Corporate philanthropy is an important part of any nonprofit’s fundraising strategy. From matching gift programs to volunteer grant policies and everything in between, organizations need an easy way to help their donors learn about their employers’ corporate philanthropy programs.
That’s where matching gift databases come in. With the help of a matching gift database, a nonprofit can offer supporters an easy way to look up their employer’s programs and learn how to submit their matching gift request.
This helps drive more donations as, according to Double the Donation, 84% of donors say they’re more likely to donate if their gift will be matched. Plus, a third of donors will give a larger donation if they know it will be matched. Not only does your nonprofit tap into the corporate philanthropy finances, but you can also drive more donors to give and existing donors to give more.
But how can your nonprofit decide on which matching gift database to choose?
The primary questions to ask while evaluating a matching gift database include:
- What is the top industry choice for a matching gift database?
- What are the other matching gift databases to choose from?
- How comprehensive is the matching gift database?
- How many forms does the database have?
- How up-to-date and accurate is the database?
- What is the search functionality of the database?
- How easy is it to use the provided data?
- How much is each matching gift database growing?
- Does the matching gift database offer auto-submission functionality?
Luckily for you, we’ve done some research and are excited to share our review of the four main matching gift options for nonprofits. We compared the top 4 competitors in the space: Double the Donation, Affinaquest (formerly HEPdata), Amply (formerly known as DonateDouble), and Blackbaud’s MatchFinder, and evaluated each on a variety of criteria to determine the best one. Here’s a quick overview of our comparison:
If you’re ready to learn more about these providers and how they can empower your fundraising strategy, read on!
1. Our favorite matching gift database is Double the Donation.
Even though every database has its own strengths and weaknesses, we found that there was one overall champion of the matching gifts database game: Double the Donation.
In each category we considered, such as comprehensiveness, number of forms, search functionality, and usability, Double the Donation was either tied neck-and-neck or was found to be more useful than the other providers for what a nonprofit might need.
Double the Donation offers an embedded plugin for nonprofits to include on their donation page, thank-you page, or elsewhere on their website.
This way, donors can check their eligibility by typing their employer’s name into the search tool during or directly after the donation process. If a gift match is offered, they’ll find a link directing them to the relevant page on their employer’s website.
Check out the example below, showing how to navigate Double the Donation’s matching gift search tool plugin:
But Double the Donation’s tools go even further! 360MatchPro by Double the Donation is a fully automated matching gift system that helps nonprofits better identify, contact, and collect data from eligible donors.
360MatchPro uses the email domains of supporters to search for those who work with companies that offer corporate philanthropy programs with matching gifts. The nonprofit then has access to estimated amounts of matching gift revenue from supporters, automated emails to eligible donors, and a list of top-priority gifts to be matched.
Employing Double the Donation’s matching gift database in conjunction with any of your other online donation tools is a surefire way to increase the amount of matching gifts you receive.
Another advantage for the Double the Donation database is its data sync with corporate social responsibility platforms, who manage matching gift programs for companies directly.
360MatchPro by Double the Donation has integrations with several of these corporate social responsibility platforms, creating a direct line of updated information on company matching gift programs to Double the Donation’s database. No other matching gift database can update their records this way, making it another reason Double the Donation ranks at the top of our list!
While this is our favorite solution by far, it’s not the only option out there. In the next section, we’ll touch on the competitors for the name “best matching gift database.”
2. What are the other matching gift databases in the industry?
There are four main players in the matching gift database field. While they all provide slightly different services and features, the end goal is the same: to help nonprofit organizations take advantage of corporate philanthropy and matching gift opportunities.
So what are these companies, and how long have they been operating in the matching gifts space?
Double the Donation.
Double the Donation, the company that created 360MatchPro, is a corporate philanthropy database and matching gifts automation provider. It was established in 2010 by Adam Weinger and is now the largest matching gift provider.
The mission of Double the Donation is to help nonprofits to generate the funding they need to achieve their missions such as education, community enrichment, scientific research, or others.
HEPdata is a matching gifts database provider and wealth screening service. They were the oldest player in the industry, having been founded by Steve Hafner in 1997 as the very first electronic matching gift database in the U.S. But since then have been sold to a private equity firm, which is never a good sign.
