As a fundraising leader, you’ve put a lot of thought into how to market matching gifts before and during the donation process. But for the donor, clicking submit or mailing their check often feels like the final step.
We’ve put together a few ways to encourage your donors to take that next step and submit their matching gift requests.
1. Send a follow-up email
Send a quick email to your donors that specifically asks them to take the next step and submit their matching gift requests. Make sure that this email includes an explanation of matching gifts and truly illustrates how easy they are to request.
Even better, use Double the Donation’s 360MatchPro portal to send automated outreach to your donors about matching gifts. When your donors make a contribution, they are automatically sent an email that includes their company-specific matching gift information and a link to their employer’s submission form. Though sent from 360MatchPro, these emails are branded to match your organization, which makes the appeal more personal for your donors.
2. Pick up the phone
Sort through your donations and identify your top contributors. Call these donors to thank them for their gift and encourage them to submit their matching gift request. Many donors would be happy to support your organization in this way, they simply know about matching gifts.
Lack of donor awareness is the biggest hurdle to increasing matching gift revenue. If you’re able to walk them through the process on the phone and provide them with information about the process and the guidelines they need, they will be more likely to submit and more likely to tell their friends.
3. Send a note in the mail
Good old-fashioned postage is still a great way to touch base with your donors! Send a postcard, letter, or buckslip to share information about matching gifts. You can also use these mailers as a call to action that encourages the donor to submit their matching gift request.
Many companies have very generous matching gift request submission deadlines. This window is often between three months and over a year, which gives donors plenty of time to get their donations doubled!
4. Educate your Staff
You can easily raise your match submission rates among your donors by looking inward. Make sure that your organization is cultivating a knowledgeable staff, with every employee understanding your organization’s procedure for processing matching gifts. When your team knows the basics of matching gifts and feels confident explaining the process, you can work together to create an outreach strategy that is specific to your donor base.
5. Market Matching Gifts Everywhere.
The most effective way to encourage donors to submit their matching gift requests: mention matching gifts as often as possible! Include matching gift information in your acknowledgment letters and emails, on your website, and in your social media posts. Check out a few examples here, and download our Ultimate Guide to Marketing Matching Gifts for even more information.
Thanking donors should be at the top of your priority list for your fundraising strategy. You should put a special emphasis on thanking donors who complete matching gift requests, because those that do took the extra time to fill out the necessary paperwork.
If you don’t show your appreciation for those who generously support your organization, they won’t be as loyal. In fact, they’ll be much more likely to start supporting other nonprofits that do thank them.
Ask yourself this: 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.
There are several strategies used to thank donors for their donations. They’re all designed around showing your donors that you appreciate their matching gifts. When coming up with an acknowledgement strategy, consider the following:
Nonprofits thank their supporters with the knowledge that a little recognition goes a long way when it comes to retaining donors. The same applies for matching gifts. If you acknowledge this valuable contribution, you increase the likelihood of that donor submitting a matching gift again in the future.
1. Acknowledgement Letters and Postcards
Many nonprofits use tangible thank-you letters and postcards 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, and add a section thanking them for their matching gift.
If the matching gift form is submitted by the donor after you’ve sent a thank-you note, you’ll want to send a separate acknowledgement letter about how you appreciate the time they took to complete the match request. Not only do donors want to know that their form is being processed, but you’ll also stay fresh on their minds without asking for another donation.
Similar to acknowledgement letters, postcards are a cost-effective way to say thanks to donors for submitting a matching gift. Here’s a sample matching gift postcard sent out after the organization received the matching gift check. Oftentimes, these are sent once the check is actually received, many months after match forms are 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 your nonprofit team doesn’t have experience with writing letters, no worries! There are plenty of free matching gift letter templates floating around the internet to help you get started.
2. Email Recognition
If changing your pre-formatted donor letters turns out to be a hassle or you don’t have the funds to send a separate matching gift acknowledgement card, why not automate the whole process with a dedicated email for matching gift donors? With the right automation system, you can use customizable templates and brand these emails to your organization. Plus, your team will save time!
The email doesn’t have to be long or complicated. All it takes is a few sentences thanking them for submitting a matching gift. Check out this example from North Carolina State University:
Be sure to highlight how important matching gifts are for your organization. That way, donors will feel appreciated and will know their impact (and continued support) is vital to the success of your organization.
3. Newsletter Recognition Lists
If your organization sends out a regular newsletter, consider adding a section where you list the overall financial impact of matching gifts that you’ve recently received. Specify which projects have benefited because of matches and how they’ve benefited. That way, donors who have completed the match process will know exactly where their contributions are going.
