Matching Donations: A Nonprofit’s Guide to Doubling Impact

Double your impact with matching donations. A comprehensive guide for nonprofits.

January 23, 2023

Corporate matching gifts are popular programs that have the power to boost your nonprofit’s donation revenue. Companies that offer these programs will match a variety of contributions, from online donations to funds their employees raise during peer-to-peer events.

These programs make the original donation go twice as far, so you should encourage your donors to look into their companies’ guidelines. Locating match-eligible donors is a fantastic way to diversify your revenue streams and maximize the donations you’re already receiving.

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

To help your nonprofit maximize matching donations, we’ll explore the basics of this type of program and provide some practical tips along the way. Here’s what we’ll cover:

  1. What Is Donation Matching?
  2. The Benefits of Matching Donations
  3. The Challenges of Matching Donations
  4. How to Receive More Corporate Matching Gifts

A solid corporate giving strategy can take your cause to new heights. From increasing donors’ impact to forming valuable corporate partnerships, you can open up the door for greater community outcomes just by promoting matching donations. Let’s dive in!

What Is Donation Matching?

Donation matching is a type of corporate giving in which companies match their employees’ gifts to nonprofit organizations. They often match at a dollar-for-dollar rate, doubling the original donation.

Companies that offer this type of program usually create guidelines regarding employee eligibility, nonprofit eligibility, form submission deadlines, and donation amounts. Aside from locating these guidelines, acquiring a matching donation is fairly straightforward. Here’s how it works:

  1. An individual donates and researches their eligibility for their employer’s program.
  2. If eligible, the donor submits the required forms directly to their employer or within a corporate giving portal.
  3. The company confirms the original donation with the nonprofit and sends the organization the matching gift.

The concept behind these programs is relatively simple. So long as you effectively manage your donor data, you can easily tap into these corporate philanthropy opportunities.

The Benefits of Matching Donations

The best part of donation matching is that it’s beneficial for everyone involved. From the corporate perspective, companies aspire to create a positive work environment where employees feel fulfilled, and offering these programs shows their support for employees’ values. Plus, giving back to the community will naturally reflect well on businesses that offer matching donations.

For nonprofits, matching donations will increase your nonprofit’s revenue, boost donor satisfaction by increasing their impact, and drive greater outcomes for the cause. Diving a bit further, Double the Donation’s matching gift statistics show that:

Double the Donation_DipJar_Matching Donations a Nonprofit's Guide to Doubling Impact_Statistics

  • 84% of donors are more likely to donate once they know a match is offered.
  • 11% of total corporate cash contributions to nonprofits are made through matching gift programs.
  • 1 in 3 donors says they’d give a larger gift if a match will be applied to their donation.

Not only do matching gifts amplify each donation’s impact, but they also encourage donors to give in general. Any nonprofit would be remiss to pass up this free funding!

The Challenges of Matching Donations

When it comes to corporate philanthropy, the biggest challenge your organization faces is awareness. Many match-eligible donors aren’t aware if their employers offer matching donations.

In fact, the same statistics page shows that an estimated $4-$7 billion in matching gift funds goes unclaimed each year, even though more than 26 million individuals work for companies with matching gift programs.

This isn’t just a problem for nonprofits; it’s an issue for donors, too. When unsure of their eligibility, donors miss an opportunity to double the impact of their donation. It can be difficult for nonprofits and donors to locate companies’ guidelines. That’s where a matching gift tool comes in handy. As we’ll explore, a dedicated tool can make this information instantly available, even before a donor submits their gift.

How to Receive More Corporate Matching Gifts

Once you understand the challenges surrounding matching gifts, you can take strides toward addressing them, making it easier for donors to submit match requests to their employers. Let’s explore several proven tips for maximizing your revenue.

1. Implement a Matching Gift Search Tool.

Determining donors’ eligibility can be a hassle. The most effective way to overcome this is by implementing a matching gift search tool on your website.

You'll fold matching gifts directly into the online donation process by embedding a search tool into your donation or confirmation page. Donors can search their company name to populate information like:

  • Whether their company offers matching donations
  • Participation guidelines
  • Match request forms and other relevant instructions

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.

Recent corporate matching gift technology innovations have simplified the follow-up process even further. Traditionally, companies require donors to navigate a matching gift management portal after donating. Donors must endure a lengthy process of submitting a list of information about the nonprofit and their donation.

Now, with auto-submission technology, all they need to do is submit their corporate email address into the tool on your nonprofit’s website after donating. Then, the tool automatically sends the necessary donation data to the matching gift management platform to process the request.

By automating the process, you’ll cut out extra steps that might otherwise deter donors from submitting their requests!

