Matching gifts are an easy way for nonprofits to earn more revenue. In fact, 84% of donors state they’re more likely to donate if their gift will be matched. After all, supporters want their fundraising dollars to go farther, and matching gifts do just that by potentially doubling or even tripling their donations.
Nonprofits can take advantage of matching gifts in a variety of ways by promoting them in marketing materials, adding a matching gift database to their donation page, and following up with supporters to check their matching gift eligibility.
However, the easiest way by far to acquire more matching gifts is auto-submission. Matching gift auto-submission, like the name implies, automates various parts of the matching gift process, creating a more convenient experience for donors and your nonprofit.
Auto-submission is a new technology, and this guide is here to answer basic questions nonprofits are likely to have about it. We’ll cover:
- What is matching gift auto-submission?
- What are the benefits of matching gift auto-submission?
- What does the matching gift auto-submission process look like?
- How can my nonprofit get started with matching gift auto-submission?
- What’s a real-world example of matching gift auto-submission?
Approximately $4-7 billion in matching gifts go unclaimed each year, and matching gift auto-submission is an easy way for your nonprofit to grab these available funds. To learn how, let’s first explore just what auto-submission is.
Matching gift auto-submission is the process of automating the submission of matching gift application forms.
Normally, after a supporter donates, they need to look up their employer’s matching gift application form, fill it out, and submit it by a certain deadline. auto-submission tools streamline this process by automatically filling out an employer’s matching gift application with a donor’s information as soon as they give.
How do auto-submission tools do this? Essentially, most of what employers request on matching gift application forms is the same as the information on a standard donation form. auto-submission tools use the information donors already provided to complete these forms. Additionally, auto-submission tools are built into corporate social responsibility platforms that provide the employer’s information for the matching gift request.
What are the benefits of matching gift auto-submission?
Matching gifts are already an easy way for supporters to give more to the causes they care about, and auto-submission makes the process even easier. With the added convenience, nonprofits, donors, and corporations all experience benefits, like:
Increased matching gift revenue
Donors are excited to hear about matching gift opportunities, but many will quickly give up if researching their eligibility and completing the application form are too time-consuming. With auto-submission cutting out these steps, nonprofits can look forward to receiving more matching gift revenue by having more donors complete the matching gift request process.
Faster submission process
Supporters already have to go through several hurdles before they reach a point in their donor journey where they are ready to make a gift. Hiccups in this process like poor website design and long donation forms can result in form abandonment.
For the supporters who make it all the way through the donation process, the next steps need to be as easy as possible to maintain a user-friendly experience. Rather than re-entering all of their information immediately after donating, supporters can simply click a button and have their matching gift submitted automatically.
Greater corporate philanthropic impact
Companies offer matching gift programs because they want to make an impact. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives help businesses motivate their employees, improve their reputation in their communities, and receive tax benefits. There are a variety of CSR programs businesses can offer, and matching gifts are a popular option since they provide employees with increased control over how company donations are spent.
However, CSR programs like matching gifts are only worthwhile if employees participate in them. Some corporations make an effort to promote their matching gift program, but in the moment, it’s easy for employees making a donation to forget their company’s requirements or even if they have a gift matching program at all.
auto-submission makes it so employees don’t have to remember the details. Instead, all of their employers’ information will be brought to them, increasing the number of employees who participate in CSR activities.
What does the matching gifts auto-submission process look like?
How convenient is the auto-submission process for matching gifts? Let’s take a side-by-side look at the matching gift process with and without automation.
The matching gift process can be improved with technology other than auto-submission. For the sake of this walkthrough, we will assume the nonprofit being donated to does not have matching gift software and the donor’s employer does not have a CSR platform with auto-submission functionality.
With these limitations in mind, the matching gift process would follow these steps:
- Donor makes a contribution. Donors navigate through the nonprofit’s online donation portal like normal, entering basic information such as their name, address, and contact information.
- Donor researches their match eligibility. After completing their donation, the donor needs to research their matching gift eligibility. Nonprofits with matching gift software can capture work email addresses to speed up the process. For donors who use personal email addresses, matching gift software can still allow nonprofits to embed a matching gift search tool into their donation page, allowing donors to type in their employer’s name to find relevant guidelines and forms. Without matching gift software, donors need to complete this step themselves by first being aware of matching gifts as a concept and then checking in with their employer about their eligibility.
- Donor visits their employer’s website for their matching gift application. Match-eligible donors can navigate to their company’s website to either complete an online matching gift application or print out a physical copy, depending on their employer’s requirements.
- Donor looks up the nonprofit’s information. Most matching gift applications require basic information about the nonprofits employees give to. This includes the organization’s name, postal address, tax ID, and potentially a brief summary of its mission.
- Donor fills out the rest of their application. In addition to the nonprofit’s information that donors may need to look up, donors also must complete the rest of their application by reporting their donation amount, the date it was given, and their payment method.