It could even be as simple as stating the number of companies that matched gifts and saying how much extra money you raised through matches. Here’s an example of a graphic you can include in your newsletter:
If you want to take it a step further, outright name the companies which provided matching gifts as well as the specific donors who took the time to complete the process. While publicly acknowledging your donors, you’ll simultaneously increase awareness of matching gifts among your other donors.
4. Social Media Recognition
As society’s tech usage and reliance increases, so should your nonprofit’s web presence. You should start with your organization’s website (See examples here!) and branch out to social media.
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 corporate giving programs.
Here’s an example from the Kittens Rescue Club, where they thank their matching gift donors and start the conversation with other supporters:
When you establish social media pages for your nonprofit and regularly post updates, your supporters will feel motivated to share your well-written posts, allowing you to reach the largest possible audience. Save time, raise awareness, and increase donations — all with a single tweet or status update.
5. Matching Gift Database: How Double the Donation Can Help
Matching gifts are a key part of an effective fundraising strategy, and so is recognizing your donors who complete the match process. With the right matching gift database in your tech toolkit, you’ll instantly recognize corporate giving opportunities by seeing which of your donors are match-eligible, and you’ll know when to show appreciation to them. That’s where Double the Donation comes in.
Here’s how Double the Donation’s matching gift and volunteer grant database works:
- Your team embeds the tool on your nonprofit’s website or donation page.
- Donors search their employers, either before or after they donate.
- They instantly receive results (e.g. available guidelines and forms).
When you embed Double the Donation’s matching gift plugin across your website and fundraising channels, you’ll pinpoint eligible donors and maximize your potential revenue.
Larger nonprofits may benefit even more from 360MatchPro by Double the Donation, which recognizes match-eligible donors through email screening. From there, these donors will be encouraged to submit match requests through automated email reminders, pushing their match to completion.
By keeping up with donors’ eligibility and their match-completion status, you’ll know when to reach out to them to ensure they know about their opportunities. Plus, once their match goes through and your organization receives the check, your team can properly thank them. Whether that’s through an acknowledgement letter, a direct email, a newsletter, or a social media post is entirely up to your organization.
Without your generous donors, your nonprofit wouldn’t be able to continue working toward its mission. When your donors take the time to submit match requests to their employers, make sure to acknowledge them. Otherwise, you’ll likely lose their loyalty.
Reinforce their actions and stay fresh on their minds by outwardly thanking them. Plus, public recognition helps promote these valuable revenue opportunities to donors who wouldn’t otherwise know about them.
If your donor can potentially double their impact without reaching back into their own pockets, in most cases, all you have to do is make them aware and guide them through the process. Make sure your supporters receive the recognition they deserve. By using these different strategies, you’ll boost your revenue and retain your vital supporters all at once!
Have you ever been to a movie double feature? You get in the movie-going mood, take the time out of your busy life to make it to the theater, buy your popcorn, splurge on a huge soda, and then settle in for two great films. Oh, and most importantly, you’re only paying for one.
Matching gifts are fundraising double features. For the time and cost of acquiring one donation, you get twice the funding.
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 a check for the same amount (or more!) depending on the company’s matching ratio.
However, it will take your team a bit of extra planning to secure that extra revenue.
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.
- Strive for easy accessibility.
- Keep records of individuals’ matching gift statuses.
- Thank your donors for submitting a matching gift request.
- Cultivate relationships with donors’ companies.
- Maintain and update your donor records.
- Perform prospect screening.
- Track and review your progress.
1. Study Up on Matching Gifts
Here’s the good news: if you want to learn about matching gifts, you will have no issue doing so with the countless resources online.
The topic of matching gifts isn’t incredibly intimidating once you take the time to develop a better understanding of the process. 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 it is crucial in planning your program and standardizing your processes.
For instance, learning the matching gift guidelines for the three biggest companies in your area can help your team target donors from those companies. Chances are, some of your current donors work at one of those three.
Before you can implement a surefire matching gift strategy, you need to develop a solid understanding of this type of corporate philanthropy. Otherwise, you won’t be able to relay the necessary information to your supporters. Kick-off your research with our comprehensive matching gift guide.
2. Appoint a Matching Gift Specialist
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 fundraising strategy.
Your nonprofit will be more prepared after hiring a matching gift specialist than it would be having your whole staff know just a few basic facts about matching gifts. The coordinator is the expert, but the rest of your employees should know enough to field the questions that they can and pass along the rest as needed.
The specialist is the designated point-person for all matching gift queries and problems, as well as the staff member 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 members should be promoting matching gifts when relevant, but the matching gift coordinator is the coach leading your team to victory.
If the matching gift specialist position is new territory for your organization, why not consider hiring an executive search firm? Consultants can help you craft the perfect job description and lead you through the entire hiring process, ensuring that everything runs smoothly!
What if you don’t have the funds or employee base to designate a matching gift coordinator?
