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Check out these fundamental best practices for acquiring matching gifts.

The 11 Must-Know Matching Gift Best Practices for Nonprofits

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:

  1. Study up on matching gifts. 
  2. Appoint a matching gift coordinator. 
  3. Raise awareness about matched giving. 
  4. Collect donor employer details. 
  5. Strive for easy accessibility. 
  6. Keep records of individuals’ matching gift statuses. 
  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 prospect screening. 
  11. Track and review your progress. 

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

Before promoting matching gifts to your donor, make sure your entire team knows the fundamentals.

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.

Designate a matching gift specialist to pinpoint all your corporate giving opportunities.

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
  • Newsletters
  • 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.

Promote matching gifts to your donors.

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:

Promote matching gifts on your 'Ways to Give' page.

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

Create a dedicated matching gifts page on your website.

These are just two of many, many options. Get creative! To get the word out about matching gifts, try the following:

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

Note

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



Employer info gives you insight into which donors work for companies that have matching gift programs.

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!

Make sure your donors understand the matching gift 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:

  1. List the typical steps involved in the process on your matching gifts explainer page.
  2. Insert a matching gift widget that can help the donor search for their company’s program.
  3. Mail out informational materials about corporate philanthropy.
  4. Highlight key matching gift statistics in your educational resources.
  5. 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.

Keep updated records on your matching-gift-eligible donors.

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.

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

Thank your donors for fulfilling matching gift requests.

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.

Develop relationships with businesses that offer matching gifts in your area.

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.

Keep your donor database organized so you can pinpoint all matching gift opportunities.

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.

Prospect research can show you donors who are more likely to be eligible for matching gifts.

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.

With the knowledge derived from prospect screening, you’ll be able to take a well-prepared approach to finding matching gift donors and will be well on your way to maximizing your revenue.

Track your organization's fundraising progress to pinpoint areas of improvement in your matching gift strategy.

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.

Double the Donation's tools make it easy to maximize your matching gift revenue!

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.
Learn more about best practices for matching gifts resources, blurbs, and verbiage.

Matching Gift Wording, Text, & Verbiage: Best Practices

As with any type of outreach, the wording in your matching gift appeals is vital and should be considered when revamping your organization’s matching gift strategy.

Matching gifts are a great source of additional revenue for nonprofits. In fact, an estimated $2 to $3 billion is donated through matching gift programs every year. Choosing not to take advantage of corporate philanthropy could cause your organization is to miss out on a lot of revenue!

Choosing the right message when promoting matching gifts can be the determining factor in whether or not a donor looks up their employer’s match program. Considering this, you should take time to carefully craft your outreach.

To make sure you send the right message, familiarize yourself with recommendations for:

  1. Matching Gift Resources
  2. Matching Gift Blurbs
  3. Matching Gift Verbiage
  4. Finding Matching Gift Opportunities

By learning the specific language of effective appeals, your nonprofit will be one step closer to maximizing its revenue potential.

Ready to revamp your matching gift outreach? Let’s dive in!
The resources you use to make matching gift appeals is as important as blurbs and verbiage.

1. Matching Gift Resources

The first step to boosting your revenue through matching gift appeals is by producing effective copy. In other words, you need to create multiple well-written resources for donors (and potential donors) to learn about matching gifts.

If you want to create high-traffic matching gift outreach, go to where the most supporters are: online! Your website is likely the first impression most people have of your organization, so make it count! From there, you can coordinate your outreach to include other online outlets.

Let’s go through a few best practices for developing effective matching gift appeals using your online presence.

A Dedicated Matching Gift Page

An easy way to increase the visibility of your matching gift promotion is to create a dedicated page for matching gifts. This should be located either on your website or by using a custom match page on Double the Donation’s servers.

Across your marketing efforts, you can include links to this page to help inform donors of their employers’ match programs. On the page, you may want to include the basics of matching gifts and instructions for typical match programs.

Also, if you subscribe to a matching gift service (like Double the Donation), don’t forget to embed the search tool. That way, users won’t have to go out of their way to research their companies’ programs.

Check out this great example of a matching gift page from Goodwill:

Create a dedicated matching gift page to enhance your matching gift appeals.

In addition to linking to your matching gift page on other resources, include a link in your navigation bar. When adding a link in your navigation bar, the exact wording your organization uses is vital. It can mean the difference between a supporter clicking the link or moving on without any further thought.

We recommend using “Matching Gifts,” “Double your Donation,” or “Matching Gift Company Search.” On the other hand, we don’t recommend nonprofits use wording such as “Corporate Matching” or “Corporate Giving” since these don’t resonate with individual donors.

Emails

As an established nonprofit, you should already be using email to maintain contact with donors. Your team may know the general best email practices, but do you know the best email practices for marketing matching gifts?

