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:
- Giving Days + The Importance of Matching Gifts
- Raising More with 360MatchPro: A Feature Overview
- 5 Key Tips for Matching Gifts on Giving Days
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 institution’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 an educational institution or nonprofit cause 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.
What organizations host Giving Days?
Although fundraising groups of all shapes and sizes might establish an annual Giving Day tradition, these tend to be particularly popular among school fundraisers. This typically includes:
- Colleges and universities
- K-12 schools
- Private religious institutions
- Traditional public schools
- Charter and magnet schools
Higher ed institutions and K-12 schoools alike often produce incredible results with academic-focused Giving Day fundraising efforts. In fact, many education-based causes even utilize their Giving Days as one of their most primary sources of revenue each year. And doing so is a fantastic opportunity to engage alumni and leverage school spirit to drive a sense of community toward a common goal.
Where do matching gifts come in?
Corporate matching gifts enable organizations like educational institutions 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!
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.
While each company that matches employee donations chooses which types of charitable efforts it will support, the good news is that education institutions (which are often the primary organizer of annual Giving Days) are almost always included as an eligible cause.
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 education and nonprofit 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 also provides nonprofit users with unique custom matching gift program functionality that empowers organizations to add and manage “one-off” match programs in their own database tool. So if your organization secures a custom matching gift partner ahead of your Giving Day (which we’ll cover in more depth below), you’ll be able to easily configure the program to populate when your donors search the company name.
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.
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.
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.
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.
5 Key Tips for Matching Gifts on Giving Days
Looking for practical and actionable steps you can take to improve your nonprofit or school’s fundraising strategies regarding both Giving Days and matching gifts? You’ve come to the right place!
Here are some tried-and-true practices that we recommend for optimal engagement 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. And if you already have access to this information for your school’s alumni, you can leverage those data points as well.
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. Identify corporate partners to organize custom matching gift programs.
Another often-underutilized type of matching gift initiative called a custom or “one-off” matching gift program, has the potential to bring your Giving Day matching strategy to new heights. After all, not all companies have widely available matching gift programs. However, many are willing to consider the practice, especially in a smaller-scale initiative.
In the months or weeks leading to your upcoming Giving Day campaign, consider reaching out to donors’ employers who don’t currently match gifts and propose the opportunity for a unique, limited-scale program instead. Rather than matching donations its employees make to any nonprofit or educational institution, the company would commit only to matching gifts made to your specific group.
Since custom match programs are generally time-limited campaigns in the first place, they work particularly well when aligned with Giving Day (or week, month, etc.) efforts. And if you use Double the Donation’s matching gift platform (as highlighted above)—or are looking to get running with it before your Giving Day (as recommended below)—there’s a built-in functionality for managing custom programs now available to all standard account users!
5. 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 and get acquainted with the solution.
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. Even better, 360MatchPro integrates seamlessly with tons of top donation platforms, including some of the largest school and higher ed fundraising tools. This allows your institutions to get started easier than ever before!
(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.
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, education and nonprofit 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:
- Corporate Matching Gift Programs: Understanding the Basics. Become an expert on all things matching gifts with our comprehensive guide on the topic. You’ll be all set to raise more when your Giving Day arrives!
- Top 30 Matching Gift Companies: Find Your Match. Thousands of companies offer gift-matching programs, but some are particularly generous with their contributions. Check out this list of 30 top companies to look out for.
- 215+ Amazing Fundraising Ideas for Your Organization. Diversify your Giving Day efforts with some of our other favorite fundraising ideas—just remember to incorporate matching gift opportunities in everything you do!