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Microsoft Matching Gift Figures

Matching Gift Ratios and Amounts: How Much Will Companies Match?

You understand the basic concept of matching gifts. You know that in a matching gift program a company will match donations made by employees to a range of nonprofits.

That’s the general definition and a good start. However, in order to succeed in acquiring matched gifts you’ll need to understand the nitty-gritty of the program stipulations.

Well, here is the nitty-gritty!

The amount that a company will match is based on a combination of the matching gift ratios, maximums, and minimums.

Let’s break those three components down based on what we typically see in matching gift programs:

  1. Match Ratio
  2. Maximum Match
  3. Minimum Match

1. Match Ratio

This is a lot easier to understand than it sounds.

Companies determine how much to match for employee donations based on a preset ratio. The majority of companies match donations at a 1:1 ratio, or dollar for dollar.

In the case of a 1:1 ratio, if an employee gives your nonprofit $100 and her employer agrees to match it, you’ll end up with $100 from the company for a total of $200. You’ve doubled your donation!

Although you can expect to see a lot of 1:1 ratios, they can range from .5:1 all the way up to 4:1. Ratios are typically standardized across all employee types, but sometimes a company will stipulate that, for example, part-time employees or retirees or executives will have different match ratios.

For instance:

2. Maximum Match

Maximum matches have quite the range. You’ll see upper limits from $1,000-$15,000 on average, but there are plenty of matches that are outside that scope.

For instance:

3. Minimum Match

Usually, a company will set a donation minimum, meaning that if a donor’s contribution falls below that set amount, the company will not match the gift.  Most commonly, that dollar amount is $25, but it can range from $1-$100.

For instance:


Combine all three of these factors and you’ll be ready to predict what your nonprofit will rake in from those lucrative matching gifts!

Keep reading our additional resources for more matching gift tips and tricks:

  • Matching gift Program FAQs: Have a question about matching gifts you need answered? This article covers some of the most common queries about matched giving.
  • Matching Gift Software Vendors: If you’re an organization looking for tools to market matching gifts or a corporation searching for matching gift management software, this article is for you! We’ve compiled a list of top vendors to help your philanthropy program succeed.
  • Top Matching Gift Companies: Brush up on the top matching gift companies to see how much your organization could raise.
Matching Gift Acknowledgement

The 11 Must-Know Matching Gift Best Practices for Nonprofits

Have you ever been to a movie double feature? They are great. You get in the movie-going mood, take the time out of your busy life to make it to the theater, buy your popcorn, sneak in your candy, splurge on a huge soda, and then settle in for two great films. Oh, and most importantly, you’re only paying for one.

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 with a check for the same amount or more depending on the company’s matching ratio.

However, just like it takes a bit of extra planning and time management skills to get yourself to a double feature, it will take your team a bit of extra work to secure those matched gifts.

To ensure that your nonprofit maximizes its efforts, we’ve curated a list of the 11 most valuable matching gift best practices:

  1. Study up on matching gifts. 
  2. Appoint a matching gift coordinator. 
  3. Raise awareness about matched giving. 
  4. Collect donor employer details when appropriate. 
  5. Strive for easy accessibility. 
  6. Keep records of the matched gifts through the entire process. 
  7. Thank your donors for submitting a matching gift request. 
  8. Cultivate relationships with donors’ companies. 
  9. Maintain and update your donor records. 
  10. Perform a prospect screening. 
  11. Track and review your progress. 

Follow these tips, lean back in your seat, and watch the credits roll!

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.

The topic of matching gifts isn’t some incredibly intimidating subject like organic chemistry. Reaching an effective level of working knowledge is certainly possible.

Begin like you would with any subject by reading what you can. Try to build a strong foundation of knowledge, so that when you implement your program you’ll be set to handle obstacles as they arise.

Having a keen sense of matching gifts and what goes into obtaining them will be crucial in planning your program and standardizing your processes.

Learning, for instance, the matching gift guidelines for the three biggest companies in your area would help your team target donors from those companies. Chances are, some of your preexisting donors work at one of those three. Play the odds when picking and choosing when to research specifically and when to stay general.

2. Appoint a Matching Gift Coordinator

In the ideal situation, everyone on your organization’s team will be well-versed in matching gift programs. However, by appointing an expert to lead your team, you’ll have the time and resources to implement matching gifts into your overall strategy.

Your nonprofit will be better served hiring a matching gift coordinator than it would be having your whole staff know just a few facts about matching gifts. The coordinator is the expert, and the rest of your employees should know enough to field the questions that they can and pass along the rest.

The coordinator is the designated point-person for all matching gift queries and problems, as well as the staffer in charge of seeing the donations through until the end.

Your coordinator will be able to keep your various departments in the loop about what’s going on and need-to-know information.

All staff should be promoting matching gifts when relevant, but the matching gift coordinator will be the coach leading your team to victory.

If your organization wants advice when hiring a matching gift coordinator, why not consider hiring an executive search firm? The consultants can help you craft the perfect job description and lead you through the entire hiring process.

What if you don’t have the funds or employee base to designate a matching gifts coordinator?

Set aside some time and have a team do the research and put together matching gift materials including:

  • Educational packets
  • Letter templates
  • Newsletter copy
  • Answers to FAQs
  • Fast facts

With these resources, and resources like them, any member of your team should be prepared to handle most matching gift occurrences and problems.

3. Raise Awareness About Matching Giving

Once you have a solid understanding of matching gifts and an idea of how the process will work internally, it is time to spread the word. People need to know about matching gifts before they can request them.

No need to be coy at this point, the goal is mass awareness. Think like Paul Revere. The British may not be coming, but matching gifts are.

Lucky for everyone, technology has drastically improved since Revere’s days, so nonprofits now have plenty of ways to promote matching gifts.

Put matching gifts on your ‘ways to give’ page, like Girls Scouts of Greater Atlanta did:

Matching Gifts Featured on Ways to Give

Create a dedicated matching gift page, like the ASPCA did:

Dedicated Matching Gift Page

Outline matching gifts in an email newsletter, like CMTA did:

Matching Gift Newsletter

These are just three of many, many options. Get creative.

Matching gift promotion should span all of your communication platforms. Diversify your marketing so that it can reach a diverse audience of donors.

Note

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

4. Collect Donor Employer Details When Appropriate

Part of your educational materials for donors will give them access to determine if their companies have matching gift programs, but if your staff is able to readily see the employer of any given donor in your database, they can then go the extra mile to obtain that donation.

A major gift donor who works for a company with a generous matching gift program can make a huge difference in a nonprofit’s annual budget.

You also don’t want to waste the time of your employees.

Knowing the companies donors work for will help you segment out matching gift prospects.

If you are promoting on, say, email, zeroing in on only the prospects with the most potential wouldn’t make sense. What about a calling campaign, though? Staff won’t have time to call all donors and prospects. That’s where employer info can make a world of difference.

5. Strive for Easy Accessibility

For a donor, securing a matching gift is an easy process that has the misfortune of sounding complicated. Brand it better.

Clear and concise language, with easy to understand directions will make your donors much more likely to seek out matching gifts. Donors who have already been kind enough to donate should not have to follow-up with a bunch more work.

 You can:

  1. List the typical steps involved in the process on your dedicated page
  2. Insert a matching gift widget that can help the donor search for her company’s program
  3. Send out informational mailed materials
  4. Highlight key matching gift statistics
  5. Point out a few of the companies that commonly match gifts for your nonprofit and detail those programs

Ensure that your nonprofit is a one-stop shop for all things matching gift.

6. Keep Records of the Matched Gifts Through the Entire Process

This task will usually fall under the matching gift coordinator’s jurisdiction.

Essentially, you’ll want to know what requests have been made, when they are processed, and when they have been fulfilled.

Keeping accurate records will guarantee that no attempted matching gifts slip through the cracks. There can be a lot of moving parts in the process among the donor, donor’s employer, and the nonprofit, and there will be some level of back-and-forth.

A clear trail of what has happened and what needs to happen will make interactions a lot easier and lot more efficient.

The more standardized and systematic the process you use is, the better the results will be.

7. Thank Your Donors for Submitting a Matching Gift Request

Donors involved with matching gifts have gone the extra mile for your cause. Your thank you should reflect that.

Just like matching gifts have doubled your donations, matching gift thank yous should be double as well. Thank once for the initial donation and a second time when the matched gift goes through.

You might want to put together a special event to honor matching gift donors. The goal is to show genuine gratitude towards what they’ve done to help, but something like a special event will also promote the program to those who are unaware of it.

If you don’t have the resources for an entire event, try publicly thanking those involved on social media.

Social media is a great place to promote matching gifts, but it is also a top outlet for acknowledgment. A strategic Facebook post can kill two birds with one stone by thanking a matching gift donor while getting the idea of matching gifts into the heads of your Facebook community.

Find a way to demonstrate your gratitude and ensure that the donors feel appreciated.

8. Cultivate Relationships with Donors’ Companies

You should also consider thanking your donors’ companies. The donor has brought the company to you, so make sure you’re taking your open shots.

Matching gifts can provide a much-desired introduction to major corporations with top-notch corporate giving.

When an employee asks her company to match her gift, by nature of the process the company will be exposed to your nonprofit. If you want to foster a new relationship, your nonprofit is going to have to impress the company.

By having all of your matching gifts ducks in a row, your staff can focus on building those corporate relationships, instead of troubleshooting submission issues.

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 a real go of acquiring matching gifts.

You could send out mailers with blanks for donors to fill-in any changes to their personal details.

Once the information is in your system, your next move is going to be making sure those who need it can find it. Having data stored in such a manner that only one senior team member can even find it does your organization no good.

10. Perform a Prospect Screening

If you’re looking for donors with large capacities to donate and great matching gift programs, prospect screenings are going to be a big help.

A major insight prospect research can provide is the list of business affiliations of potential donors, like where they work and where their spouses work. If a donor’s spouse works for a major matching gift company, your donor will often qualify for those donations as well.

Matching gift participation rates can vary from 3% to 65% based on how much the individual companies promote their programs. With the knowledge derived from prospect screening, you’ll be able to take a well-prepared approach to finding matching gift donors.

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.

So that you can properly grade your program track:

  • The matching gift money raised in previous years
  • The matching gift money raised in the time following your program’s inception
  • Your top matching gift employer
  • The costs and time it takes to acquire the gifts
  • The percentage of your total revenue that matching gifts account for

Simply advocating for matching gifts won’t be enough to run a successful program. Tracking data and looking at results is the best way to know how your nonprofit is doing and what its areas of improvement are.


Corporate giving programs are out there for the taking. Major corporations like GE and Microsoft have some of the best matching gift programs in the world.

