Matching gift programs are an excellent way for nonprofits to engage supporters, double donations, and leverage corporate partners. However, a significant lack of awareness could be holding your organization back. And that’s where marketing matching gifts comes in!
In this guide, we’ll break it down as effectively as possible by covering the following topics:
- The Basics: What Is Matching Gift Marketing?
- The Value of Effectively Marketing Matching Gifts
- Best Practices for Successful Matching Gift Marketing
- Key Matching Gift Marketing Channels for Nonprofits
- Building Out an Impactful Matching Gift Marketing Toolkit
- Bonus! How Companies Can Market Matching Gifts to Employees
Your donors love to support your cause. And matching gifts are another powerful way that they can do so!
The Basics: What Is Matching Gift Marketing?
Matching gift marketing is the process a nonprofit or other fundraising institution takes to proactively promote corporate or employee matching gift programs to its supporters.
This often involves driving awareness of program availability in the first place, reminding donors of their eligibility, and encouraging qualifying individuals to complete their end of the matching gift process.
The Value of Effectively Marketing Matching Gifts
Mission-driven organizations need every dollar they can get in order to fund their programming and day-to-day operations. Luckily, matching gifts are an effective way to increase an organization’s revenue without asking too much of individual donors.
Current corporate giving trends point to growing generosity among companies, particularly through matching gift programs. As a nonprofit professional, strategically promoting these philanthropic opportunities can substantially increase your team’s fundraising potential. Just think about what you could do with double the funding.
After all, the most common reason why donors don’t submit match requests is that they don’t know their employer offers such a program. Recent studies even estimate that:
- More than 26 million individuals work for companies with matching gift programs.
- More than 78% of match-eligible donors have never been made aware of the opportunity by their employers.
- An additional 16% know their company matches but are unsure if they qualify or how to submit a request.
This results in only an estimated 10% of eligible donors ultimately going on to complete the matching gift process on behalf of the organizations to which they give. And it’s a leading cause of the funding gap we see each year—with $4 to $7 billion in matching gift funds going unclaimed on an annual basis.
Marketing matching gifts is a direct solution to this critical problem.
Plus, promoting matching gift opportunities in donor outreach has even been known to result in increased individual giving, as well! 84% of donors say they’re more likely to donate if a match is offered, and 1 in 3 donors indicate they’d give a larger gift if matching is applied.
So not only do matching gift programs double donations, but they also encourage donors to increase their original gift—making the matched gift larger, too!
And since supporters love getting involved, it can also offer an excellent source of engagement. It allows your team an opportunity to interact and deepen your relationships with donors without making an additional request for funds.
Best Practices for Successful Matching Gift Marketing
Marketing matching gifts is an investment, but smart practices can allow your team to maximize its ROI. Make the most of your efforts by implementing these tried-and-true tips and tricks!
Train your internal team.
A nonprofit’s internal team should be some of the organization’s most valuable matching gift champions. That said, if you’re looking to increase your marketing results, it’s important to ensure that your own team of paid staff and volunteers is up to speed beforehand.
Specifically, we recommend forming a dedicated workplace giving team made up of members from marketing, volunteer, and other key departments.
This group will address and streamline specific roles in the matching gift process—such as managing CSR vendor portals, verifying donations, and more. Not to mention, you’ll always have someone to answer donors’ questions about how or why matching gifts matter and how to get involved.
Tip: Get started with some of the educational resources in our online hub here—such as the Ultimate Guide to Securing Matching Gift Buy-In, our complete Matching Gift Academy, and more.
Consider your timing.
Matchable donations have lifespans, so it’s important to promote matching gifts to eligible donors before the clock runs. A supporter can’t donate one year and submit a matching gift request for that donation a few years down the line, which means the cadence of your messaging is crucial.
For the best results, we recommend sending your first matching gift promotions in the first 24 hours after an individual donates to your cause. This allows you to re-engage supporters while your mission—and their recent donation—is still at the forefront of their minds and giving momentum remains high.
(Hint: automation software that integrates with your fundraising tools can ensure you won’t let any potential matches slip through the cracks—but more on that later!)
Another popular option involves sending year-end matching appeals, which remind donors of impending corporate deadlines as the calendar year comes to a close. This time of year, also known as the giving season, tends to see increased generosity anyway. So it’s the perfect chance to should ramp up your promotions to new and unclaimed matching gift donors concerning the opportunities—and the urgency—at stake.