The text you use in your outreach should be persuasive but to the point. Make sure to emphasize certain points with bolding and convey the importance of matching gifts for your organization.

For instance, check out this newsletter about matching gifts from the National Kidney Foundation:

Make sure to use persuasive but concise wording in your matching gift resources and appeals like emails.

Takeaway: The text you use in your matching gift appeals is a vital component of fundraising. It should be straightforward and to the point but should also be persuasive.

For more ways and examples of promoting matching gifts, visit this guide to marketing matching gifts.

The matching gift blurbs you send out are significant like the resources you provide and the verbiage you use.

2. Matching Gift Blurbs

Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of a blurb before. While you may have never heard this terminology, you’ve probably come across a blurb at some point. It’s a short piece of writing, usually accompanying a piece of creative work. A few examples might be:

  • An advertisement about matching gifts that appears alongside your online resources.
  • A paper insert in your physical communications.
  • Team members’ email signatures.

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. Let’s go into how well-written blurbs are an effective way to promote matching gifts.

Inserts

If you send emails or letters to your donors that promote matching gifts or volunteer grants, consider including a matching gift blurb that accompanies these works. These are known as inserts. Otherwise, your organization will miss an important opportunity.

Take a look at this insert from the National Kidney Foundation:

Include matching gift appeals in more of your outreach by creating blurbs.

Inserts don’t necessarily have to be entirely relevant to the communication itself. For instance, if your nonprofit is sending out its monthly newsletter or if you’re sending a donation acknowledgment letter, include an insert with a brief sentence or two about matching gifts.

The point is, blurbs should entice the reader to research their company’s giving program.

Blurbs on Donation Forms

Another great place to promote matching gifts is on your online donation form. At this point in the process, the user is already ready to donate, so why wouldn’t they want to increase their donations without having to reach back into their own pockets?

Plus, they might even give more after learning about their match eligibility. In fact, 1 in 3 donors indicates they’d give a larger gift if a match is applied to their donation.

When formatting your donation page, consider this example of a donation form blurb from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society:
Donation forms are a great place to include a matching gift appeal blurb.

If you’re subscribed to Double the Donation’s services, your donation page is the perfect place to include the search tool! This matching gift database tool will point your donors to valuable information about their employers’ matching gift programs. Jump ahead to find out more about this tool and how it can help promote matching gifts.

Takeaway: Blurbs, such as paper inserts or donation forms, are an effective, quick way to let donors know about matching gifts. Whenever you see the opportunity to promote corporate giving, do it, and make sure you get straight to the point.

If you need a bit more insight into effective outreach strategies, check out these examples from nonprofits who do a great job of marketing matching gifts

While resources and blurbs are important, the matching gift verbiage you use makes for even more effective appeals.

3. Matching Gift Verbiage

When making an appeal to donors (or even potential donors), the wording of your appeal is important. However, it goes a bit deeper than this. 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. Otherwise, donors won’t be entirely sure what their next steps should be.

In an email or on a webpage, phrases like “Click Here” or “Read More” tell your audience what they need to do in order to help the cause. Plus, they create a sense of urgency. In online appeals, a button that links directly to content can be very useful.

ASPCA does a great job of calling its supporters to action on its website. Check out the organization’s dedicated matching gift page:

Online matching gift appeals require strong verbiage that calls readers to action.

On paper, use the same type of language, but be even more specific about next steps. For example, here’s a postcard from the Florida Institute of Technology:

When creating your matching gift appeals, include action verbs.
Takeaway: Supporters 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.

In order to create effective matching gift resources, blurbs, and verbiage, you'll need to identify your match opportunities with a matching gift database.

4. Finding Matching Gift Opportunities

When revamping your matching gift strategy, a database (like Double the Donation) can help you pinpoint these opportunities. That way, you can direct your matching gift outreach to those whose employers offer a giving program.

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. Once you embed it across your online fundraising channels, here’s what the tool does:

  • Enables donors to search for more than 20,000 companies.
  • Provides updated forms and guidelines for each company.
  • Allows your nonprofit to identify match opportunities.
  • And more!

Larger organizations may benefit even more from 360MatchPro by Double the Donation. This fully-automated tool pinpoints match-eligible donors through email domain screening, enables live tracking of where donors are in the match process, automatically contacts eligible donors, and more! That way, you won’t have to create quite as many matching gift appeals yourself!

Either tool is great for pinpointing the best possible moment to make matching gift appeals to specific donors. Think your organization could benefit?


Matching gifts are often overlooked by nonprofits and supporters alike. Learning about the best resource, blurb, and verbiage practices is just the first step in boosting your matching gift revenue.

Now, apply these best practices to your corporate giving appeals and reach your matching gift potential!

Additional Resources

If you’re interested in learning more about matching gifts, check out the following additional resources: