Top Matching Gift Practices | Actionable Insights & Examples
Nonprofits, schools, and other fundraising groups are always on the lookout for new and improved ways to fund their missions. Corporate matching gifts offer an excellent fundraising lift, but many organizations have an underdeveloped strategy for pursuing this funding source. That’s why we recommend taking a look at matching gift practices from nonprofits that are already seeing high levels of success.
Recent findings have analyzed the highest revenue-generating peer-to-peer-based fundraisers and compiled a number of top strategies followed by each. Based on the report, we’ve created our own list of matching gift best practices that we suggest nonprofits employ:
- Understand the importance of matching gifts in overall fundraising.
- Establish a plan to drive matching gift participation in fundraising efforts.
- Create a detailed and easily accessible matching gift page.
- Incorporate matching gifts within the donation form.
- Provide company-specific program details on the confirmation screen.
- Send personalized matching gift emails post-transaction.
- Leverage innovative matching gift software.
Over the course of this guide, we’ll provide actionable insights and real-world examples of fundraisers having successfully implemented these practices. In the end, we hope that these exemplary organizations and practices will inspire you to take your matching gift program to the next level.
1. Understand the importance of matching gifts in overall fundraising.
The first step in optimizing your matching gift fundraising plan has to do with understanding its value. After all, when you (and your team) know why you’re doing what you’re doing to pursue matching gift opportunities, you’ll tend to be more motivated to see results.
So here’s why. The benefits of matching gifts for nonprofits are generally threefold —
- Increased corporate philanthropy funding. One of the most apparent advantages of matching gift programs is the corporate match donations that an organization receives. Think of it like the “free” part of a “buy one, get one free” promotion. When donors participate, they funnel additional corporate revenue from their employing companies to your organization. And doing so produces substantial results!
- Increased individual giving revenue. Not only do matching gift programs increase nonprofit fundraising by making more corporate funds available, but they also elevate individual giving in a few key ways. In fact, Double the Donation research reports that over 84% of survey participants are more likely to donate, and 1 in 3 donors would contribute a larger amount if matching is applied to their donation.
- Increased donor engagement. Nonprofits that employed strategic matching gift follow-ups saw up to 6x more post-donation engagement opportunities. Each outreach message is another chance to keep your cause at the top of donors’ minds for longer. This encourages supporters to get further involved with (and make a larger impact on) your organization without reaching back into their own wallets.
All in all, fundraising research demonstrates a positive correlation between matching gift practices and overall fundraising success.
Check out this graph from the Top Nonprofits report that illustrates the finding, with each point representing a top P2P event according to its total revenue and matching gift score:
This shows us that the more developed an organization’s matching strategy, the higher fundraising revenue they can expect. And at the same time, the higher the fundraising revenue an organization sees, the more developed its matching gift strategy likely is.
In other words, exploring matching gift practices like the ones outlined below typically produces multi-faceted fundraising success.
2. Establish a plan to drive matching gift participation in fundraising efforts.
Once you understand the value of matching gifts, it’s time to begin developing (and/or finetuning) your plan to maximize the funding source. Why?
Another key finding from the Top Nonprofits report saw that 100% of the P2P Top 30 fundraisers have some sort of dedicated matching gift strategy in place. While the extent of their efforts varies from one organization or event to the next, the fact that every nonprofit that made the list incorporated matching gifts in their fundraising plan in one way or another remains significant.
Follow these leading organizations’ examples and be sure that your team takes the time and effort to establish a well-thought-out plan regarding corporate matching. For the best results, we recommend incorporating the rest of these impactful matching gift practices pursued by the top fundraising organizations in your overall strategy.
3. Create a detailed and easily accessible matching gift page.
As a nonprofit fundraiser, you likely understand that your organization’s website is one of your most valuable assets for marketing, donor engagement, and more. It makes sense that you’d want to use that resource to promote matching gifts to your audience.
Hosting a dedicated matching gift web page is one of the best ways to do so—and 93.3% of the P2P Top 30 agree!
Let’s take a look at an inspirational example from one of the Top 30 fundraisers included in the study.
Here’s what this organization did well in its matching gift web page:
- Shared a brief explanation of matching gift programs and their value for donors and nonprofits;
- Embedded an auto-completing matching gift database search tool, providing access to tens of thousands of companies’ matching gift program guidelines with a few clicks;
- Overviewed the process involved for donors to get their gifts matched on behalf of the organization;
- Provided contact information often required in donors’ submission forms, ensuring everything they need is all in one, readily available hub;
- Ensured the page was easily accessible from the website’s main “Get Involved” tab.
The organization even provided an additional tab on its workplace giving page that targets potential corporate sponsors, highlighting details such as the number of companies involved, matching donations made, and total revenue raised through such programs.
4. Incorporate matching gifts within the donation form.
We’ve long stated that including matching gifts directly within the donation experience itself is one of the best ways to get the ball rolling for donors. And if the fundraisers whose practices were analyzed during the research report are any indication, many top nonprofits agree.
For one, a donation page provides an excellent opportunity to collect much-needed employment information from donors. Once you have this data, your team can then trigger targeted communications to drive more matches to completion.
Plus, simply mentioning matching gift opportunities within your online form allows your donors to begin familiarizing themselves with the idea of the programs as early as possible.
Here’s one organization that made the most of its online giving page to promote matching gifts.
