Nonprofits have all recognized the need to thank their donors for the kind support. But is your organization taking the time to thank individuals who submit matching gift requests? Matching gifts are often an overlooked area in fundraising in general, and in donor recognition especially.
Nonprofits thank their donors with the knowledge that a little recognition can go a long way when it comes time for donations the next year. The same applies for matching gifts. If you acknowledge a matching gift, you increase the likelihood of that donor submitting a matching gift in the future.
Acknowledge Your Matching Gift Donors
There are several strategies used to thank donors for their donations all designed around showing your donors that you appreciate their matching gifts.
Check out the following list of ways to acknowledge a matching gift request.
Acknowledgment Letters and Postcards
Many nonprofits use Thank You or Acknowledgment letters to recognize their donors when they make a donation. If the donor submitted the matching gift form at the same time as their donation simply modify the letter you were originally going to send to include a message about their matching gift.
If the matching gift form is submitted by the donor after the donation acknowledgment goes out you’ll want to additionally acknowledge the receipt of the matching gift form. Not only do donors want to know that the form is being processed but it’s an additional opportunity to create a experience without asking for another monetary donation.
Similar to acknowledgement letters, postcards are an effective way to say thanks to donors for submitting a matching gift and can be very cost effective. Here’s a sample matching gift postcard sent out after the matching gift check has actually been received by the organization (often many months after the match was initially submitted).
Sample Matching Gift Postcard sent by the University of Michigan (Front Side)
Sample Matching Gift Postcard sent by the University of Michigan (Back Side)
If changing your pre-formatted donor letters is a hassle or you don’t have the funds to send a separate matching gift acknowledment, why not automate the whole process with a dedicated email for matching gift donors? It doesn’t have to be long or complicated. Just a few sentences thanking them for submitting a matching gift.
Sample Matching Gift Thank You Email Sent Out By NC State
Be sure to highlight how important matching gifts are for the organization!
Newsletter Recognition Lists
If your organization sends out a regular newsletter consider creating a section where you list the overall financial impact of matching gifts which you’ve received in the last year.
If you want to take it a step further highlight the companies which provided matching gifts as well as the donors who took the time to initiate the matching gifts. This will publicly acknowledge your donors, while simultaneously increasing awareness of matching gifts among your other donors.
Recognizing Donors on Social Media
Does your organization have Twitter or Facebook accounts? Utilize your social media accounts to promote matching gifts by recognizing individuals by name who submit matching gift requests. Not only does this immediately acknowledge your matching gift donors, but it also alerts all your other followers about employee grant programs.
Save time, raise awareness, and increase donations – all with a single tweet or status update.
Have you ever been to a movie double feature? They are great. You get in the movie-going mood, take the time out of your busy life to make it to the theater, buy your popcorn, sneak in your candy, splurge on a huge soda, and then settle in for two great films. Oh, and most importantly, you’re only paying for one.
Once a donor contributes to your organization, they can submit a request to their company (if they have a program) to have their gift matched. If your nonprofit qualifies, the corporation will send with a check for the same amount or more depending on the company’s matching ratio.
However, just like it takes a bit of extra planning and time management skills to get yourself to a double feature, it will take your team a bit of extra work to secure those matched gifts.
To ensure that your nonprofit maximizes its efforts, we’ve curated a list of the 11 most valuable matching gift best practices:
- Study up on matching gifts.
- Appoint a matching gift coordinator.
- Raise awareness about matched giving.
- Collect donor employer details when appropriate.
- Strive for easy accessibility.
- Keep records of the matched gifts through the entire process.
- Thank your donors for submitting a matching gift request.
- Cultivate relationships with donors’ companies.
- Maintain and update your donor records.
- Perform a prospect screening.
- Track and review your progress.
Follow these tips, lean back in your seat, and watch the credits roll!
Here’s the good news: if you want to learn about matching gifts you will have no issue doing so.
The topic of matching gifts isn’t some incredibly intimidating subject like organic chemistry. Reaching an effective level of working knowledge is certainly possible.
Begin like you would with any subject by reading what you can. Try to build a strong foundation of knowledge, so that when you implement your program you’ll be set to handle obstacles as they arise.
Having a keen sense of matching gifts and what goes into obtaining them will be crucial in planning your program and standardizing your processes.
Learning, for instance, the matching gift guidelines for the three biggest companies in your area would help your team target donors from those companies. Chances are, some of your preexisting donors work at one of those three. Play the odds when picking and choosing when to research specifically and when to stay general.
In the ideal situation, everyone on your organization’s team will be well-versed in matching gift programs. However, by appointing an expert to lead your team, you’ll have the time and resources to implement matching gifts into your overall strategy.
Your nonprofit will be better served hiring a matching gift coordinator than it would be having your whole staff know just a few facts about matching gifts. The coordinator is the expert, and the rest of your employees should know enough to field the questions that they can and pass along the rest.
The coordinator is the designated point-person for all matching gift queries and problems, as well as the staffer in charge of seeing the donations through until the end.