Institute these matching gifts best practices and get ready for the second movie to start.

For more matching gift advice, check out these additional resources: 

  • Marketing Matching Gifts: Want more ways to promote matching gifts. This guide takes you through several ideas on how your organization can best market matching gifts.
  • Ultimate Guide to Major Gifts: Like we mentioned earlier, encouraging major donors to submit matching gifts can add even more money to your annual fund. Learn the ins and outs of major donors with this helpful guide.
  • Matching Gift Database: If you want more information on matching gift programs, take a look at Double the Donation’s matching gift database.


Microsoft Matching Gift Figures

Matching Gift Eligibility: Which Nonprofits Qualify?

Matching gifts are a goldmine for nonprofits, but there are some limitations on organization eligibility.

It is crucial that you know where your organization stands in terms of eligibility before seeking out matching gifts. If your organization doesn’t qualify, all of your effort is futile.

Since program standards vary company to company, there are no universal guidelines — you cannot know your eligibility for all matching gift programs. However, you can equip yourself with an understanding of the big picture eligibility standards and common exemptions.

Fortunately, we’ve outlined those standards for you here and answered the question:

What are the restrictions for the types of organizations eligible to receive employee matching gift funds?

1st) Most corporate giving programs match to educational institutions and various types of 501(c)(3) organizations, which are typically categorized as:

  • Higher Education — schools offering at least a two-year program of college level studies,„ schools or colleges within a university that conduct their own fundraising efforts (such as law or medical schools), seminaries and theological schools, alumni funds, foundations, etc.
  • K-12 Education — public or accredited private kindergarten through high schools, foundations established by the school districts to fund one or more eligible schools, etc.
  • Arts and Cultural Organizations — aquariums, libraries, museums, orchestras, public broadcasting stations, etc.
  • Community Based Social Services — animal shelters, child welfare, homeless shelters, low-income assistance, etc.
  • Environmental Organizations — conservation efforts, wildlife preservation, etc.
  • Healthcare Based Organizations — healthcare services, hospitals, substance abuse programs, etc.

Approximately 2/3 of companies with matching gift programs will match to an organization that fits into any one of those categories.

For the remaining 1/3, those companies will usually match for one or a select few from the above categories.

For example, ExxonMobil focuses its matching gift efforts on two programs: the “Educational Matching Gift Program” and the “Cultural Matching Gift Program.”

2nd) While most 501(c)(3) organizations and educational nonprofits are eligible for matching gifts from a vast array of companies, there are a few common restrictions, which include:

  1. Political Organizations
  2. Sports Teams
  3. Religious Organizations

Houses of worship such as churches and synagogues are often times restricted, but many faith-based organizations with major community outreach components such as food banks, job training, or homeless shelters are matching gift eligible.

Learn more about matching gift eligibility for religious organizations.


With this outline, you should have a good idea of your organization’s place in the matching gift world. Remember, these are just the standard practices, and there are certainly exceptions.

Find out more about matching gifts with these additional resources: 

  • 8 Corporate Matching Gift Questions: Ever wanted know the average matching gift rate or how to create your own matching gift program? If you’re a corporation looking into matching gifts, this guide has all the answers you need.
  • Matching Gift Software Vendors: Organizations looking to boost their matching gift outreach should look into management software specifically made for corporate philanthropy. Our list of tools can help start your search on the right foot.
  • Matching Gifts Ultimate Guide: Want to learn more about matching gifts? Our comprehensive guide will help your nonprofit understand matched giving and how to promote it.
Matching Gift Requests

It’s Never Too Late for Donors to Submit Matching Gift Requests

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:

  1. The farther from the donation a supporter gets, the less likely he will be to follow-up with a matched gift
  2. The sooner your nonprofit receives the extra funds, the sooner it can put those funds to good use

Matching gift deadlines vary by company, so there’s still time to promote matching gifts to donors who contributed to your organization this year.

Donors simply have to fill out and submit their employer’s matching gift request forms.

Matching gift deadlines typically fall under one of three types:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. By the end of the calendar year with an extended grace period — In this instance, a company will grant matched gifts through the end of the calendar year and then tack on an additional month or two for employees to submit their matching gift requests.  Standard extensions go through end of January, February, or March, but rarely go past the 31st of March.

To get a better understanding what the guidelines look like in practice, let’s look at some examples.

 

Deadline #1: Within a Set Number of Months

While most companies allow donations to be submitted far after the date a donation was made, deadlines do vary. Some major companies have much more time sensitive deadlines for their matching gift programs.

Here are four companies with matching gift submission deadlines ranging from 30 days to 365 days from the donation date:

 

Adobe

Adobe Matching GiftsAdobe offers a matching gift program wherein the company matches donations up to $10,000 per employee per year. Employees are also able to submit grant requests for $250 for every 10 hours they volunteer with a nonprofit.

The company offers an easy to use online portal for employees to submit their matching gift requests and to log their volunteer hours.

Match request deadline: All matching gift requests must be submitted by employees within one year of the donation date.

Click here for additional details on Adobe’s matching gift program.

 

DirectTV

DirectTV matches donations of up to $20,000 per DIRECTV Matching Giftsemployee per a year and provides grants of $10 per hour (max $250) volunteered by an employee. DirectTV has an easy to use online submission process for both programs.

Match request deadline: All matching gift requests must be submitted by employees within six months of the donation date.

Click here for additional details on DirecTV’s matching gift program.

 

AltriaAltria Matches Donations from Employees

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.

