Tons of companies offer generous gift-matching programs where the business agrees to match donations made by employees to a wide range of charitable causes. Those are great—and fairly well-known in the nonprofit space. However, there’s another type of corporate matching program that’s less widely understood, and that is one-off matching gift programs.
One-off matching gift programs generally involve specific partnerships between one corporation and one nonprofit organization. And the results can be grand!
If you’re interested in making the most of corporate matching opportunities for your mission, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’ll walk you through a series of questions and answers pertaining to one-off matching initiatives.
- What are one-off (or unique) matching gift programs?
- What are the benefits of one-off matching programs for nonprofits?
- How should I set up a one-off matching gift program?
- What best practices should I incorporate into my one-off matching program?
- How does auto-submission simplify participation?
- How do I enable auto-submission for my unique program?
Ready to dive in? One-off matching gift programs have the potential to bring your organization’s corporate fundraising to the next level.
Let’s start with the basics.
1. What are one-off (or unique) matching gift programs?
One-off matching gift programs are those that are unique to a single organization—in this case, yours!
For this to take place, a nonprofit typically partners with a corporation. The two teams work to organize a matching gift program with narrower criteria than a normal match program would have. Specifically, donations to your nonprofit are the only ones being matched.
You might wonder why a company would offer this particular type of donation-matching initiative. And there can be a ton of reasons, depending on the scenario.
For one example, let’s say you run an organization dedicated to breast cancer research and treatment services. Now, imagine that a corporate CEO has a soft spot for missions like yours. They come to your nonprofit team with a proposal. They’d like to match employee donations to your organization throughout the span of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
While this company may not typically have the bandwidth to match all team member donations, a one-off matching gift program can serve as an excellent way to get involved with corporate philanthropy. Alternatively, the business might offer a traditional matching gift initiative with a 1:1 ratio year-round—but choose to elevate giving during particular times by offering a temporary 2, 3, or even 4:1 match to select causes through a one-off program.
2. What are the benefits of one-off matching programs for nonprofits?
Though narrower in scope, one-off matching gift programs offer many of the same benefits that traditional matching gift programs do. Plus, this unique offering can unleash a number of exclusive advantages just for your cause.
These might include:
Building deeper connections with charitable-minded corporations. Whereas a typical matching gift program may lead to a company contributing to hundreds or thousands of nonprofits, a one-off matching gift program is just between you and your corporate partner. Therefore, it provides enhanced opportunities for strengthening your relationship. You might even be able to turn it into a recurring program!
Widening your fundraising reach to encompass new supporters. When promoted effectively, one-off matching gift programs have the potential to direct first-time donors to your organization. A company’s employees may otherwise never have been made aware of your cause. But when their employer highlights the giving opportunity, your nonprofit is at the forefront of their minds. You might even uncover some new, long-term supporters this way!
Elevating donor engagement with unique match opportunities. Perhaps your one-off matching partner employs individuals who are already involved with your cause. You have the chance to further their engagement through the program, too! In fact, studies show that simply mentioning matching gifts in donation appeals results in more than a 71% increase in response rate and a 51% increase in average gift amount.
3. How should I set up a one-off matching gift program?
Interested in getting a unique matching gift program set up for your nonprofit organization? It might be overwhelming if you’re not sure where to start, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.
We recommend following these three key steps.
Locate a corporate matching gift partner.
One-off or unique matching gift programs are, by definition, developed on an ad hoc basis. Luckily, that opens up a world of possibilities—because just about any company could offer such a program.
We recommend taking a similar approach in your search as you might pursue a traditional corporate sponsorship. This might mean:
- Identifying companies your donors work for that don’t have existing matching gift programs. Then reach out to them, share that you have a lot in common with them already (your donors and their employees), and would like to launch a one-off donation-matching initiative. Point out that it can be a great way to get into corporate giving.
- Encouraging donors to advocate for a one-off matching program on your behalf. Your donors can be some of your greatest assets! If they work for companies without existing programs, see if your supporters would be willing to pitch the idea to their employer on your behalf.
- Suggesting unique opportunities for amplifying existing matching gift programs. Perhaps there’s a company that you receive a lot of matching gifts from already. Consider proposing the idea of an increased match ratio to set your prospective one-off program apart. This can be a great place to highlight well-known giving days, awareness and affinity months, and more as key motivators for increasing the standard match for your organization.
Throughout your search, keep an eye out for companies with similar missions and visions as your own. This will help ensure your values align with one another and can maintain a mutually beneficial partnership. And don’t forget to mention the vast benefits to participating companies as well!
Determine one-off program matching guidelines.
Like a traditional matching gift program, your one-off matching initiative will likely involve a number of giving guidelines. These typically include:
- Minimum and maximum donation amounts;
- Matching gift ratios;
- Types of qualifying employees (i.e., full-time, part-time, retired);
- Submission deadlines;
- Forms and request processes.
In this regard, the only difference between a one-off and a standard match program is the nonprofits eligible for funding. Because that question is easy—the applicable organization is yours!
Still, it’s a good idea to discuss associated criteria with your matching gift partner before rolling out your program. This will enable your team to better communicate eligibility standards and ensure match requests have the required information for approval.
Add the one-off program to your matching gift database tool.
If you’ve made an effort to elevate corporate fundraising at your organization, you’ve likely invested in a matching gift database. This tool makes it quick and easy for you and your donors to locate information regarding thousands of matching gift companies.
If a company doesn’t offer a standard matching gift program, however, they likely won’t show up in a search of the database tool. But you want your donors to seamlessly locate information on your one-off program—without it populating for other ineligible causes.
