New and Improved Functionality: Matching Gift Form E-Sign

New and Improved Functionality: Matching Gift Form E-Sign

Matching gift programs have been revolutionized in the last several years, with companies of all shapes and sizes getting involved. And with this transformation is also that of matching gift forms. Ideally, employers want to offer a request process that is quick and easy for team members to participate and reduces administrative workload behind the scenes. So where does matching gift form e-sign come in?

Dive in to explore key trends and current happenings regarding employee match fundraising, particularly in terms of matching gift e-sign. We’ll walk through:

Double the Donation has long been at the forefront of corporate giving innovation. That’s why we’re here to provide your team with the context you need to understand matching gift technology, functionality, and more.

The historical significance of matching gift form e-sign functionality

Historically, many companies required donors to submit matching gift request forms on paper. After all, General Electric launched the very first matching gift program in 1954, when electronic mail was still the stuff of science fiction. Over the next few decades, many matching gift programs used the paper form model for their original program launches as they were created.

Now, let’s fast forward to 2011, when Double the Donation was established. Some forward-thinking companies had already begun offering online submission to simplify the matching gift process for their employees. As a result, Double the Donation was perfectly positioned to help these donors submit their matching gift requests by linking directly to those online portals. But some companies were dragging their feet and still requiring paper matching gift forms.

How could Double the Donation support donors whose companies required paper forms? Our solution was to develop cutting-edge matching gift form e-sign functionality. With Double the Donation e-sign, donors could simply complete a pre-filled online PDF and send it to their company’s matching gift program managers that way.

And it worked! We saw an immediate increase in the percentage of these paper-only donors who submitted matching gift requests. But at the same time, the transition to electronic-only submission in the industry was already accelerating.

The move away from paper matching gift forms

As online submissions are increasing, the inverse is true for historic paper forms⁠—in the past few years, we’ve seen paper forms becoming significantly less popular.

For context, when Double the Donation got its start, about 70% of match-eligible employees had a paper or PDF option for submitting their matching gift requests. But by 2017, the percentage of match-eligible employees eligible to submit a paper form dropped all the way to 7.1%. And the number who actually chose to use the forms was even lower.

That’s because online portal submission is easier, faster, more secure, and all-around better for donors, the companies they work for, and the organizations they support. It’s been proven time and time again: When both an electronic submission option and a paper one are offered to the same employee group, more matching gift submissions are completed through the online process.

In fact, some of the most well-known philanthropic companies have adapted to an online-only submission process over the past few years. Check out these quotes from the following employers:

  • IBM: “New process for 2017. Next year, we will introduce an online process for matching grants and eliminate the use of printed applications.”
  • Merck: “Please discontinue the use of all paper request forms. Matching gift funds should be submitted via the Merck website.”
  • Alliant Energy: “We moved to an online request process only in 2015. This will provide a more efficient method for our Foundation.”
  • Prudential: “We will no longer offer paper forms for the Matching Gifts Program.”

And that was just the tip of the iceberg!

Discontinuation of Double the Donation’s prior matching gift form e-sign feature

So what did this mean for us?

With these process changes occurring, the percentage of donors submitting paper match requests continued to fall. By the end of 2018, only an estimated 4% of donors ⁠used the historical paper-only approach—and that figure has decreased steadily since then.

All these factors led us to the easy decision to shift our focus away from the e-signing of paper forms and toward the future of matching gifts.

Now, you might ask⁠—But haven’t you heard the statistic that 50% of companies use paper matching gift forms?

We certainly have! But it’s important to remember that in a changing industry, statistics and assumptions have to be continually re-assessed. Double the Donation commits to always looking into the data to recognize when we need to re-evaluate. This is one of those situations.

It may have been true years ago that 50% (or so) of companies required paper matching gift form submission. However, more recent analysis has shown that this statistic is not just outdated⁠—it doesn’t tell the full story.

Think about the different companies that have matching gift programs. Businesses of all shapes and sizes come to mind, from Home Depot with half a million employees to the local pizzeria that employs five individuals. Home Depot requires electronic form submission, while the local pizza joint requires paper forms. You can see that Home Depot’s program affects significantly more donors than the pizzeria.