Click here for additional details on Altria’s matching gift program.

 

Fannie Mae

Fannie Mae's Matching Gift Program

Fannie Mae matches employee donations up to $5,000 annually and offers grants when employees volunteer. Unfortunately some organizations miss out on this funding since they aren’t ensuring donors submit matching gift requests in a timely manner.

Match request deadline: Fannie Mae donors and volunteers must submit a matching gift request within 30 days of the date of the donation, or by December 31st of each year, whichever is sooner.

Click here for additional details on Fannie Mae’s matching gift program.

 

Deadline #2: End of Calendar Year

Many companies ask that employees submit their match requests in a timely manner but will still match donations made in a calendar year until December 31st of that year.

Here are a few examples:

Aetna

Aetna Matching Gift ProgramAetna matches donations from employees and retirees up to $5,000 per individual per year. Aetna also enables employees to allocate a $300 grant to a nonprofit after they volunteer for 20 hours in year.

Match request deadline: Employees are encouraged to submit the matching gift request as soon as possible, but have until December 31st to submit their matching gift requests.

Click here for additional details on Aetna’s matching gift program.

 

Freeport-McMoRan

Freeport McMoRan Matching GiftsFreeport-McMoRan matches donations of up to $40,000 per employee per year to a wide range of nonprofits. The first $1,000 donated is matched at a 2:1 rate. Anything above $1,000 is matched at a dollar for dollar rate.

Match request deadline: While Freeport-McMoRan encourages employees to submit matching donation requests at the time of the initial donation, employees can submit matches until Dec. 31st of the year following the date of the donation.

Click here for additional details on Freeport-McMoRan’s matching gift program.

 

Deadline #3: End of Calendar Year + Grace Period

Matching Gift Deadlines with Grace Periods

Boeing

Boeing offers a monetary match, a volunteer grant match, and a grant when employees participate in a fundraising event such as a walk or run for a cause. The deadlines for all three of Boeing’s employee giving programs are as follows:

Employee deadline: Boeing employees must submit gift match requests no later than January 31st of the year following the contribution / participation.

Nonprofit deadline: Organizations must verify the employee submission request no later than April 15th of the year following the contribution / participation.

Click here for additional details on Boeing’s matching gift program.

 

VerizonVerizon Matches Donations from Employees

Verizon matches donations up to $5,000 annually to educational institutions and up to $1,000 annually to all other nonprofits.

The Verizon Foundation also provides grants of $750 to organizations where an employee volunteers for at least 50 hours in a calendar year.

Employee deadline: Matching gift requests must be entered into the electronic matching gift system before March 31st of the year following the date of the donation.

Organization deadline: Organizations must also confirm the donation request by March 31st.

Click here for additional details on Verizon’s matching gift program.

 

Bank of America / Merrill LynchBank of America Matches Donations

Bank of America (including Merrill Lynch) matches employee donations to nearly all nonprofits. The company also provides grants when employees volunteer on a regular basis.

Employee deadline: Employees must complete an application and have the recipient organization verify the gift. This information must be received by March 31st of the year following the date of the donation.

Organization deadline: Organizations must verify donations by May 15th of the year following the date of the donation.

Click here for additional details on Bank of America’s matching gift program.

Direct Mail Matching Gifts

Use Direct Mail to Feature Matching Gifts

Some donors don’t respond to the internet, and others simply prefer a good, old fashioned letter. Many people who make major donations are older and less technologically savvy than the young people who haven’t yet struck their fortunes and aren’t inclined to give. An older generation of donors (and many young donors) still reads through their snail mail, and direct mail is how to reach them.

In fact organizations still raise a substantial percentage of their overall funds (often 60-80%) through direct mail.

Letters, postcards, paper inserts, newsletters, and return envelopes are your options for thanking donors and making both annual and major gift appeals. Each type of direct mail piece has its place in the matching gift donation cycle, and they’ll all help you to reach that vital segment of donors who either don’t use / don’t frequent email or respond to direct mail at a much higher rate.

 

Letters

Direct mail might lack the speed of email, but different donors respond to different marketing techniques. Paper letters help you reach the folks who don’t rely on technology for all of their information.

Paper letters highlighting matching gifts come in two varieties:

  1. Solicitation letters
  2. Thank you notes

 

Solicitation Letters

Use letters to remind donors to check if their employers offer matching gifts. The wording shouldn’t read like a sale, so no, “Act now! Match your gift!” You want people to know that, by applying for a matching gift, they’re doing a great service to your nonprofit.

Sample Matching Gift Letter Text (feel free to use them)

  • Many employers offer matching gift programs that could double or even triple your contribution. We invite you to seek out matching gifts, so that [name of your organization] can continue to [list some awesome things that you do for the community].
  • Many corporations offer programs that match employee donations to [insert your organization’s name]. The tax deductible portion of your membership contribution is often eligible to be matched as well.
  • Visit [insert the name of your matching gift page on your website] or visit https://doublethedonation.com/YourOrg to find out if your company will match your donation.

Write to your donors like they’re human beings and share personal stories to get them invested and wanting to go the extra mile to seek out matching gifts. Then include one of the above lines, or a quip of your own, as a call to action.

Solicitation letters won’t work for everyone. Lapsed donors and non-donors tend not to respond to direct mail specifically highlighting employee matching gifts. Active donors are who you want to solicit, as they’ve either made or will make a recent donation and should welcome the opportunity to double their gift. Postage prices can add up, so don’t send letters out to any old donor.

