraising campaigns. It’s easy to organize a campaign and set some goals with your shoe drive fundraiser facilitator, who will then provide you with some marketing ideas and tools.

Promote your shoe collection drive to your classes, chapters, or anyone else. Then be sure to provide collection bins or bags to your volunteers or classrooms. You might be surprised how quickly you can reach your collection goal!

Shoe drive fundraisers also make an effective additional component to any of your other campaigns or events!

If students or parents will be gathering for an event to benefit your school or club anyway, it’s easy to incorporate shoe drive fundraising into your planning and promotions.

If you host any of the following types of school fundraising events, think about the ways that a shoe drive could be integrated into your fundraising:

  • Game Nights or Tournaments

    Maybe two pairs of donated shoes could replace a registration fee for your casual competition events!

  • Raffles

    Offer free raffle or auction tickets as an incentive to encourage shoe donations!

  • Online Fundraising Campaigns

    Your crowdfunding or peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns are perfect opportunities to add shoe drive fundraising as additional challenge elements.

  • Service or Product Sales

    Think car washes and bake sales. Why not offer shoe donations as a payment option?

  • Fairs or Festivals

    Larger festival events are perfect for promoting or incorporating your shoe drive fundraiser!

Shoe drive fundraisers are easy to promote to your community and members!

How can I promote my shoe drive fundraiser?

If you’re conducting a shoe drive fundraiser as either a standalone fundraising project or alongside a larger campaign, it’s crucial that you spread the word and encourage your students, members, and community stakeholders to make donations!

As a unique fundraising concept, shoe drive fundraisers are fairly easy to promote.

There are a number of key promotion strategies that work great for shoe drive fundraising:

1. Printed Materials

Creating printed materials to explain and promote your shoe drive fundraiser is essential, especially for schools! Flyers, letters, collection tracking charts, and door hangers are necessary tools for clearly labeling and explaining your fundraiser to students and their parents.

Some shoe drive fundraiser facilitators will even provide you with handy templates to quickly create your own printed promotional materials.

2. Social Media Promotions

Your school or club probably already relies on at least one social media platform to promote events or stay in touch with parents or members.

Be sure to promote your shoe drive fundraiser on your social media pages, especially Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Upload some pictures of your volunteers collecting shoes, or maybe even record a video to explain how the fundraiser works!

3. Promote with Your Other Events

If you choose to incorporate your shoe drive fundraiser into other events that you host, it’s important to clearly communicate this in all your promotions!

Invite attendees at your sporting events, sales, community service projects, and festivals to bring some pairs of shoes to donate. Be sure to offer some creative incentives, too!

4. Promote with Your Partners

Reach out to any community partners who might want to get involved! Local businesses and other community-based organizations make great partners for shoe drive fundraisers.

Similarly, if you’re a school considering a shoe drive fundraiser, be sure to get your PTA involved (and vice versa)! The more volunteers and donors, the easier it’ll be to promote your fundraiser and reach your goals.

Additional Fundraising Resources

When beginning a new fundraising project or setting new goals for your school or club, it’s important to do your research! Start with these resources to find the best options and strategies to help you succeed.

15+ Best Crowdfunding Websites

Check out these top crowdfunding websites!

Crowdfunding has quickly become one of the best ways to raise funds online.

Be sure to find the platform best suited to your needs by using this handy guide from Double the Donation!

Free Fundraising Guides from Funds2Orgs

Free fundraising guides from Funds2Orgs!

Check out these free fundraising guides from leading shoe drive fundraiser service, Funds2Orgs!

They offer free resources that can help any type of nonprofit or fundraising project, so be sure to explore.

21 Effective Fundraising Ideas for Kids

Check out these great fundraising ideas for kids!

If you’re fundraising with kids, your strategies can’t just be engaging — they have to be fun!

Check out this helpful list of some effective fundraising ideas from Bonfire for some ways to get started.


Don’t forget to grab our Free Guide to the Top Fundraising Ideas.

Improve your fundraising plan with these 6 tips.

6 Simple Fundraising Plan Tips [With Free Templates!]


Don’t forget to grab our Free Guide to the Top Fundraising Ideas.