In other words, ask yourself this:

What is more useful for your organization to know in this scenario: that 50%—or at this point, likely less⁠—of companies require paper forms or that a tiny percentage of match-eligible donors use paper forms? Which statistic should you base your fundraising decisions on?

Our answer to the previous question is exactly why we’ve started weighing our analysis by employee count⁠. And the resulting statistics tell a compelling story. The biggest matching gift programs affecting the largest percentages of donors have already moved away from paper matching gift forms. And we’re seeing smaller programs following suit, as well!

Therefore, at Double the Donation, we’re doing the same with our own development priorities.

The future of matching gift fundraising

The move to online matching isn’t the only trend we’re seeing in corporate social responsibility. In the past decade, we’ve also kept our fingers on the pulse of another trend: the increasing consolidation of workplace giving solutions.

More and more often, companies are turning to workplace giving platforms like Benevity, CyberGrants, YourCause, and more to help facilitate their matching gift programs. And it’s not just the Fortune 500 companies that are doing so! In fact, many breakthrough solutions⁠—such as Millie, Selflessly, Givinga, and POINT—have been designed specifically to aid small and mid-sized businesses in offering powerful matching gift programs.

Leveraging this type of software empowers charitable companies to do more with their philanthropic initiatives while minimizing the administrative workload. Meanwhile, we’ve also noticed that companies that outsource facilitation of their giving process can offer more streamlined and optimized processes for employees wanting to get involved. This tends to result in elevated program usage, highly engaged team members, and more dollars funneling into nonprofit causes overall.

Breakthrough auto-submission with CSR partners

In the spirit of continuous improvement when it comes to matching gift technology and the match request process, Double the Donation has recently released a new game-changing feature⁠—auto-submission.

This innovative functionality, made possible through strategic integrations with forward-thinking corporate giving platforms, enables employees to request matches directly from an organization’s gift confirmation screen. This allows them to bypass the request process almost entirely. All they typically have to do is provide their email address and authorize Double the Donation to submit their match.

Auto-submission and matching gift form e-sign process

We’ve certainly come a long way since paper forms; now, some donors don’t have to complete a form at all! And this benefits every party involved. Employee donors can request their matches in less time and with fewer roadblocks. Nonprofit organizations receive increased match funding and more highly engaged supporters. Companies see elevated program usage, satisfied employees, and better public images.

Benefits of auto-submission and matching gift form e-sign

E-submission with our standard matching gift form

And that’s not all! The Double the Donation team has also developed a standard online matching gift form that employers can use to authorize automated electronic submissions themselves.

We recommend that all companies participating in workplace giving enlist the aid of a dedicated CSR platform. But for companies that may not be ready to take that next step but are interested in simplifying the matching gift request process, it’s now quick and easy to get started with our new standard submission form.

Matching gift form e-sign with Double the Donation's standard matching gift form

This basic form collects all the data an employer would need to review and approve a match request. This includes:

  • Donor information ⁠such as their name, corporate email address, and/or employee ID number;
  • Donation information ⁠such as donation amount and transaction date;
  • Nonprofit information ⁠such as name, website, mailing address, EIN, and more.

And it’s all automated so that donors can submit their matches quickly and easily, ultimately removing common roadblocks and driving more matching gifts to completion.

Top tip! Nonprofits looking to make the most of matching gift auto-submission and Double the Donation’s standard matching gift form should be sure to fill out their Organization Profile in 360MatchPro. This allows the right information to be incorporated into the automated submission form, making it more likely that the match is ultimately approved and paid out.

Final thoughts

Matching gift submission processes are becoming increasingly standardized, centralized, and digitized. So how can we support nonprofits, schools, and other fundraising organizations in this shifting environment? The answer lies in guiding donors through the electronic portal submission process.

At Double the Donation, we focus on giving donors confidence, speed, and accuracy when submitting their matching gift requests. That means prioritizing personalized automation flows and database accuracy.

We’re heading into the future, and we hope you’ll join us!

Interested in learning more about Double the Donation’s innovative matching gift tips and tools? Check out these other educational resources:

Learn more about Double the Donation matching gift form e-sign auto-submission