Your coordinator will be able to keep your various departments in the loop about what’s going on and need-to-know information.
All staff should be promoting matching gifts when relevant, but the matching gift coordinator will be the coach leading your team to victory.
If your organization wants advice when hiring a matching gift coordinator, why not consider hiring an executive search firm? The consultants can help you craft the perfect job description and lead you through the entire hiring process.
What if you don’t have the funds or employee base to designate a matching gifts coordinator?
Set aside some time and have a team do the research and put together matching gift materials including:
- Educational packets
- Letter templates
- Newsletter copy
- Answers to FAQs
- Fast facts
With these resources, and resources like them, any member of your team should be prepared to handle most matching gift occurrences and problems.
Once you have a solid understanding of matching gifts and an idea of how the process will work internally, it is time to spread the word. People need to know about matching gifts before they can request them.
No need to be coy at this point, the goal is mass awareness. Think like Paul Revere. The British may not be coming, but matching gifts are.
Lucky for everyone, technology has drastically improved since Revere’s days, so nonprofits now have plenty of ways to promote matching gifts.
Put matching gifts on your ‘ways to give’ page, like Girls Scouts of Greater Atlanta did:
Create a dedicated matching gift page, like the ASPCA did:
Outline matching gifts in an email newsletter, like CMTA did:
These are just three of many, many options. Get creative.
Matching gift promotion should span all of your communication platforms. Diversify your marketing so that it can reach a diverse audience of donors.
Become a Matching Gift Expert! Grab our Free Ultimate Guide to Matching Gifts.
Part of your educational materials for donors will give them access to determine if their companies have matching gift programs, but if your staff is able to readily see the employer of any given donor in your database, they can then go the extra mile to obtain that donation.
A major gift donor who works for a company with a generous matching gift program can make a huge difference in a nonprofit’s annual budget.
You also don’t want to waste the time of your employees.
Knowing the companies donors work for will help you segment out matching gift prospects.
If you are promoting on, say, email, zeroing in on only the prospects with the most potential wouldn’t make sense. What about a calling campaign, though? Staff won’t have time to call all donors and prospects. That’s where employer info can make a world of difference.
For a donor, securing a matching gift is an easy process that has the misfortune of sounding complicated. Brand it better.
Clear and concise language, with easy to understand directions will make your donors much more likely to seek out matching gifts. Donors who have already been kind enough to donate should not have to follow-up with a bunch more work.
- List the typical steps involved in the process on your dedicated page
- Insert a matching gift widget that can help the donor search for her company’s program
- Send out informational mailed materials
- Highlight key matching gift statistics
- Point out a few of the companies that commonly match gifts for your nonprofit and detail those programs
Ensure that your nonprofit is a one-stop shop for all things matching gift.
This task will usually fall under the matching gift coordinator’s jurisdiction.
Essentially, you’ll want to know what requests have been made, when they are processed, and when they have been fulfilled.
Keeping accurate records will guarantee that no attempted matching gifts slip through the cracks. There can be a lot of moving parts in the process among the donor, donor’s employer, and the nonprofit, and there will be some level of back-and-forth.
A clear trail of what has happened and what needs to happen will make interactions a lot easier and lot more efficient.
The more standardized and systematic the process you use is, the better the results will be.
Donors involved with matching gifts have gone the extra mile for your cause. Your thank you should reflect that.
Just like matching gifts have doubled your donations, matching gift thank yous should be double as well. Thank once for the initial donation and a second time when the matched gift goes through.
You might want to put together a special event to honor matching gift donors. The goal is to show genuine gratitude towards what they’ve done to help, but something like a special event will also promote the program to those who are unaware of it.
If you don’t have the resources for an entire event, try publicly thanking those involved on social media.
Social media is a great place to promote matching gifts, but it is also a top outlet for acknowledgment. A strategic Facebook post can kill two birds with one stone by thanking a matching gift donor while getting the idea of matching gifts into the heads of your Facebook community.
You should also consider thanking your donors’ companies. The donor has brought the company to you, so make sure you’re taking your open shots.
Matching gifts can provide a much-desired introduction to major corporations with top-notch corporate giving.
When an employee asks her company to match her gift, by nature of the process the company will be exposed to your nonprofit. If you want to foster a new relationship, your nonprofit is going to have to impress the company.
By having all of your matching gifts ducks in a row, your staff can focus on building those corporate relationships, instead of troubleshooting submission issues.
A disorganized and dysfunctional donor database is really going to hold your fundraisers back when it comes to matching gifts.
With out-of-date information, your staff has no chance of making a real go of acquiring matching gifts.
You could send out mailers with blanks for donors to fill-in any changes to their personal details.
Once the information is in your system, your next move is going to be making sure those who need it can find it. Having data stored in such a manner that only one senior team member can even find it does your organization no good.
If you’re looking for donors with large capacities to donate and great matching gift programs, prospect screenings are going to be a big help.
A major insight prospect research can provide is the list of business affiliations of potential donors, like where they work and where their spouses work. If a donor’s spouse works for a major matching gift company, your donor will often qualify for those donations as well.