 

Thank You Letters

When you receive a matching gift, say thank you. Even if you’re sending emails, a paper thank you is a way to get a bit more intimate in order to show how much you appreciate the additional funds. Also, as previously mentioned, many donors don’t check email, and you want to make sure that they’re thanked. Physical letters might take longer to arrive, but they’ll ensure that your gratefulness is received.

 

Postcards

“Hey, so, while you’re in Mali, could you send me a postcard?” People love postcards, and they especially enjoy handwritten notes. Something about knowing that a real person cared enough to write the note resonates with the heartstrings. You want to tug at the heartstrings.

And they’re a perfect way to promote matching gifts through both:

  1. Solicitation postcards
  2. Thank you postcards

 

Solicitation Postcards

Postcards can be an especially effective way to encourage donors to submit matching gifts. Here’s an example matching gift postcard that MCR, a leading full-service print and mailing provider, created for Florida Institute of Technology:

Front Side of Florida Institute of Technology’s Matching Gift Postcard

FIT matching gift postcard

 Back Side of Florida Institute of Technology’s Matching Gift Postcard

FIT matching gift postcard back

The postcard does a lot of good things:

  1. Explains what matching gifts are
  2. Explains their financial impact
  3. Reminds donors to submit their matching gifts
  4. Provides a link to where donors can access additional matching gift information
  5. Provides a contact at the nonprofit to field donors’ questions

If your organization is interested in sending out postcards to donors then we recommend evaluating the following approaches:

  1. Send a matching gift postcard to all recent donors
  2. Send a matching gift postcard to donors who gave above a certain amount
  3. Send a matching gift postcard to donors who you know work for a matching gift company
  4. Send a matching gift postcard to donors who submitted a matching gift on past donations but haven’t yet for their most recent donations

Thank You Postcards

Odds are that you receive matching gift checks several months after the original donations. As with letters, postcards are a way to notify your donors that the matching contributions were received.

Thanking donors is not only the right thing to do, but it also instills a positive impression in donors’ minds, so they’ll be more likely to make future contributions with matching gifts.

Here’s a thank you postcard from the University of Michigan:

Sample Matching Gift Postcard sent by the University of Michigan (Front Side)

Matching Gift Postcard

 

Sample Matching Gift Postcard sent by the University of Michigan (Back Side)

Matching Gift Postcard Thank You The front is a play on the traditional Michigan slogan of, “Hail to the victors.” The alteration is smart, attention grabbing, and informs the reader what the opposite side of the card will discuss.

Michigan uses clean, white text, and you want a card that’s both easy to read and eye-appealing. Stay true to your brand’s color scheme, as Michigan does, and include graphics where they fit.

The backside of this postcard thanks the donor for taking the time to submit a matching gift.

When you’re as large as the University of Michigan, chances are that you’re sending this postcard out to more people than hand cramps that you care to endure. Printed postcards are fine, and Michigan presents a nice example, but if you want that personal touch then pick up a pen and scribble a quick message. Even just signing at the bottom can show an extra level of dedication that donors will respond to.

 

Paper Inserts

If you don’t want to edit all of your marketing materials so that they mention matching gifts or if you want to call added attention to such programs then paper inserts may be the offline marketing technique for you (it’s like your eHarmony match for matching gift marketing). Paper inserts are small slips of paper included in donor mailings that call special attention to matching gifts.

A paper insert from the National Kidney Foundation

National Kidney Foundation paper insert

That’s all a paper insert needs to be: Limited text that gets straight to the point. The graphics here are nice and the choices of both the font sizes and the bold text emphasize the brief message. You can easily tell what this paper insert is talking about and who it’s from. A nice addition is the invitation to visit their website at the provided link.

A more detailed paper insert from the Atlanta Botanical Garden

Membership Matching Gift Insert

This insert does a great job of taking advantage of available space to dig into the nuances of matching gifts. The color scheme is eye-catching and the font is easy to read. The bigger, white font at the top is a great call-to-attention, with a more subtle, bold call to attention towards the bottom of the page. This is how you want to incorporate matching gifts into a paper insert. Give them their own space and grab the reader’s attention.

If you have a dedicated matching gift page either on your own website or hosted on our website then we encourage you to include a link to that page directly on the insert.

Paper inserts come in a variety of forms. Sometimes they’re as simple as little slips of paper, but sometimes they’re Post-it notes stuck onto other materials in the mailing, or you could get creative and turn your paper insert into a bookmark. A great way to save money is to print paper inserts onto the backs of other mailing materials.

 

Newsletters

This marketing medium is an opportunity to write content that goes in-depth into the details of matching gifts, as you have more room to articulate both why matching gifts are important and their specific benefits to your nonprofit. Newsletters present additional space, so you can give donors more information in an attempt to bring them closer to your nonprofit in a way that makes them feel more in touch with and thus more included in your community.

Chances are that you have an online newsletter, but have you noticed that some people still prefer the print newspaper to the digital edition? Some folks prefer printed materials, whether due to reading issues or any number of problems. The bulk group who will appreciate direct mail newsletters is older donors who do not stay up to date with email. By sending out a physical newsletter you have a better chance of reaching donors who you would otherwise miss.

