To make sure we’re all on the same page, matching gift programs are created by companies to demonstrate their philanthropy to organizations that employees are passionate about. When an employee gives, they can have their gifts matched based on a ratio decided by the company.
As a result, your nonprofit will receive double—and sometimes triple—the donations!
Interested in learning how your organization can use these programs to your advantage? You’re in luck! We’ll answer five common questions surrounding matched giving:
- What are matching gifts?
- Why don’t more donors submit matching gift requests?
- Who should you promote matching gifts to?
- How do you promote matching gifts?
- What are the top matching gift tools?
Let’s get started!
1. What are matching gifts?
As we mentioned earlier, matching gifts are corporate programs that match employee donations to eligible organizations.
Corporations benefit from matching gifts because they can demonstrate their philanthropic side and encourage employees to do the same. Employees also benefit from these programs because their gifts can go twice as far. Even if a supporter can only give $25, they know that amount will make a significant contribution once combined with their company’s gift.
Lastly, matched giving can help organizations reach fundraising goals faster and get the funds they need to further their mission.
For a more detailed understanding of matching gifts, we’ve broken down this section into two important categories:
The Matching Gift Process
To better understanding how matching gifts works, here is how the process usually goes:
Step one: Sally Donor starts the process by contributing to her favorite organization, foundation, or school.
Step two: After the donation is complete, she will submit a matching gift request with proof of her donation to her employer.
Step three: The company will check the donation to see if it matches their guidelines and requirements. Typically, the organization has to align with the corporation’s core values, and most companies don’t match gifts to religious organizations.
Step four: If the company determines that the donation and organization are eligible, the nonprofit will be sent a donation for the same amount of the initial donation (or more!). Generally, companies match gifts at a 1:1 ratio, but some corporations have even higher ratios.
That’s it! In just four easy steps your organization can double its funds in no time.
Requirements, Eligibility, and More
Most companies have a matching gift limit or minimum donation size that will be matched by the corporation.
This minimum is usually around $25 or $50, but some companies (like Apple) will match donations as low as $1. Discover more information on giving programs with 360MatchPro’s list of top matching gift companies.
Another point to remember is that most companies have deadlines on when employees can submit a matching gift request. The deadline can be anything from the end of the calendar year to a set number of months after the date of the donation.
Your organization needs to be aware of these submission deadlines so you can notify past and recent contributors as many of them are still eligible to make a request.
In summary, matching gifts are beneficial for everyone involved and programs often have guidelines and requirements that nonprofits need to be aware of.
2. Why don’t more donors submit matching gift requests?
With over 18 million people working for companies that offer matching gift programs, it might be surprising to hear that the average employee participation rate is only 9%.
The most common reason for this lack of participation is that most donors don’t know about their company’s matching gift program, and if they do, they don’t know how to submit a request.
Additionally, organizations struggle to promote matching gifts because they’re not familiar with the various programs. Gaps in knowledge on the guidelines, requirements, and submission process make it difficult for organizations to effectively communicate and promote matching gifts.
Think about it from the donor’s perspective: when the marketing isn’t effective or clear, donors are more likely to skip the matching gift process because they assume that it’s complicated and not worth their time.
Nonprofits work hard to find fundraising software that makes giving as simple and quick as possible, and the same ideas should be communicated when donors are encouraged to submit a matching gift request.
In summary, millions of employees can take advantage of their company’s matching gift program, but few do because they’re not familiar with the process. It’s up to your organization to guide donors and show them that submitting a request is a lot easier than they think.
3. Who should you promote matching gifts to?
To make the most of matched giving, your organization needs to understand who you should market to and the best way to reach out to these groups.
We’ll cover four different groups:
Your supporters that give regularly—once a month, once a week, or once a year—are the people that care most about your campaign. As such, your donors will be more receptive to learning other ways they can support your cause and make their donations go twice as far.
Don’t forget about past donors as well! As most programs allow submissions for donations made in the past year, you can reach out to donors letting them know that they only have a limited time to match their gifts.
Small, Local Companies
Most people think of large corporations that match millions of dollars a year as the only type of business that organizes giving programs. That’s not the case! In fact, many small businesses start their own programs or partner with local organizations to match gifts from employees and beyond.
With the right connections, you can reach out to owners and CEOs to talk about how they can implement a matching gift program.
Additionally, the following companies can help businesses create and manage giving programs:
This out-of-the-box tactic can have strong results as employees are more likely to utilize matching gift programs if the organizations they support are making a difference in their own backyards.
Look at how the Alzheimer Society promoted their partnership with Deloitte, who matched gifts made on #GivingTuesday:
If you’re hosting one to of these events, you should promote matching gifts to your participants. Even if it’s just a small percentage of supporters that work for a company with this type of program, you have the potential to raise a ton of additional funds for your cause.
Another form of corporate matching gifts is volunteer grants, also known as “Dollars for Doers” programs. Essentially, employees that volunteer at local organizations can have their hours matched by their corporation.