Matching gift participation rates can vary from 3% to 65% based on how much the individual companies promote their programs. With the knowledge derived from prospect screening, you’ll be able to take a well-prepared approach to finding matching gift donors.
Students earn grades and receive progress reports. Professional athletes watch game tape and practice all week long. No one can get better without locating weaknesses and focusing on changing them.
This rule applies to matching gifts as well. An established system designed with achievement assessment in mind is a valuable asset.
So that you can properly grade your program track:
- The matching gift money raised in previous years
- The matching gift money raised in the time following your program’s inception
- Your top matching gift employer
- The costs and time it takes to acquire the gifts
- The percentage of your total revenue that matching gifts account for
Simply advocating for matching gifts won’t be enough to run a successful program. Tracking data and looking at results is the best way to know how your nonprofit is doing and what its areas of improvement are.
Corporate giving programs are out there for the taking. Major corporations like GE and Microsoft have some of the best matching gift programs in the world.
Institute these matching gifts best practices and get ready for the second movie to start.
For more matching gift advice, check out these additional resources:
- Marketing Matching Gifts: Want more ways to promote matching gifts. This guide takes you through several ideas on how your organization can best market matching gifts.
- Ultimate Guide to Major Gifts: Like we mentioned earlier, encouraging major donors to submit matching gifts can add even more money to your annual fund. Learn the ins and outs of major donors with this helpful guide.
- Matching Gift Database: If you want more information on matching gift programs, take a look at Double the Donation’s matching gift database.
Are you just jumping on the matching gift bandwagon? Worried about having to build a program from the ground up with all new donations?
Fear not, many of your past donors are still eligible for matched gifts.
Matching gifts don’t have to be submitted immediately after the donation is made. Although, it is to your benefit to encourage your donors to make the request as soon as possible because:
- The farther from the donation a supporter gets, the less likely he will be to follow-up with a matched gift
- The sooner your nonprofit receives the extra funds, the sooner it can put those funds to good use
Matching gift deadlines vary by company, so there’s still time to promote matching gifts to donors who contributed to your organization this year.
Donors simply have to fill out and submit their employer’s matching gift request forms.
Matching gift deadlines typically fall under one of three types:
- Within a set number of months — A company will stipulate that it will match a gift up to, for example, 3, 6, or 12 months following the initial donation.
- By the end of the calendar year — This option is fairly straightforward. Employees must submit for a match within the calendar year of the donation.
- By the end of the calendar year with an extended grace period — In this instance, a company will grant matched gifts through the end of the calendar year and then tack on an additional month or two for employees to submit their matching gift requests. Standard extensions go through end of January, February, or March, but rarely go past the 31st of March.
To get a better understanding what the guidelines look like in practice, let’s look at some examples.
Deadline #1: Within a Set Number of Months
While most companies allow donations to be submitted far after the date a donation was made, deadlines do vary. Some major companies have much more time sensitive deadlines for their matching gift programs.
Here are four companies with matching gift submission deadlines ranging from 30 days to 365 days from the donation date:
Adobe offers a matching gift program wherein the company matches donations up to $10,000 per employee per year. Employees are also able to submit grant requests for $250 for every 10 hours they volunteer with a nonprofit.
The company offers an easy to use online portal for employees to submit their matching gift requests and to log their volunteer hours.
Match request deadline: All matching gift requests must be submitted by employees within one year of the donation date.
DirectTV matches donations of up to $20,000 per employee per a year and provides grants of $10 per hour (max $250) volunteered by an employee. DirectTV has an easy to use online submission process for both programs.
Match request deadline: All matching gift requests must be submitted by employees within six months of the donation date.
Altria offers a generous matching gift program (up to 30K annually per Altria employee) as well as large volunteer grants ($500 after 25 hours of volunteering).
Match request deadline: All matching gift requests must be received by Altria’s program administrator within 90 days from the date of the gift.
Fannie Mae matches employee donations up to $5,000 annually and offers grants when employees volunteer. Unfortunately some organizations miss out on this funding since they aren’t ensuring donors submit matching gift requests in a timely manner.
Match request deadline: Fannie Mae donors and volunteers must submit a matching gift request within 30 days of the date of the donation, or by December 31st of each year, whichever is sooner.
Deadline #2: End of Calendar Year
Many companies ask that employees submit their match requests in a timely manner but will still match donations made in a calendar year until December 31st of that year.
Here are a few examples:
Aetna matches donations from employees and retirees up to $5,000 per individual per year. Aetna also enables employees to allocate a $300 grant to a nonprofit after they volunteer for 20 hours in year.
Match request deadline: Employees are encouraged to submit the matching gift request as soon as possible, but have until December 31st to submit their matching gift requests.
Freeport-McMoRan matches donations of up to $40,000 per employee per year to a wide range of nonprofits. The first $1,000 donated is matched at a 2:1 rate. Anything above $1,000 is matched at a dollar for dollar rate.
