When it comes to raising money, nonprofits of all shapes and sizes are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to increase the impact of their supporters’ contributions.
There’s a way your nonprofit can boost your fundraising revenue without requiring your donors to give more, and it’s the best-kept secret in the nonprofit sphere: matching gifts.
Matching gift programs can effectively double the impact of individual gifts made to your nonprofit.
While common in the corporate world, matching gifts are still very underutilized. This is because donors often don’t know if they’re eligible. Understanding how these programs work and how your organization can help raise awareness of them is the key to unlocking new revenue streams for your mission.
In this article, we’ll walk through 7 ways your nonprofit can bring in more donations by using matching gifts. Then, we’ll wrap up with a Q&A to answer your frequently asked questions about this form of corporate philanthropy.
|Bring in More Donations with Matching Gifts||Read the Matching Gift Q&A|
Maximizing your matching gift potential is the single best way to make the most of your community’s support.
There’s no reason why your organization can’t start boosting the impact of your donors’ gifts today. Let’s dive in so you can start raising more as soon as possible.
7 Ways Your Nonprofit Can Bring in Even More Donations with Matching Gifts
In order to secure more revenue from matching gifts, it’s essential to use multiple strategies. Below, we’ve outlined 7 effective ways your nonprofit can bring in even more donations!
1. Corporate Employee Matching Gifts
The most familiar matching gift program is for corporate employees. These programs are driven by the individual donations that employees make to organizations like yours.
What are corporate employee matching gifts?
Matching gifts are a form of corporate philanthropy in which employers financially match the donations that their employees make to nonprofits.
This type of matching gift program can bring in more donations than ever because it’s easy for donors to maximize their gifts without reaching back into their own pockets.
So why doesn’t this happen all the time?
Matching gift guidelines from companies are not always crystal clear. That’s why you need to educate your donors about these programs to make sure they look up their eligibility and submit their match request in time. By promoting matching gifts to your donors throughout (and following) the donation process, you’ll raise more awareness around this corporate giving program and make it easy for them to submit their request.
The takeaway: Not everyone knows about matching gifts. Make the submission process as easy as possible for your donors!
How does a company start a matching gift program?
If your company’s looking to start a matching gift program, congratulations! You’re taking a big step towards improving your community and your internal workplace environment. But, you might be unsure about how to implement such a significant program. Fortunately, it can be broken down into these general steps:
- Establish matching gift parameters, such as the matching ratio, qualifying employees and causes, donation amounts, and the request deadline
- Research a corporate giving software solution to facilitate the process
- Launch your program!
- Promote your matching gift program to your employees and troubleshoot any issues
Of course, the process will vary between companies, but these are some general guidelines of what to expect during the implementation phase.
2. Fundraising Event Matching Gifts
As we move on from the more familiar types of matching gift programs, let’s talk about fundraising events. You’ve probably planned or taken part in walkathons, 5K races, bikeathons, or other events meant to raise money for a cause. Did you know that the money raised from these fundraisers can actually be matched?
If a participant in the event works for a company that offers a fundraising match program, this means the money they raise through sponsorships or other donations during the event can be matched by their employer.
Many companies offer fundraising match programs, including:
Google will match funds that employees raise for a fundraising event in which they actively participate. This includes walks, marathons, bike rides, and more.
Penguin Random House
Penguin Random House matches up to $1,500 per employee each year for money they raise by participating in fundraising events.
If an Intuit employee participates in a fundraising event, such as a walk, run, bike ride, etc., Intuit will match all of the money they raise, with a maximum $5,000 match per employee per year.
These are just a few of the many companies that offer fundraising event matching gift programs. There are more than you think!
The takeaway: Don’t let the funds from your big events go unmatched. Encourage your participants to check their matching gift eligibility with their employers!
3. Corporate Volunteer Matches
Did you know that the hours your organization’s volunteers put in can be financially matched by their employers?
That’s right: many companies will provide monetary grants to organizations where their employees regularly volunteer. These are also known as volunteer grants or Dollars for Doers programs.
Here’s how corporate volunteer matches work:
- An individual volunteers with a nonprofit.
