According to recent studies, more than 26 million individuals work for companies that match employee gifts. However, an estimated 78% of the group has never been informed about the available philanthropic programming. Thus, in order to maximize funding, it’s important to increase matching gift awareness across your network of support.
In this guide, we’ll touch on some impactful marketing efforts to get your donors ramped up to submit those matching gift forms to their employers. But we’ll also cover why awareness is crucial to matching gift success, how you can set your staff up to champion your efforts, and what to do after educating donors about the opportunities at hand.
Specifically, you’ll learn:
- Why increasing matching gift awareness matters
- How to drive awareness internally with your staff
- 10 marketing methods to increase matching gift awareness among donors
- Next steps to consider
Surely, your organization aims to maximize the impact of each donation you receive. Matching gifts are one of the best ways to do so—but in order to drive results, your supporters need to know about them.
Why increasing matching gift awareness matters
Ensuring donors are aware of matching gifts is one of the biggest obstacles your organization will face. However, it’s essential for increasing funding through these programs.
There are billions (yes, billions—to the tune of $4,000,000,000 to $7,000,000,000 worth) of corporate giving dollars left unclaimed each year. Why? Largely because the majority of eligible donors have never been informed of the opportunity.
In fact, without a strategic approach to increase matching gift awareness…
- 78% of donors do not know if their company offers a matching gift program;
- 15% of donors know their company has a program but are unsure if they’re eligible or how to submit a matching gift request;
- Only 7% of donors are aware that their company matches gifts, know they’re eligible, and understand how to submit their matching gift requests.
Not to mention, donors love participating in matching gift programs—so long as they know they exist. These initiatives allow them to double or even triple the impact of their giving to the charitable organizations they support. And they don’t even have to reach back into their own wallets to do so!
An analysis of donor behavior even indicates that nonprofit supporters are more likely to give—and to give more—when they know their donations will be matched. In fact, 84% of survey participants say they’re more likely to donate if a match is offered. And 1 in 3 donors would give a larger gift if matching is applied!
As a result, organizations saw a 71% increase in response rate and a 51% increase in average donation amount when matching gifts were mentioned.
That means when donors are aware of the opportunities, your organization can benefit not only from more corporate matches but from increased individual giving altogether.
Starting with your staff; driving awareness internally
Increasing matching gift awareness among donors is critical for a nonprofit to maximize its fundraising potential. However, before a nonprofit can effectively communicate the benefits of matching gifts to donors, it is crucial that its internal team fully understands the opportunity themselves.
After all, a nonprofit’s staff (or volunteers) are likely the primary point of contact with supporters. Therefore, it’s essential that the internal team understands the concepts behind corporate matching gifts and is equipped to support donors interested in participating.
Here’s what we recommend:
- Conducting regularly scheduled dedicated matching gift training sessions for all donor-facing staff and volunteers;
- Incorporating matching gift information in new team member onboarding materials going forward;
- Developing easily accessible internal materials that provide an overview of matching gifts, frequently asked questions and answers, benefits, and more;
- Establishing a matching gift team leader to whom the rest of the team can direct inquiries regarding matching gifts to learn more.
Luckily, Double the Donation offers a wide range of free resources that can help guide you through the process—from educational blog posts to immersive webinars and more.
Staff members who are familiar with matching gift programs can best serve as advocates for the opportunity to eligible donors. By equipping staff members with the knowledge and tools necessary to promote corporate matching, a nonprofit can effectively communicate the benefits of matching gifts to donors and maximize its fundraising potential.
10 marketing methods to increase matching gift awareness among donors
Now it’s time to make your donors aware of the available programming that can double their impact on your cause.
There are a ton of ways to do so—but we’ve selected a few of our favorite marketing strategies to increase matching gift awareness for your audience here.
1. Create a matching gift web page.
To make it easy for donors to learn about matching gift programs, create a dedicated matching gift web page on your nonprofit’s website.
This centralized hub of matching gift information should provide an overview of corporate donation-matching, explain the tangible benefits of these programs for your cause, and include an intuitive database search tool for donors to uncover their own eligibility.
