To be an effective nonprofit leader, you need to be well-versed in fundraising best practices and able to create a robust fundraising strategy for your organization. This process involves analyzing donor data, choosing the best fundraisers to host, and leveraging strategies that help you easily raise more for your mission.

One way to bring in additional revenue and elevate your fundraising strategy long-term is to incorporate matching gifts. We’ll go over everything you need to know to leverage this impactful fundraising channel, including:

  1. Learn Matching Gift Basics
  2. Leverage Matching Gift Software
  3. Promote Matching Gifts to Your Donors

With these tips, you’ll be a matching gift expert in no time, enabling you to create a more well-rounded fundraising strategy for any organization you work with. Let’s get started!

1. Learn Matching Gift Basics

Before you can incorporate matching gifts into your fundraising strategy, you need to understand what they are and why companies offer them. 

Just as nonprofit leaders want to create positive work environments for their staff, companies want to boost employee engagement by improving their company culture. Many companies do this by supporting causes their employees care about through corporate giving programs. These programs may involve many types of giving, but they often take the form of corporate matching gifts.

In a matching gift program, the company commits to matching its employees’ donations to eligible organizations at a specified ratio, such as 1:1. Match ratios and donation eligibility guidelines vary from business to business, but the basic process from a nonprofit perspective looks like this:

  1. A donor makes a regular donation to your nonprofit.
  2. The donor checks to see if their donation is eligible for a matching gift from their employer.
  3. If eligible, the donor fills out the necessary matching gift request form and submits it to their employer through a company portal.
  4. The company matches the donor’s gift with an additional donation to your nonprofit.

If the company’s match ratio is 1:1, a $100 donation from a supporter could turn into $200 for your nonprofit’s cause at no additional cost to the donor! With matching gifts, your nonprofit gets more funding, and your donors get to make a larger impact with their donations.

2. Leverage Matching Gift Software

Steps 2 and 3 of the process—when a donor has to check their eligibility and submit the right request form—take time and effort, creating roadblocks for many donors. Anything your nonprofit can do to remove those roadblocks will put you in a better position to succeed with matching gifts. That’s where software comes in!

Matching gift software gives your nonprofit access to a comprehensive database of matching gift programs and lets you add a search widget to your existing donation page. This way, donors can quickly find out if their company offers a match, what the requirements are, and how to request one right when they make a donation. 

Additionally, Double the Donation’s auto-submission guide explains that some matching gift platforms can even automatically submit match requests for donors, leading to more successful matches for your nonprofit. Instead of the donor having to hunt down their company’s match request form and submit it through their company portal, the whole process only takes three easy steps:

  1. When donating, the donor enters the name of their employer into your search tool to see if they offer matching gifts.
  2. If they do, the donor provides their company email address and checks a box saying they want their match request submitted automatically.
  3. Your software automatically sends their company a matching gift request with all the necessary information. Once it’s verified by the company, they’ll send the match to your nonprofit!

If a donor forgets to submit their request at the time of donation, matching gift software provides you with tools to follow up, too. Use automated email streams to remind donors to submit requests and provide them with all the information they need to do so. All the while, your nonprofit can track overall matching gift submissions and donations to determine your success.

3. Promote Matching Gifts to Your Donors

Finally, it’s crucial to develop a matching gifts marketing strategy to boost the number of submissions. Many donors don’t know that their employer offers matching gifts, let alone how to request one for your organization. 

To fill this gap, NXUnite suggests first creating content about matching gifts on your website. This could be a page on your website that explains what matching gifts are and the impact they make, or it could be adding matching gifts to your existing “Ways to Give” page. This will give you a place to point all of your other marketing materials to where donors can learn more.

Once you have a page set up, try these promotional tactics to get the word out:

  • Post matching gift statistics on social media to make donors aware of their impact.
  • Highlight matching gifts in emails, letters, and newsletters.
  • Personally reach out to donors you know work for top matching gift companies and let them know how they can participate. 
  • Create a video that demonstrates what your nonprofit can accomplish with matching gifts and highlights top companies who have already given to your organization.

To build a well-rounded fundraising strategy that truly maximizes matching gifts, you should incorporate matching gifts into all of your other fundraising campaigns, as well. This won’t always look the same, but it could be as easy as encouraging everyone who donates to check if they’re eligible to multiply the impact of their donation. 

For example, say that you’re running a capital campaign to fund a new medical facility for local children. In your campaign’s public phase, you might make multiple announcements about matching gifts on social media and explain that donors can multiply their impact on kids in need by requesting matches.

When you incorporate matching gifts into your fundraising strategy, don’t forget to track their impact and thank every donor who requests one. Thanking donors and highlighting their impact will help you build stronger relationships and encourage them to request matching gifts again in the future.

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