Set aside some time and have designated team members do the research and put together matching gift materials including:
- Educational packets
- Letter templates
- Answers to FAQs
- Fast facts
With these resources, any member of your team is now armed with working knowledge of matching gifts and is prepared to handle most matching gift occurrences and problems. Otherwise, you won’t truly maximize your matching gift potential.
3. Raise Awareness About Matched Giving
Once your team has a solid understanding of matching gifts and an idea of how the process will work internally, it’s time to spread the word! People need to know about matching gifts before they can request them.
No need to be shy at this point; the goal is mass awareness. Lucky for everyone, technology has drastically improved over the years, 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:
These are just two of many, many options. Get creative! To get the word out about matching gifts, try the following:
- Send out a newsletter that focuses on matching gifts.
- Create a paper insert to include in your communications.
- Provide a matching gift search tool on your donation page.
- Post additional resources on your website to teach readers about corporate philanthropy.
- Send letters to promote opportunities to match-eligible donors.
Matching gift promotion should span all of your communication platforms. Diversify your marketing so that it can reach the largest possible audience of donors.
Become a Matching Gift Expert! Grab our Free Ultimate Guide to Matching Gifts.
4. Collect Donor Employer Details
The educational materials you give your donors will provide them with the tools they need to determine their eligibility. However, the matching gift process is not passive. Your nonprofit shouldn’t sit back and wait for donors to come to you; rather, your team should be actively recognizing and pursuing your eligible donors.
If your staff can immediately see your donors’ employers in your database, they can go the extra mile to obtain donations.
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. Plus, you won’t waste the time of your employees when you double donors’ contributions with minimal extra effort.
Knowing the companies your donors work for will help you segment your matching gift prospects.
For instance, if you’re promoting via email, zeroing in on only the prospects with the most potential wouldn’t make sense. Instead, consider a calling campaign. Team members won’t have time to call all donors and prospects. That’s where segmenting by employer can make a world of difference.
Segmentation by employer allows you to instantly recognize match-eligible donors. Sometimes, these donors might be aware of the opportunities, but they just need an extra push to complete the process!
5. Strive for Easy Accessibility
For a donor, securing a matching gift is an easy process that has the misfortune of sounding complicated. To remedy this, brand it better by simplifying the process.
Clear and concise language with straightforward directions will encourage your donors to seek out matching gifts. Donors who have already been generous enough to donate should not have to follow-up with a ton of paperwork.
To better explain matching gifts, you can:
- List the typical steps involved in the process on your matching gifts explainer page.
- Insert a matching gift widget that can help the donor search for their company’s program.
- Mail out informational materials about corporate philanthropy.
- Highlight key matching gift statistics in your educational resources.
- Point out a few of the companies that commonly match gifts for your nonprofit.
Ensure that your nonprofit is a one-stop-shop for all things matching gifts! That way, donors won’t have to seek out this information themselves. Get ahead of the game and give your supporters all the information they need to fully understand their opportunities.
6. Keep Records of the Individuals’ Matching Gift Statuses
Maintaining ongoing records of donors’ matching gift statuses falls 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 revenue opportunities 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 a lot more efficient. For instance, a matching gift database like 360MatchPro by Double the Donation can track match progress. It automatically identifies opportunities to use corporate matching gift programs by searching donors’ email domains and can drive matches to completion through tracking tools and automated messaging options.
7. Thank Your Donors for Submitting a Matching Gift Request
Donors involved with matching gifts have gone the extra mile for your cause, so your appreciation should match that level of energy.
Just like matching gifts have doubled your donations, matching gift thank yous should be double as well. Thank them once for the initial donation and a second time when the matched gift goes through.
In fact, you may even 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, and 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 and is also a top outlet for acknowledgment.
For instance, 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.
Nonetheless, you’ll need to find an appropriate way to demonstrate your gratitude and ensure that the donors feel appreciated. Whether it’s through a full-blown appreciation event or through thank-you letters, let your donors know their contributions are vital to your mission.
8. Cultivate Relationships with Donors’ Companies
You should also consider thanking your donors’ companies as well. The donor has brought the company to you, so go ahead and cover all your bases.
Matching gifts can provide a much-desired introduction to major corporations with top-notch corporate giving.
When an employee asks their company to match their 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. In some cases, you’ll even develop long-term partnerships with them.
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.
Plus, whenever you need an extra helping hand at one of your events, these companies will likely be more than happy to help out through their corporate volunteer program since you’ll already be on their radar.
9. Maintain Your Donor Records
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 an efficient attempt at acquiring matching gifts.
If your organization fails to collect vital donor information, simply reach out to donors. For example, you could send out mailers with blanks for donors to fill in any changes to their personal details. Something as simple as an email asking them to confirm and update their information can work.
