Looking to increase the amount of donations you receive each year? Try out these awesome strategies to incorporate matching gifts into your fundraising!
Millions of dollars of charitable gifts remain unmatched every year. The reason for this? Donors are unaware that they are eligible for a matching gift through their employer. In addition to that, they don’t know how to request a matching gift from their employer.
If you’re unfamiliar with corporate gift matching, here is some background: Corporate gift matching is the process during which a company will match its employees’ charitable contributions. Policies vary by company, and there are some exclusions, but this is an excellent way to add value to an individual’s donation. Many times, companies will match at a ratio of 1:1, but sometimes they offer 2:1, 3:1, or even 4:1 matching ratios.
In order to increase the amount of fundraising revenue your nonprofit receives each year, it’s important to utilize a matching gift database, which will not only allow you to research which of your supporters are eligible for a company gift match, but also streamline the process for your supporters and make them more likely to request one.
In order to maximize your donations for your nonprofit, you should do the following:
- Choose the right matching gift database.
- Market matching gifts to your supporters.
- Follow up with past donors to submit a match request.
Are you ready to up your donation game? Take a look at these amazing tips to ensure your donor contributions are matched!
1. Choose the right matching gift database.
Before you can start calling on donors to match their gifts, you must first find the right matching gift database for your needs. It can be a challenge to create a large outreach to your donors, but with the right program, you can make the process much smoother.
There are a few factors you should take into consideration when selecting the database that is best for you. You want something comprehensive and up-to-date, such as Double the Donation’s matching gift database, which keeps an excellent record of all current matching gift programs.
Before you make your choice, consider the following questions:
What is a matching gift database?
A matching gift database allows individuals to verify whether or not their employer will match the donations they make to charities; it also helps them initiate the process itself. Fundly’s guide on matching gift databases offers a great breakdown of what these databases can be used for, how they function, and who benefits from them.
How does it work?
A matching gift request follows this cycle:
- The donor makes a gift to the nonprofit of their choice.
- The donor submits a matching request to their employer.
- The donor’s employer reviews the request and reaches out to the nonprofit.
- The nonprofit verifies the donation amount with the employer.
- The employer sends their matching gift to the nonprofit.
In addition to this process, a matching gift database can be used at any point in the process (before, during, and after), to verify what steps need to be taken to secure a gift match.
What features should you look for?
There are several features to look for in a matching gift database, such as:
- CRM integration: This allows you to obtain information about your donors that you can apply toward your fundraising strategy.
- Data that updates regularly: If your database does not update on a regular basis, you may miss out when companies update their matching gift program policies. This could result in your nonprofit missing out on potential matched gifts.
- Embedded search tools: A key feature to look for in a database is an embedded search tool. If you can add the database search tool to pages on your website or donation form, this will make the tool a seamless element of your online presence.
- Electronic matching gift forms: Look for a database that offers digital versions of different companies’ matching gift request forms.
- Tech support: On the chance that you run into technical difficulties, be sure your matching gift database offers reliable tech support that will allow you to efficiently troubleshoot any problems. Otherwise, you might run the risk of downtime, during which supporters can’t access the database.
How can you incorporate a matching gift database into your fundraising efforts?
Encourage supporters to increase their donation by requesting a matching gift. According to Double the Donation, 84% of donors say they are more likely to donate if a matching gift option is available.
Supporters are also more likely to request matching gifts at the end of the year. Corporate philanthropy programs typically don’t rollover into the next year, so if you encourage donors to submit a matching gift request toward the end of the year, they may be more inclined to do so. This is because they can submit a matching gift request for all the gifts they’ve made in that calendar year.
Bottom line? In order to improve your fundraising efforts and incorporate a matching gift database into your strategy, it’s important to be particular about what database you choose and how you customize your outreach. Without a streamlined process, you are less likely to have supporters go through with the match request. However, if the process is easy to follow and readily available, you’ll be on your way to increasing your donation flow!
2. Market matching gifts to your supporters.
As mentioned earlier, a large sum of donations goes unmatched each year, and the cause of this can be directly correlated to supporter awareness, or lack thereof. Once you’ve educated yourself with a matching gifts guide and determined what database you’re going to use, it’s time to market those matching opportunities to your supporters.
Where should you start? Use your available resources, such as your CRM data and social media outreach, to create a strategy. From there, you can do the following:
- Educate your supporters about the matching gifts process. It’s important to make sure your donors are aware that a matching gift program is available, such as by publishing online and email content that educates your community about it. Engage with supporters via email; you can even set up an automated follow up system that reminds recent donors to submit a matching gift request.
- Make your matching gift database readily available. Include your matching gift database on your donation form, as well as on your website. If you’re using an electronic system, it’s easy to give your supporters the opportunity to act right away. On the other hand, if your supporters were required to go through their HR department after submitting their donation, they would be more likely to forget or otherwise not complete the match request.
- Encourage your supporters to research their matching gifts eligibility before, during, and after making a donation. Maintain an ongoing dialogue with your supporters to ensure they are taking advantage of and checking their matching gifts eligibility. Because companies consistently update their policies, it’s important that your supporters keep up with their eligibility requirements.
Bottom line? As soon as you have an intuitive and smooth process in place, it’s time to educate your supporters! Whether you incorporate this effort into your fundraising strategy or reach out to your supporters in other ways, once they know they’re eligible for matching gifts, you are one step closer to securing more donations.
3. Follow up with past donors to submit a match request.
In line with raising awareness about company gift matching, you should consider following up with past donors to submit a request for this. In order to lessen the amount of unmatched donations, this is an integral step to take.
How can you use the data available to your nonprofit to locate eligible donors? Here are some effective tips:
- Identify donors who work for companies that offer a matching gifts program. You can use your matching gift database to confirm which companies offer matching gift programs, and search for data in your CRM, such as a constituent’s email domain, to find eligible donors.
- Reach out to these donors and ask them to submit a match request. Once you have identified donors who are eligible for a company gift match, connect with them and bring their attention to the matching gifts available through their employer. Emphasize that they are leaving money on the table if they don’t submit this request. Bonus tip: You can also automate customized emails to send out to supporters, based on a schedule you create.
- Near the end of the year, reach out to all of your donors and encourage them to research their matching gifts eligibility. The end of the year brings a tax incentive, and with that comes a greater drive to donate! Engage with your donors and make sure they research their eligibility with their companies.
It’s important to remember the array of resources available to you as a nonprofit. Your CRM is invaluable, but when integrated with a matching gift database, you’ll be able to take advantage of several pieces of information to yield more gift matches.
If you want to close the gap between donations and matches, this is a great path to take. Fundraise effectively, and incorporate those corporate matching gifts. From there, you’ll be well on your way to reaching your goals!
About the Author
Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of tools to nonprofits to help them raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs. Connect with Adam via email or on LinkedIn.