Your nonprofit’s fundraising plan is the backbone of your success as an organization.

Without a solid fundraising plan in place, there would be nothing to guide your fundraising efforts and no way to tell if your nonprofit is on track to meet your goals.

Before implementing any change in fundraising strategy, you need to have an official fundraising plan in place. To get you started, here are 6 simple tips to consider:

  1. Gain fundraising plan input from key stakeholders.
  2. Develop goals (and challenges)!
  3. Set a fundraising plan timeline.
  4. Determine your fundraising methods.
  5. Build corporate partnerships into your fundraising plan.
  6. Tailor your case for support.

Bonus! Once your fundraising plan is in place, you should periodically assess your strategy. Check out Double the Donation’s ultimate fundraising strategy assessment to stay ahead of the curve!

Ready to get started on your fundraising plan? Let us break these tips down into a bit more detail.

You can improve your fundraising plan by gaining input from key stakeholders.

1. Gain fundraising plan input from key stakeholders.

Stakeholders are an important part of your nonprofit’s team. Not only do they help fund your organization’s philanthropy, but they typically have final say over big-picture fundraising decisions.

Since a fundraising plan outlines a nonprofit’s key activities, it is important to get support from these board members and other key stakeholders.

There are a couple of ways you can gain input from your stakeholders:

  • Experiential input. You can ask stakeholders directly about what fundraising strategies have worked well for your nonprofit in the past. Inquire about past fundraising activities, strengths and weaknesses. Take their feedback into consideration and be sure to demonstrate to them how you address their input.
  • Consultant interviews. You might find it helpful to bring in a fundraising consultant. They can conduct stakeholder interviews to determine what is most important to your board and how to get everyone on the same page when designing your fundraising plan.

Remember: Your nonprofit’s board members are just as passionate about your organization’s mission as you are. Do not think of their approval as a bureaucratic hurdle to overcome, but rather an important step towards improving your fundraising plan.

You can improve your fundraising plan by developing goals and challenges.

2. Develop goals (and challenges)!

When designing your fundraising plan, your final product should reflect your nonprofit’s primary goals above all else.

It is easy to fall into the trap of vaguely fundraising without an endpoint in sight, but to stay on track your nonprofit needs to actively work toward a defined set of central goals.

Before designing your fundraising plan, your nonprofit needs to sit down and agree upon what goals to prioritize across all levels of your organization. Your goals should be:

  • Specific, actionable, and measurable. Do not just decide to increase fundraising revenue, or plan to retain more donors. Set numeric benchmarks and timelines, and decide how you will tackle these goals.
  • Evaluated against metrics. You cannot accurately assess your progress towards achieving a goal without having metrics in place to track your success. Diligently monitor consistent metrics so you can see how well you are improving and when you need to make changes to your fundraising plan.

(Bonus tip! Be sure to collect valuable data when carrying out your fundraising plan to help evaluate these metrics and shape your future fundraising plans. Check out Fundly’s guide to nonprofit CRMs for an idea of how your nonprofit can maximize the power of your donor database to improve your fundraising strategy.)

Additionally, one way to help your nonprofit stay on track is to identify upfront what potential challenges or obstacles you will face in the process of achieving your goals.

Some obstacles you might encounter could be:

  • Seasonal fundraising dry spells
  • Low donor retention
  • Failure to obtain major gifts
  • Poor fundraising event attendance
  • Inadequate online engagement

For example, an animal shelter that wants to increase donor retention by X% over the summer months might identify the challenge of supporters being less engaged during this season since they may be traveling or caring for children on summer vacation. To reach their goal, they’ll need to recognize this challenge and develop strategies to overcome it.

Remember: Use your nonprofit’s history to guide you in identifying roadblocks and deciding on goals. Every nonprofit has its unique strengths and weaknesses and when designing a fundraising plan, it is important to know going in what is reasonable to expect from your organization.

You can improve your fundraising plan by setting a fundraising plan timeline.

3. Set a fundraising plan timeline.

Staying on top of your goals also means staying on top of your fundraising plan’s timeline.

Fundraising plans typically plot out a 3-5 year timeline for your nonprofit, with the first year being very detailed and the following years becoming less defined.