For instance, CarMax provides a $10 grant for every hour an employee volunteers up to $10,000 a year!
The Dollars for Doers program at Microsoft offers $25 grants for every hour an employee works.
Dell has a slightly different volunteer grant program that will grant $150 to a nonprofit for every 10 hours an employee volunteers.
Promoting these programs to your volunteers means you can receive valuable time, skills, and additional funds just by having supporters donate their time.
In summary, your current supporters aren’t the only people who should receive promotions for matching gifts. Reach out to volunteers, event participants, and even local businesses to raise more money through matching gifts.
4. How do you promote matching gifts?
We can’t stress it enough: promoting matched giving is essential if you want donors to participate in these programs.
There are multiple ways you can promote matching gifts to your donors, but for the purpose of this article, we’ll cover three of the most popular options.
With so many supporters using social media to stay up-to-date on organizations, it’s the perfect platform to promote matching gifts.
The trick to posting on social media is that your message should be short and concise. Your Facebook or Twitter post is not the place to give in-depth information on matched giving. Instead, give them a short message that leaves them curious for more and link to your matching gift page.
Look at National Kidney Foundation’s post to see how they promoted matching gifts:
As you can see, their post starts off with a question and provides donors with:
- A basic definition of matching gifts.
- An image to draw supporters’ attention.
- A link that takes them to the Kidney Foundation’s matching gift page.
Posting on social media allows you to promote matching gifts to a large group of supporters who may then share it with their networks.
Showcasing information on matching gifts is a great way to remind donors about their employer’s program as they contribute.
Incorporate matching gifts into your donation form by adding a short message about the importance of matched giving and including a field or checkbox for donors to indicate that their gift will be matched.
Here’s how Second Harvest used matching gifts on their donation form:
Additionally, you can add a matching gift tool to your form that allows donors to look up their company’s program. With information on the requirements and how to submit a request right at their fingertips, donors are more likely to complete the process.
Dedicated Matching Gift Pages
Your nonprofit’s website is the place where donors come to learn more about your mission and potentially give to your cause. What better place to include information on matching gifts?
There are plenty of places you can include information on your website, such as in your navigation and on your “Ways to Give” page.
Here is an example of how the ASPCA included matching gifts on their donation page:
However, the most effective way to promote matching gifts is through a dedicated page. This can offer donors detailed information about matching gifts, and you can have a tool where supporters can look up their employer’s program.
Having a page that is exclusively about matching gifts will allow you to link to it when you send out emails, mention giving programs in newsletters and social media posts, and thank your supporters.
In summary, your organization has a plethora of options when it comes to promoting matching gifts. Be sure to use a combination of ways so you can reach out to the most supporters possible.
5. What are the top matching gift tools?
Matching gift tools can help educate and encourage donors to submit a request. Since these tools have entire databases of matching gift programs, your organization can stay in the loop on different deadlines and requirements.
Let’s look at two of our recommended choices:
Double the Donation — For Small to Medium Nonprofits
Double the Donation helps your organization keep matching gifts in the forefront of your donor’s minds. With their software, your organization can embed company search tools to donation forms and web pages, allowing donors to easily search for their company’s matching gift program.
Here’s how it works: supporters can access the matching gift search tool via an organization’s matching gift page like in the image below.
With Double the Donation’s comprehensive database, it’s easy to find your employer’s matching gift program. Donors can just type in the company’s name.
Once donors find their company, information about the matching gift program, eligible donations, application location, and much more will appear.
In addition to the matching gift search tool, organizations will have access to matching gift pages and integrations with other fundraising tools.
Double the Donation’s tools are a great start for small and medium organizations looking to get a jump on promoting matching gifts.
360MatchPro — For Large Nonprofits
Reminding donors about submission deadlines and requirements takes a lot of work. 360MatchPro was created to help alleviate some of the stress by providing automated software.
This matching gift program comes with email domain screening. If a donor uses his or her company email in the donation form, 360Match Pro will send out an automated email with information on their company’s program.
Every automated email will have links to where donors can make a matching gift request. These links will be tracked to determine if the donor clicked the link and started the process.
360MatchPro also comes with a comprehensive dashboard that allows organizations to a donor’s matching gift eligibility, gift amount, employer, and so much more.
In summary, matching gift software is a valuable tool for any organization looking to raise more money. Determine your nonprofit’s needs to decide which tool is right for you.
Hopefully, this matching gift guide has helped you understand the importance of matching gifts and how your organization can encourage more supporters to participate in giving programs.
Remember to promote matching gifts via multiple outlets and use tools to help make the process convenient for your donors!
Discover more information on matching gifts and other ways you can raise money with these additional resources:
Complete Guide to Matching Gifts: For more expert knowledge on promoting and managing matching gifts, this guide can help medium to large nonprofits learn how to maximize their matching gift revenue.
Volunteer Grant Companies: While this article covered some companies that offer volunteer grants, there are even more businesses that will donate to organizations based on the number of hours employees volunteer. Check out Double the Donation’s list of top volunteer grant companies.