Match request deadline: While Freeport-McMoRan encourages employees to submit matching donation requests at the time of the initial donation, employees can submit matches until Dec. 31st of the year following the date of the donation.
Deadline #3: End of Calendar Year + Grace Period
Boeing offers a monetary match, a volunteer grant match, and a grant when employees participate in a fundraising event such as a walk or run for a cause. The deadlines for all three of Boeing’s employee giving programs are as follows:
Employee deadline: Boeing employees must submit gift match requests no later than January 31st of the year following the contribution / participation.
Nonprofit deadline: Organizations must verify the employee submission request no later than April 15th of the year following the contribution / participation.
Verizon matches donations up to $5,000 annually to educational institutions and up to $1,000 annually to all other nonprofits.
The Verizon Foundation also provides grants of $750 to organizations where an employee volunteers for at least 50 hours in a calendar year.
Employee deadline: Matching gift requests must be entered into the electronic matching gift system before March 31st of the year following the date of the donation.
Organization deadline: Organizations must also confirm the donation request by March 31st.
Bank of America (including Merrill Lynch) matches employee donations to nearly all nonprofits. The company also provides grants when employees volunteer on a regular basis.
Employee deadline: Employees must complete an application and have the recipient organization verify the gift. This information must be received by March 31st of the year following the date of the donation.
Organization deadline: Organizations must verify donations by May 15th of the year following the date of the donation.
Earth has always been spherical, but it took until the Greek philosopher Pythagoras in the 6th century BC to dispel the myth of a flat world. Likewise, matching gifts exist, but a lack of donor awareness could be holding your fundraising back.
The most common reason why people don’t submit matching gift requests is because they don’t know if their employer offers such a program.
Corporate giving is a big deal, with 65% of Fortune 500 companies offering matching gift programs. Furthermore, promoting matching gifts increases donation response rates by 71%, and the average donation increases by 51%. Not only do matching gifts double donations, but they stand to increase the original donations, so the matched gifts become larger, too.
Nonprofits need every dollar they can grab, and matching gifts are an effective way to increase your fundraising without demanding much out of donors. Submitting matching gifts is an easy 5-minute process, and marketing matching gifts doesn’t have to be difficult, either.
Learn how your organization can boost matching gift outreach via:
From email to website updates to direct mail, we’ve got the tips and tricks to make your matching gift marketing a success.
How do you spend no money and grab the attention of thousands of people while expending zero breath? Email provides instantaneous outreach to donors, so you can say, “Hi. What’s up? Have you thought about matching gifts today?” and people can reply just as fast. Snail mail cannot keep pace, and, at $0.49 a stamp, why would you pay to slow down?
Acquiring matching gifts through email is a lot like a game of chess. There are multiple pieces that all do different things, and, while one piece could win the game all on it’s own, it’s more likely that a focused strategy and a team effort will produce optimal results. Success hinges on a slow, steady procession of the right moves, and not reckless bombardment with all and any emails.
Email Newsletter from Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association (CMTA)
Our focus is on understanding the functionality of the most important pieces of the email process in terms of marketing matching gift programs. Calendars and strategies matter, but no plan can succeed without the proper tools. We’re here to tell you about the best tools.
When you receive a gift, you say thank you, and this is a great time to promote matching gifts. The donations are fresh in the donors’ minds, and a little nudge saying that they can double their donations without shelling out another cent can go a long way.
Acknowledgement Email from the Piedmont Healthcare Foundation
Acknowledgement emails thrive because you can provide links to dedicated matching gift pages using text or graphics, such as those Double the Donation provides for its clients.
With enough space to write a little blurb or a full article, newsletters are a great place to educate donors about matching gifts.
Email Newsletter from the National Kidney Foundation
A newsletter dedicated to matching gifts is the best strategy, but splitting space with another topic or including a graphic advertising matching gifts in a newsletter about another topic can work, too. Loyal donors read your newsletter, so it’s a good place to provide in-depth information about the benefits of corporate giving.
Chances are that you send a ton of emails. Every message is an opportunity to promote matching gifts. An email signature typically details contact information, but it’s also a great place to advertise.
A simple blurb or a flashy graphic about corporate giving can increase awareness and be that needed push for donors to take a quick five minutes to submit matching gift requests.
Takeaway: Whether you market matching gifts in your email signatures, newsletters, or acknowledgement letters, emails allow you to showcase matching gifts in a prominent way.
People flock to social media to discover the internet’s best content. You don’t need to produce viral memes every day, but, if you want to promote matching gifts, you do need to provide compelling and engaging information on a consistent basis.
There are approximately as many social media outlets as there are stars in the universe (give or take a few), so it’s best to focus on the sites most relevant to promoting your matching gift program: Facebook and Twitter. Both platforms require a nuanced approach.
Why should you focus matching gift marketing efforts on social media? How do you maximize your social media efforts? Can this all be done without shelving out a sizable sum for featured advertisements? Social media is a vital, contemporary marketing approach through which you will see results without breaking the bank.
Tweet from the American Lung Association of the Midland States
Whether or not you employ a matching gift service, a simple tweet or Facebook post can spread the word to donors.