- The individual records their hours and submits a request for a grant to their employer.
- The employer verifies the hours worked with the nonprofit.
- The employer writes a check to the nonprofit.
Depending on the company’s guidelines, there might be a set amount of hours that must be volunteered before they will provide the grant. For example:
For every hour an Apple employee volunteers with a nonprofit, Apple will donate $25 to the organization. There are no minimum hours required.
Disney requires a minimum of 10 hours from volunteers, and will award monetary grants of up to $2,000 to organizations, based on the total amount of hours worked. Disney also offers an annual grant of $2,500 to recognize exceptional volunteers.
Bank of America
Bank of America offers two tiers of grants for volunteer hours. The company will give $250 to an organization after their employees log 50 volunteer hours, and $500 after 100 volunteer hours.
Your organization can find a lot more funding by looking into corporate volunteer matches. Encourage your volunteers to look up their eligibility for these programs!
The takeaway: You can get double the benefits from your volunteers: you’ll get important tasks completed and monetary grants for the hours they put in!
4. Matching Gift Challenges for Major Donors
If you work for a nonprofit, you already know that major gifts make up a majority of your fundraising revenue. So how does this tie into matching gifts?
Three words: matching gift challenge.
A matching gift challenge occurs when a key supporter of your organization agrees to donate a significant amount of money to your campaign, matching up to a certain amount.
Matching gift challenges allow both your major donors to show their support and encourage others to support you, as well.
Be sure to promote challenges like these on all of your channels: social media, email, your website/blog, and direct mail. You’ll be amazed at how much money can be raised when all donors need to do is contribute once and your major donor will supply the match!
The takeaway: Giving is contagious. Your major donors can have a huge influence on encouraging others to give to your organization. Consider hosting a matching gift challenge and recruit your top supporters to supply the match.
5. Matching Gifts for Board Members
As we get into even lesser known forms of matching gift programs, let’s talk about your board members. Did you know that some companies offer additional gifts for employees who serve on nonprofit boards?
If your board members are current (or even retired) employees at a company with this kind of program, they might be eligible for a higher match ratio or increased limit on their matched donations.
American Express Company
American Express offers a standard match ratio of 1:1, but the company will double this ratio to 2:1 if their employee serves on a nonprofit board.
Wells Fargo offers a grant program where if an employee serves on the board of an eligible nonprofit organization, they can earn a grant of $500 for that organization.
AstraZeneca Canada provides $250 grants to organizations where employees serve as board members.
Consider looking to your board members for additional revenue. You never know! They might be part of a very generous matching gift program through their employers.
The takeaway: Your board members are essential to your organization’s success for more reasons than one. Make sure they check their eligibility for these additional matching gift benefits!
6. Matching Gift Corporate Partnerships
Similar to major donor matching gift campaigns, companies can also do the same! For this to work, you’ll need to reach out to corporations that are likely to support your organization and see if they would be willing to match up to a certain amount during your campaign.
If you’re not sure where to get started, consider asking companies that you’ve already built a relationship with (i.e., companies that have given to your organization before).
Matching gift corporate partnerships benefit both organizations and corporations. Companies get to enjoy brand promotion and boost their name in the community, and nonprofits bring in donations that drive their missions forward. Even better? This program will match donations from all of your supporters, not just the ones who work for that particular company.
Once you’ve locked in a corporate partnership, be sure to promote this giving opportunity on all of your channels. Recognize and tag the company in your outreach with visuals and note the amount they’re matching up to.
The takeaway: Don’t underestimate the value of your relationships with companies. Both the corporation and your organization can benefit from matching gift corporate partnerships.
7. Matching Gift Software
Matching gift tools are designed to help your nonprofit generate greater matching gift revenue.
When your team has the right software on hand to automate and streamline aspects of the matching gifts process, you’re sure to start generating more matching gift revenue for your cause. Some matching gift databases will even show both matching gift information and volunteer grant opportunities within the same database.
You can learn more about how we picked our top matching gifts database here, but here is our favorite software solution to get you started right away:
Double the Donation: Top Matching Gift Software
Double the Donation is the leading provider of matching gift tools, offering access to a comprehensive company database via an embeddable widget that goes right on your website. Using their software, donors can enter their employer’s name and uncover a host of matching gift information.