- Donor submits the application request. Once the form is finished, donors can submit it to their employer ahead of their matching gift deadline. If the employer requires any additional information, they can reach out to the donor or the nonprofit organization their employee gave to.
In summary, without technology like auto-submission, the matching gift process can easily require excessive data entry.
Donors who give to nonprofits with matching gift software and work for employers with a robust CSR platform will have a much faster, more user-friendly matching gifts experience. With these tools, the six-step process from above can be halved into just three:
- Donor makes a contribution. Supporters fill out the nonprofit’s donation form. If they use their work email address, they can skip right to step three, as they will be paired with their employer’s matching gift form immediately after completing their donation. If they use a personal or non-identifiable email address, they will move to step two.
- Donor is matched with their employer’s matching gift information. Donors can research their employer using the nonprofit’s matching gift search tool. Some matching gift database providers can help donors find their employers’ information even if there is a spelling error in their search.
- The matching gift application is submitted. Once the donor confirms their employer, they can agree to submit a matching gift application. With a click of a button, their matching gift application will be completed for them and submitted automatically.
Auto-submission’s efficiency makes submitting matching gift applications immediately after donating easy. This decreases the number of abandoned forms due to donors deciding they’ll come back later and forgetting, as well as donors who choose not to match their gift due to the additional required steps.
How can my nonprofit get started with matching gift auto-submission?
While auto-submission improves the giving process for your nonprofit, your donors, and your donors’ employers, not all of your supporters will be able to use auto-submission. The technology for auto-submission is still new, so while trendsetting nonprofits with the necessary matching gift software can start the process, only donors who work at organizations with the right CSR platform can participate in auto-submission.
Fortunately, there are a few steps nonprofits can take to promote auto-submission and start earning more through matching gifts:
- Use matching gift software. While not every supporter can access auto-submission, matching gift software can still speed up the process. Research matching gift databases and choose one that’s comprehensive, up-to-date, and user-friendly. Additionally, consider your current donation software, and choose a matching gift database that will integrate with your fundraising platform.
- Encourage the creation of matching gift programs. Not every corporation has a matching gift program, but your nonprofit can help create more by encouraging your supporters to advocate for them. Tell dedicated supporters about matching gifts and provide them with information they can share with their employers that may persuade them to consider starting a new CSR program. This might include data such as the number of employees at that organization who regularly give to nonprofits like yours or the benefits of matching gift programs on employee motivation and retention.
- Discuss auto-submission with CSR platform vendors. CSR providers work to facilitate relationships between corporations and nonprofits. Your nonprofit may not have many opportunities to interface with these vendors, but if you are ever surveyed or asked for a review, consider mentioning matching gift auto-submission as a feature you would like to see in future product updates.
Additionally, keep educating your supporters about matching gifts, why they matter, and how they can use them to increase their giving potential. While some donors may be familiar with the topic, many new supporters will likely learn about matching gifts for the first time when they donate to your nonprofit and see your matching gift search tools.
What’s a real-world example of matching gift auto-submission?
Interested in how auto-submission works in practice? Selflessly is a CSR platform that provides users with auto-submission tools for matching gifts. Through a partnership with matching gift software provider, Double the Donation, Selflessly has made submitting and tracking matching gifts easy for both donors and corporations.
Here’s how Selflessly breaks down this new functionality in their own words:
Now, thanks to the partnership between Selflessly and Double the Donation, an eligible donor is simply asked to enter their corporate email address using an embedded widget in the confirmation screen. Then, by checking the included box, the employee authorizes Double the Donation to submit their matching gift request to their employer through Selflessly.
That’s it! The rest is handled automatically by Selflessly with the submission able to be reviewed and verified as usual—the end goal of the gift match being approved by the employing company and dispersing funds to the organization with ease and speed. Employees will be able to see all their information as usual on the Selflessly dashboard. You will be able to see how many dollars your company has matched and how many dollars you have left to use in employee matching donations.
The matching gift auto-submission features simplify the entire process, letting donors submit their matching gift applications in seconds and allowing employers to view all of their matching gift funds in one comprehensive CSR platform.
Final Thoughts on Matching Gift Auto-submission
Auto-submission is the future of matching gifts, promising to bring new levels of convenience to nonprofits, donors, and corporations. The first step in getting started with auto-submission is understanding how the technology will help your nonprofit and what steps you can take to implement it into your current technical stack.
To further your research on matching gifts and auto-submission, explore these resources:
- Corporate Philanthropy: A Complete Guide for Nonprofits. Do you have any remaining questions about why corporations would embrace technology like matching gift auto-submission? Explore this guide to corporate philanthropy.
- Matching Gifts: The Ultimate Guide for Nonprofits in 2023. Auto-submission isn’t the only thing you need to know about matching gifts. Get all of your matching gift-related questions answered in this complete guide.
- Best Corporate Giving Software for Companies (& Trends We’re Seeing). Matching gifts are just one aspect of corporate philanthropy that can be improved with technology. Discover other corporate giving platforms your nonprofit can leverage to earn more revenue.