Year-End and New Year Appeals
You can’t donate in 2010 and submit a matching gift request for that donation in 2015. Donations have lifespans, so you need to promote matching gifts to eligible donors before the clock runs out.
End of Year Appeal from Atlanta Animal Rescue Friends (AARF) on Twitter
Year end and new year appeals remind donors of impending matching gift deadlines. These appeals can be made via social media, too, but email appeals allow you to chronicle the exact deadlines and provide more depth about the importance of submitting matching gift requests before it’s too late.
Takeaway: Social media is a great way to keep people up-to-date on your nonprofit’s campaigns, but this medium can also be used to promote matching gifts. Just be sure to link to a place where donors can learn more information.
A website is much more than a homepage, and, with lots of donors choosing the convenient route of donating online via credit cards, the opportunities abound to broadcast matching gift programs.
Your website is your home on the internet, and it’s where you’re required to host people everyday. While many visitors are strangers, the goal is to impress everybody and to make sure that all parties leave feeling satisfied and looking forward to their next visit.
Dedicated Matching Gift Page from ASPCA
A functional website is necessary because it’s a great place to market matching gifts. The majority of nonprofits permit online donations, so incorporating matching gift marketing alongside regular donation calls to action on your website is common sense.
Homepage and Across Your Website
For the love of matching gifts, let the people know that corporate giving exists! Or at least make it easy for them to find out on their own.
Navigation Bar on the Homepage of Lafayette Partners in Education
Banner ads function as proverbial advertisements on any webpage, and a link in your navigation bar allows donors to intuitively discover matching gifts. The links should lead to a dedicated matching gift page, where you can inform donors about all the nitty-gritty matching gift details.
Dedicated Matching Gift Page
Donors require a landing page where they can learn about matching gift programs and discover if their employers participate in corporate giving. A dedicated matching gift page can relate relevant facts, such as matching gift statistics or annual donation numbers, or allow donors to search for information via a plugin, such as Double the Donation offers.
Dedicated Matching Gift Page from the Atlanta Botanical Garden
The goal is to give donors a place both to learn about matching gifts and to be spurred into action to submit the necessary forms.
Ways to Give Page
This is where people learn about all of their donation options to your nonprofit. From regular donations to fundraisers to matching gifts, there are a ton of ways to support your organization, and you want to advertise them all.
Ways to Give Page from Alliance Theatre
Don’t forget to include matching gifts on your ways to give page, as a little link can lead to a major increase in fundraising.
In the Donation Process
The best time to promote matching gifts might be when your donors are actually making their donations. You can incorporate matching gift asks on both donation forms and confirmation screens.
There’s no time like the present, and if people are already in giving moods then why not remind them about how they can give twice as much thanks to corporate giving.
Blogs tell your nonprofit’s story, so why not share ways for donors to double their donations so that you can keep telling that story? A dedication to featured content provides in-depth stories about the importance of matching gifts while educating people on how to submit the necessary forms.
Matching Gifts Incorporated into a Blog Post
Even just including a graphic that advertises matching gifts on the side of a blog that’s about another topic can help to increase awareness.
Takeaway: Your website is the one place where most donors come to learn about your mission and, ultimately, make a donation. Promoting matching gifts on your website is a great way to encourage donors to give more and make a matching gift request.
Walt Disney tells us that, “when you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.” Employees of any company should believe in that company’s mission wholeheartedly, and they should want to discuss their good work.
Seriously, why else would a person dedicate his life to any profession? Okay, some people work for money, but in the nonprofit sector the ultimate goal is not to make a profit, but to deliver a positive effect upon the world.
Matching Gift Fundraising Guideline
Matching Gift Team
Identify a leader and form a matching gift super squad. Pull people from marketing, volunteer coordinating, IT, and all departments in order to streamline your matching gift processes and implement a culture of matching gifts. With someone in charge of the process, you’ll be assured that matching gifts are being promoted to all donors, and there’s someone to answer donors’ questions about how or why matching gifts matter.
With your matching gift super squad in place, it’s time to execute. There are the typical marketing mediums, such as email, social media, and print advertising, but don’t forget about word of mouth.
Not only might your employees spread the word about matching gifts, but they may double as donors. Informing your internal staff about matching gifts reminds them to tell both each other and members about matching gifts, and, while your website, emails, or social media accounts might grab someone’s attention, nothing spurs a person to action quite like spoken assurance from a trusted face.
Your internal memberships include staff, donors, volunteers, and other members. Strategies to internally promote matching gifts all start with a dedicated matching gift coordinator or team, but these people need to spread the word and share the responsibility with everyone who is involved with your nonprofit. A dedicated matching gift staff addresses specific roles in the matching gift process and is intended to get all of your matching gift efforts streamlined such that you bring in more corporate-matched donations than ever before.
Important Information to Record to Track Matching Gift Performance
Internal promotion is far from the ‘sexy’ way to market matching gifts, but it may be the most effective strategy because it’s literally in your face and gets straight to the point.
