Matching gift programs can quickly double or triple your incoming donations, skyrocketing your fundraising revenue. This makes them the perfect vehicle for engaging donors, corporate partners, and other supporters who are already making a difference.
It’s likely that a lack of awareness might be holding your nonprofit back from realizing its potential as more than 78% of donors are unaware whether their employer has a matching gifts program. This percentage reflects the awareness roadblock that has stumped fundraisers and halted matching gifts’ potential.
In this guide, we’ll teach how to bypass this roadblock by successfully marketing your matching gift programs. Here, we will answer the following questions:
- What are matching gifts and why should you market them?
- How can you market matching gifts?
- What channels should you use to market matching gifts?
- What tools can help manage marketing matching gifts?
- How can you leverage corporate partnerships?
If you’re familiar with matching gifts and are looking for ways to sharpen your strategy, jump to the “What tools can help manage matching gifts?” for relevant tips. There, you’ll learn about 360 Match Pro’s advanced auto-submission technology which is transforming how nonprofits discuss matching gifts. That said, let’s dive in!
What are matching gifts?
Matching gifts are a type of corporate philanthropy where corporations match the donations sent in by their employees at a 1:1, 2:1, and sometimes even a 3:1 ratio. This means that if a donor gives $50 their company will match their donation, resulting in a $100, $150, or even $200 gift.
Here’s how the matching gift process works:
- An individual donates to a nonprofit organization.
- An individual checks eligibility for a company gift match.
- An individual submits a request for a gift match.
- The company reviews the match request.
- The company matches the donation.
Often, this process is stalled because donors do not complete step 2. This is the awareness roadblock, which leads us to why marketing matching gifts is essential to your nonprofit.
Why should you market matching gifts?
Promoting your matching gift programs is the bridge that connects regular donors to increased impact. Arguably, it’s one of the smartest investments you can make to increase funding without asking too much of donors. Let’s take a look at recent statistics provided by Double the Donation for an enhanced perspective:
- An estimated $4-$7 billion in matching gift funds goes unclaimed each year.
- 65% of Fortune 500 companies offer matching gift programs.
- Over 26 million individuals work for companies with matching gift programs.
- An estimated $2-$3 billion is donated through matching gift programs annually.
- 84% of donors say they’re much more likely to donate if a match is offered.
- 1 in 3 donors indicate they’d give a larger gift if matching is applied to their donation.
Matching gifts can substantially enhance your fundraising efforts as you’re no longer seeking out just individual donors, but broadening your reach to include companies. With their support, you can rest assured that their employees will be eager and informed to take advantage of corporate matching gift programs.
How can you market matching gifts?
Marketing matching gifts does require a thorough plan, time, and funds to see results. Fortunately, we’ll review the most reliable methods you can use to get started:
Provide social proof
Matching gifts can be a new concept for many donors. That’s why it’s important to provide social proof when explaining your corporate matching gift programs to reassure supporters that matching gifts are a normal part of donating. Here are a few ways you can build trust and indicate impact:
- Share statistics and real-world examples of how your matching gift have furthered your mission.
- Include the logos of the companies your nonprofit partners with.
- Highlight the number of donors who have already taken part in your programs and the total funds matched.
Post this information and other promotional materials on your website to create a sense of trust, increase awareness, and showcase impact.
Consider communication cadence
Most companies that offer matching gifts set deadlines for when match requests must be submitted. Encourage your donors to take urgent action before their gifts’ matching potential expires. Supporters who discover that they can submit a request too late will miss their opportunity to do so, making your communication cadence critical.
Send your first matching gift promotion within 24 hours after a supporter donates to your cause. This will capitalize on a donor’s giving momentum, making supporters more likely to submit a request.
Other key promotional cadences are end-of-year appeals. Year-end appeals remind donors of the upcoming corporate deadlines as the calendar year finishes off. And, since it’s already giving season, matching gift appeals can take advantage of the seasonal generosity.
Don’t limit your matching gift promotion to just one medium! Instead, engage your audience with interesting and memorable marketing efforts. A mixture of graphics, video, and fundraising eCards can differentiate your programs while grabbing supporters’ attention. Here are a few mediums you can use:
- Videos. Share short explainer videos that walk through the concept of matching gifts and how supporters can get started step by step.
- Statistics. Highlight key statistics related to your matching gift program such as how mich matching gift revenue you’ve raised or how many donors take part.
- Images. Snap pictures of your nonprofit’s volunteers and staff at work to capture how matching gifts lead to positive change
- Graphics. Use visually appealing infographics to explain matching gifts, how they work, their impact on donations, and a call to action for nonprofits to get started.
- eCards. Send branded thank you eCards to match-eligible donors to thank them for their initial contribution and let them know how they can get their gift doubled or tripled.