This provider regularly updates its library of over 20,000 companies that represents more than 15 million match-eligible donors. This means that donors will always have access to a robust and up-to-date matching gifts database no matter what.
Double the Donation’s 360MatchPro offers unparalleled matching gift automation tools to:
- Automate matching gift eligibility identification
- Drive matches to completion with tracking tools
- Forecast matching gift revenue using data reporting
Using this automation platform, more match-eligible donors can secure a matching gift. Here’s how it works:
- An individual donates to your nonprofit.
- 360MatchPro’s platform automatically scans the information the donor provides (email addresses, employer information, etc.) to determine their matching gift eligibility.
- Depending on the donor’s eligibility, the platform triggers an email to the donor with the relevant instructions and guidelines needed to submit a matching gift request.
- The platform then allows your nonprofit to track the status of matching gift requests with follow-up emails and other ways to drive match requests to completion.
Using 360MatchPro comes with many benefits. In addition to securing more matching gift revenue overall, there’s also no need to follow up with every last match-eligible donor because the platform does it for you. This leaves your team more time to focus on high-value matching gift opportunities.
By investing in 360MatchPro, you’ll always have the tools you need to drive matches to completion!
Matching Gift Q&A
1. How do matching gifts work?
To recap, the matching gifts process is fairly simple and requires little effort on the part of your donors. Here’s how it works:
- A donor completes their donation to your nonprofit organization.
- If they’re eligible, the donor submits a matching gift request to their company.
- The company reviews the request to ensure that it meets its matching gift guidelines.
- The company reaches out to your nonprofit to confirm the donation.
- The company sends a check to your nonprofit to complete the gift match.
That’s it! Because this process requires no other action on the part of your donors other than submitting their official matching gift request, it’s incredibly easy to inspire your supporters to engage in this process.
Your nonprofit has very important roles to play, though. Your job is to make sure donors know 1) that they could be eligible to have their gift matched, and 2) how they can search for their eligibility and begin the process.
How can donors find out if they’re eligible for matching gifts?
Provide your online donors with a tool that lets them search for their employer’s matching gift guidelines. You can provide this tool on a dedicated matching gifts page on your website. This will allow offline donors to visit and quickly check their eligibility, too. This tool looks something like this:
What matching gifts guidelines do companies usually have?
Guidelines for corporate philanthropy programs typically touch on these aspects:
- Gift size. Most matching gift companies place parameters around the size of gifts that they’ll match. Typically, the company sets a minimum gift size and a maximum.
- Date of donation. After making their initial donation, donors will have a set amount of time to make their request. This could be a set number of months following the donation, the end of the calendar year, or the end of the calendar year plus a grace period.
- Nonprofit mission. Companies will often match gifts to most nonprofits, but some focus on specific areas (like education) or bar giving to others (like faith-based causes).
Matching gift software generally includes all of this information, so it’s easier for your nonprofit and donors to keep track of the company’s guidelines!
How much do matching gift companies give to nonprofits?
This depends on the guidelines of the company’s individual matching gifts program. The most common matching gift ratio is 1:1, but some generous companies will match donations at a 2:1 or even 3:1 ratio!
According to recent matching gifts statistics, $2-3 billion is donated to nonprofits through these programs annually. However, an additional $4-7 billion is estimated to go unclaimed every year, as well.
There are a ton of opportunities to tap into the world of corporate philanthropy. You just have to make sure your donors are aware of how they can get involved.
2. Why are matching gifts important?
At first glance, it’s pretty easy to see why nonprofits love matching gifts: essentially, it’s free money for your cause.
However, there’s a lot more to the matching gifts process than simply accessing untapped revenue. In fact, incorporating matching gifts into your fundraising strategy can have wide-reaching benefits for everyone involved.
Benefits for Nonprofit Organizations
- Boosting year-round fundraising revenue as more people give.
- Building stronger long-term relationships with donors. Just mentioning matching gifts leads to a 71% increase in marketing response rates.