Takeaway: Hiring a matching gift expert (or team) will ensure that you have a point of contact on everything matching gift related. This can lead to better outreach and marketing strategies for matching gifts.
Welcome to the wide world of matching gift marketing materials that require an envelope and a good old fashioned stamp. Direct mail includes letters, postcards, paper inserts, newsletters, and return envelopes, all of which might sound like archaic forms of marketing, but, when you’re marketing matching gifts both online and off, you’re reaching a wider audience, which means more matching gifts, and ain’t that the goal.
You think paper marketing is out of date? Well, does science have news for you.
Matching Gift Postcard from the University of Michigan
The debate between paper books and e-readers has raged on for years, and the dispute is analogous to deciding between print versus online marketing. Of course, employing both types of marketing works best, but this article focuses on the benefits of printed materials.
A 2014 study reported that people who use e-readers are worse at story comprehension. Readers of paper texts are better at both placing plot points in order and mentally reconstructing stories. This means that when people read paper mail, as opposed to email, they might be reading the same content, but interaction with physical ink and paper does something to help people to better remember what they’re reading.
Common sense would advise that you don’t just want people to read about matching gift programs, but that you want people to remember them.
Takeaway: Your matching gift marketing strategy shouldn’t forget direct mail. Some donors will prefer learning about their corporate philanthropy programs by reading something tangible.
The world is not flat, and your bottom line shouldn’t be, either. Properly market matching gifts through a variety of strategies in order to increase fundraising. Then you can hold a hulking sphere of cash and use it to do some good for the world.
A ways to give page is where your donors can access the complete list of options for donating to your nonprofit. Those options might include regular donations, volunteering, matching gifts, and more. A good ways to give page promotes the breadth of a nonprofit’s donation options.
Example: Cure JM’s Donation Options / Ways to Give Page
Cure JM has two giving options: you can donate or you can apply for a matching gift. The matching gift box is large, easy to read, and is well-integrated into the page layout. Users don’t have to dig around for matching gift information because the Double the Donation widget jumps right out at them.
Organization is vital to a successful ways to give page, as further demonstrated by Alliance Theatre’s page:
Example: Alliance Theatre’s Ways to Give Page
Alliance Theatre’s giving options are visible, legible, and, while they all adhere to a standard format, each stands out as its own entity. Alliance Theatre’s matching gift link is nothing fancy and doesn’t jump out as much as Cure JM’s, but it’s clean and works with the page’s color scheme and format. There is no clutter and it’s easy to recognize the presence of several giving categories.
If you have time to be a rock star, here’s an awesome ways to give page from the Colon Cancer Alliance:
You want to showcase your giving options in a clean, conspicuous manner. Graphics and simple text, as used here, do a great job of accomplishing that mission. The general idea is to promote matching gifts on your website to increase donations. Worry about function first and aesthetics later.
When you click the matching gift links on any of the above ways to give pages, where do they take you? The dedicated matching gift page for each organization, of course.
Example: National Kidney Foundation’s Dedicated Matching Gift Page
As for ways to give pages, they promote the full range of your donation options, so be sure to include matching gifts. A lack of awareness is the number one reason why donors fail to submit matching gift requests.
An article from Forbes revealed that, “92% of marketers claimed that social media marketing was important for their business, with 80% indicating their efforts increased traffic to their websites.” If you’re trying to raise awareness for matching gift programs, social media offers fruitful options.
Websites such as Facebook and Twitter allow you to appeal to your decidedly tech savvy audience, which, in our technologically reliant world, could be a bulk of your donors. Furthermore, a sizable online following offers social proof that your nonprofit is both credible and well-respected.
Marketing matching gifts through social media is both its own step and a conglomeration of all your social media tactics. Let’s take a look at the Twitter profile of CASA Pikes Peak Region to see social media versatility in action:
The tweet in the green box is an example of straight pitching matching gift programs. This is the actual call-to-action, and this is what you need to do on social media to increase matching gift awareness. The other tweets all help to build follower interest, so, when this matching-gift-specific tweet gets posted, people actually pay attention to it because they’re emotionally engaged with both the organization and the content that they share.
You can’t market matching gifts all of the time, and you shouldn’t, as your followers will grow bored. Share meaningful material and build relationships so that when the time for marketing comes it feels organic and unimposing to your followers.
What types of posts best spread the word about matching gifts? There are more social media sites than you could ever use, so we’ve selected the two main players. You’ve likely heard of these sites, and we’ll provide concrete examples of posts that will engage donors.
Facebook algorithms pick up on gimmicks, so, unless you pay to promote your content, you need to remain abreast of what Facebook will prioritize and what they will hide. With tens of thousands of possible posts to present each time a user logs on, Facebook continuously tweaks its standards for what content people see.
Facebook communications director Brandon McCormick told Businessweek that, “People would rather see posts about a sale, or a new pair of pants that’s come in. Keeping the posts relevant to the kind of business that you have is really important.” In essence, stay on task with your content in terms of what people want to see and who you are as a nonprofit. Talk about matching gift programs, but in a creative way.