Leverage multimedia elements.
It’s important to make your matching gift marketing efforts stand out to your audience, and multimedia elements can be a great way to do so. By incorporating relevant photos, graphics, videos, and more, you can more effectively grab and retain your supporters’ attention!
Even fundraising eCards like the one pictured above can help differentiate your messaging with unique and engaging visual elements!
Employ an omnichannel marketing strategy.
Impactful matching gift marketing relies on a well-thought-out promotional plan. In most cases, employing a single outreach tactic is not enough.
Instead, omnichannel promotions empower your team to effectively break through the marketing clutter and strengthen connections with your audience. The more familiar your audience is with the concept and availability of corporate matching gifts, the more likely they are to partake. And the higher the revenue you can expect to see!
We’ll walk through our recommended marketing channels in depth below. But in short, it’s a good idea to incorporate matching gift promotions in your digital outreach (like emails and texts), on your nonprofit website, and more
Key Matching Gift Marketing Channels for Nonprofits
Speaking of omni- (or multi-) channel marketing, how should you determine which mediums to employ in your strategy?
We’ve outlined the most common channels—which include an organization’s email, social media, online presence, SMS messaging, and direct mail—below.
Email outreach is a vital component of online fundraising. Not to mention, it’s significantly lower cost than its direct mail counterpart and offers additional benefits in terms of sustainability as well.
Plus, it’s a versatile medium with multiple ways to engage supporters. These include:
With enough space to incorporate a quick blurb or even a full article, electronic newsletters are a great place to educate donors about matching gifts. You might even send a quarterly biannual edition dedicated solely to matching gifts!
When your nonprofit receives a gift, you should always say thank you. And more than likely, you have some sort of automated system in place to trigger emailed donation receipts. So use those messages as a way to promote matching gifts! Recent donations are fresh on donors’ minds, and a little nudge saying that they can double their donations without shelling out another cent can go a long way.
However, having a dedicated matching gift email cadence (in addition to your initial gift acknowledgments) typically produces even greater results results.
Dedicated Match Emails
Unfortunately, many donors simply skim and discard (or just discard) acknowledgment emails. That’s why you’ll want to send a follow-up email just for matching gift information to make sure it gets through. And these can be targeted for each donor, providing company-specific details regarding the next steps and submission forms, too!
And remember to focus on donation (and matching gift) impact! This is likely to be one of your most valuable matching gift marketing tools, so make the most of it with a well-thought-out digital outreach plan.
For the best results, be sure your emails are sent from your organization’s own email domain (rather than a third-party service) to instill a sense of trust in the recipient. You’ll also want to brand your emails with your nonprofit’s consistent graphic style—including colors, logos, fonts, and more.
Chances are that your team sends a ton of emails. When you incorporate matching gifts in your email signatures, every message is a chance to promote the opportunity. All you need is a simple blurb or a graphic (branded to your organization!) about corporate giving. This can increase awareness and be the needed push for donors to learn more or submit their matches.
The bottom line is that whether you market matching gifts in your email signatures, newsletters, acknowledgments, or separate match-specific messages, email allows you to showcase matching gifts in a prominent way.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are being increasingly used by nonprofit teams to spread their messages to wide-reaching audiences. These sites have become powerful tools for fundraising pushes and engagement opportunities—which means sharing matching gift information should be a no-brainer.
In order to best appeal to your followers and inspire action, it’s important to keep up with current trends and practices. For example, we recommend incorporating eye-catching graphics with short and sweet captions, hashtags, and more.
Just be sure to include links to additional resources—such as your website—where donors can take a deeper dive into the topic!
Your nonprofit’s website is the centralized hub for all information regarding your cause and how to get involved. Unsurprisingly, it’s also a great place to market revenue opportunities like matching gifts.
And there are a few key ways that we recommend doing so.
Dedicated Matching Gift Page
A dedicated matching gift page on your organization’s website can be an excellent space to overview the matching gift opportunity and a donor’s role within it. The goal is to give donors a centralized resource to learn about matching gifts and to be spurred into relevant action.
Consider incorporating additional details such as inspirational matching gift statistics or annual matching gift figures. If you subscribe to a matching gift service like Double the Donation, include your matching gift company search tool on this page, too.