Your fundraising plan’s timeline should be developed into an annual fundraising calendar that details the year’s worth of activities for your organization.

Set a fundraising plan timeline.

When developing your timeline, keep a few things in mind:

  • Milestones. Structure your timeline around a set of core milestones. These will both guide your progress and help you regularly assess your fundraising strategy.
  • Accountability. Your timeline (and subsequently, your fundraising calendar) should clearly identify what departments are responsible for individual fundraising activities. This will help keep the different arms of your nonprofit on track and help your departments prioritize tasks throughout the year.
  • Accessibility. Your timeline and calendar should be easily accessible to all members of your team, regardless of their department or role. Every team member should be aware of what other departments are up to; this way, they will have a better sense of the big picture of your organization and how your core fundraising goals are being achieved.

Not sure where to start when designing your fundraising plan timeline? Consider enlisting the help of a fundraising consulting firm. If you need a recommendation, DonorSearch has got you covered with their list of the top 11 fundraising consulting firms in the field!

Remember: During the design process, your fundraising timeline should be as specific as possible and you should hold yourself to the timeline as much as you can. However, if you find you are not progressing as quickly as you had planned, identify the roadblock and always give yourself room to edit the timeline if necessary.

You can improve your fundraising plan by determining your fundraising methods.

4. Determine your fundraising methods.

A common thread among these tips has been specificity and when plotting out your fundraising plan, it is doubly important to specifically determine your fundraising methods.

It is not sufficient to simply say you will raise $XXX by such-and-such date. You need to plan out how you will raise that money and from whom you will solicit donations.

Fundraising is not a one size fits all process, and you should curate your fundraising methods with your prospects in mind. For example, consider these fundraising methods and how they serve prospects:

  • Online donation pages. If your donors cannot all come to you, meet them where they are. Online donation is simply convenient; for nonprofits interested in prospects in varying geographical locations, utilizing optimized online donation tools is a must.
  • P2P fundraising. For nonprofits seeking to grow their network of donors, P2P fundraising is a great way to engage constituents online and leverage the power of their social network to help your organization reach a broader audience.
  • Text-to-give. Mobile giving is a fundraising style that has been growing in popularity over the last several years. Like online donation pages, text-to-give fundraising makes it convenient for donors to give. Additionally, because donors are not tied to a desktop, they may consider donating more frequently.
  • Fundraising events. A strategic fundraising event help you engage donors and bring in major donations, too! Just make sure you plan out your fundraiser well in advance so you have plenty of time to consider important elements, such as the type of event, when and where to host it, and what technology you’ll need to pull it off.

Remember: You should consult your nonprofit’s existing data when determining which prospects to pursue and which fundraising methods best serve your prospect pool. Consider past data and metrics when determining fundraising methods, as well as what has worked for other nonprofits of a similar donor makeup and mission as yours.

You can improve your fundraising plan by building corporate partnerships into your fundraising plan.

5. Build corporate partnerships into your fundraising plan.

Corporate partnerships can be important sources of revenue and support for nonprofits.

When designing your fundraising plan, develop a strategy that will help you achieve corporate partnership so that you do not bypass such a valuable asset.

If you already are partnered with a corporation, consider these ways to leverage that relationship during the fundraising plan design process:

  • Event sponsorship. Your corporate partner could agree to sponsor a fundraising event for your nonprofit. With their name and notoriety attached, prospects may be more inclined to participate in your fundraiser.
  • Challenge grants. Your corporate partner might be amenable to offering your nonprofit a challenge grant. With a challenge grant, your organization and your partner agree upon a specific fundraising goal. If the goal is met, they might match the amount of funding raised or commit to donating an agreed-upon sum.
  • Matching gifts. One of the simplest ways to incorporate corporate philanthropy into your fundraising strategy is to seek out a matching gift tool. In a matching gifts program, a corporation agrees to match the donations of their employees either to a certain percentage of the donation or to a consistent maximum value. With a tool like this one offered by Double the Donation, donors can quickly determine whether their donation might be matched by their employer.

