Double the Impact: A Nonprofit’s Guide to Matching Donations

Maximizing Matching Donations: Tips to Boost Your Nonprofit's Revenue

June 29, 2020

Corporate matching gifts are popular programs that can have your nonprofit seeing a significant increase in donation revenue. This can include anything from donations for charity events to individual online donations. These programs make the original donation go twice as far, so you should encourage your donors to look into their companies’ matching gift programs.

However, this can be easier said than done. You could be leaving thousands of dollars on the table if you’re not taking full advantage of matching gift programs, but it can be challenging to find the right starting point. 

Here are some tips to make sure you’re maximizing matching donations: 

  1. Understand the Challenges
  2. Implement a Matching Gift Search Tool
  3. Reach Out to Companies
  4. Promote Matching Gift Programs
  5. Launch a Limited-Time Campaign
  6. Explore Corporate Volunteer Grants

1. Understand the Challenges

When it comes to matching gifts, the biggest challenge your organization will face is awareness. Many match-eligible donors are unaware that their employer offers a matching gift program.

This isn’t just a problem for nonprofits; it’s an issue for donors, too. When they don’t have this information readily available to them, they’re missing out on an opportunity to double the impact of their donation.

Understand the Statistics

According to recent statistics, an estimated $4-7 billion in matching gift funds goes unclaimed each year, even though more than 18 million individuals work for companies with matching gift programs.

However, when you successfully raise awareness around matching gifts:

  • 84% of donors are more likely to donate once they know a match is offered.
  • 1 in 3 donors say they’d give a larger gift if a match was applied to their donation.

These statistics demonstrate why awareness is so important. Not only do matching gifts make a donation go farther, but they also encourage donors to give in general. Understanding the statistical challenges that come with matching gifts will better equip your team to secure them.

2. Implement a Matching Gift Search Tool

Once you understand the challenges that surround matching gifts, you can take strides toward addressing those challenges and making it easier for donors to submit matching gift requests through their employer.

The most effective way to do this is by implementing a matching gift search search tool on your website. This way, potential donors can search their company name to see if their company participates in a matching gift program. 

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Even if a donor knows about their matching gift program, they may have forgotten about it, which is why a reminder on your website could go a long way. This matching gift search tool will then populate the forms, guidelines, and any other instructions needed for the donor to submit their request.

3. Reach Out to Companies

Use your connections in your community to talk to companies and ask if they can promote their matching gift program to their employees and/or launch a matching gift program. They might ask, “What’s in it for me?” From there, you can explain how the work your organization does benefits the entire community, as well as how giving back to your organization will boost their reputation and employee engagement.

Many companies take part in corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, which describes the efforts a company makes to improve society and its community. One of the  most common CSR programs is matching gifts.

The top matching gift companies offer generous match ratios and maximum match amounts per employee. For example:

  • Disney will match donations to most nonprofits up to $25,000 at a ratio of 1:1. All full-time and part-time employees are eligible to have their donations matched, and most nonprofits are eligible to receive them.
  • Apple will match up to $10,000 at a ratio of 1:1 for their active employees. The company will match donations to most nonprofits, including educational institutions, arts and cultural organizations, and others.
  • Google will match up to $10,000 in donations at a ratio of 1:1 for active employees. The company offers multiple matching gift programs that benefit nonprofits, as well as disaster relief.

When companies give back to the community and participate in CSR, they in turn promote a positive public image for themselves, which leads to more engaged consumers and employees. Understanding the connections your donors have to companies like the above can benefit both your organization and the company itself.

4. Promote Matching Gift Programs

Actively promoting matching gift programs is the most effective way to raise awareness around them. Especially during busy giving times, like Giving Tuesday or the holidays, make sure you advertise to potential donors that their employer might double their impact. This will incentivize people to give because their $100 could automatically turn into $200 for a cause they support.

Double the Donation_DipJar_Double the Impact

You can promote matching gift programs through channels such as:

  • Social Media. Leverage your social media pages to promote matching gifts during key giving campaigns, such as Giving Tuesday. Be sure to include a call-to-action and link that sends supporters directly to your donation page.
  • Email. Send emails to donors who have recently submitted a donation, encouraging them to look up their matching gift eligibility. Doing this while the donation is fresh in their mind (within 24 hours) will yield a higher response and submission rate.
  • Website. Create a specific matching gift information page on your website to explain what matching gifts are and show your supporters how to take part in their employer’s program. This is a great place to include your matching gift search tool, and you can also include the tool on donation confirmation pages and during the donation process.

Promoting matching gifts doesn’t have to be as much of a challenge as you might think. When you take charge of putting these opportunities out in the open and making them easily accessible, donors will be more likely to seamlessly move through the process and submit a match request.

5. Launch a Limited-Time Campaign

One of the biggest factors in driving donations is urgency. When you set a hard deadline to raise a specific amount of funds, donors will be more likely to engage with your cause and show up with their support.

Get in touch with a local company or business partner and discuss the possibility of hosting a co-sponsored week-long donation challenge. Ask the company to what amount they would feel comfortable matching, and then set a challenge for your community. 

For example, if a company says they are willing to match up to $5,000, tell your community that you have a deadline by which to raise $5,000 to unlock the matching gift from the business partner. Both the company and your organization can advertise it, which again brings great publicity for both of you.

6. Explore Corporate Volunteer Grant Programs

There are more ways to find support through your organization than just donations and matching gifts. Some companies will make a donation to “match” their employees’ time spent volunteering at your organization. These are known as corporate volunteer grants

For example, a company might say that if their employee volunteers 20 hours at your organization, they will donate $100 to you. Volunteer grants are an effective way to gain both volunteer hours from your top supporters and maximize the revenue needed to keep your organization going.

The best part? Leveraging a matching gift search tool will also help your supporters understand their volunteer grant eligibility in addition to their eligibility for matching gifts. Get in touch with your volunteers so they can confirm whether their employers offer such a program, or even ask their companies if they would be interested in starting one.

There are many ways to promote matching gifts and bring in more revenue for your organization. But first, it’s essential to understand the challenges nonprofits and donors face in securing matching gifts so that you can properly address them.

Try out these ideas for yourself and start boosting your matching gift revenue so you can continue working toward your mission!


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