You’ll also want to include basic information about your organization, including contact details for your matching gift coordinator, your tax ID number, and more.
In doing so, you can target supporters who are perusing your website—which can actually drive them further down the donation funnel and encourage them to give more—and provide donors with a trusted resource with everything they need to get started.
Then, you can link to this hub in your other marketing materials, demonstrating how donors can learn more about the opportunity. You might even use your match page to train your internal staff on matching gifts!
2. Highlight matching in fundraising appeals.
We mentioned previously that when donors are informed of matching gift opportunities prior to making their contributions, they’re more likely to give and give in larger amounts. In order to drive awareness beforehand, your fundraising appeals can really come in handy.
As you craft your next donation appeal, incorporate a quick blurb about matching gifts and the amplified impact they bring. This can be just what you need to drive on-the-fence supporters into action-taking donors!
Here’s an example: “Dear [donor], Do you work for a match-maker? Thousands of companies—employing millions of qualifying donors—agree to match the charitable gifts their team members contribute to nonprofits like ours. Find out if your company participates by searching here. Then, head to our donation form to make a match-eligible gift (or request a match from a previous and still-eligible donation)!”
3. Embed in online donation pages.
If an individual navigates to your nonprofit donation page, chances are that they’d like to support your cause. That makes your online giving forms the perfect place to promote gift-matching.
And it’s also one of your best opportunities to request employment information. [Hint: Once collected, this detail can directly aid your team in uncovering and pursuing match-eligible donations.]
We recommend embedding Double the Donation’s smart company search tool that allows donors to choose from auto-completing search results. It even takes into account common typos and company subsidiaries for the most accurate results, ensuring users can quickly select their employer from our robust database and move on to the next steps without slowing down the giving experience.
To encourage donors to complete the optional field, you’ll also want to include a short blurb about matching gifts that provides context as to why you’re asking for employment data. Here’s an example: “Millions of donors qualify to have their charitable gifts matched by their employers. See if your company offers such a program by entering your employer’s name in the box.”
4. Mention on your confirmation screen.
Immediately after completing an online donation, nonprofit supporters typically remain at a high level of engagement. It’s important to take advantage of this momentum and immediately encourage eligible donors to secure a matching gift.
And your donation confirmation or thank-you screen is a great place to begin! After all, matching gifts make a great “Next Steps” option for supporters looking to increase their impact after they submit their donations.
Consider adding a message to your confirmation screen such as this: “Thanks for your donation! Did you know your employer may match your gift and double its impact? Check if your contribution is eligible by searching for your company here.”
And when you embed Double the Donation’s matching gift plugin, you can provide quick and easy access to company-specific guidelines, forms, and more. Plus, if the individual provides their employer’s name during the giving process, the plugin tool will automatically populate with that company’s program details and direct links to submission forms!
This allows individuals to quickly move from the “general awareness of matching gift programs as a concept” phase to the “specific knowledge of their company’s initiatives and guidelines” in no time. And remember—the latter is where you want your donors to be!
5. Include matching gift information in donation acknowledgments.
If your nonprofit organization is not already including information about matching gift opportunities in donor acknowledgment letters, it’s super easy to start. Keep in mind, though, that you won’t want this to be your sole matching gift promotion. Automated donation acknowledgments and gift receipts are often quickly discarded and may ultimately end up in a “trash” box before the donor arrives at the included matching gift mention.
Still, including a brief section about corporate matching gift opportunities can be an excellent way to whet your supporters’ appetites regarding the programs. Direct donors to your aforementioned matching gift web page, and let them know that they should soon expect to receive an additional email follow-up dedicated to matching gifts.
It can be as simple as this: “Did you know that many corporations offer employee giving programs where they match donations to [your organization’s name]? Search for your company on our matching gift page to see if they provide matching gifts! Or keep an eye out for detailed next steps in a separate email.”
6. Send separate matching gift follow-up emails.
Chances are, some donors are likely to miss out on your confirmation page and/or acknowledgment promotions. But you still want to ensure that all of your supporters are exposed to matching gift information so they can make an informed decision about their next steps.