Attach a clear call to action to each message, so audiences know whether to check their eligibility, donate, or share the content with others. Tailor your multimedia messaging to fit into each channel to capture supporters’ attention. Let’s review how you can do that below!
What channels should you use to market matching gifts?
For optimal reach, effective promotion, and increased matching gift revenue, we recommend taking a multi-channel fundraising approach.
Varying your communication channels while posting consistently can help you reach more people on a regular basis, enabling them to become familiar with matching gifts. This results in higher participation rates and more revenue! Let’s begin by discussing how you can build out your strategy using email, search ads, social media, and more.
Email marketing is a critical component of nonprofit outreach as there are close to 4 billion daily email users, making email an opportunity to inform a supporter about the potential of matching gifts.
Email’s versatility enables you to reach supporters by sending:
In your electronic newsletter, you can educate supporters about matching gifts, link to additional resources, and inspire them to donate. Either a quick write-up or even a full article will suffice! Consider sending these on a quarterly basis to remind donors of matching gift opportunities.
Thank you emails
Acknowledgment emails represent a unique opportunity to express gratitude while also sending more information about how to get involved with matching gifts. Most likely, you already have an automated system in place to trigger email donation receipts, so you can easily use those messages to promote matching gifts!
With your organization already fresh in donor’s minds, you can use this time to prompt them to check their eligibility.
Email drip campaigns
Although they can be effective, donors will not always look at acknowledgment emails in full. That’s where a matching gift email drip campaign can help bridge the awareness gap and direct donors’ actions. For inspiration, check out this drip campaign:
- Subject line one: “Double Your Impact: Matching Gifts for [Your Nonprofit]’s Supporters.” Use this email to introduce matching gifts and explain how they work.
- Subject line two: “Are You Missing Out on Matching Gifts? Check Your Eligibility.” Use this email to provide step-by-step instructions for checking eligibility.
- Subject line three: “Don’t Forget About Matching Gifts!” Send a reminder to supporters who have yet to submit their matching gift request.
- Subject line four: “You did it! Your Matching Gift Impact.” Send a final thank you email to express gratitude and celebrate your donors’ impact.
Run a drip campaign as a part of a dedicated matching gift drive. Additionally, you can use other email elements like signatures as a final reminder for donors, like this:
Whether you decide to use newsletters, thank you emails, or a dedicated email drip campaign, email can expand your reach and educate your donor base.
Your website is the home base for your online presence, and you should use it as a resource to educate and inform your visitors about matching gifts. Here are a few key areas to consider:
Online giving page
Perhaps the most apt place to highlight your matching gift programs, your online giving page can be a vital resource for promotion while donors are still in the giving frame of mind.
Include a brief description of matching gifts on your donation form, contextualizing your request for employer data as a way to ensure eligibility. Then, you can promote matching gifts once more on your confirmation page:
By using a matching gift tool, you can let supporters know if their employer offers matching gifts during the donation process. Your matching gift tool can pull up information like company minimum and maximum donation amounts, match ratios, qualifying nonprofits, employee types, and direct links to online submission forms.
Dedicated Matching Gifts page
If someone were clicking through your website and curious about matching gift opportunities, do you have a centralized place you can lead them? This is where a matching gift page comes into play to provide impact statistics and steps to get started. For instance, if you use a matching gift service like 360MatchPro, you can provide supporters with a matching gift company search tool to check their eligibility.
Ways to Give page
Planned giving, recurring giving, and stock and bond donations are all types of donations that may be featured alongside matching gifts on a nonprofit’s Ways to Give page. Just make sure to link back to your dedicated matching gifts page for visitors to find more information if needed.
Additionally, depending on your page’s structure, you might be able to embed a matching gift tool here too, so that donors can automatically check their eligibility.
Make your matching gifts information easy to find by adding it to your website’s homepage navigation. This way, visitors won’t have to scroll to find what they’re looking for. Or, they might happily stumble upon matching gift information they didn’t know was relevant to them. Either way, it’s a win for your organization.
Did you know that Google owns around 92% of the search engine market share? As a nonprofit with a strict marketing budget, you might have written off paid search ads. But what if there was a way to access this channel without the costs?
Through the Google Ad Grant, your nonprofit can do just that! The Google Ad Grant is a free program where eligible nonprofits receive $10,000 dollars in free ad credits every month. With these credits, you can market your matching gift content on search engine results pages for free! This channel saves marketing costs and spreads matching gift awareness. Here’s what it looks like on the search engine results page:
Using search ads, an online visitor can easily type in your nonprofit name and “matching gifts” to receive updated and relevant information about how they can boost their giving.