Your newsletter might be one page or several pages. In either case, you need quality content. To get started, here are two potential articles that can raise awareness for matching gifts:

  • [Your Organization’s Name] raises [Amount of money raised from matching gifts] from Matching Gifts and [What your organization did with the money] — Use this article to detail how matching gifts provide additional resources that create opportunities that would otherwise not be possible. Make the story personal and relatable, so donors realize the importance of taking a mere five minutes to submit a matching gift request.
  • Corporate Employee Matching Gift Programs: What Are They and How Do They Benefit [Your Organization’s Name]? — Inform donors about matching gift basics, from what matching gifts are to how they benefit your organization to how easy it is to submit a matching gift request. Sometimes people just need to know that such programs exist.

Newsletters are great to mail out in paper form, but, with the cost of postage, it might serve you best to send out a bulk of materials in a single letter. Other tangible materials that you can send along with your newsletter include all of the above direct mail items.

 

Return Envelopes

If your nonprofit is like many organizations then you’re using direct mail to solicit donations. Moreover, you’re probably including a pre-printed return envelope to make it easy for donors to mail in their donations.

The return envelope is a prime spot to remind donors to check if their employers will match their donations.

Matching gift envelope

In case you can’t read the text on the above graphic, it says:

Thanks for donating!

Don’t forget to see if your company offers a matching gift program.

Visit [insert your Double the Donation matching gift URL or a link to your organization’s matching gift page] to access your company’s matching gift form, guidelines, and instructions.

A lot of the time, scoring matching gifts is about increasing awareness. Direct mail offers a bevy of ways to connect to donors. Many donors respond better to paper mail than email, and, from letters to postcards to newsletters, you have all the options you need to raise more doubled donations than ever.

GuideStar Articles Matching Gifts

Matching Gift Online Submission Process – Example Using Home Depot’s Website

Have you ever wondered what the actual online matching gift submission process is like for donors?

If so, this article is designed to shed light on the steps your nonprofit’s donors take when submitting a matching gift online.

Typical Online Matching Gift Submission Process for Donors:

While the online submission process can vary by company, it typically involves the following steps:

  1. Employees log into the company’s matching gift submission website
  2. Employees search for the nonprofit they donated to
  3. Employees select the nonprofit from the search results (if not found, they enter the organization’s information)
  4. Employees register their donation
  5. Employees submit the matching gift request

 

Step-by-Step Overview of Home Depot’s Online Matching Gift Process:

While some employers develop their own matching gift submission process internally, most contract it out to one of the main companies that administers matching gift programs on behalf of companies.

The following screenshots are for Home Depot’s electronic submission process and are representative of the process for employees of most large companies with matching gift programs.

Step #1: Employees log into the company’s online matching gift submission website.

Begin the Electronic Matching Gift Submission Process

 

Step #2: Employees search for the nonprofit they donated to.

Locate the Nonprofit in the Matching Gift Online Submission Process 

Step #3: Employees select the nonprofit from the search results.

Select the Nonprofit which will Receive the Matching Gift 

Step #4: Employees enter information about their donation.

Register the Matching Gift Request Online

 

Step #5: Employees submit the matching gift request.

Submit a Matching Gift Request Online

That’s it! Just those quick five steps and the donors have done their parts. The rest of the process involves your nonprofit verifying to the companies that the donations were made and then the companies issuing the matching funds.  

Microsoft Matching Gift Figures

Incorporate Matching Gifts Into Your Prospect Research

Prospect Research Teams Should Incorporate Matching Gift Information into Prospect Profiles

If prospect research is the eyes that spot the prospects then matching gifts are the hands that grab the donations. Of course, you can receive gifts without doubled donations, but you shouldn’t let easy money slip through your grasp. Prospect research can unveil a world of new prospects, and matching gifts allow you to maximize those generous gifts.

Matching Gift Basics

Matching gift programs are charitable giving programs run by corporations in which the companies match employee donations to eligible nonprofit organizations.

For example, if a donor works for Bank of America and donates $250 to a K-12 school, university, or 501(c)(3) organization, Bank of America will “double the donation” by writing a check for $250 to the same nonprofit.

Learn more about the basics of matching gifts >

Prospect Research Basics

Prospect research educates your organization about donors and potential donors, so you may evaluate an individual’s potential to support a specific nonprofit. Data is the key to allocating your limited resources such that you generate the largest ROI for your nonprofit organization.

Consider this example from Ryan Woroniecki:

“A donor with major giving potential may have given an average-sized gift to a crowdfunding campaign (say, $50). This donor may be willing to give a lot more to your nonprofit but hasn’t so far because crowdfunding campaigns generally ask for smaller donations.

If you base your appeal on their current giving, rather than their potential, you may ask for a gift in the same range ($50 – $70).  A donor isn’t likely to give a gift that’s significantly larger than what you ask for. As such, you’d be leaving hundreds, even thousands, of dollars on the table simply because you didn’t ask for more.”

Missed opportunities like the example above are the exact reason why it is crucial that organizations take the time to examine their donor pool. With the help of prospect research, you’ll be able to sift through your donor database and segment supporters based on giving potential.

A variety of information is examined when conducting proper prospect research. This includes:

  • Previous donations to your nonprofit – Who has donated to your nonprofit? How often do these people donate? How much do they give?
  • Donations to other nonprofits – Where else does the prospect make philanthropic contributions?
  • Political giving – Does the prospect donate to political campaigns?
  • Nonprofit involvement – Is the prospect a board member for other nonprofits?
  • Real estate ownership – If the prospect owns real estate, what is the value of that property?
  • Business affiliations – What does the prospect do for a living? Is he involved in subsidiary ventures or corporate boards?
  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) insider stock transactions – In what companies and how heavily does the prospect invest?
  • Personal information – Hit the basics: contact information, marital status, and personal interests.