The best way to do this? Send dedicated matching gift emails after each donation you receive.
(This is also a great reminder avenue for donors who did become aware of matching gifts previously but ultimately opted to procrastinate their requests.)
If you have a record of a donor’s employer, you can even incorporate detailed and company-specific program guidelines. This will help recipients quickly determine match eligibility and lead them directly to their companies’ online submission forms to complete the request. If you’ve yet to identify a supporter’s employer, encourage them once again to provide that information so you can guide them through the matching process.
By highlighting matching gifts while your organization and its cause are still fresh on donors’ minds, you increase the likelihood that they will take action to double their gifts. That’s why we recommend sending these follow-up messages within 24 hours of receiving the initial gift. In fact, organizations that do so see an estimated 53% open rate, which is more than two to three times the average nonprofit email open rate.
7. Engage on social media.
Social media sites can be a great way to increase matching gift awareness across a wider audience. Plus, you can encourage supporters to interact with and share your content with their own followers.
Make sure to schedule regular messages throughout the year, noting occasions like Matching Gift Month and more. Use your social platforms to share stories about how the money raised for your organization is helping grow your mission—and how doubling those gifts helps amplify impact.
For the best results, adjust your messaging based on the platform on which you plan to share it. For example…
- Twitter is great for short-and-sweet blurbs about matching gifts;
- Facebook posts can be a bit longer and more in-depth;
- Instagram is designed for image-sharing—so be sure to choose eye-catching graphics that help demonstrate the power of matching gifts.
- And don’t forget about vide0-sharing sites, either—YouTube and even TikTok offer excellent opportunities for sharing matching gift videos and more.
Regardless of what you post or where you post it, you’ll want to provide direct links to resources users can access for additional information.
8. Enlist snail-mail promotions.
While electronic communication is speedy and efficient, there are still donors who would still rather the personal touch of a tangible mailing. If your organization employs direct mail outreach in your fundraising, consider exploring the tactic to increase matching gift awareness among your direct-mail-preferred donor segment.
However, you’ll want to keep in mind that the investment for this strategy can add up quickly—so make sure you’re still expecting an appropriate return.
There are a number of ways to keep your costs low, too. For example, if you’re already hosting a direct mail campaign, you might include an insert on matching gifts into your existing fundraising packet. Or similarly, you can even print matching gift information directly onto your donation return envelopes!
Still, we recommend retaining physical mailings for only your most lucrative matching gift opportunities.
9. Host a live-stream event.
If they’ve never heard of the programs before, your donors are likely to have a number of questions about matching gifts. As you begin to integrate donation-matching promotions into your overall fundraising efforts, consider hosting a live-stream event.
This will allow you to engage with your audience in real-time, encouraging supporters to attend, ask questions, and learn more about getting involved with their employers’ corporate giving programs.
Not to mention, it will also provide a unique opportunity for your team to show the persons behind your organization with a virtual, yet face-to-face experience.
10. Employ end-of-year reminders.
Unfortunately, donations typically have a limited time span during which they qualify for corporate matching. Though it can differ from company to company, many program windows close at the end of the year. Thus, it’s critical that you increase matching gift awareness among donors before it’s too late.
And end-of-year reminders can be a great way to do so.
As the year comes to a close, consider sending additional outreach that reiterates the availability of matching gifts. This can be especially beneficial for those who had been marked match-eligible despite not seeming to have submitted their matches.
Remember: the urgency at the end of the year can be an excellent tool for driving action along with awareness. So make the most of it!
After awareness — next steps to consider
Informing individuals about matching gift opportunities is phase one in securing additional financial support. But you can’t stop there!
After ensuring awareness of matching gifts, there are a few next steps we recommend to ultimately drive matches to completion, determine success, and thank donors for their above-and-beyond support.
Remind supporters about matching gifts.
Sometimes the initial steps you take to inform your audience about matching gifts won’t be enough to actually produce results. In those cases, take the extra step to remind qualifying donors about their matching gift eligibility after the fact.
