Donor Awareness Matching Gifts

Nonprofits: How to Increase Donor Awareness about Matching Gift Programs

Modify your DonorPerfect donation confirmation emails to include matching gifts

Here at Double the Donation, we often write about the benefits of corporate giving programs, but we also touch upon marketing these programs to your donors. Informing individuals about the possibility of literally doubling donations via matching gift opportunities is step one to extra financial support, but step two is ensuring that these marketing efforts are working!

We’ll touch upon some common marketing efforts to get your donors ramped up to submit that matching gift request form to their employer, but also how to tell if your strategy is working.


Marketing Matching Gift Programs

Getting your donors aware about matching gift opportunities is the biggest obstacle your organization will have to overcome in order to receive more funds through these programs. There are billions (yes, billions!) of unclaimed dollars from corporate giving programs because donors are just simply not aware that they can ask their employers to match donations to eligible nonprofit organizations.

Here are three easy and effective marketing strategies to raise donor awareness about matching gift programs.

Include Matching Gift Information in Acknowledgement Letters

If your nonprofit organization is not already including information about matching gift opportunities in donor acknowledgement letters, then it’s a super easy way to start your marketing campaign. When an individual donates money to your organization, the hard part is done. Now you just need to get them to submit a matching gift request form to their employer – but how do you get them to do that?

Include a blurb about matching gifts in your acknowledgement letter. You’ve already got a committed audience, and since the acknowledgement letter doubles as a tax receipt, you can almost guarantee that the donor will read the letter to skim over key points. Make sure you emphasize that requesting a matching gift from their employer is easy and effective. Direct them to your Double the Donation webpage to allow them to check in just a couple of quick steps if their employer offers a matching gift program, and the steps they need to follow to do so.

It can be as simple as this: “Did you know that many corporations offer employee giving programs where they match donations to [your organization’s name]? The tax deductible component of your membership is normally eligible to be matched as well. Check with your employer today to see if they provide matching gifts!”

Make sure to mention that many companies now offer the opportunity to submit these forms online, so that makes the request that much easier. Your odds that a donor requests a matching gift from their employer are so much better if they’ve made a gift recently, so make sure your acknowledgement letters are timely!


Strategically Place Matching Gift Information on Donation Web Pages 

As with the above method, you want to make sure to include matching gift information in places that your donors (actual and potential) can see and process quickly. If an individual is on your organization’s donation page, then chances are that they didn’t end up there by accident. This is a great place to let them know that once they commit to the donation, then asking for a match from their employer will only take a few extra minutes. Donors are more likely to pull the trigger when they know it won’t be a long and arduous process, especially once they’ve already made a gift.

Put blurbs about matching gift opportunities on your donation pages, including on the “Donate Now” pages, and especially on the “Thank you for donating!” pages. It would be great as a “Next Steps” option.


Engage Your Donors on Social Media

Does your organization have a Facebook page? Twitter? YouTube? All of these are great places to let your donors know how grateful you are for their commitment to your organization’s mission, and a great place to let them know that they can literally double their donation by simply requesting a matching gift from employers. First and foremost, say thank you! This is a crucial part to ensure that they keep reading and engaging with your organization.

Post stories about how the money raised for your organization is helping grow your mission. Include asides about how matching gifts can doubly impact the cause! Facebook is a great place for short posts about matching gifts; Twitter is great for quick and succinct blurbs with links; and YouTube is a great place to submit a video thanking your donors for their contributions and extra efforts in matching gifts!

With social media, the marketing possibilities are endless.


Measuring the Impact of Marketing Efforts

The best advice we have on measuring your marketing impact is to create a chart. Create a graph of some kind (whatever your boss prefers, whether it’s a bar graph, a pie chart, or a nifty line chart in Excel) with the total amount of matching gifts received last year versus this year. Or last month versus this month. Use any time span that can really show you a difference between your pre- and post-marketing efforts. Can you see a discernible difference in the number of matching gifts being sent in?

Of course you can download our free Microsoft Excel Matching Gift Tracker and Dashboard >

You can also create a survey (there are many free online software tools) that allow you to send a thank you email to a donor who had submitted a matching gift request. Ask them how they learned about matching gifts, and include all of your marketing efforts, as well as an “Other” box with a free response option. This will help you realize which efforts are worth investing more time in (or at least focusing more on in the future), and which may be fruitless.

