The phrase “matching gifts” can mean different things such as board members or foundations offering to match the amount of money you raise during a certain time. However, over the last few years, corporate matching gifts have been on the rise. In this episode of The Responsive Weekly, Megan Donahuge and Grace Green, of Double the Donation, discuss how to take advantage of this growing trend.
What are Corporate Matching Gifts?
Corporate matching gifts are a type of corporate philanthropy where a company makes a donation to a nonprofit that matches the financial contributions of their employees to that nonprofit. Matching gifts are a lucrative but untapped fundraising strategy. On average, around $4-7 billion goes unclaimed every year. When donors don’t know how to take advantage of these programs, a lot of financial generosity is just left on the table.
These programs are only growing as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs are on the rise. It’s important to not only employees but also to consumers. People want to see corporations following through on social responsibility promises, and this is great news for the world of philanthropy!
In fact, donors are more likely to make a donation if there is a matching gift program in place. Not only that, they are more likely to make a larger donation when a matching gift is on the table. Approximately one in three donors are more likely to give a larger gift when there is a matching gift. While it’s incredible that these programs are in place, nonprofits need to empower their donors to take advantage of these corporate matching gift programs in order for them to truly have an impact.
How to Take Advantage of Matching Gifts
The best way to start to take advantage of corporate matching gifts is through donor awareness. Once donors are aware of these programs and understand how to use the program, they are likely to take advantage of the matching gift year after year.
There is some helpful technology that can automate this, such as Double the Donation. Double the Donation has a database of almost 25,000 companies that offer a corporate matching gift program. Donors can search in this database to see if their company is listed there.
The most efficient way to help your donors is to integrate tools like Double the Donation right into your online giving form. This prompts your donor to do their research while they are already making the donation, therefore reducing the chance of inertia kicking in leaving possibly hundreds of dollars on the table.
Outside of any specific technology solution, at the most basic level, you need to know where your donors work and make sure they are aware of corporate matching gift programs. Add a field to your online giving forms for “Employer” or “Company” to track that information. Take advantage of that information and follow up with your donors with any relevant information about their company’s matching gift program.
Outside of personalized communications, make sure you are talking often and early about corporate matching gift programs. Include language about corporate matching gift programs directly onto the form by the “Employer” field or into the confirmation page for the form.
For more generic communications that any donor may see, suggest that your donors reach out to their supervisors or HR teams to learn about their company’s policies for matching gifts. Also, include information that may be required when donors are requesting the matching gift such as your EIN number, your address, or P.O. Box information.
The Power of Matching Gifts in Action
“We received a $2,500 matching gift from a donor who receives our emails, who hadn’t thought about matching gifts before. So we’re seeing our supporters get prompted that matching gifts are a possibility to make an even greater impact,” says Emily McGuire, Director of Development, Providence Network.
Corporate Timelines and Matching Gifts
Corporate matching gift programs will differ from company to company, but one of the most universal policies around these programs is that they are tied in with the calendar year. This means that any unclaimed matching donations expire at the end of the year. Your donors can take advantage of this opportunity any time of year, but when looking at your calendar, plan a few communications in the last few months of the year around corporate matching gifts.
While getting a matching gift from an employee isn’t necessarily a daunting task, it is extra time and work on the part of your donor. Make sure that you are appropriately acknowledging the work they did in this process. Let them know the impact of the matching donation to really cultivate the relationship further.
Also, make sure that you are asking donors to make a matching gift again the next year. Once they have completed the process once with their company, it is easier for donors to request a match for future gifts. Thank them often and personally for the work they did, and specifically make the ask that they do it again.
Matching Gifts and Monthly Donors
One last group of donors to think about are your monthly donors. For your monthly donors who may want to take advantage of a matching gift program, they have a few different ways they can accomplish it. The process of their employer may dictate which option is the best, but it is still helpful to be aware of the possibilities.
One option is for the donor to request a matching gift every month for that monthly donation. Another option is to wait and request the matching gift as one lump sum for the year. Typically that year-end deadline for matching gift programs means that sometime in December you may want to provide a donor with a reminder and giving history, so they can take that information to their company and request a matching gift.
Corporate Social Responsibility programs are on the rise. Building processes and communications into your nonprofit’s fundraising routine now is going to pay off exponentially over the years. If you are still not sure where to go next, check out our friends over at Double the Donation, and make sure your nonprofit CRM is set up to make finding matching gifts as easy as possible for you and your donors.