Take a look at DTD’s matching gift tool in action! The donor simply types the name of their company into the tool, and then DTD searches their database to see if they are matching gift-eligible.

Partnering with a corporation for a matching gifts program is an effective way to boost fundraising efforts.

Remember: Every nonprofit has unique needs and that extends to any relationship you have with corporate sponsors. You do not have to go after a partnership with a multi-million dollar company if that does not suit the scope of your organization. Partnering with small local businesses can get the job done, especially for regionally-focused nonprofits.

You can improve your fundraising plan by tailoring your case for support.

6. Tailor your case for support.

Your case for support underpins the success of your nonprofit, but it is often taken for granted when designing fundraising strategy.

Organizations and hospitals often create cases for support when they launch a capital campaign. These documents outline every detail of the campaign from how the funds will be used to the ways supporters can contribute.

Moreover, the case for support acts as an effective promotional tool to help educate potential donors on the importance of your cause. The content in your case for support can easily be posted on your website or published in a brochure.

While they’re common practice for capital campaigns, organizations should create a case for support as a part of any fundraising strategy.

Donors will not give to your organization unless you have a compelling case for support, so you need to take the time to thoughtfully develop your case.

Your case for support should answer these important questions:

  • What is our mission?
  • Why should donors give to this cause?
  • Why should they give to our organization in particular?
  • How much should donors give?
  • What specifically will our nonprofit do to achieve our mission?

At all levels of engagement, your nonprofit should actively communicate with donors the ways that your fundraising strategy addresses your case for support. The more compelling your case, the more likely it is that donors will give to your organization.

Remember: Your case for support should govern your fundraising strategy. Just as you should choose fundraising methods that target your prospects, you should similarly design your fundraising plan with your case for support as a foundation.

Your fundraising plan is the single most important tool in your arsenal when enacting a new fundraising strategy. Get closer to achieving your nonprofit’s fundraising goals by designing a detailed fundraising plan today!

Additional Resources

  • Conduct a Fundraising Feasibility Study: 6 Steps to Success. Capital campaigns can help your nonprofit reach larger goals as part of an effective fundraising plan. But first, you need to conduct a capital campaign feasibility study before your campaign can begin. With our step-by-step guide, your feasibility study is sure to give you the information you need to succeed!
  • Top 5 GoFundMe Alternatives. After developing a fundraising plan, your nonprofit may decide to pursue crowdfunding as a way to meet your fundraising goals. You might initially consider GoFundMe as a crowdfunding host, but don’t make your choice so quickly. There are many other crowdfunding sites just like GoFundMe (but better)! Check out our guide for some awesome alternatives.
  • 14 Charity Auction Tools. Similarly, your nonprofit might choose to hold a charity auction as a fundraising event. Not only are auctions great ways to raise funding, but they’re also useful events to strengthen your donor relations. Be sure to consult our guide to the 14 best charity auction tools that are perfect for nonprofits of any size!
Comparing crowdfunding websites can help you narrow down your options and choose the best platform for your needs.

Comparing Crowdfunding Websites: 5 Sites Rated and Reviewed

Comparing Crowdfunding Websites: 5 Platforms Rated and Reviewed

If you’re searching for a crowdfunding campaign, you’ve probably encountered several popular options that might be a great fit for your cause, project, or expense.

But, how do you know which one offers exactly what you need?

Comparing multiple crowdfunding platforms to determine which one best fits your needs can take a lot of time and effort.

Luckily, we’ve done the hard work for you! With this guide, we’ll compare 5 popular crowdfunding websites:

  • Bonfire is a t-shirt fundraising platform that’s designed for individual fundraisers and organizations looking to spread awareness about their causes with custom apparel.
  • Fundly is a crowdfunding website that is suitable for both individuals and organizations. You can fundraise for practically any cause with a Fundly campaign.
  • GoFundMe is a crowdfunding platform created for personal fundraising, which means that individuals can create an account and raise money for medical costs, charities, and other projects.
  • Kickstarter was created to help creative individuals realize their dreams. If you have an artistic project you need money for, you can start your campaign on Kickstarter.
  • Indiegogo can be used by individuals and companies looking to raise money for a product or creative project.