This prospect research data provides valuable fundraising benefits, such as:

  1. Refines major gift prospect outreach – Your hardworking staff only has so much time. With prospect screening, your organization can quickly prioritize outreach efforts to donors according to their affinities for your nonprofit and their capacities to give. This permits staff to focus more of their efforts on bonding with major donors.
  2. Converts annual fund donors into major gift prospects — With the time you’re not spending on prospect research, your team can focus on donors who can or have made large charitable donations.
  3. Identifies planned or deferred giving prospects – If planned giving is not one of your strong suits, prospect screening reveals solid candidates for bequests.
  4. Generates new prospects – Donation lists from other nonprofits and colleagues of your existing major gift donors are great places to discover new prospects.
  5. Analyzes donor giving patterns – Donors, as well as their families and foundations, support various causes. You can see what organizations they support and unearth donation patterns.
  6. Optimizes ongoing fundraising opportunities – Hospitals, universities, and similar organizations experience constant influxes of potential donors. Prospect screening enables your staff to pinpoint potential donors and individually tailor pitches.

Learn more about Prospect Research with DonorSearch’s ultimate guide to Prospect Research >

Multiply Prospects’ Potential with Matching Gifts:

With over 65% of Fortune 500 companies offering employee matching gift programs, there is potential to use matching gifts to turn even the smallest gifts into bigger donations. Major gift donors become even more important when they have the potential to give twice as much thanks to corporate matching gift programs.

A key insight of prospect research is the potential donors’ business affiliations, such as where they work and where their spouses work. Perhaps the individual’s spouse works for a company such as GE, which will match donations up to $50,000. If this spouse has the potential to give then she shoots to the top of the potential donors list.

Not only do matching gifts present the opportunity to increase gifts, but, when combined with prospect research, you can identify more sources of doubled donations.

Four Key Prospect Research & Matching Gift Statistics:

  1. More than 65% of Fortune 500 companies offer matching gift programs — Matching gifts represent an easy way for donors to multiply the impacts of their donations. The best part is that matching gifts don’t cost the prospect any additional money and they only take five minutes to submit. Many smaller employers offer matching gift programs, too, so use prospect screening to identify if prospects work for such companies and remind them of matching gift opportunities.
  2. Matching gift participation rates range from 3% to 65% depending on how widely a company promotes matching gifts to its employees — Companies must share vast amounts of business, personal, and charitable giving information with employees without overwhelming them. It should come as no surprise that many employees have no idea if their company offers a matching gift program or how to submit a match.
  3. An estimated $6-$10 billion in matching gift funds goes unclaimed per year — Because matching gift participation rates are low across companies and industries, nonprofits miss out on substantial amounts of donations. Incorporating matching gift information into your conversations with high quality prospects will help close the gap for your nonprofit.
  4. Mentioning matching gifts in fundraising appeals results in a 71% increase in the response rate and a 51% increase in the average donation amount (prior to receiving any matching gift funds) — Did you know that highlighting a prospect’s matching gift eligibility results in an increased likelihood that he or she will make a donation? Even better, when they do donate, they’ll likely give a larger amount than if there wasn’t a match available. Empower your prospect researchers to include matching gift information in their asks as a method for helping them to secure a major gift.

View additional matching gift statistics >

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.

Nonprofit Leadership Traits

Matching Gifts for Gala Tickets and Special Fundraising Events

Does your organization host a fundraising gala or special event? If so have you ever wondered whether the tickets and donations made during that event are eligible for matching gift programs?

We recently received an email from a woman named Sheila wondering whether individuals can apply for matching gifts from their employers for money donated through special fundraising events. Her question was as follows:

One of my organization’s fundraising events involves selling tiles and allowing parents and their children to decorate the tiles. We then affix the tiles to a wall as a way to display the artwork and recognize our donors. Is the purchase price of the tile eligible for corporate matching gift programs?

While this specific question may appear unique, many organizations raise funds in similar ways.

Donations at Annual Fundraising Galas and Special Events:

  • The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association gives individuals an opportunity to name a Zoo resident. For donations of between $1,000-$50,000, you can name an animal, receive recognition in the zoo publication, receive a photo of you with the animal, and get a VIP tour.
  • The Atlanta Botanical Garden has its Garden of Eden Gala, the Garden’s largest annual fund-raiser. Tickets range in price from a few hundred dollars to $25,000 to be the presenting sponsor. Benefits include tickets to the Ball, a Patron Party, and much more.
  • 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 a celebrity. For instance, becoming “best friends with Amy Poehler & Tina Fey” for an evening was auctioned for thousands of dollars.

Looking to host your own charity auction? Check out these great platforms.

Are these Donations Match Eligible?

It may surprise you, but many companies with matching gift programs will match these donations!

Why there’s confusion: If you or your donors look at many matching gift forms you may notice a sentence along the lines of “the Corporation will not match tickets or subscriptions.” So 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 instance, an IMAX movie could be compared to a regular movie ticket and the symphony could be compared to a sporting ticket.

But 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. For example a ticket to the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Garden of Eden Gala was $475 but amounts exceeding $200.00 per Ball ticket and $50 per Patron Party were eligible for a charitable income tax deduction.