Here’s what this organization did well on its donation page, specifically in regard to matching gifts:
- Established a dedicated section within the form, clearly labeled “Matching Gifts,” to grab supporters’ attention as they give;
- Provided a brief overview of matching gift programs and how to use the embedded search tool to locate company information;
- Shared next steps in the matching gift process, ensuring donors can expect additional information pertaining to their gifts and matches on the confirmation page.
By implementing these matching gift practices and more, the nonprofit was able to see standout match success through key peer-to-peer programs and additional fundraising efforts. Not to mention similar donation form tactics were also employed by many other high-ranking organizations included in the matching gift report.
5. Provide company-specific program details on the confirmation screen.
The next recommended practice has to do with the step directly after an individual completes an online donation form. In nearly all cases, the user then automatically reroutes to a gift confirmation screen. This page acknowledges that the donation was submitted, thanks the supporter for their contribution, and provides additional opportunities for involvement.
And throughout the matching gift research report, we saw that the vast majority of top nonprofits (~83.3%) also use this valuable piece of real estate to further promote matching gift participation.
Let’s take a look at one example of this practice.
Here’s what this organization did well on its confirmation page, specifically regarding matching gifts:
- Provided detailed information about an individual’s contribution, enabling them to easily compare against their company’s established matching gift eligibility criteria;
- Embedded an auto-populating matching gift widget, complete with specific program information for the company they selected on the previous page;
- Inspired immediate action with links straight to company guidelines and online submission forms.
Offering a simpler matching gift experience following an initial donation increases the likelihood of donor participation. That said, fundraisers like this team aim to streamline the process while making the most of still-high levels of supporter engagement. And when done so effectively, many donors choose to initiate their matches right from the confirmation screen.
6. Send personalized matching gift emails post-transaction.
For donors who ultimately don’t choose to get their gifts matched directly from the confirmation screen, we know that sending follow-up emails can be the next best step. That’s why 86.6% of the P2P Top 30 are pursuing matching gift opportunities with post-transaction messaging.
Let’s take a look at one leading organization’s post-donation communications—and how they highlight matching gifts.
First, here’s the donation receipt an individual receives in the minutes after submitting their gift:
And this is what the follow-up matching gift email looks like:
Here’s what this organization did well in its post-donation matching gift communications:
- Thanked donors for their initial support, acknowledging their gift impact and the opportunity for amplified results from corporate matching;
- Leveraged customizable messaging, using the nonprofit’s own consistent branding (fonts, images, colors) and email domain;
- Included matching gift information in both the gift confirmation email/donation receipt;
- Sent messages in a timely manner, with the donation receipt and initial matching email coming in within the first hour after the gift being made;
- Let donors know within the gift receipt that they will receive additional email correspondence with next steps for matching gifts;
- Referenced personalized details, such as the donor’s name, acknowledgment of a recent gift, and the company they work for;
- Shared company-specific matching gift eligibility criteria, including minimum and maximum donation amounts, match ratios, request deadlines, and more;
- Provided direct links to the online submission portal for the donor’s employer, empowering them to initiate a match with ease.
The matching gift email also encourages supporters to follow up with the organization for a quick matching gift status update after submitting their request. This enables the nonprofit’s development team to better track and forecast incoming match revenue.
7. Leverage innovative matching gift software.
While it’s technically possible to develop a matching gift strategy without the aid of dedicated technology to power your efforts, doing so is likely to require substantial investments of time, effort, and resources. On the other hand, matching gift software can go a long way toward streamlining and automating the process.
As you consider the possibilities, it’s worth noting that, of the organizations’ practices analyzed in the Top Nonprofits report, those that use matching gift software saw average matching gift scores more than twice as high as those that did not appear to use matching gift software.
Still, choosing the right software provider is essential, as well. The study reports that 73.3% of the P2P Top 30 fundraisers—and 90% of the 10 highest-earning events—leveraged Double the Donation’s match software.
Not to mention, employing a best-in-class technology solution like Double the Donation can also help your team incorporate the above best practices into your matching gift strategy—from hosting a dedicated matching gift page (complete with an embedded company search tool) to highlighting matching gifts throughout the giving experience and beyond.
If you’re interested in exploring Double the Donation’s automation platform, 360MatchPro, you can request a demo here to get started.
Plus, keep in mind that your more general fundraising technology can play a significant role here, as well. For example, Top Nonprofits indicates that organizations using tools without sufficient matching gift integration and customization options saw significantly lower matching gift scores overall—compared to fundraisers whose giving tools integrated seamlessly with a matching gift solution.
That said, we recommend taking a look at Double the Donation’s wide array of technology partners if you’re in the market for a new fundraising platform that will work well with an elevated matching gift strategy.
Whether your team is just getting started with matching gifts or you’re looking to optimize an existing strategy, taking a look at tips and tricks followed by organizations with impactful matching gift efforts can go a long way.
Integrating the above matching gift practices in your nonprofit’s fundraising has the potential to bring your overall giving to previously unimaginable heights. And now’s the best time to get started!
Keep up the learning—explore additional resources from Double the Donation and other matching gift industry experts below:
- Matching Gift Case Studies: A Look at 15+ Organizations Seeing Success with Double the Donation. Get this free download to dive deeper into the standout matching gift strategies of more nonprofits and schools utilizing 360MatchPro.
- 8 Ways to Encourage Donors to Submit Employee Matching Gift Requests. Looking for more actionable tips and best practices? This recent blog post outlines eight impactful methods for driving matching gifts to completion with strategic donor outreach.