5 Matching Gift Missteps to Avoid this Giving Season
Many nonprofits raise a third of their annual fundraising revenue in December, with almost 10% coming in the final three days of the year. During this time of generosity, finding donor engagement opportunities is key.
Enter — matching gifts, a type of philanthropy in which companies will financially match donations their employees make to nonprofits. Corporate matching gifts can double donation impact, increase funding, and drive donor engagement. Yet they’re often overlooked—especially during the year-end giving season.
As your nonprofit looks to capture matching gifts, we recommend avoiding some common matching gift missteps, including;
- Not informing donors about the prevalence of matching gifts.
- Not following up on previous match-eligible donations.
- Not guiding donors to their matching gift request forms.
- Not sending matching gift emails after year-end donations.
- Not automating the matching gift process for your team.
Solving for these missteps before Giving Tuesday and year-end will fuel matching gift success.
Misstep #1. Not Informing Donors About the Prevalence of Matching Gifts
Matching gift statistics report that nearly 27 million individuals are eligible for corporate matching gifts. However, 78% are unaware of the opportunity. As a result, they’re unlikely to participate in their employers’ programming, even if they make qualifying donations. For nonprofits, that means significant revenue benefiting your cause goes unclaimed—largely due to lacking donor knowledge.
Solution #1: Taking a Proactive Approach To Marketing Matching Gifts
To improve donor awareness of matching gift programs, nonprofits should strategically market these opportunities. By encouraging donors to find out if their company offers a matching gift program and even helping donors determine their eligibility, nonprofits can better capture this form of corporate philanthropy. For example, tell your donors “Did you know your gift could have twice the impact in helping us achieve [insert mission programming]. See if your employer offers a corporate matching gift program!”
Specifically, we recommend sharing engaging content on social media, including matching gift information in email campaigns, highlighting the opportunities on your website, and more.
Misstep #2. Not Following Up on Previous Match-eligible Donations
Companies that match donations specify a deadline by which employees must submit match requests. One popular deadline structure falls at the end of the calendar year. That means if a match-eligible individual contributed to your nonprofit this year, their window of opportunity to submit a request is closing.
However, many nonprofits overlook a follow-up strategy for these likely still-match-eligible donations, which ultimately results in unclaimed matches.
Solution #2: Sending Email Follow-ups Regarding Unclaimed Matches
Many donors are still match-eligible for contributions made earlier in the year—but their gifts are not likely top-of-mind. That’s where retroactive email follow-ups help.
Consider sending messages to eligible donors who have not yet submitted their requests. This can be as simple as, “Your July donation was eligible to be doubled by your employer, but it doesn’t appear you’ve requested your match yet. Fortunately, many companies match gifts through year-end — so you might have time!”
Misstep #3. Not Guiding Donors to Their Matching Gift Request Forms
Even once educated about matching gifts, donors often drop-off when they do not understand the next steps required to participate in their employers’ initiatives. When supporters need to conduct their own research, many donors forgo the match request process.
Solution #3: Providing Donors With Company-specific Forms and Next Steps
We recommend nonprofits guide donors directly to resources they need to participate in their employers’ program. While every company has a different request process, most donors will require eligibility guidelines to determine whether their contributions meet their employers’ standards. Then, they’ll typically need to fill out a quick form.
Simplify donors’ involvement by providing direct access to their companies’ matching gift forms.
Misstep #4. Not Sending Matching Gift Emails After Year-end Donations
Your nonprofit likely expects elevated giving this season as a result of fundraising pushes alongside holiday generosity.
Yet nonprofits that don’t follow up with these donations miss out on maximizing end-of-year revenue with matching gifts. After all, year-end is busy, and donors will skip the matching gift process if not followed up with post-transaction.
Solution #4: Following Up on Match-eligible End-of-Year Donations
In addition to retroactively following up with donors during year-end, another impactful strategy is providing donors who support you during this time with immediate matching gift next steps.
For example, when donors contribute to your Giving Tuesday campaign, send a quick follow-up email with matching gift information to drive action from donors still in the giving mindset.
Misstep #5. Not Automating the Matching Gift Process for Your Team
The above solutions can fuel nonprofit fundraising. However, significant time and effort might be required to manually implement these steps. Especially during the time-strapped giving season, pursuing matching gifts can be a big undertaking without the right solutions.
Solution #5: Enlisting Technology To Streamline Matching Gift Fundraising
You know that technology can streamline fundraising, produce results, and minimize the work required of your team. This is particularly true for promoting matching gifts– just prepare your software ecosystem.
Salesforce fundraising tools integrate seamlessly with Double the Donation’s 360MatchPro — the industry-leading matching gift automation software. This integration triggers personalized matching gift communications, directs individuals to their employers’ request portals, and drives matches to completion. And it happens without you lifting a finger!
By solving these common missteps, you can simplify matching gifts for your team and your donors. Good luck!
About the Author
President of Double the Donation
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