We wrote an entire article on calculating the tax deductible matching gift value but in general at galas you must subtract the cost of a similar meal and any gifts that guests may receive.

Bottom Line on Getting Gala Tickets Matched: A significant percentage of a gala ticket’s purchase price is tax deductible and is often eligible to be matched by an employee’s company but corporate guidelines do vary by company.

Promoting Matching Gift Programs at Galas:

Unfortunately for organizations it’s less common to receive employee matching gifts for galas and special events than 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, but there’s an extra component when it comes to galas and special events.

Even if an individual knows about his or her company’s matching gift program, they rarely realize a portion of the ticket is tax deductible and often match eligible. Thus you need to promote this fact.

Matching Gifts for Fundraising Events:

One big fundraising opportunity is to take advantage of corporate match programs where companies match the fundraising efforts of its employees. Yes you heard that right — some companies have programs in place where if their employees go out and fundraise for your cause then the company will match the entire amount up to a certain limit.

These companies include:

  1. Intuit
  2. McAfee
  3. British Petroleum
  4. State Street

Learn more about fundraising match programs.

Five Easy Ways a Nonprofit can Promote Matching Gifts to Special Event Attendees:

  1. Include the tax deductible amount on the ticket with a line such as “Did you know $XXXX of your ticket is tax deductible? If your employer offers a matching gift program it may be eligible to be matched.”
  2. If you subscribe to Double the Donation’s matching gift service, consider setting up a computer with your organization’s matching gift webpage up and easily accessible by donors.
  3. Does your organization manage a payment station at the Gala where donors go and pay for auction items? Make sure your staff ask if the individual or his or her spouse works for a company with a matching gift program.
  4. Do you provide donors with an acknowledgement letter 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.

And of course make sure to review our list of top ways to promote employee matching gifts year-round.

Nonprofit and Corporate Relationships Matching Gifts

Leverage Matching Gifts to Strengthen Nonprofit-Corporate Relationships

We recently had a reader ask Double the Donation about how to strengthen relationships with corporations that offer generous matching gift contributions to their organization. She said she wished she had more ways to reach out to these companies post-matching gift donation to show them how a strong relationship could provide some great public relations benefits.

This is a great point! When corporations offer matching gift donations to a nonprofit organization, they may not realize how positive of an impact the contributions are having on the work of the nonprofit. It’s important for nonprofits to leverage matching gifts into positive PR for both you and the corporation to ensure future collaboration, and therefore, a stronger nonprofit-corporate relationship.

Suggestions of “Extra Thanks” for Generous Matching Gift Donations

Does your organization have one corporation in particular (or even a few!) that really stands out in the field of matching gift donations? It’s important that this company knows how big of an impact they are having on the work you do, and sometimes a simple, albeit wonderful, acknowledgement letter (that acts as a tax-deductible receipt, too) is not going to emphasize your thanks enough. So, what else can you do?

Press Releases

A simple and highly visible form of extra thanks is a press release to local publications. This could include information about the circumstances of the donation, how big of a matching gift partner they are (if, for example, you have many donors who work for one company that offers matching gifts on a recurring basis), and the kind of programs and nonprofit work the donations help progress.

And don’t forget to highlight the company on your own website. It’s not only positive publicity for the company but also encourages your other donors to see if their employers will match their donations.

The important thing here is that the company or companies providing matching gifts to your nonprofit organization are getting a public, positive recognition for the donations they make. They are more likely to donate in other capacities in the future, as well, when they see the kind of public acknowledgement they can get by donating to your organization.

Social Media

This one is seemingly a no-brainer, but it’s always amazing what kind of far-reaching impacts a Facebook or Twitter post can have on relationships. By thanking a corporation for their generosity with matching gifts and including the positive impact they are having on the community, your nonprofit is taking an extra (and again, simple) step to show the company and the public how thankful you are for their commitment to the cause.

Here’s a sample thank you post from the Children’s Craniofacial Association:

Thanks for the Matching Gifts

In case you can’t read the text on the image it says

It’s #ThankfulThursday & CCA thanks @Corning Inc. for the Foundation Matching Gifts Program, doubling employee donations to CCA!

It was retweeted four times and favorited six times, including from the main Corning account.

Donation Page Acknowledgements

On your website’s donation pages, you could include information about some of the benefits of matching gifts (for your donors), and also mention some of the top-giving companies in the area. This shows many donors the commitment of their employers to the community, which in turn increases the chances an individual will donate to your cause and also ask their company for a matching gift. Increasing the number of eyes that see a corporation’s name in a positive light also increases the likelihood of forming a stronger relationship with a company. Positive PR for a company (by a nonprofit organization) is a huge key for ensuring future collaboration.

Event Recognition

This is another easy way to recognize some of the major community players in the matching gift arena. Even if these companies are not sponsoring your charitable event, just mentioning the impact they are having on the work you do (without outshining the actual corporate sponsors, of course) is going to make a difference. Every company wants a positive image in the community because this increases their like-ability, and therefore their success. When your nonprofit organization is a key factor in increasing their success, the bond between the two will be stronger than ever.

Creating a Stronger Relationship

The above suggestions are just a few extra ways to say thanks to the corporations who have a strong commitment to matching gift donations. When a company sees the effort your nonprofit organization is putting forth to thank them for their generosity, it increases the chances of future giving, whether it’s with more matching gifts, grants, or even some form of sponsorship.

Make sure you’re saying thank you – it really can make all the difference!