When comparing each platform, it’s important to consider the overall platform and what type of crowdfunding they allow.

Here are the 3 categories we’ll cover: 

  1. Crowdfunding Type
  2. Pricing
  3. Features

Stick around till the end to see our top picks for the best overall crowdfunding websites or jump to our favorites now. 

1. Crowdfunding Type

While all 5 of the crowdfunding websites are wildly popular, each one is slightly different in the types of causes or projects it supports and how and when fundraisers receive their donations. We’ll look at each crowdfunding platform to help you decide which one is best for your needs.

What campaigns are the websites designed for?

First, you’ll want to consider what platform caters to your campaign. In other words: some crowdfunding websites are open to all types of fundraising while others are only open to specific categories.

As we mentioned earlier, Bonfire, Fundly, and GoFundMe cater to individuals who want to raise money for any cause (Bonfire and Fundly are unique in the fact that they cater to organizations as well). In contrast, Kickstarter and Indiegogo are targeted specifically for creative projects—such as music, art, and technology—and don’t allow any type of charitable campaign.

With that said, if you’re a nonprofit looking to fundraise, Bonfire and Fundly are your best options as both individuals and organizations can raise money using their platform.

Is the platform all-or-nothing or keep-it-all?

Crowdfunding platforms also have different requirements on when and how campaign creators receive donations.

For instance, Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing crowdfunding website, which means that creators only receive donations if their goals are met.

With an all-or-nothing campaign, creators only get to receive funds after the campaign is over, and only if they’ve reached their goals.  This approach, however, does have its benefits.

For one, supporters are more motivated to share and contribute to your campaign so that your project is realized. Plus, it ensures that projects get all the funds they need so they can produce a complete product.

Alternatively, crowdfunding websites like Bonfire, Fundly, and GoFundMe follow the keep-it-all approach where creators keep all the money they raise. That means that campaign creators don’t have to meet a goal requirement or deadline to keep their donations.

This approach is desirable for both nonprofits and individuals because every donation can make a difference to your cause or life event.

There are even some sites like Indiegogo that give creators the option to choose the keep-it-all or the all-or-nothing model.

2. Pricing

While it’s free to set up a campaign on most crowdfunding websites, campaign creators are charged two different fees if they receive funds: the platform fee and the payment processing fee.

The platform fee is charged when the campaign creator collects their donations and is a percentage of the total funds raised.

Charging a platform fee is how crowdfunding websites make money. With that money, the crowdfunding website can create better features, improve the support team, and so much more. 

Platform fees usually range from 4-5%. When comparing crowdfunding websites, Bonfire charges the lowest out of all of the ones listed. There aren’t any platform fees. The only fee they ever collect is an 8% processing fee per additional donation (reduced to an incredible 3.5% for verified nonprofits). Fundly has the next lowest platform fee of 4.9%. GoFundMe, Kickstarter, and Indiegogo all charge a 5% platform fee.

In addition to the platform fee, campaign creators will have to pay a payment processing fee which goes to the payment processor.

The payment processor makes it possible for your crowdfunding campaign to accept online donations by verifying the payment method and transferring the funds from the donor’s account to your account.

Payment processing fees will vary depending on what processor your crowdfunding website works with.

Generally, the payment processing fee is a percentage of the total funds raised plus an amount per donation.

No matter why you’re fundraising, understanding what costs are going to be deducted for your total donations will help you determine your fundraising goal. Choose a website that has a lower platform fee so that you keep the most funds.

3. Features

Another important component of a crowdfunding website is its features. Different capabilities will allow you to share your campaign and optimize your fundraising page so that more people can find your cause.

While there are several features that can enhance your crowdfunding page, we’ll focus on crowdfunding perks, social integrations, and customization.

Crowdfunding perks

If you’re not familiar with the term, crowdfunding perks allow you to give donors gifts in return for their donations.

Perks like t-shirts, coffee mugs, backpacks, and so much more can motivate donors to give to your campaign. Merchandise platforms like Bonfire make it incredibly easy to combine branded merchandise with your campaigns, eliminating the need to order your merch and then sell it on a separate platform.