Luckily, Double the Donation streamlines the process with dedicated functionality for managing unique matching gift programs in 360MatchPro. All you have to do is go into the backend of your matching gift portal and fill out a brief form regarding the offered program.
From there, the program will appear when donors search for the company name in your organization’s database tool. Here’s what it might look like:
*This functionality is currently only available for 360MatchPro Enterprise.
Not a 360MatchPro Enterprise client? Get started with Double the Donation by requesting a demo here, or find out how to upgrade your account here.
4. What best practices should I incorporate into my one-off matching program?
Want to take your organization’s unique matching gift program to the next level? Consider these smart tips and tricks to better engage your donors and your corporate partners.
Encourage your corporate partner to promote the program to employees.
A matching gift program is only as good as the employees who know about it. Uninformed team members, after all, are not likely to benefit from available corporate matching. Thus, they’re not sending additional match revenue your way.
One of the best things a company can do to drive corporate giving participation—and, as a result, get the most out of its program offerings—is to make its employees aware of the opportunity in the first place. From the nonprofit’s end, it’s a good idea to encourage proactive employee outreach in order to aid your partner in doing so.
Your team can even help drive the efforts by sending co-branded graphics, social media and email templates, sample communications, and more.
Market the opportunity to your audience.
Just like you expect your matching gift partner to promote your one-off program to their employees, it’s a good idea to market the opportunity to your audience as well. This might include:
- A social media post highlighting the program and recognizing your matching gift company for their generosity;
- A blog post on your organization’s website sharing program information and how to get involved, if applicable;
- Personalized outreach (phone calls, emails, letters, etc.) to existing and prospective donors who work for the company hosting your unique match program.
Plus, by sharing co-marketing materials with your organization’s network of support, you can help provide additional benefits to the matching gift company. When they recognize significant value from your partnership, the company will be more likely to offer workplace and corporate giving initiatives alongside your organization in the future.
Enable auto-submission functionality to streamline participation.
You want your donors to be able to take part in your matching program as easily as possible. One of the best ways to simplify participation for your supporters is to enable new matching gift auto-submission functionality through Double the Donation.
This feature essentially removes obstacles and drives more corporate match requests to completion. And we’ll share a more in-depth explanation in the next few sections!
5. How does auto-submission simplify participation?
One-off matching gift programs can suffer from many of the same roadblocks that traditional programs face. For example, common hindrances to successful matches include a lack of understanding surrounding the matching gift request process from the donor’s perspective.
Matching gift auto-submission functionality can help by providing readily available eligibility criteria and allowing streamlined requests.
Now, donors can submit their matches without ever leaving your organization’s website. Nor do they have to provide additional (often repetitive) data in a separate platform. With auto-submission enabled, all donors typically have to do is enter their corporate email address on your gift confirmation page. Then, voilà—Double the Donation handles the rest of the submission process behind the scenes.
By incorporating auto-submission for your unique matching gift program, everybody benefits! This includes:
- Your organization as you receive increased matching gift revenue and elevated donor engagement;
- Your donors as they leverage one-click matching gift requests, enabling them to make the most of their nonprofit contributions without dedicating more time and resources;
- Your corporate match partner as they see maximal program usage, more satisfied employees, and a positive brand image.
Here’s what the process can look like for your donors:
Step 1) An employee of your corporate matching company makes a donation on your organization’s website and enters the company name.
Step 2) The donor enters their email on the confirmation screen, authorizing Double the Donation to auto-submit their match request.
6. How do I enable auto-submission for my unique program?
Now you have a solid understanding of the benefits of auto-submission—both in terms of one-off and general matching gifts. So how do you actually set it up for your unique matching program?
If you already use 360MatchPro Enterprise, it’s as easy as clicking a button in the backend of the platform. When you add a one-off matching gift program to your organization’s search tool (as outlined above), it will prompt you to enable auto-submission functionality.
Once donors begin participating in your one-off matching gift program, their data will be collected for streamlined and automated requests. From there, Double the Donation will prefill the matching gift form and pass the information along to the company hosting the unique match (or the company’s CSR platform).
In order to see the best results from auto-submission forms, be sure to fill out your comprehensive Organization Profile within 360MatchPro.
This detailed profile should include your:
- Organization’s name
- Phone number
- Tax ID number (or EIN)
- Website URL
- Full mailing address
- Form W-9
- 501(c)(3) IRS affirmation letter
This allows us to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information in our automated request process. And in the end, it increases the likelihood that matches are completed without a hitch.
(Hint: Your Organization Profile helps streamline auto-submission for other companies’ more general matching gift programs as well!)
Sourcing a one-off matching gift program may be one of the best ways to make your organization stand out from the crowd. And it will enable you to grow mutually beneficial corporate relationships that can last long beyond the matching program itself.
Not to mention, with the right tips, tricks, and tools, getting started has never been easier.
Interested in learning more about matching gift programs and best practices for elevating corporate fundraising at your organization? Check out our recommended resources:
- Top 24 Matching Gift Companies: Leaders in Philanthropy. Thousands of companies match employee donations, but these programs stand out. Browse this list of particularly impactful matching gift companies from Double the Donation.
- Matching Gift Auto-Submission + CSR Platforms | What to Know. New auto-submission streamlines the matching gift process for one-off and general corporate programming. Dive deep into this innovative functionality and the providers that support it.
- How to Identify Corporate Sponsorships [With 360MatchPro]. Matching gifts aren’t the only type of corporate giving program available! Find out how to identify top corporate sponsorships and potential one-off matching gift companies with this guide.