Your organization will also be able to identify if a majority of matching gifts are coming from one company in particular, or from a wide array of employers. This is notable because if your matching gifts seem to be coming from one employer, then it’d be a good idea to publicly recognize it as a valuable donor and partner to your organization.

There are a variety of ways to market matching gifts to your donors, and several other ways to measure the impact of these marketing efforts. Too much money goes unclaimed by nonprofit organizations due to a lack of awareness on the part of the donors about corporate giving programs. This shouldn’t be the case! Make sure you’re educating your constituents on a consistent and appropriate basis, and you could be well on your way to a high increase in the number of matching gift requests submit.

For more tips on how to to keep up with your marketing efforts and better retain your donor base, check out this webinar from Aplos.

Learn more about best practices for matching girl wording, text, and verbiage!

Matching Gift Wording, Text, & Verbiage: Best Practices

The wording used in various matching gift appeals is an important aspect to consider when revamping your organization’s matching gift strategy. At Double the Donation we try to help our nonprofit clients maximize their fundraising through matching gift programs so we compiled examples of suggested text when marketing matching gifts to donors.

Matching gifts are a great source of additional revenue for nonprofits. Choosing the right message when promoting matching gifts can be the determining factor in whether or not a donor takes a few minutes to lookup their employer’s match program.

To make sure you send the right message, check out our recommendations for:

  1. Matching gift text
  2. Matching gift blurbs
  3. Matching gift verbiage

Ready to get into it? Keep reading!

Matching Gift Text Best Practices

Matching Gift Text Best Practices

A easy way to increase the visibility of your matching gift promotion is to create a dedicated page for matching gifts either on your website or by using a custom match page on Double the Donation’s servers. Across your marketing efforts you can include text links to this page to help inform donors of their employers match programs. Check out a great example of a matching gift page from ASPCA:

Designate a page on your nonprofit website to matching gifts.

If you want to include matching gift text in your navigation, the exact wording your organization uses is vital when a donor is making the decision to click on the link or move on. We recommend using “Matching Gifts,” “Double your Donation,” or “Matching Gift Company Search.”

We don’t recommend nonprofits use verbiage such as “Corporate Matching” or “Corporate Giving” since the wording doesn’t resonate with individual donors.

Discover how nonprofits use our tools to increase your matching gift revenue.

Matching Gift Blurb Best Practices

Matching Gift Blurb Best Practices

Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of a blurb before. It’s a short piece of writing, usually accompanying a piece of creative work. An example might be the words you place under an image advertising matching gifts.

If you send out emails or paper inserts to your donors that promote matching gifts or volunteer grants, you should be thinking about the matching gift blurb that accompanies these works. Your matching gift blurb doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, brevity is important. You want to get the message across before the reader loses interest.

The “P.S.” line of a letter, email, or confirmation screen is also an effective spot to highlight matching gifts. Thank your donors for contributing to your cause, then show them how they can make their gift go even further by pointing them to a searchable matching gift database!

Take a look at the blurb from the Piedmont Foundation’s donation confirmation screen. The text reads: “Did you know that many companies match donations made by their employees to our organization? To see if your company will match your donation and to access the appropriate forms, guidelines, and instructions please use the below search box.”

A confirmation screen is a great place to house information about matching gifts.

The matching gift database tool will point your donors to valuable information about their employers’ matching gift programs. Here are some examples, using Double the Donation’s matching gift tools:

Check out hundreds of examples from nonprofits who do a great job of marketing matching gifts

Matching Gift Verbiage Best Practices

Matching Gift Verbiage Best Practices

When making an appeal to donors, or potential donors the wording of your appeal is important. Breaking it down further, your choice of verbs can affect the success of a campaign.

People often need a call to action in order to get involved. The key is to ask your donors to do something, to somehow take action. Matching gift appeals need action verbs.

In an email or webpage, phrases like “click here” or “read more” tell your audience what they need to do in order to help the cause. A button that links directly to content can also be useful.