Example Facebook post from the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association (CMTA)
CMTA include both a link to their matching gift page and a conspicuous graphic. It’s hard to miss their appeal for matching gifts and it is simple to navigate to the applicable matching gift webpage.
Example Facebook post from the Lazarex Cancer Foundation
Lazarex provides on-point text and a graphic that links to their matching gift page. Promotion need not be any more complicated than this.
Example Facebook post from the National Kidney Foundation
If a matching gift post could be a rockstar, this would be Kurt Cobain. Much like the CMTA post, the National Kidney Foundation combines informative text with an attention grabbing graphic, but look at all those Likes, Comments, and Shares.
The graphic is split in two, with the question mark grabbing the attention and the white text holding the attention. Chances are that most people will check out the graphic first, but then they’ll likely read the text above, too, and see the link. That link takes donors to a dedicated matching gift page, which is a crucial step towards landing more donations. Donor engagement with this post helps it to appear on more newsfeeds, so more donors become aware of matching gifts, which should lead to increased fundraising success. You want to go viral.
Additional Matching Gift Facebook Post Templates
- We sincerely appreciate all donations to [Your Organization’s Name]. Did you know that your generosity has the potential to be doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled? Check to see if your employer offers a matching gift program. [Insert Your Double the Donation Matching Gift URL]
- A huge thanks to all of our donors, and a double thanks to those who submitted matching fund requests. Does your employer offer a matching gift program? Check today. [Insert Your Double the Donation Matching Gift URL]
- What do Microsoft, Bank of America, IBM, and Verizon have in common? They all match employee donations to nonprofit organizations. If you donate, or have donated, to us and work for one of these four companies, your employer will double your donation. Many major employers offer similar programs. Search to discover if your employer offers a matching gift program, as well as to gain access to program guidelines, how-to instructions, and relevant forms. Thank you for taking five minutes to double your donation. [Insert Your Double the Donation Matching Gift URL]
In addition to text, graphics help to grab readers’ attentions. If your image doubles as a clickable link, that’s even better.
140 characters is not a lot of space, but it’s enough room to get creative about matching gift appeals.
Example Twitter post from the Center for Puppetry Arts
No need to complicate matters. A concise call to action and a link is all you need.
Example Twitter post from the Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation
The tweet’s link sends the donor to the below dedicated matching gift page, which you can learn more about with our comprehensive guide.
Example dedicated matching gift page from the Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation
The link is the tweet’s call to action in action. The goal is to earn a click in order to take donors to where it’s a simple five minute process of discovering if their employers match gifts and submitting the necessary forms.
Additional matching gift Twitter post templates
- Did you donate to us in 2014? There’s still time to submit a matching gift request to your employer. Click, don’t scroll! [Insert Your Double the Donation Matching Gift URL]
- It takes only a few minutes to submit corporate employee matching gift forms. Have you submitted yours? [Insert Your Double the Donation Matching Gift URL]
- It’s February – do you love us? We love you, too! Click here to see if your company will double your donation: [Insert Your Double the Donation Matching Gift URL]
Facebook has the largest community. Twitter is the modern way donors stay up to date with the organizations they care about. Leverage your social following with well-crafted posts and you can increase corporate matching donations.
One of the best times to feature matching gifts is in acknowledgement emails to donors. For these messages, form letters are your friends.
Install an automated process to change a name here and a few phrases there and voila! You can reach thousands of people with personalized messages in the blink of an eye. There is no need to stray from the form email, unless you have too much time to twiddle your thumbs, but realize that the form of a form email goes beyond a series of universally applicable sentences. There is a physical structure to an email that you can use to better call your donor to take action to seek out a matching gift.
The best way to understand acknowledgement letters is to pick their structure apart. We’ll do that, and then run through the various types of acknowledgement letters.
Take a look at this acknowledgement letter from Piedmont Healthcare:
Piedmont Healthcare Foundation’s Acknowledgement Email to Donors
What should you emulate? They open with a thank you. An acknowledgment letter is a thank you, and, while you can do more than just thank a donor, gratefulness needs to be your main objective. This person donated money to your cause, so your job is to let that person know that his money is both appreciated and put to work in positive ways. Make the person feel good and he just might donate again.
How do you move beyond merely thanking a donor? How do you urge the donor to seek a matching gift in an urgent but polite manner?
Notice the Double Your Donation box as well as the blue text. Those are two locations to click in order to be taken to a destination where donors can discover if their companies have matching gift programs as well as access the necessary company specific forms, guidelines, and instructions.
Donors Arrive on Piedmont Healthcare’s Matching Gift Page on Double the Donation’s Servers
The graphic in Piedmont Healthcare’s email is especially powerful because it does a plethora of work. It’s eye-catching, a clickable link, and incorporates both text and Piedmont Healthcare’s logo such that you know what you’re looking at. Unlike text, graphics grab the reader’s attention instantly.