- Incentivizing donors to increase their initial gift amounts. A third of donors will give more if they know their gift will be matched.
- Inspiring donors to give more frequently.
- Establishing new relationships with companies in the community.
Benefits for Donors
- Increasing the impact of each donation they make.
- Forging stronger emotional connections with the missions they care about.
Benefits for Corporations
- Providing an easy way to practice corporate social responsibility.
- Strengthening employee engagement with philanthropic programs.
- Building stronger relationships with organizations in the community.
- Improving company reputation by communicating a caring and philanthropic mission.
The following statistics speak for themselves in terms of the value of matching gifts:
The takeaway: Matching gifts increase your fundraising revenue and encourage more and bigger gifts from donors.
Matching gift programs are an easy, structured way for companies to give back to the community, and they foster stronger emotional connections for donors who’ve been able to double their impact on your mission.
Source: Double the Donation – Matching Gifts Statistics
4. Which companies offer matching gift programs?
Companies of all shapes and sizes offer matching gifts programs to their employees. With the rise of corporate social responsibility, or CSR, as a major force in the marketplace, businesses are eager to prove to customers that they care about giving back.
We’ve compiled an in-depth look at the top 10 matching gift programs, but here’s the abridged version. These companies offer some of the most generous programs today:
|Company||Match Ratio||Minimum/Maximum Match||More Information|
|Soros Fund Management||Up to 3:1||Minimum: $25
|State Farm||1:1||Minimum: $25
|Noble Energy||2:1||Minimum: $25
|The Home Depot||1:1||Minimum: $25
CSR is an important way for companies of all sizes to differentiate themselves today, and matching gifts programs are some of the easiest and most structured ways for them to get started.
By matching employee donations, companies don’t need to invest time in complex sponsorships in order to give back (although matching gifts are a great way to begin building those relationships). Plus, you can expect to see matching gift programs become more popular in the world of CSR in the coming years.
5. How do you ask for matching gifts from donors?
As we mentioned earlier, matching gift programs are underutilized forms of corporate philanthropy because so many donors simply don’t know that they’re eligible for them.
If you want to increase your nonprofit’s matching gift revenue, there are two main things you need to do:
- Raise awareness of matching gift programs among your donors.
- Provide easy ways for donors to check their eligibility.
84% of donors say they’re more likely to donate if a match is offered. The benefits of these programs are already very clear to donors, so you just need to focus on making sure they’re aware of them in the first place.
How do you promote matching gifts?
Think of ways to incorporate matching gifts into different areas of your nonprofit’s strategy, from your fundraising efforts to your marketing plan.
Let’s take a look at some smart ways to bring matching gifts to the forefront of your nonprofit’s operations:
1. Publish educational content on matching gifts.
Many of your supporters are unaware that matching gift programs are out there, let alone if their employer offers one. Publish blog posts, infographics, and email newsletters introducing your community to the subject.
This will also help your nonprofit conduct research and become an expert in the subject so that you can answer any questions that your donors may have about the process.
2. Promote matching gift content through paid advertising.
Paid advertising is one of the most cost-efficient ways to increase visibility for matching gifts and boost revenue. In fact, Nonprofits Source’s online giving statistics page estimates that nonprofits only spend $0.06 for every dollar they raise through digital ads. Considering that return on ad spend is highest for search ads rather than social media ads, we recommend using Microsoft Ads and Google Ads!
With programs like Google Ad Grants for nonprofits and Microsoft Ads for Social Impact, you can leverage paid advertising for free. Through these individual programs, Microsoft and Google provide ad credits that nonprofits can spend promoting web content on search engines. Microsoft Grant recipients receive $3,000 each month, while Google Grant recipients receive $10,000 each month. Best of all, you can leverage both grants at once to promote content across different search engines.
You’ll need to conduct keyword research to pinpoint what your donors are searching for online to learn more about matching gifts. Then, develop ads that target those search queries and drive users to visit your matching gifts page or ‘Ways to Give’ page.
We recommend working with an Ad Grants manager like Getting Attention to create these campaigns. They’ll help you apply for the program, conduct keyword research, and develop ads that inspire motivated prospects. In no time, you’ll increase awareness for matching gifts!