On paper, use the same type of language, but be even more specific about next steps. Take this example from Thirteen:

Include action verbs when promoting matching gifts to your donors.

Individuals want to help. Too often they are held back by a lack of information and no clear directions for how they can be of service. Using the right, clear verbiage can help clarify the steps your donors need to take next.

About Double the Donation's Matching Gift Service

About Double the Donation’s Matching Gift Service:

Double the Donation’s service is designed to help nonprofits raise more money from employee matching gift programs. Our tools can help your organization raise donor awareness and make it easier for your donors to submit matching gifts.

We encourage you to check out the following resources:

Get the answers to all your corporate matching gift program questions.

8 Corporate Matching Gift Program Questions (and Answers!)


Become a Matching Gift Expert! Grab our Free Ultimate Guide to Matching Gifts.

While Double the Donation is focused on helping nonprofits increase fundraising from employee matching gift programs, we’re regularly contacted by corporations looking to institute matching gift programs.

Here are eight common questions from corporations looking to start a new employee matching gift program:

  1. What percentage of companies offer a corporate matching gift program?
  2. What’s the typical gift matching rate?
  3. How much does a matching gift program cost per employee?
  4. How do corporations benefit from matching gift and volunteer grant programs?
  5. How can we design a best-in-class corporate giving program?
  6. Should we use a matching gift or volunteer grant administrator?
  7. What are the main services provided by software vendors?
  8. Which companies use vendors vs. administer programs internally?

Ready to find out all the answers? Let’s dive in!

What percentage of companies offer a corporate matching gift program?

What percentage of companies offer a corporate matching gift program?

The percentage varies based on the sample you’re interested in. Specifically size of companies and what industries those companies are in play a big role in how prevelant matching gift programs are.

Large companies are far more likely than mom and pop businesses to offer comprehensive benefit programs and thus more likely to offer matching gift programs.

If you look at the Fortune 500 companies about 65% offer to match employee donations to a wide range of nonprofits (Source – Double the Donation’s Database). As you get into small companies the percentage goes down since sole proprietorships (technically companies) and 5-person companies rarely offer them.

The prevalence of matching gift programs also varies by industry. Companies with skilled labor forces (tech, pharmaceuticals, banks, etc.) are more likely to offer matching gift programs than industries with lower wage employees (restaurants, low-cost retailers, agricultural production, etc.)

What is the typical matching rate for a corporate matching gift program?

What’s the typical gift matching rate? (Ex. $1:1 or $.5:1 or $3:1)?

By far the standard is a 1:1 match.

We asked Adam Weinger, Double the Donation’s President, this question and he said:

“The number I throw out casually when on the phone is 90% are 1:1 and then 10% are either greater or less than 1:1. This calculation can get a bit tricky since some companies have different match ratios for certain employee segments (retirees vs. current employees) or different segments of the nonprofit space which they match to (higher ed. vs. arts & cultural) based on their corporate philanthropy goals.”

How much does a corporate matching gift program cost per employee?

How much does a matching gift program cost per employee?

That’s a tough one as there are a ton of variables.

The largest factor is the “maximum annual match per employee”. Whereas you can assume a standard match ratio of 1:1 the maximum amounts matched annually per employee are all over the board. Most companies fall into the $1,000 – $15,000 max per employee per year but it isn’t unusual to see maximums of $250, $500, $20,000, or $30,000.

Another factor is employee participation rates. Just because a company offers a matching gift program doesn’t mean its employees are aware of it.

Employee participation rates are also all over the board. A big factor in this is how well a company promotes employee matching gifts.

At some companies most employees are aware of the benefit (ex. Microsoft is a leader in sharing and promoting matching gift information to its employees) while employees at other companies have never heard of the programs.

A third factor is how much giving potential a company’s average employee has. For instance, think of a hedge fund vs. fast food chain.

Even if both companies have $50,000 maximums for all employees and have the same level of promotion to employees, the average charitable donation being matched is going to vary significantly.

How do corporations benefit from matching gift and volunteer grant programs?

How do corporations benefit from matching gift and volunteer grant programs?