To do so, it helps to track which identified matches have been submitted by donors and which ones appear to remain unclaimed. Then, follow up on incomplete matches by reminding donors about the opportunity and how easily they can get involved.
Here’s a hint: manually tracking and following up on matching gifts can be quite the undertaking. We recommend employing automation software like 360MatchPro to identify, pursue, and monitor matches throughout the process.
Thank donors for their submissions.
|Once you’re notified that an individual has completed their end of the matching gift request process, be sure to thank them for doing so. Communicate the amplified impact of an individual donation when matched, and show your appreciation accordingly.
To make your gratitude stand out in your recipients’ inboxes, consider employing customizable donor recognition eCards. It’s a fun and creative way to thank your matching gift donors for taking the next steps to amplify their giving impact. And it will keep your organization at the forefront of the recipient’s mind for longer, too!
Communicate gratitude for completed matches.
Your supporters also want to know if and when your organization receives the associated match to their donation. Despite the matching gift not coming from an individual’s own wallet, it’s important to recognize that the additional contribution would not have been possible without their actions on your behalf.
Plus, it helps close the loop with the original donor, confirming with them that the match was ultimately successful. Otherwise, they might never know it was completed, and they wouldn’t be as likely to request a match in the future.
Bonus tip: In your acknowledgments, you can even link a survey that asks donors how they learned about matching gifts. Consider listing your primary marketing efforts along with an “other” field or free response option. This will help determine which efforts are worth prioritizing in the future as well as which may be less impactful for your particular audience.
Identify ongoing opportunities.
Your organization should also be able to determine if a majority of matching gifts are coming from one company in particular or from a wide array of employers.
This is noteworthy because if your matching gifts seem to be coming from a few major employers, consider publicly recognizing the company as a valuable partner to your organization.
You can even reach out to pursue additional corporate sponsorships. This might include upcoming events, cause marketing opportunities, in-kind donations, workplace giving campaigns, and more.
Measure matching gift marketing impact.
Our final recommended step involves ensuring that your above-mentioned marketing efforts are actually working. One key piece of advice we have is to visualize your data with a chart or graph. This way, you can easily view the total (number, revenue, or percentage) of matching gifts received in a set time period.
Then, compare that figure to your previous month, year, etc., to show the difference between your results pre- and post-marketing strategy. Can you see a discernible difference in the number of matching gifts being sent in?
But to scale up your reporting capabilities, the right matching gift software can make a big difference here as well. For example, Double the Donation empowers organizations to easily track metrics such as their:
- Total individual donations
- Percentage of donations flagged as match-eligible
- Total number of matching gifts submitted
- Number of matching gifts verified by your organization
- Number of matching gifts ultimately received
- Percentage of matching gifts completed
- Value of received matching gifts
- Percentage increase due to matching gift revenue
- And more!
From there, you can take a look at your data, locate apparent trends, identify successes, and explore areas with room for improvement.
There are a variety of ways to market matching gifts to your donors, and increasing awareness of the opportunity can go a long way.
Too much money goes unclaimed by nonprofits and their donors due to a lack of awareness about corporate giving initiatives. This shouldn’t be the case!
Make sure you’re educating your supporters on a consistent and ongoing basis, and you could be well on your way to a substantial increase in matching gift fundraising success.
Interested in learning more about matching gift opportunities and how to drive participation for your nonprofit cause? Check out these additional recommended resources:
- 8 Ways to Encourage Donors to Submit Employee Matching Gift Requests. Increasing awareness of matching gifts is the first key step. But then you’ll need to drive matching gift requests to completion in order to receive funding. Dive into eight recommended practices here.
- How to Get Matching Gifts Trending at Your Organization. How can you use current marketing trends to get the word out about matching gift opportunities? We share several innovative ideas, from social media usage to artificial intelligence, in this recent blog post.
- Top Matching Gift Practices | Actionable Insights & Examples. Explore real-world examples of matching gift success. This guide walks through tried-and-true tips from the nation’s leading nonprofits—and how they promote matching gifts to their audiences.
- Interested in learning more about communicating the value of matching gifts and securing buy-in from your stakeholders? Check out our immersive webinar on the topic!