Look into your donor data to see which social media platforms your supporters are most actively engaged with (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.). Then, use multimedia content to promote your matching gift program.
Whenever possible, link back to your website’s dedicated matching gift page, so that users can find more information or complete your matching gift call to action quickly. As you post your appeals, track engagement metrics such as clickthrough rates, likes, shares, and of course, matching gift conversions.
SMS (short message service) outreach enables your team to send text messages to engage supporters in a timely manner. And with the average person spending over 3 hours on their mobile device, it’s an effective matching gift promotion strategy.
Send personalized texts to nudge donors to check their matching gift eligibility. Keep your messages short and link to your matching gift resource page for supporters to find out more.
Direct mail is still a relevant means of outreach when used in tandem with other channels. Depending on your donor base, some supporters might respond better to direct mail.
Use a combination of printed matching gift letters, postcards, and paper inserts if you opt to go the direct mail route. Include a QR code that connects to your matching gifts page for donors to find more information easily.
What tools can help you manage matching gifts?
You don’t have to market matching gifts all on your own. Software can equip your team to carry out your matching gift program seamlessly. Let’s explore some top tools you should keep in mind:
Matching gift automation platform
Dedicated matching gift databases can help you navigate the ins and outs of employers’ matching programs with ease. Double the Donation offers an easy-to-use search tool, 360MatchPro, to track where your donors are in the matching gift process while providing a simple solution for submitting requests. With 360MatchPro the process is straightforward:
Step 1: Donor accesses the matching gift database (before, during, or after making a donation depending on where the search tool is embedded).
Step 2: Donor searches for their employer to check their matching gift eligibility.
Step 3: Donor views the search results and selects their employer. The donor is then provided with information about their employer’s matching gift program, including minimum and maximum amounts, match ratios, and their eligibility status.
Recent auto-submission upgrades have also taken 360MatchPro to the next level. The new functionality enables donors to enter their work email addresses and opt-in to submit a matching gift request. Check out the process here:
Matching gift auto-submission revolutionizes the matching gift process in more ways than one. Just look at this comparison of processes with and without it:
In three simple steps, donors can easily submit their requests without getting distracted, confused, or demotivated by complicated submission processes. This means additional revenue for your nonprofit with studies showing a 61% increase in matching gift funds for organizations that use auto-submission software (like 360MatchPro).
Integrable fundraising technology
You don’t need to invest in an entirely new platform when purchasing matching gift software. Double the Donation’s software integrates with over 90 of the nonprofit industry’s largest technology providers, including:
- Donation tools that power general fundraising, crowdfunding, and peer-to-peer fundraising pages can have a matching gift search tool added to them.
- CRMs and your matching gift software can connect to allow you to screen incoming records for eligible donors and automate outreach that increases awareness.
- CSR platforms used by businesses enable employees to submit their matches directly from their company’s giving experience and access auto-submission capabilities.
When researching matching gift software, consider what technology you already use. Then choose a provider that integrates with the rest of your techstack for an easy implementation process.
How can you find and leverage corporate partnerships to market matching gifts?
The number of companies that donate to nonprofits is increasing due to improved CSR efforts. This means your nonprofit should actively seek out and cultivate relationships with companies to promote matching gifts. You can do this by:
- Staying up to date with companies that donate to nonprofits. Research companies in your area with built-out CSR efforts. Keep a running list of prospects to reach out to with pitches about creating a matching gift program.
- Use industry-standard software. Connect with companies via software that facilitates corporate-nonprofit relationships. Plus, if you use matching gift software, and a company has a CSR solution with matching gift auto-submission enabled, their employees will be able to have their gifts completed for them.
With strategies in place, you can confidently pitch matching gift programs with dedicated educational resources. This way, you can proactively answer questions by providing steps to get involved in your program and the CSR benefits of matching gifts.
How to market matching gifts: Final thoughts
Running a lean-mean matching gift marketing machine is often easier said than done, but the results are worth it. Leverage the strategies outlined in this guide to kick off your outreach or refine your existing efforts.
Remember that marketing matching gifts requires your nonprofit to make an investment in multiple channels and tools to spread the word. With this in mind, don’t be afraid to try new strategies or software platforms to access better outcomes for your nonprofit, corporate partners, and overall mission.
Ready for more tips? Check out these top resources to further your knowledge:
- Matching Gifts: Your Guide to Growing Revenue with Automation. Ready for a deep dive into matching gifts? Check out this guide for an in-depth explanation.
- Corporate Social Responsibility: How to Make Your Mark. Matching gifts is just one form of corporate social responsibility. Get an idea of all the programs out there in this ultimate guide.
- Matching Gift Databases: The Comprehensive Guide. Interested in learning more about matching gift tools? Check out this lineup of matching gift databases.