From there, refine your process by encouraging donors to fill out their personal details when they donate for the first time.
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 find it doesn’t do your organization any good, so make sure all your team members who are involved with the donation process have access to this data.
10. Perform Prospect Screening
If you’re looking for donors with large capacities to donate and great matching gift programs, prospect screenings can be a big help.
Prospect research can provide major insights into your donors. Search for vital details like 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. Don’t let this vital process fall through the cracks. Instead, screen your donors to find overlooked opportunities.
11. Track and Review Your Progress
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.
In order to properly grade your program, track:
- The matching gift money raised in previous years.
- The matching gift money raised after establishing your corporate philanthropy strategy.
- Your top matching gift employer.
- The costs and time it takes to acquire matches.
- 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 pinpoint areas for improvement.
Matching Gift Database: Identify Matching Gifts with Double the Donation
Matching gifts play a major role in your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy. As you now know, eligible donors can double (maybe even triple!) their contributions through their employers. The key is to make them aware of their available opportunities and ensure they follow through with the process.
Double the Donation can simplify this process and make it easy for nonprofits and employees to take advantage of corporate philanthropy. When you embed the matching gift plugin across your website and fundraising channels, you’ll maximize your revenue potential.
With more than 8,500 organizations using it, Double the Donation offers the industry-leading matching gifts database. It allows users to search more than 20,000 companies and subsidiaries which represent 15+ million match-eligible individuals.
As the most comprehensive source of matching gift forms and instructions, corporate employees will be able to quickly check their eligibility and submit requests to their employers.
Larger nonprofits may benefit even more from 360MatchPro by Double the Donation. This system goes beyond providing users with necessary instructions and forms. It recognizes match-eligible donors through email domain screening, and through automated reminder emails, donors will be encouraged to complete the matching gift process. Your staff will save time while still providing donors with the necessary guidance for completing their matching gift requests promptly.
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. Make sure your nonprofit’s team can easily recognize these opportunities.
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: 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 Gifts Guide: Need to go back to the basics of matching gifts? Check out this comprehensive guide by Recharity.
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. However, you need to inform donors of this opportunity first.
How Do I Promote Matching Gifts?
Matching gift request submission deadlines mean little if your organization isn’t informing donors of the opportunity presented to them through matching gift programs. How will a donor know to submit a request on time, if they aren’t aware they’re supposed to submit one in the first place?
Luckily, marketing matching gifts to your donors is easier than ever with the help of matching gift tools. With proper software, you can both inform donors of their match eligibility and provide them with information regarding starting the matching process. When updating your matching gift processes, there are two tools in particular that you should consider:
- 360MatchPro: This matching gifts automation software automatically discovers which of your contributors are match-eligible. Then, after identifying these opportunities, the software sends match-eligible donors marketing emails detailing how to begin the gift request process! 360MatchPro is a robust solution, best suited for larger nonprofits looking to improve already-existing processes.
- Double the Donation’s Premium Plan: This industry-leading matching gifts database embeds directly on your organization’s website or online donation form. From there, when donors are researching your organization (or making a donation) they can search their matching gifts eligibility. This is the perfect solution for organizations with less-developed solicitation processes.
If either of these solutions sound like a good option for your organization, consider signing up for a 14-day free trial. With that, read on to learn about the three types of matching gift request deadlines.
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 of 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 per 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 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 $2,500 and offers grants up to $500 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, or by December 31st of that year.
Here are a few examples:
Aetna matches donations from employees and retirees up to $5,000 to approved organizations. Aetna also enables employees to allocate a $300 grant to a nonprofit after they volunteer for 20 hours in a 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 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
Here are three companies that extend their calendar year deadline with a 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.
Verizon matches donations up to $5,000 to educational institutions and up to $1,000 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 January 31st of the year following the date of the donation.
Bank of America / Merrill Lynch
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 January 31st of the year following the date of the donation.
Earth may have always been spherical, but it took the Greek philosopher Pythagoras until the 6th century BC to dispel the myth of a flat world. Likewise, matching gift programs 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 that they don’t know if their employer offers such a program. Corporate giving is a big deal, and promoting these revenue opportunities to donors can substantially increase your donations.
In fact, mentioning matching gifts in fundraising appeals results in a 71% increase in response rate and a 51% increase in the average donation amount. Not only do matching gift programs double donations, but they also encourage donors to increase their original gift, making the matched gift 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.
To boost matching gift revenue, focus on your outreach via:
As with any modern organization, your website is the first impression someone has of your nonprofit. Make it count.
A website is much more than just a homepage, and with donors often choosing the convenient route of donating online via credit cards, you have endless opportunities to promote matching gifts.
Your website is your home on the internet, and it’s where you’re required to host people every day. 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.
The best time to promote matching gifts is when your donors are actually making their donations. There’s no time like the present, and if people are already in giving moods, then why not inform them about how they can give twice as much?
Depending on the size of your organization, there are a few common ways to promote matching gifts online.
Dedicated Matching Gift Page
As you learn more about corporate giving, share this knowledge with your supporters. That way, they’ll know their impact can be multiplied without reaching back into their own pockets.
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 communicate relevant facts, such as matching gift statistics or annual donation numbers, and also allow donors to search for information.
It could even be as simple as stating what matching gifts are. If you subscribe to a matching gift service like Double the Donation, include relevant tools on this page, too.
Dedicated Matching Gift Page from Goodwill
A functional website is necessary for every organization, because it’s a great place to market revenue opportunities like matching gifts. All nonprofits should accept online donations, so incorporate matching gift marketing alongside regular donation calls-to-action on your website.
The goal is to give donors a place to both learn about matching gifts and to be spurred into action to submit the necessary forms. Learn more about creating a dedicated matching gift page before creating your own!
Ways to Give Page
A Ways to Give page 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.
Additionally, people will be more likely to give if you accommodate their preferences by offering multiple donation options!
Ways to Give Page from Center for Puppetry Arts
Don’t forget to include matching gifts on your Ways to Give page. Instead of making donors research their employers on their own, give them the tools they need, because this can lead to a major increase in fundraising. Learn how to create a Ways to Give page or revamp your current page to better market matching gifts.
In addition to using dedicated matching gift pages, you can tell donors about these programs across your website. By including a section specifically about corporate giving, you allow users to access that information anywhere on your website.
Plus, if someone’s browsing your website and has never heard of corporate philanthropy, simply seeing there’s a page about it may spark curiosity.
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.
Implementing matching gift promotion across your website is a major step in boosting your revenue. Don’t overlook it!
Organizations often use blogs to keep supporters updated on their efforts. Blogs tell your nonprofit’s story, so why not also share ways for donors to double their donations so that you can keep telling that story?
They’re a great way to start the conversation about corporate giving while also evoking emotion in readers. For instance, tell in-depth stories about the importance of matching gifts while educating people on how to submit the necessary forms.
Even just including a graphic that advertises matching gifts on the side of a blog post can help to increase awareness.
Posting insightful stories about matching gifts is a straightforward promotion strategy. In fact, some matching gift services (like Double the Donation) offer prewritten matching gift articles that you can use.
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.
Email outreach is a vital component of online giving. Email provides instantaneous outreach to donors, so you can essentially say, “Hi. What’s up? Have you thought about matching gifts today?” Then, people can reply just as quickly. Snail mail cannot keep pace, and at $0.55 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 its own, it’s more likely that a focused strategy and a team effort will produce optimal results.
Success hinges on a well-paced, steady procession of the right moves, not reckless bombardment of emails. There are a few ways you can effectively market matching gifts through email, and we’ll walk you through them.
With enough space to write a little blurb or even a full article, newsletters are a great place to educate donors about matching gifts. In fact, you can even send a newsletter dedicated to matching gifts.
When newsletters have one goal, readers are less likely to get distracted by other information. That way, you ensure no one will miss the important announcement. Otherwise, when designing your newsletter, make sure to prominently feature each announcement in its own section.
Email Newsletter from CASA
Remember, a newsletter dedicated to matching gifts is the best strategy, but splitting space with another topic or including a matching gifts graphic 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.
When your nonprofit receives a gift, you should always say thank you. Your donation ackowledgement email is also a great time to promote matching gifts. The 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.
Plus, you can automate this type of email and ensure every donor receives this important announcement.
Acknowledgement Email from the Kitten Rescue Club
Chances are that you send a ton of emails. Every message is an opportunity to promote matching gifts. An email signature typically includes contact information, but it’s also a great place to promote matching gifts.
A simple blurb or a flashy graphic about corporate giving can increase awareness and be the needed push for donors to take a quick five minutes to submit matching gift requests. Before doing this, learn how to use your email signature to promote matching gifts.
3. Social Media
People flock to social media to discover the internet’s best content. You don’t need to produce viral posts 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 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 on matching gift marketing efforts on social media? How do you maximize your social media efforts? Can this all be done without shelling 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. You just have to be aware of the most up-to-date best practices.
Facebook Post from the National Kidney Foundation
Whether or not you employ a matching gift service, a simple tweet or Facebook post can spread the word to donors. When revamping your social media strategy, learn the best practices for posting about matching gifts on social media.
Year-End and New-Year Appeals
Donations have lifespans, so you need to promote matching gifts to eligible donors before the clock runs. In other words, a supporter can’t donate in 2016 and submit a matching gift request for that donation in 2019. Each company has its own deadline, so stay up-to-date on your donors’ employers.
Year-end and new-year appeals remind donors of impending matching gift deadlines. This time of year, known as giving season, is when your nonprofit should be most active in promoting matching gifts. To reach the widest audience, social media is a great way to spread the word to your supporters.
End of Year Appeal from the Kids & Art Foundation on Twitter
While these appeals can be made via social media, 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. However, this medium can also be used to promote matching gifts. Just be sure to link to a place where donors can learn more information.
4. Internal Promotion
Employees of any nonprofit should believe in their organization’s mission wholeheartedly, and they should be encouraged to discuss their good work.
Why else would a person dedicate their life to any profession? Yes, some people work for money, but in the nonprofit sector, the ultimate goal is not to make a profit. Rather, the goal is to deliver a positive effect on the world. Here’s how the process works:
By following this straightforward process, you can ensure your team is doing the best job possible acquiring matching gift funds.
Remember, internal outreach encompasses all areas of your nonprofit, including staff, donors, volunteers, and so on.
Matching Gift Team
To fully implement matching gifts in your fundraising strategy, form a matching gift team. First, identify a leader. Then, pull people from marketing, volunteer coordinating, 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 ensure that matching gifts are promoted to all donors. Plus, there will always be someone to answer donors’ questions about how or why matching gifts matter.
With your matching gift team in place, it’s time to execute your strategies. There are the typical marketing mediums, such as email, social media, and print advertising, but don’t forget about word of mouth.
By knowing more about matching gifts, your staff and supporters will naturally spread the word about corporate giving. Informing your internal staff about matching gifts reminds them to tell both each other and supporters about matching gifts. 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.
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. That way, your nonprofit will bring in more corporate-matched donations than ever before.
Internal promotion may be the most effective strategy for promoting matching gifts. When your entire team of supporters knows about matching gifts, these individuals can spread the word to your community. Before forming your team, learn more about matching gift team execution.
Takeaway: Hiring a matching gift expert (or team) will ensure that you have a point of contact for everything matching gift related. This can lead to better outreach and marketing strategies for matching gifts.
5. Direct Mail
While electronic communication is a quick outreach strategy, some donors prefer communication via direct mail.
Direct mail includes letters, postcards, paper inserts, newsletters, and return envelopes. All of these might sound like archaic forms of marketing, but when you’re marketing matching gifts both online and offline, you’re reaching a wider audience, which means more matching gifts.
Is paper marketing out of date? No, it’s not. In fact, there are a number of donors who prefer the personal touch of tangible mail. Plus, you don’t have to handwrite every letter or envelope. Take the following postcard for example:
Matching Gift Postcard from the University of Michigan
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 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.
The debate between paper communication and technological communication has raged on for years, and the dispute is analogous to deciding between print versus online marketing. Nonetheless, employing both types of marketing works best.
6. Matching Gift Database
Employing a matching gift database opens the door to a multitude of revenue opportunities. With Double the Donation’s matching gift platform, you can embed this industry-leading matching gift database directly on your website and donation forms.
With Double the Donation, donors can easily discover whether they’re match-eligible. All it takes is incorporating the tool across your online fundraising channels. By adding Double the Donation to your tech toolkit, you’ll boost your revenue opportunities. Specifically, the tool:
- Enables donors to search over 20,000 companies.
- Provides all available information and forms on companies’ programs.
- Allows your nonprofit to recognize match opportunities instantly.
- And more!
For larger nonprofits with an already-existing matching gifts solicitation strategy, an automated tool may be the way to go.
For example, 360MatchPro will automatically discover whether a donor is match-eligible. Then, the software will send marketing communications to match-eligible donors informing them of available matching gift or volunteer grant opportunities. For nonprofits looking to grow their matching gifts solicitation, this is a great solution.
Think the software might be a good fit for your organization?
Marketing matching gifts means using a variety of strategies in order to increase fundraising. Simply employing one outreach tactic is not enough. Plus, using more outreach channels means higher revenue opportunities.
Get started implementing these strategies in your fundraising strategy. 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.
Your homepage is the first thing people see when they visit your site, and priority number one is letting people know who you are and what you do. Part of what you do is receive donations, and matching gifts for those donations, so including links to information about matching gift programs is a good idea.
The two approaches (which can be combined, of course) are placing matching gift links such that people can find them if they are looking for them (navigation bars) and inserting links so that they jump out at site visitors, such that the link is more or less an advertisement for matching gifts (banner ads).
Let’s take a closer look at each approach through proven strategies.
Every useful website has a navigation bar that helps people to discover relevant information. Including a link to matching gift programs in your navigation bar puts matching gifts in a visible location where donors can easily find and access the information. A link in the navigation bar won’t advertise matching gifts to unknowing donors, but if a donor is on your site and looking for how to apply for a matching gift then he will easily be able to navigate to a page to learn how.