Fun fact! 93% of the leading peer-to-peer nonprofits host a dedicated matching gift page on their websites and/or event pages.
Ways to Give Page
More than likely, you already have a Ways to Give page on your organization’s website. As this is an ideal space for supporters to learn about all of their donation options to your nonprofit, it’s important to add matching gifts to the list.
This can incorporate a quick matching gift blurb that links to your more built-out match page for additional information. Depending on how your Ways to Give page is structured, you might even be able to embed your matching gift tool here as well!
Once you’ve developed in-depth matching gift website content, make sure it’s easy to find from your website’s home page. Our recommendation? Add your matching gift page to your website’s navigation bar!
Incorporating a link to your matching gift page in your primary site menu (or a drop-down “Giving” submenu) allows donors to intuitively discover the opportunity. If an individual browses your website and has never heard of corporate philanthropy, simply seeing there’s a page about it can spark curiosity.
Does your team host blog content on your website regarding organizational updates, fundraising wins and efforts, and more? If so, be sure to share an article or two dedicated to matching gift opportunities!
Blog posts are a great way to start the conversation about corporate giving while also evoking emotion in readers. For example, you might demonstrate the importance of matching gifts through tangible impact stories while educating your audience about how to submit the necessary forms.
Double the Donation even offers prewritten matching gift articles that you can use to get started!
The best time to promote matching gifts is when your donors are actively supporting your organization. There’s no time like the present, and people are already in a giving mood. Why not inform them about how they can give twice as much?
That’s why marketing matching gifts directly within your donation process is a must. Specifically, your online giving page can be a vital tool for collecting employment information—which should then inform your personalized outreach strategy.
All you need to do here is include a brief mention of matching gifts on your donation form. Contextualize your request for employer data as a means of determining match eligibility status. You can even say something along the lines of, “Keep an eye out for additional information regarding matching gift opportunities after you submit your gift.”
From there, we also recommend highlighting matching gifts on your donation confirmation screen!
With a matching gift tool, you can provide automated insights based on the employer a donor selected on the previous page. This should include company minimum and maximum donation amounts, match ratios, qualifying nonprofits, employee types, and direct links to online submission forms.
As a fundraising organization, you likely aim to keep your marketing costs low, so you may have skipped over paid advertisement channels altogether. However, online search ads may be available to your group at no cost through in-kind sponsorships like Google’s advertising grant.
The Google Grant provides ad space up to $10,000 per month to qualifying nonprofits. If eligible, your organization can promote your online matching gift content on relevant search engine results pages for free!
This is a great way to increase your mission’s visibility to a wider audience, inspiring new and existing donors alike to support your cause through matching gifts and more.
SMS text messaging is an underrated form of outreach that can produce big results by meeting your supporters where they are—on their mobile devices! Thus, it makes sense that it can be a key component of a well-rounded matching gift digital marketing strategy.
We recommend using personalized texts as a way to nudge match-eligible donors toward submitting their requests. However, you can even send organization-wide SMS blasts to increase general awareness of matching gifts—and encourage all supporters to look into the opportunity.
The debate between paper communications and online means has raged on for years. While electronic outreach is quick and easy, some donors still prefer to stay in touch via direct mail. Nonetheless, employing both types of marketing channels in tandem works best.
If you’re interested in incorporating physical mailings in your matching gift marketing strategy, this might include a combination of printed matching gift letters, postcards, paper inserts, newsletters, return envelopes, and more.
Building Out an Impactful Matching Gift Marketing Toolkit
Just about any modern marketing endeavor relies on technology with which to plan and carry out the strategy. And oftentimes, the better-equipped the technology, the better the results (and the ROI).
The same is true when it comes to promoting matching gift opportunities to your audience. Thus, it’s essential that you empower your team with the right tools in your toolkit. Here’s what we recommend!
A Matching Gift Automation Platform
Employing dedicated matching gift software opens the door to a multitude of impactful marketing—and revenue—opportunities.
With Double the Donation’s matching gift platform, you can embed this industry-leading database tool directly on your website and donation forms. This way, supporters can easily discover whether they qualify for matching and receive detailed insights regarding their companies’ programs to get started.
