5 Tips for Optimizing Matching Gifts for a Phonathon

Phonathons are a tried-and-true resource for higher education institutions, enabling Colleges and Universities to engage donors and raise money simultaneously. What phonathons have historically struggled with, however, has been identifying donors who may be eligible for a matching gift from their employer and pursuing those matching gifts to completion. Whenever you receive a donation from an alumni or supporter, you want to make sure you’re collecting employer data so you can raise more from matching gifts. With over 18 million individuals working for companies with matching gift programs, many of your phonathon donors are bound to be eligible for a match from their employer!

So how do you optimize matching gifts yin our phonathons? Double the Donation has compiled 5 tips and tricks to effectively communicating with your donors about matching gifts and raise more in match revenue.

Double the Donation’s 5 best practices for optimizing matching gifts with phonathons and digital engagement events:

  1. Incorporate matching gifts into your caller training.
  2. Don’t just ask “where do you work?” – Communicate to donors the value of matching gifts during calls.
  3. Share written details of matching gift next steps after ending the call.
  4. Keep an eye on trends in employer information.
  5. Use a phonathon or digital engagement solution that integrates with automated matching gift tools.

1. Incorporate matching gifts into your caller training.

While you may be the head of your digital engagement event or phonathon, the people who will ultimately have that direct contact with donors and supporters will be your digital engagement ambassadors and student callers who are actually making those calls, sending those texts, and forming those direct lines of digital communication with your donors.

While you may understand the value of capturing employer data and pursuing a matching gift from your donors, your caller and digital engagement teams may not. Make sure the people who will be having those real-time conversations understand the what, the how, and the why of matching gifts.

Ensuring everyone on your team is on the same page about your matching gift goals will make the ask that much easier when your ambassadors are on the phone.

2. Don’t just ask “where do you work?” – Communicate to donors the value of matching gifts during calls.

When calling alumni and other supporters asking for donations, make sure your digital engagement ambassadors and callers are clearly communicating that “why” that you would have briefed them on in Tip #1. You want your donors to feel that their time is just as valuable as their data; simply asking “where do you work?” makes donors feel like they are just on the phone to give information for the sake of giving it. Try giving your donors a bit more context to demonstrate the value of the information they’re giving you, like:

“Many companies actually match donations made by their employees to schools and other nonprofits. Could you tell me where you’re employed so we can do a quick check to see if your gift is eligible for a match today?”

When donors know that their gift could be doubled or tripled with a company match, they’re much more receptive to the ask for their employer. Make sure you’re communicating the value of the information your donors give to callers!

3. Share written details of matching gift next steps after ending the call.

Telling donors their gift is eligible for a match is only the first step in seeing more revenue in matching gifts. It’s far more valuable if you pair that information with actionable next steps. Offering donors something to refer back to after a phonathon donation, especially a resource that can guide them the rest of the way through the matching gift process, will result in far more gift matches and a huge boost in revenue from every call!

There’s a couple ways you can go about this (spoiler alert: we recommend implementing both!).

  • Embed matching gift information into your website. Give your alumni and supporters a trusted place to find their matching gift info and guided next steps on an easy-to find webpage, so they can take action after speaking with your ambassadors – this also helps interested supporters discover gift matching and double their own donations!
  • Send matching gift information via email after calls. Placing those actionable next steps directly in your donor’s inbox after they make a gift is a powerful way to make sure those next steps are taken! You can personalize this information to their donation and employer info too, to make your guided next steps even more helpful.

4. Keep an eye on trends with employer information.

After you start collecting employer information from your alumni and supporters, you may start seeing trends in that company data. Do a lot of your alumni work in for the same companies? In similar industries? In specific locations? These are all things you can determine with greater accuracy the more donors you collect employer data from.

While these are nice-to-know facts for general fundraising initiatives, they can also have an impact on your greater matching gifts strategy. Do those common companies your donors work for have strong matching gift programs? Is there a concentrated area of match eligible donors you could target for your next campaign?

Make sure you’re considering matching gifts when analyzing those trends for future initiatives. You never know when that information could come in handy for future events, digital outreach, or even a future phonathon!

Need other phonathon best practices and tips? Check out our 14 top tips for success.

5. Use a phonathon or digital engagement solution that integrates with automated matching gift tools.

Phonathons and digital engagement events can be huge operations, and a lot can get lost in the shuffle if you don’t have a scalable system for your student ambassadors and callers to use and an easy way to organize your donor data. With matching gifts added to the mix, you’ll want an automated system to take care of all the details for you (especially the best practices outlined above!). We recommend using a phonathon system to manage all your digital engagement needs – especially one that integrates with powerful gift matching tools!

Donor Connect by Wilson-Bennett Technology and 360MatchPro by Double the Donation offer an integrated solution that allows callers to retrieve valuable matching gift information when speaking to donors on the phone, and manages that employer data in real time to store it in 360MatchPro.

Wilson-Bennett Technology Integration

That way, you can manage your future matching gifts outreach with the new data stored during every call. It takes no effort from your team to get set up with the integration, and you’ll be able to start using it right away in your next digital engagement event. Automate the best practices listed above with the integrated autocomplete search tool within Donor Connect scripts, automated email outreach, and regularly updated data sent to 360MatchPro.

Interested in getting started? Check out Donor Connect by Wilson-Technology here, and get started with automated matching gifts today.