We encourage you to read the following two different articles which our team previously wrote:

  1. The impact of matching gifts on employee engagement
  2. The importance of increasing employee engagement using corporate giving programs

But the short bullet point answer is there are all sorts of benefits including:

  • Develop a reputation for giving back in communities which your corporation is based in
  • Take a bottoms-up approach to corporate philanthropy by directing corporate giving dollars to the organizations which employees are passionate about
  • Encourage employee philanthropy and volunteerism
  • Increase employee morale and retention
  • Receive tax incentives

How can we design a best in class corporate giving program?

How can we design a best-in-class corporate giving program?

We could write a novel on how to design a best-in-call corporate giving program but we think all organizations should start with four elements.

Eligible nonprofits:

Employees are passionate about different causes. Allow them to select from any 501(c)(3) nonprofit or accredited educational institution or K-12 school. Typical categories that companies specify include:

  • Higher education institutions
  • K-12 schools
  • Arts and cultural organizations
  • Environmental groups
  • Health and human service organization
  • Civic and community based nonprofits

It’s important to remember that what’s important to you, the program administrator, isn’t necessarily the same causes that your company’s employees care about.

Types of giving programs:

Employees give back to communities in different ways. Some choose to donate monetarily while others may give their time. Offer a variety of employee giving programs including:

Eligible employees:

It is standard to offer corporate giving programs to full-time employees. But don’t forget to include part-time employees, retirees, and spouses as they’re some of the most active donors and volunteers and can really help raise your company’s reputation within your communities.

Click on the following companies for samples of how they’re leading their respective industries with best-in-class employee matching gift and overall employee giving programs:

Well Run:

Designing well thought out program guidelines isn’t enough. There must be a concentrated effort to promote the employee giving programs both internally to employees as well as externally to the communities your company is supporting.

Measuring your company’s internal success with promoting the matching gift programs and ensuring the process is user-friendly can be done by looking at your company’s employee participation rate on a regular basis. When you launch your corporate match program make sure you have a well designed outreach strategy planned for the entire company throughout the upcoming year.

Should we use a matching gift or volunteer grant program administrator?

Should we use a matching gift or volunteer grant program administrator?

Double the Donation is focused on helping nonprofits maximize donations received from existing matching gift and volunteer grant programs.

We don’t setup or manage corporate programs, but there are a number of companies out there that cater to corporations. 3rd party matching gift and volunteer grant program vendors include:

What are the main services provided by corporate matching gift program software vendors?

What are the main services provided by software vendors? Does Double the Donation offer consulting services?

Each of the major vendors offers a suite of services. They’re designed to help new companies create employee matching gift programs as well as help existing companies improve and refine their matching gift program strategies and goals. These services help companies solve all technical and non-technical aspects of administering match programs including:

  • Program design (What should the guidelines be?)
  • Implementation of an online portal for employees to track volunteer hours and request matching gifts
  • Up-to-date reporting
  • Customer support for a company’s employees
  • Verification of the nonprofit’s status
  • Processing of grants

Yes, Double the Donation does offer consulting services to corporations.

Learn more about our corporate consulting services >

Which companies use vendors vs. administer corporate matching gift programs internally?

Which companies use vendors vs. administer programs internally?

Historically the larger a company is, the more likely they are to use a vendor. For instance, most Fortune 100 companies use a vendor while mom and pop shops almost always manage their programs internally.

Over the past few years we’ve seen smaller companies increasingly choosing to go with one of the newer vendors who offer excellent cloud-based services for a reasonable price.

View a list of many of the vendors who provide corporate philanthropy software to corporations >

There’s a lot to discover about how matching gifts and volunteer grants can enhance your corporate giving program. Are you ready to learn more about this exciting subject?

Check out these helpful resources to get started:

  • Mercy Corps Matching Gift Page. Want to see how philanthropies and other nonprofit organizations incorporate matching gifts into their fundraising model? Try out Mercy Corps’ employee matching gift page to get an idea of how your employees might discover their matching gift eligibility.
  • Top 10 Volunteer Grant Companies for Savvy Nonprofits. Looking for a corporate blueprint of a successful volunteer grant program? Search no further! At 360MatchPro, we’ve got a list of the top 10 companies with volunteer grant programs in place that your business should emulate.