More specifically, 360MatchPro:
- Automatically screens for match-eligible donors through multiple identification methods;
- Enables donors to select their employer from over 24,000 companies and subsidiaries to uncover qualifying matches;
- Triggers personalized marketing communications, informing supporters of available matching gift or volunteer grant opportunities;
- Provides direct links to employer-specific matching gift request portals and online forms to simplify the submission process for donors.
And the results are great! In fact, recent findings show that leveraging a matching gift automation tool like 360MatchPro increases matching gift revenue for nonprofits by an average of 61%.
Integrable Fundraising Technologies
Matching gift software can go a long way toward optimizing marketing efforts and bringing awareness to donors. But it relies on an ecosystem of fundraising technology integrations to provide a seamless experience for nonprofits and their donors.
Luckily, Double the Donation integrates with 90+ of the industry’s largest technology providers. Empowering organizations to streamline matching gifts with ease, these include:
- Donation tools — Integrating matching gift software with your donation tools (including those that power your general fundraising forms and peer-to-peer giving pages) allows you to incorporate a company search tool directly within the giving process. From there, you can collect invaluable donor employment information and inspire actionable next steps from your confirmation screen and follow-up emails!
- CRMs — When you connect your matching gift tool with your organization’s constituent management system, you can enable your software to screen incoming records for match-eligible donors. Once supporters are marked as likely qualifying for corporate matching, the technology can trigger personalized and automated outreach that aims to increase awareness of match opportunities and drive more available matches to completion.
- CSR platforms — If your matching gift platform integrates with CSR (or corporate social responsibility) tools, you can benefit from tighter relationships with the companies supporting your organization. For example, Double the Donation’s auto-submission capabilities enable qualifying donors to submit their matches in seconds directly from an organization’s giving experience.
Bonus! How Companies Can Market Matching Gifts to Employees
Tons of companies offer matching gift programs. But the extent to which they promote the opportunities to their employees can vary drastically. In fact, the aforementioned studies indicate that only 19% of companies include substantial information regarding matching gift programs in their easily accessible employee-facing materials.
That’s why more and more nonprofits are taking a proactive approach to matching gift promotions. It also means there’s a significant opportunity for companies to ramp up their internal marketing of the programs among employees.
This can be done in a variety of ways, such as:
- Employee handbooks — A company’s employee handbook is an excellent place to store the details of its matching gift program, including an official matching gift policy (like the one outlined in this free template!).
- Teamwide communications — Internal communication channels, such as email blasts or newsletters, offer a crucial opportunity to promote matching gifts and provide relevant updates on changes or developments.
- Company websites — Sharing corporate giving information on a business’s website is an easy way to promote the opportunity to qualifying employees. Plus, it can outline the offerings for other interested stakeholders—including investors, consumers, nonprofit partners, and more.
- Onboarding materials — Including information about a matching gift program in new employee orientation materials helps ensure that employees are aware of the program from the start.
- Workplace incentives — Leveraging recognition or unique rewards for participating in matching gifts can help promote the program and encourage employees to get involved by giving back to their communities.
Matching gift companies get the highest return on their investment when employees make the most of available programming. Ultimately, increased marketing efforts by companies, in addition to nonprofit marketing pushes, are likely to result in strengthened philanthropic partnerships that benefit all parties involved.
All in all, marketing matching gifts involves using a variety of promotional and engagement strategies to increase awareness regarding the opportunity and ultimately drive more matches to completion.
Effective marketing involves a multifaceted approach—so get started implementing these strategies in your fundraising strategy as soon as possible. It’ll be a win-win for your organization, its donors, the companies supporting your efforts, your mission beneficiaries, and more.
On your mark(eting)…get set…go!
Interested in learning more about marketing matching gifts to your audience? Check out our recommended further reading:
- 14 Types of Matching Gift Letters Every Nonprofit Should Send. One of the most impactful ways to increase matching gift awareness and involvement? Sending matching gift letters! Browse our favorite types and examples of each in this blog.
- What You Need to Know About Retaining Matching Gift Donors. Your job isn’t over once you’ve converted matching gift donors for the first time. Instead, it becomes time to engage them in the long run with a dedicated matching gift retention plan.
- Digital Marketing for Nonprofits: The Ultimate Guide. Looking to enhance your other nonprofit promotional efforts? Dive deep into the world of nonprofit digital marketing with this complete guide! Explore our favorite tips, tricks, and ideas here.