Now that HEPdata was acquired by SSB, their focus seems to be more on sports analytics, which is SSB’s core offering.
Amply is a matching gifts automation provider. They were founded in 2010 as DonateDouble, but recently rebranded themselves as Amply.
Their mission is to build tools to help donors, nonprofits, and companies work together to make a difference in the world. They’re the smallest of the matching gift providers, and according to LinkedIn, their founders don’t work full-time at the business.
Blackbaud, who is a major player in the nonprofit technology space, has its own matching gifts database called MatchFinder. MatchFinder has been a feature of Raiser’s Edge and Blackbaud CRM for roughly two decades.
Blackbaud offers a comprehensive set of tools to help nonprofits succeed. From their CRM software to fundraising tools, all of Blackbaud’s software ecosystem works seamlessly together.
In terms of who has been around the longest, HEPdata wins. And while HEPdata’s experience in the industry is certainly a benefit, we found that age wasn’t the most important indicator of strength for a matching gift database, especially now that HEPdata is part of a larger sports analytics company whose primary focus is not on matching gifts.
3. How comprehensive is the matching gift database?
What we learned about the four matching gifts providers is that only Double the Donation, HEPdata, and Blackbaud have their own databases. Historically, Amply has used HEPdata’s database to power their matching gifts automation services.
So of Double the Donation, HEPdata, and Blackbaud, which has the most comprehensive database? We chose a sample of companies with the best matching gift policies and then searched for those policies on each of the databases.
For a database to be effective, it must include three types of entries:
- Parent companies.
- Alternate spellings or variations of companies and brands.
This ensures that a person who works for Disney World would be able to find their company’s policy no matter if they search Disney, Disney World, Walt Disney World, or any other variation someone could think of.
This is where Double the Donation and HEPdata came out on top over Blackbaud. They both had over 20,000 entries in their database. Since Blackbaud doesn’t specialize in matching gifts like Double the Donation and HEPdata do, its database doesn’t offer the same number of entries.
However, Double the Donation gained an edge over HEPdata because it included a few major corporations that HEPdata was missing. Overall, Double the Donation’s matching gifts database covered over 99% of donors with matching gifts eligibility.
For this section, Double the Donation is the winner. This is what it looks like:
How does 360MatchPro by Double the Donation fit in? This automated system draws on the comprehensive database offered by Double the Donation. Plus, the automation and tracking features help you better use the additional data you collect about matching gifts.
Comprehensiveness Winner: Double the Donation
- Double the Donation
Bonus! Matching Gifts Best Practice: To maximize the visibility of your matching gifts database, embed a plugin version into your online donor thank-you letters.
4. How many forms does each matching gift database have?
While database comprehensiveness covers how easy it is for donors to learn about their matching gift eligibility, an ample number of forms takes this process to the next level. Matching gift databases that include forms directly connect supporters to the match request form they need to complete the process.
This question is really asking, “How effective is the database in helping donors submit match requests?”
To determine which database had the most actionable forms, we sampled a number of large companies that represent the most matching gift dollars and compared the results side-by-side. To do this, we searched for the company in the database, determined whether or not they had a matching gift program, and then saw if the database had the form itself or provided the correct link to the form.
We were looking for:
- Currency: if the links to the forms were still live.
- Accuracy: if the links took us to the pages that we would need to submit a match request.
- Convenience: the number of electronic forms included that a donor could fill out from home, if possible.
When a matching gift database checks all of these boxes, it’s much easier for donors to use the tool to its fullest extent.
Again, Double the Donation was the winner. They had more online donation forms than Blackbaud or HEPdata, as well as more forms in general and fewer dead or inaccurate links.
Number of Forms Winner: Double the Donation
- Double the Donation
Bonus! Matching Gifts Best Practice: Every nonprofit should be incorporating donor and prospect research into their fundraising strategy. Take this tactic to the next level by including matching gift eligibility as a data point in your donor profiles.
5. How up-to-date and accurate is the matching gift database?
Companies’ policies can change, so it’s important that a database has the most up-to-date information available. When information is current, your supporters have the best access to the information, forms, and status information they need.
To determine which database was most up-to-date, we checked a sample of companies with recently updated policies and compared them against what the database provided.