Alternatively, you can choose a more generic crowdfunding platform and set giving levels. Then, you can promise specific gifts in exchange for set donation amounts. For example, you might offer a mug for a gift of $15 and a t-shirt for a gift of $30. By providing giving levels, donors don’t have to guess how much to give; they can pick whichever giving level they’re comfortable with and receive a gift in return.

Giving levels have their advantages, but they won’t work for every cause, project, or expense. Campaigns for sports teams, creative projects, and charities will likely benefit from offering perks.

With that said, some platforms like Kickstarter require you to offer perks. Choosing Fundly, GoFundMe, or Indiegogo means that you’ll have the option to add perks if you think it will benefit your campaign.

Social media integrations

Social media can help leverage your campaign so that you can reach even more potential donors.

To do this, you need to find a crowdfunding website that offers a full suite of social sharing capabilities—not just social sharing buttons!

All 5 fundraising websites have social sharing buttons that allow donors to share your page on Facebook and Twitter, and they allow you to post crowdfunding updates to your page.

Fundly is unique because you can place a Twitter and Instagram feed on your fundraising page that tracks any posts with a specific hashtag. If you’re crowdfunding, you can create a hashtag for your campaign and supporters can follow all the content posted with that hashtag on your Fundly page.


Customizing your crowdfunding page is especially important if you’re a nonprofit or business trying to maintain a consistent brand, but it can be just as relevant to individuals who want to make their page stand out.

All the websites let you add images and videos and write a crowdfunding description, but some of the platforms have more customization. 

On Kickstarter and Indiegogo, creators don’t have the freedom to adjust the color scheme or layout of the page. While on GoFundMe, users can change the color of some of the page features to match their brands.

Similarly, Bonfire enables fundraisers to create online stores that feature all their custom products in one central location. They can customize the page with images and details regarding their cause.

On the other hand, Fundly allows you to customize the colors and background of your page. Plus, creators can upload a logo to further brand the page.

Bonus: Our Recommendations

Now that we’ve compared 5 of the top crowdfunding websites, you should have an idea of which site will work best for your project, cause, or expense.

If you’re still not sure which one to choose we picked our favorite platforms to recommend to you!


Bonfire is the industry leader in custom merchandise fundraising. Whether you’re an individual fundraiser or part of an organization, custom products are a fantastic way to boost your revenue while spreading awareness about a worthwhile cause.

Bonfire’s quality merchandise comes in a range of colors and styles. Design your own t-shirts, hats, mugs, and more with your organization’s logo as well as thousands of free graphics and fonts. Launch your campaign, and Bonfire handles the rest. They’ll process payments and ship orders directly to your buyers, freeing up your time so that you can focus on selling your merchandise.


We recommend Fundly if you’re fundraising for a charity or personal cause. Not only is Fundly one of the lowest costing websites to use, but the platform also comes with a whole host of awesome (and effective!) features.

Fundly understands that personalizing your page helps increase your chances of success. That’s why their fundraising pages are fully customizable. If you ever run into any challenges, Fundly’s support team is ready to help resolve your problems so that you can get right back to fundraising.


Indiegogo is a flexible crowdfunding website with plenty of useful features, making it our top recommendation for creative projects. Instead of accepting a wide range of fundraising categories, Indiegogo focuses on catering to artistic entrepreneurs.

Since campaign creators have the option to add perks and can decide what type of campaign they want to host (all-or-nothing or keep-it-all), you’ll have full autonomy over how your fundraiser is structured.

Hopefully, this crowdfunding websites comparison guide has helped you decide what crowdfunding platform to choose.

If you want more help planning your crowdfunding campaign, check out these additional resources to get started: 

  1. Crowdfunding for Individuals. Are you looking for ways to raise money for a personal expense or life-event? Check out this comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about crowdfunding.
  2. Fundly’s Crowdfunding Success Stories. Looking at crowdfunding examples is a great way to get inspiration on how to build your own campaign. Fundly has a list of 7 crowdfunding campaigns that met their goals.
  3. Full List of Fundraising Ideas. Combine your crowdfunding campaign with a fundraising event to raise even more funds for your cause. Get our list of over 100 ideas that go great with crowdfunding.