As the months get colder, year-end fundraising efforts are heating up! All organizations know that there is no force more powerful for increasing donations than the holiday spirit. As the end of the year approaches, Giving Tuesday and tax season loom just around the corner, fueling generosity in donors and companies alike. In fact, many nonprofits collect up to 50% of their annual donations during the last three months of the year. Are you leveraging every fundraising strategy available to you to make the most of this surge in donations?

Whether you’re planning to rev up your email campaign or kick your social media posts up a notch, there is one more thing you should absolutely be doing: marketing matching gifts. In addition to the strategic matched funds you’re soliciting for Giving Tuesday, making donors aware of these already existing corporate programs is easy with the iDonate platform you’re already using. All you have to do now is answer a few simple questions. Oh wait, we’re answering them for you!

In this blog post, we’ll be answering the following questions, making you an expert on matching gifts.

  1. What are matching gift programs?
  2. How do I market matching gifts?
  3. How will an employee know if they are eligible?
  4. What if a donor doesn’t immediately request their gift be matched?
  5. How do I keep track of my match-eligible donations?

Let’s get started!

1. What are matching gift programs?

First off, that’s a great question. Matching gifts are donations a company offers to make when its employees donate to any nonprofit organization.

The matching gift policy varies among companies. While some employers only match half the donation of their employee, others will match up to four times the amount that their employee donated!

These programs are often included in employee benefit packages, but many people are still unaware that these programs exist.
That’s why marketing matching gifts to your donors is so important. It’s a way of advocating for free money at no extra cost to the donor who already intended to give. Did you know that $4-7 billion in matching gift revenue goes unclaimed every year? Nonprofits can take the lead in accessing these funds simply by asking donors to confirm their employers’ matching gift policy. That’s step 1.

2. How do I market matching gifts?

Just mentioning matching gifts in fundraising appeals results in a 71% increase in the response rate and a 51% increase in the average donation amount.

Matching gift programs are proven to impact donor generosity. Combine that with the holiday season and Giving Tuesday and donations are sure to roll in. There are several ways to market the concept of matching gift programs to donors:

  1. Donation pages: When donors are already in the process of giving, knowing that their donation will go twice as far may encourage them to give more.
  2. Confirmation screens: Once donors have already given, you know for sure that they care about your organization. This is another great opportunity to encourage donors to find out if their employer has a matching program.
  3. Emails and acknowledgement letters: When you send out your end-of-year email blast wishing your donors “Happy Holidays,” include some information about what matching gift programs are. Additionally, when you send thank you messages to your donors for their donations, why not use the opportunity to see if those donations can go even further?
  4. Dedicated matching gift pages: Once donors know exactly what matching gifts are, they are more likely to search for their employer. Creating a single page that informs donors and allows them to search for their company will revolutionize your matching gift revenue. Plus, donors are even more likely to search their employer if they don’t have to leave the page they’re on.
  5. Ways to give page: Between all the holiday shopping and chaos, people will also be searching for ways to give back. This is the beauty of Giving Tuesday. Many organizations have a page that describes all of the ways that donors can contribute, including donations, volunteering, and more. Mentioning matching gifts on this page is one more opportunity to inform your donors.
  6. Social media: Social media is the perfect place to spread good tidings and cheer, and you can also spread information about matching gifts! Share your donation page along with a caption that encourages donors to sit down with a cup of hot cocoa and check their match-eligibility.

The most important step you can take is letting your donors know why identifying their employers is important in the first place. The marketing matching gift strategies mentioned above are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they are so easy and so effective that we recommend utilizing as many of these marketing strategies as possible.

3. How will employees know if they are eligible?

With all the paperwork that comes with starting a new job, donors are often completely unaware that they qualify to have their donation to a nonprofit matched. That’s where Double the Donation comes in.

Double the Donation is a search tool that allows donors to search for their employer right there on your website. As the year comes to a close and the giving spirit spreads, it’s important to provide your donors with this tool and encourage them to double their donations.

When you incorporate 360MatchPro, Double the Donation’s enterprise matching gift automation platform, into your iDonate donation forms, a streamlined field on your iDonate donation form is presented that asks where a donor works. This search tool accounts for any spelling variations or parent company confusion so that your donor gets exactly the information they need about their employer’s gift matching program.

A donor will be asked for their name, how much they would like to donate, their contact information, and where they work. By typing their employer into that box and submitting their donation, they will automatically be referred to all the information necessary to request that their employer match their donation.

Plus, if donors miss that box on the form but provide an email address that includes their company name in the domain, 360MatchPro recognizes that information and provides the information donors would need to request a match from their employer.

4. What if donors don’t immediately request for their gift to be matched?

Of course there will always be donors who make their donations with a generic email address, don’t identify an employer, and immediately exit out of the confirmation page providing that information because the holiday to-do list never ends, and they have got to keep moving. It happens.

Fortunately, 360MatchPro has a solution for that. Every donor who makes a donation through your iDonate page will be automatically recorded. Through your 360MatchPro account, you are able to customize the emails that each type of donor receives from you.

For example, you can design an automated email that goes out to all donors of unknown eligibility status. This email will be mainly focused on a call to action that encourages the donor to find out if their employer will double their donation.

You can even set up a year-end email that encourages all of your donors to get their donations from the closing year matched!

Most donors would jump at the chance to make their donation go twice as far, they just don’t realize that is an option. With 360MatchPro, those days are over.

5. How do I keep track of my match-eligible donations?

With 360MatchPro, keeping track of match-eligible donations is easy! By fully automating the follow-up, a nonprofit has more time to pursue other goals. If donors use a corporate email or submit the name of their employer but don’t immediately request a match, they will be sent an email encouraging them to do so. How this email works is outlined below:

  • They open the email
  • They click the box encouraging them to submit their match request
  • A new window opens where they complete their match request
  • They exit out of that new window
  • They are back on the email about matching gifts
  • They click the second box, which encourages them to report their matching gift request submission

Once the above process is complete, you know that your donor has completed the gift matching process. That donor’s status will then automatically change in your 360MatchPro portal from “Waiting for Donor” to “Match Submitted.”

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For all your year-end giving this year, do you want to double those donations? There are billions of dollars lying unclaimed simply because the donors don’t know they are eligible and the organizations don’t encourage the donors to check.

This year, in addition to all the giving experience challenges iDonate solves, make your year-end push really pack a punch by doubling, tripling, and quadrupling as many donations as possible with 360MatchPro.