- Blackbaud – it seems as though their database hasn’t been updated since 2015, especially because they feature major companies with out-of-date forms and links.
- HEPdata – their database was more up-to-date than Blackbaud’s, but there was some outdated information regarding companies and links.
- Amply – they use the HEPdata database, which means that they’re reliant on HEPdata’s updating schedule.
- Double the Donation – they had the most up-to-date database of the four. Their website is very transparent about their update process. There are ways for employees and employers to submit updated information to the database through the website, and they leverage exclusive CSR data syncs with several corporate giving platforms to provide real-time database updates.
Another advantage that Double the Donation had over HEPdata’s database was that they autoscan the information in the database to remove dead links, email addresses, and phone numbers. HEPdata doesn’t indicate that they have an autoscan process, so inaccurate data may stay live in the database longer.
It seems as though Double the Donation’s online presence, along with the autoscan and CSR integrations, helps them keep their database up-to-date. And after a thorough review of HEPData’s database vs. Double the Donation’s database, Double the Donation is the winner of this category.
Data Accuracy Winner: Double the Donation
- Double the Donation
Bonus! Matching Gifts Best Practice: Ask your donors about their employers in an effective donor survey to determine who among your supporters might be eligible for matching gifts.
6. What is the search functionality of the matching gift database?
We found that there are two types of search functionality in the matching gifts databases.
- Someone types in a company name and hits “enter.” The database brings up a list of subsidiaries and variations with the search term in it. The donor then chooses the correct company or subsidiary from the list.
- Someone types in a company name. The database autocompletes the search in real-time, suggesting companies to the donor and pulling up relevant information as they type.
The greatest drawback to the first scenario is that not all of the variations and subsidiaries appear upon hitting the “enter” key. In this case, the donor may believe that there is no matching gift program when, in reality, the company didn’t appear in the list of potential corporations with programs on the tool.
It also forces the donor to look through the entries themselves, which can be confusing for employees of large corporations with multiple subsidiaries.
The benefits of the second type of search functionality are that it increases the percentage of donors finding the company, as well as completing the search. It only takes 2 steps, as opposed to the first option’s 3 steps.
HEPdata, Blackbaud, and Amply all use the first option. Double the Donation used to, but it seems that recently they transitioned to the second option, which is more user-friendly.
Double the Donation is the winner for this section- the streamlined autocomplete option is preferable to the list of variations.
Search Functionality Winner: Double the Donation
- Double the Donation
Bonus! Matching Gifts Best Practice: Market matching gifts in your email fundraising campaign, so that you can ask your donors for support and inform them about matching gifts at the same time. They might be more inspired to give when they know how to maximize their gifts!
7. How easy is it to use the data from the matching gift database?
When it comes down to it, the most important thing about a matching gifts database to us is how well it convinces eligible donors to submit matching gift requests.
Since Amply uses HEPdata’s database, and Blackbaud’s isn’t being updated frequently enough to be as useful as it could be, we’re only comparing HEPdata and Double the Donation in this category.
They use different strategies to display information after a search has been completed:
- HEPdata includes information that is useful for donors as well as nonprofit development teams. Unfortunately for the donor, the way that the information is presented can be confusing for someone who isn’t familiar with matching gifts strategies.
- Double the Donation’s information display is designed just for donors, prioritizing links to forms, company contact information, and the minimum and maximum amounts for the matching gift.
While the information that HEPdata includes for the benefit of a nonprofit development officer is useful, we think that, for a donor-facing database, Double the Donation’s strategy is more effective for converting donors. Double the Donation wins this category.
Ease of Use Winner: Double the Donation
- Double the Donation
Bonus! Matching Gifts Best Practice: Reach out personally to recurring gift donors and ask them to submit a matching gift request. Individualized attention is an important part of donor stewardship.
8. How much is each matching gift database growing?
In order to continue serving as a source for donors and nonprofits, matching gift databases need to adjust and grow with demand. That’s why another factor we considered when comparing matching gift databases was growth.
We tracked the growth of each database in recent years to determine how they have evolved and how they continue to adapt to the needs of the industry.
- Double the Donation – many of the largest nonprofits and universities have switched to Double the Donation from the legacy HEPdata. Double the Donation also seems to have the largest team, which means a higher level of support is available and there are more frequent database updates.