To get a better idea of how navigation bars work, here’s an example from Lafayette Partners in Education:
Screenshot of Lafayette Partners in Education’s Website
This is a clean, modern site, with an easily visible and useable navigation bar. They incorporate matching gifts under the fundraising tab, so it’s part of a larger topic. This link won’t function as an advertisement, but, for someone who is looking for matching gifts or ways which they can contribute to the organization, the website provides an intuitive way to access that information.
When a website visitor clicks on the “Matching Gift Program” link they’re taken to Lafayette Partner In Education’s dedicated matching gift page:
Screenshot of Lafayette Partners in Education’s Dedicated Matching Gift Page
If you want to advertise matching gifts on your homepage then banner ads are a great way to go. A banner ad will catch eyes and make people think about matching gifts. This informs donors about matching gifts when they may be visiting your site for other purposes.
Here’s a banner ad in action from Autism Speaks:
Screenshot of an Event Page for Autism Speaks
Highlighted by the green box, this banner ad works because it’s clean, easy to read, and its color stands out from the color scheme of the homepage. People notice when something stands out in a crowd. A 2011 study in the journal Emotion claimed that reaction times become faster and more forceful when people see a bright color, so the choice of color was well selected. Little factors such as color can play vital roles in whether or not people respond to your banner ads, so if you have the time to get intricate with your banners it will be time well spent.
Autism Speaks also created their own custom matching graphics to include throughout their website. Examples of individualized banners used by Autism Speaks include:
Everything about these banners is clean and easy to read. The iconic puzzle piece logos add a touch of intimate personality that separates the images from plain text graphics. The difference in shapes, square versus rectangle, highlights that your banner can and should be tailored to the size that works best on your website.
If you don’t have the time or the resources to create a banner ad, Double the Donation provides a host of banner options, such as:
Still clean and basic, this banner adds simple details, such as a faded color scheme and the orange ribbon in the top right corner. The image works great on donation confirmation screens, and make sure to link the graphic to your dedicated matching gift page.
The picture of the gift box is enough to signal to the user that this banner has something to do with giving or gifts prior to the user engaging with the white text. And the white text is easy to read and the large, capitalized letters, which will likely be the first words you read, tell you exactly what the box is addressing. As for the psychological effects of the color, green is commonly associated with balance and harmony, such as the balance a matching gift brings to the original donation and the harmony between you and donors. There are serious benefits to thinking out the minor details of banner ads in order to leverage major psychological impacts.
Your nonprofit does not have to advertise for matching gifts on its homepage, but it’s a good idea if you want to raise awareness for matching gifts. Regardless, including information about matching gifts in a logical place, such as a navigation bar, is a must.
Many nonprofits host special event fundraisers like galas to boost them toward their revenue goals. However, only a few organizations realize that tickets and donations made during the event might be eligible for corporate matching gifts.
When brainstorming ideas for your next fundraiser, don’t steer clear of special events. Instead, research your donors’ employers and your corporate match opportunities. To kick off your research, review the following key examples and commonalities between companies’ giving programs:
- Examples of Donations at Annual Galas and Special Events.
- Eligibility of Donations Made at Galas and Special Events.
- Matching Gifts for Peer-to-Peer Fundraisers.
- Tips for Promoting Matching Gifts to Special Event Attendees.
- How a Matching Gift Database Can Help.
1. Examples of Donations at Annual Galas and Special Events
Because of your familiarity with the nonprofit world, you likely know that organizations typically incorporate donations with their special events.
Let’s take a look at some notable special events hosted by some major, well-known organizations:
- The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association gives individuals an opportunity to name one of its animals. For donations between $1,000-$50,000, you can name an animal, receive recognition in the zoo publication, have your photo taken with the animal, and get a VIP tour.
- The Atlanta Botanical Garden has its Garden of Eden Gala, the organization’s largest annual fundraiser. Tickets range in price from a few hundred dollars to $25,000 if you want to be the presenting sponsor. Benefits include tickets to the organization’s Ball, a Patron Party, and much more.
- NEXT for Autism (formerly New York Collaborates for Autism) hosts its annual “Night of Too Many Stars”. Celebrities such as Jon Stewart, Katie Perry, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Seth Rogan, and many others auction off once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to hang out with them. For instance, becoming “best friends with Amy Poehler & Tina Fey” for an evening was auctioned for thousands of dollars a few years ago.
Most nonprofits aren’t quite on this huge event level, but it’s a great place to start researching. Take the time to look at special events hosted by major nonprofits whose missions are similar to yours. Who knows? Their major fundraisers may inspire your next event!
2. Eligibility of Donations Made at Galas and Special Events
It may come as a surprise, but many companies that offer matching gift programs will match donations made at special events!