2. Proactively Fill In Missing Employer Information.

If you’re missing donors’ employment information, you’re also likely missing out on matching gift revenue. That’s where data appending comes into play.

Employer appending allows you to pull employer names and role titles for your donors. These services leverage your existing donor data to correctly identify individuals within a larger, third-party database of employment information. That way, you can locate match-eligible donors you might be overlooking.

Here’s how NPOInfo’s guide to employer appends for nonprofits breaks down the process:

  1. Gather donor data. Make sure you have plenty of identifying information in your CRM, including full names, ages, and contact information.
  2. Clean up your data. Remove useless and duplicate information to avoid slowing down the identification process.
  3. Share your data with a provider. Supply as much data as possible to your data appending services provider. More data will yield more accurate results.
  4. Receive the appended employer information. After identifying your donors in their database, your service provider will return your file with company names, job titles, and matching gift eligibility information.

Once you receive your appended employer data, follow up on any missed matching donation opportunities. In no time, you’ll start receiving more corporate matching gifts.

3. Reach Out to Companies to Encourage Matching Donations.

Connect with local companies and ask if they can promote their matching gift program to their employees. If they haven’t already, suggest that they launch a matching gift program. They might ask, “What’s in it for me?” From there, explain how your work benefits the community and how giving back to charitable causes will boost their reputation and employee engagement.

For guidance, share how other companies run their programs. The top matching gift companies offer generous match ratios and maximum match amounts per employee. For example:

  • Disney will match donations between $25 and $25,000 at a ratio of 1:1. All full-time and part-time employees are eligible. Employees register their donations and email the certificate to the nonprofit. Then, the nonprofit uses the certificate to claim the funds.
  • Apple will match up to $10,000 at a ratio of 1:1 for active employees. Requests should be made within one month of the donation date using the company’s matching gift portal.
  • Google will match up to $10,000 at a ratio of 1:1 for active employees. The company offers multiple matching gift programs that benefit nonprofits and disaster relief in particular.

Sharing how reputable companies run their programs will provide a good framework for designing theirs. Plus, they can reference real-world examples of corporate philanthropy positively reflecting on businesses.

4. Promote Matching Gift Programs to Donors.

Promoting matching donations is the most effective way to raise awareness. Especially during busy giving times, advertise that donors’ employers might double their impact. People are much more likely to give when they know about these programs!

When marketing to donors, promote the opportunity through these channels:

  • Social Media. Promote matching gifts on your social media pages during key giving times, such as Giving Tuesday. Include a call-to-action and link that sends supporters directly to your donation page.
  • Email. Send emails to recent donors, encouraging them to research their matching gift eligibility. Doing this while the donation is fresh in their mind (within 24 hours) will yield a higher submission rate.
  • Website. Create a page on your nonprofit’s website devoted to explaining what matching gifts are and how supporters can participate. This is a great place to include your matching gift search tool. You can also include the tool on your donation and confirmation pages.

You can’t expect donors to submit match requests when they don’t know the opportunity exists! These marketing tips will create a solid foundation as you get started.

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 their support.

Get in touch with a local company and discuss the possibility of hosting a co-sponsored, week-long donation challenge. Ask the company the highest 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 to raise $5,000 to unlock the matching gift from your business partner. Both the company and your organization can advertise it to boost participation.

6. Keep Your Donor Data Clean.

Proper nonprofit data hygiene is essential to maximizing your matching donation revenue. A clean database filled with accurate employer information and matching gift eligibility statuses will make it easier to follow up on opportunities.

We recommend that you do the following to clean up your donor database:

  • De-duplicate your records. If you have identical data entered multiple times in your CRM, remove it. Often, nonprofits will have multiple records for the same supporters. For example, an individual might donate twice using two different email addresses. Make sure they only have one record that lists both emails and donations, rather than two separate records.
  • Remove unnecessary data. Extraneous information might include records on minors, incarcerated people, or deceased individuals. Remove these records to avoid sending matching donation outreach to them.

Once you’ve cleaned everything up, keep everything in order by only gathering the essential details and entering any new data in a standardized format. You might even include a field where you mark matching donation eligibility to simplify outreach moving forward.

7. Explore Other Corporate Giving Opportunities.

Corporate giving isn’t limited to matching donations. Some companies will make a donation to “match” their employees’ time spent volunteering at your organization. These are known as volunteer grants.

For example, a company might donate $100 for every 20 hours an employee volunteers at your organization. Volunteer grants effectively boost volunteer hours 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 this type of program, or even ask their companies if they would be interested in starting one.

Promoting matching donations is a proven way to increase your organization's revenue. But first, it’s essential to understand the challenges nonprofits and donors face in securing matching gifts so you can properly address them.

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

written by: Double the Donation


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