- HEPdata and Amply – both HEPdata and Amply have either stayed the same size for several years or gotten smaller.
- Blackbaud – while Blackbaud is a large, comprehensive software platform, its matching gift product is now shrinking, as they’ve actually partnered with Double the Donation.
When it comes to growth and evolution, Double the Donation is the clear winner. This is the only platform that has demonstrated significant growth over the years, with many large organizations turning to its software to meet their database needs.
Amount of Growth Winner: Double the Donation
- Double the Donation
Bonus! Matching Gifts Best Practice: Promoting matching gifts on social media is a great way to engage your donors to submit matching gifts. Schedule messages on a recurring basis so you can easily appeal to supporters without asking for additional donations, and be sure to include a link to your matching gift search tool.
9. Does the matching gift database offer auto-submission functionality?
The best matching gift database providers should always be on the lookout for new ways to improve their technology—and with it, the matching gift experience for their users. The newest way that we’ve seen this occur is through breakthrough auto-submission technology.
When an organization employs a matching gift tool with this functionality enabled, its donors (who work for companies that also have auto-submission enabled—typically through their workplace giving platform) can submit their matching gift requests directly from the nonprofit’s giving tool on their website!
Here’s a look at how this feature works:
- An individual contributes to a nonprofit organization using their online giving page and selects their employer using a company search tool.
- On the gift confirmation screen, the donor is encouraged to enter their corporate email address and authorize the matching gift database to submit a match request on their behalf.
- The matching gift database utilizes information collected during the donation process to automatically complete the matching gift submission process behind the scenes, passing data along to the donor’s employer to review, approve, and disperse match funding.
It’s quick and easy, and removes several potential roadblocks throughout the matching gift process, allowing organizations to collect more matching gift revenue overall. And donors love it, too!
Currently, the only matching gift database software that offers matching gift auto-submission functionality is Double the Donation’s 360MatchPro. That said, Double the Donation is the obvious winner in this forward-focused category.
Auto-Submission Winner: Double the Donation
- Double the Donation
N/A – HEPdata, Amply, Blackbaud
Bonus! Matching Gifts Best Practice: Make sure to streamline and simplify the matching gift process for your donors as much as possible. The more steps involved, the more opportunities there are for matches to go unfulfilled. Offering auto-submission for eligible donors is a great way to do this. And you’ll want to be sure you have the resources to guide donors directly to their employers’ match criteria and online forms if not.
Our Top Pick: Double the Donation
Our top winner is clear: Double the Donation offers the most comprehensive, accurate, and intuitive matching gift database.
Other standout factors include integrations—Double the Donation offers more than 65 integrations, while Amply offers about 2 integrations and HEPdata offers around 5—as well as search functionality and overall user-friendliness.
How It Works
With Double the Donation, you can enable your donors to access matching gift information from anywhere on your website, such as donation pages, confirmation pages, and dedicated matching gift pages.
Double the Donation’s automation platform, 360MatchPro, will allow you to:
- Automatically identify matching gift opportunities from donors’ email domains or provided employer information.
- Trigger automatic emails encouraging donors to submit a matching gift based on their eligibility.
- Drive every match to completion via tracking and automated messaging options.
Bonus! Looking for more information on Double the Donation’s products? Check out this video demo.
While the other databases are helpful resources, we’ve found that Double the Donation’s combination of functionality, ease of use, and comprehensive information makes it the top matching gift database provider.
To strengthen your matching gift strategy as well as improve your nonprofit’s online tactics, check out some of our favorite additional resources:
- Matching Gifts: A Q&A Guide to Everything You Need to Know. Here at re:Charity, we take our matching gifts seriously. Learn more about making corporate philanthropy work for your nonprofit with our easy guide.
- Corporate Matching Gift Programs: The Basics. Who better to learn about matching gifts from than the top database provider itself, Double the Donation? Check out their informative guide for a more comprehensive overview of matching gift programs.
- Solve Your Donation Processing Woes: 7 Tips for Nonprofits. You need donations from supporters to have a matching gifts strategy! Make sure your nonprofit is at the top of its game by reading this guide to online donation processing.