If you don’t have visuals, you can either create your own or, if you’re a Double the Donation client, we have a host of premade images to choose from, such as:
Next to Piedmont Healthcare’s graphic, the wording of the text banner, “Make Your Donation Go Twice as Far,” is key, and Piedmont Healthcare nailed it. The text begins with an active verb and suggests that the donor take steps to do even more good. It’s simple, to the point, and with no annoying signifiers such as exclamation points or distracting color schemes.
Under the text banner is additional text that informs about matching gifts:
‘Did you know that many companies match donations made by their employees to our organization?’
This creates another opportunity for the reader to both notice and learn about matching gifts. The message is simple and precise.
Piedmont Healthcare closes the email with a receipt summary and then performs a simple sign off. That’s it. Keep the email short, sweet, and to the point.
Realize that every part of an email can do work, from the text to the physical layout of the objects on the screen. Never underestimate the psychological impact of little, subconscious triggers such as well-arranged content and syntactically sound sentences. Those parts of an email work best when they work together.
The above email from Piedmont Healthcare is an example of a thank you note from a nonprofit to a donor. The donor has yet to seek out a matching gift.
When you send a thank you email, you should do as Piedmont does. They use the email to both thank the donor and to ask the donor to pursue a matching gift. Many donors are either not aware of matching gift programs or need a little push to get them to use their company’s program. Play smart and ask for what you want.
Do you need help adding a matching gift image to your nonprofit’s website? In this article we outline how internet images work, show you were you can get premade graphics, and outline how to incorporate a matching gift button into your own website.
How Internet Buttons Work:
Anyone who has browsed the internet has come across buttons which when clicked perform some sort of action. But did you know that buttons are comprised of two different components?
- An image
- A hyperlink that takes donors to a separate page
So that means when a webmaster adds a button to a website what he or she is really doing is uploading a graphic, picture, or image and then saying “when an individual clicks on this graphic, picture, or image then take him or her to a new webpage.”
Sample Matching Gift Buttons:
At Double the Donation we’ve created graphics and images which our nonprofit clients can use on their websites.
They come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, all designed to integrate into your broader fundraising strategy. For example, here is one set of graphics which come in seven different color schemes.
Feel free to incorporate one of these graphics into your website or email campaigns.
Adding a Double the Donation Button to Your Website:
Adding a matching gift button on your own website is as easy as uploading a graphic and then linking it to the desired location.
Here are the steps:
- View Double the Donation’s premade matching gift images.
- Download our collection of matching gift images.
- Upload on of the images which is now saved on your computer to the desired location on your own website. You can also add the graphic to an email(s).
- Link the image to your organization’s matching gift page on Double the Donation’s servers or to the dedicated matching gift page on your own website.
We encourage organizations to incorporate matching gift information or buttons into the following locations:
Hope the above information helps you more effectively market matching gifts to your donors!
The easiest way for a nonprofit to share matching gift information with its donors is by building matching gift pages hosted on Double the Donation’s website. It allows your supporters to access everything they need to submit employee matching gift and volunteer grant requests including:
- Matching gift and volunteer grant forms
- Company guidelines
- Easy to understand instructions for donors
- An overview of your nonprofit
- Contact information for donors to use to submit match requests
Here’s a sample a matching gift page on Double the Donation’s site:
Lafayette Partners in Education Matching Gift Page
The Setup Process:
During the online signup process you’ll choose a URL (ex. https://doublethedonation.com/xyzorganization). This will become the URL for your nonprofit’s custom matching gift page.
Once you’re in Double the Donation’s account management portal you can start configuring your matching gift page. Your organization’s matching gift page is built using our standard template that can be set up by anyone, even if you have no coding experience. It’s as simple as filling out a form which consists of two sections:
- Account information
- Organization information
This is used by Double the Donation’s team when we want to share product updates, tips, and ideas. This information remains private. Please enter your contact information as well as information on a secondary contact at your organization in case we can’t reach you.
This is publicly displayed on your nonprofit’s matching gift page on Double the Donation’s servers. This includes:
Contact Information: Who should your donors contact if they have any questions about your organization? What Tax ID / EIN should donors use on their matching gift forms? Where should matching gift forms be mailed? This will all be included on your matching gift page.
High Level Information on Your Organization:
Let’s add the basics. What’s your organization’s name? What’s the URL of your organization’s primary website? And lastly, what do you want the title of your matching gift page to be? Don’t worry, we added a default option which we recommend you start with. Feel free to change it if you’d like.
Add a Background Color:
We recommend you add a background color to your webpage that matches your organization’s main colors. You can use our color picker to select a color or input your color Hex code if you know it.
Add your logo: Continue branding your page by uploading your logo. First click on the “Select New Image” button.
Then upload your logo by either dragging the file into the application or clicking the “choose file” button to upload the file from your computer.
Add a Description: Finish branding the page for your nonprofit by adding a description. We’ve added starter text which you can modify.
Recommendation – Keep it short. Everyone visiting the page knows about your nonprofit. Make sure to keep the emphasis on matching gifts and volunteer grants.
You’re finished building your matching gift page. Your matching gift page will look similar to the following example:
Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Matching Gift Page