Work with an Ad Grants consultant.
3. Send out matching gifts reminder emails.
Once a donor gives to your cause, set up an automated email message to remind them to submit a matching gift request. Be sure to schedule this to be sent after (or as a part of) your thank-you message.
If you’re a part of a large organization, you may consider investing in a completely automated matching gift solution like 360MatchPro. This software will send out these types of messages automatically on behalf of your nonprofit.
4. Embed a matching gift search tool on your donation form.
Remind donors about matching gifts as they make their donation to your cause by embedding a matching gift search tool directly on your giving pages and forms.
Your supporters will be able to search their employer’s name to see if they’re eligible for a matched gift at the height of their engagement.
5. Create a dedicated matching gifts page on your website.
Use this page to host your embedded search tool. This is an easy way to direct both online and offline donors to check their eligibility in one place.
This page can also provide an additional resource for your supporters to learn more about the potential of matching gifts and how they can be used to benefit the organization.
6. Embed a matching gift search tool on your confirmation screen.
If you’re worried about cluttering your donation page with an additional database, the confirmation screen is another great place to embed a matching gift search tool.
After the donor gives, they can quickly check to see if that gift is eligible for a match. This is a great strategy to combine with a dedicated matching gifts page.
7. Post about matching gift opportunities on social media.
More than likely, those who follow you on social media have also given to your nonprofit before. If they haven’t, they’ve at least considered giving but need an extra little push to get them there.
Post content about matching gifts on social media and make sure to include a link that supporters can follow back to your matching gift page or donation page so that they can check their eligibility.
8. Send letters to your supporters through direct mail to promote matching gifts.
You already send thank-you letters to your supporters after they give to your nonprofit. Taking this a step further can also help their donation make a bigger impact!
Include a section of your thank-you letter that describes what matching gifts are and your donor’s potential eligibility. Then, tell them how they can check to see if their employer offers such corporate philanthropy opportunities.
9. Leverage matching gifts during annual fundraising.
It can be tough to get donors to make a second or third contribution to your annual fund campaign. Instead, you might ask donors to submit a matching gift request to boost their annual fundraising impact.
Make sure to send a reminder email during these campaigns. If you send one within 24 hours of a donation, you could see a 53% open rate (much higher than average)! This makes it more likely a supporter will submit a request to their employer.
10. Send recognition letters after receiving a matching gift from the donor’s employer.
Donors have taken precious time out of their days to request the matched gift from their employer in order to help your nonprofit earn more. Let them know you got the match with a letter of recognition!
Simply thanking them for taking this time out of their day and showing the impact of the time spent making the request can make all the difference to a donor. It encourages them to submit another in the future.
11. Promote matching gifts during year-end giving.
Donors are more likely to give at the end of the year, so make this spike in fundraising really count! Market matching gifts to your year-end givers to ensure their matching gifts can be processed by the end of the year.
Plus, some employers have a matching gift submission deadline at the end of the calendar year, so make sure supporters know to submit their requests before the year’s end!
Remember, the key to success with matching gifts is raising awareness. As your team starts focusing on matching gifts fundraising, always try to think of how the process can be incorporated into your existing marketing and communications strategies in new ways. If you need more ideas about marketing matching gifts, check out Double the Donation’s page on the subject.
Matching gift fundraising is one of the best ways to boost your fundraising revenue while giving donors the chance to maximize their impact. Now that we’ve reviewed the basics and the top questions nonprofits have about matching gifts, your team is ready to start making this useful fundraising strategy work for your cause!
Bonus: Where can I learn more about matching gifts?
- Re:Charity’s Top Matching Gift Companies. Ready to find the right matching gift software partner? Check out our list of the top ranking matching gift tools for nonprofits.
- Double the Donation’s Matching Gift Database. Want to learn more about matching gift databases? Check out Double the Donation’s matching gift database guide to get started.
- Matching Gifts: The Expert’s Guide. Excited to become a matching gifts expert? Check out this in-depth guide to all things matching gifts before your next campaign.
Thank you Mr. Cain. As someone trying to get our organization started with building out an effective matching gifts program, I enjoyed your article.