When reviewing a company’s matching gift form, you may notice a sentence similar to “the corporation will not match tickets or subscriptions.” For instance, if your organization is a symphony selling a concert ticket or a science museum selling an IMAX ticket, companies won’t match the ticket price.
The reason for this is that donors are receiving a tangible benefit that would be charged by other for-profit organizations. For example, an IMAX movie could be compared to a regular movie ticket while the symphony could be compared to a sporting event ticket.
If that’s the case, then why are gala tickets and special event tickets often eligible?
If you look at the fine print on many nonprofits’ special event tickets, you’ll notice that it mentions a tax-deductible amount for each ticket. The tax-deductible dollar amount is what’s eligible to be matched.
In general, at galas, you must subtract the cost of a similar meal and any gifts that guests receive. Otherwise, it won’t be considered matching-gift eligible. For instance, if you host a gala and sell $500 tickets, you have to determine the fair market value of the benefits. In other words, how much would someone spend on the event if it wasn’t a fundraiser?
Let’s say people would typically spend $100 for a gala like yours plus $50 on the meal at a local restaurant. That makes the fair market value $150, meaning the tax-deductible amount is $350. In this case, $350 is the amount that would eligible for matches.
If you’re interested in learning more, we wrote an entire article on calculating the tax-deductible matching gift value.
3. Matching Gifts for Peer-to-Peer Fundraisers
When researching corporate match programs, you may come across some companies that match the fundraising efforts of its employees. In other words, if their employees voluntarily fundraise for your cause (i.e. peer-to-peer fundraising), a company that offers this program will match the entire amount up to a certain limit.
Some of the major companies that offer these generous programs are:
Peer-to-peer fundraising is a common strategy for boosting nonprofit revenue. With these campaigns, your volunteer fundraisers receive their own personalized webpages where they raise money for your cause. The most common example of these effective fundraisers is walkathons. Though these campaigns are heavily reliant on online tactics, once you master the peer-to-peer approach, you’ll boost your fundraising potential!
4. Tips for Promoting Matching Gifts to Special Event Attendees
Unfortunately, for organizations, it’s less common to receive employee matching gifts for galas and special events than it is for regular donations or annual fund contributions.
As with all donations, you have to raise awareness and make it easy for donors to submit matching gift requests. However, there’s an extra component when it comes to galas and special events.
Even if an individual knows about their company’s matching gift program, they rarely realize a portion of their recently purchased ticket is tax-deductible and often match-eligible. Therefore, you need to promote this. Start by doing the following:
- Include the tax-deductible amount on the ticket with a line such as “Did you know $X of your ticket is tax-deductible? If your employer offers a matching gift program, it may be eligible to be matched.”
- If you subscribe to Double the Donation’s matching gift service, consider setting up a laptop with your organization’s page about matching gifts that’s easily accessible at your event.
- At payment stations where donors pay for auction items, make sure your staff asks each individual or his or her spouse if they work for a company with a matching gift program.
- Do you give donors an acknowledgement card after they buy a ticket or make an additional donation? If so, this is a great time to encourage donors to see if their employer or their spouse’s employer offers a matching gift program.
Before creating your promotion plan, make sure to review our list of top ways to promote employee matching gifts year-round.
5. How a Matching Gift Database Can Help
In addition to helping your day-to-day fundraising strategy, a matching gift database (like Double the Donation) can help your organization pinpoint additional revenue opportunities at special events.
Your nonprofit should promote corporate giving at any special fundraising event. Before going into ways to do this, here’s how Double the Donation works:
- A nonprofit embeds the tool on its website or online donation page.
- A donor (or volunteer) starts typing his/her employer’s name.
- The database autocompletes the search, suggesting companies for the user to click.
- The user receives all available updated information on his/her employer’s giving program.
Best of all, the tool easily integrates with other fundraising software. Larger nonprofits might benefit more from 360MatchPro by Double the Donation, which streamlines the process even more through email automation and email domain screening.
There are multiple ways you can promote corporate philanthropy with Double the Donation’s services:
- At your event, set up a laptop with your page that has the search tool embedded.
- Analyze your guest list prior to the event and research attendees’ employers. That way, you’ll have more insight on who to approach at your event.
- For your event, create and hand out educational pamphlets on matching gifts and local employers that offer them.
Get creative with your matching gift promotion! Think your nonprofit can benefit from Double the Donation?
Corporate philanthropy represents a major opportunity for nonprofits. By taking the time to incorporate it into your fundraising and outreach strategies, you set your nonprofit up for success. Few nonprofits take the time to do proper research on these programs. Because of that, they overlook major revenue opportunities.
Now that you know special event tickets and donations can be matched by most employers, get started boosting your revenue!