Everything You Need to Know About Matching Gifts to Fuel Your Fundraising Efforts This Holiday Season
As another year approaches its end and the holiday spirit hangs high in the air, how prepared are you to leverage this holiday season to double the impact of your donations?
Gift matching programs are a great way to drive revenue for your institution - they allow your donors to increase their donation amounts through employer benefits instead of their own wallets. Despite this, there is an estimated $4 to $7 billion in matching gifts that go unclaimed each year. Academic institutions could really benefit from that cash - so why aren’t they taking advantage of it?
Well, many organizations and donors alike are not very familiar with matching gift programs. In fact, 78% of match eligible donors don’t know anything about their gift matching programs. That means they are certainly not taking the extra step of submitting matching gift requests. So the most important thing to know about gift matching is that not enough donors know about gift matching programs.
Once you know that it is an awareness gap and not a motivation gap that stands in the way of matching gift revenue, it becomes easier to educate your donors and encourage them to drive their matching gift requests to completion.
This holiday season, leverage these 3 matching gift strategies to fuel your institution's fundraising efforts and upgrade your alumni programming.
Strategy #1: Educate Donors to Drive Awareness
As mentioned above, the main reason that your organization does not reach its potential in matching gifts is because donors are not aware that they are eligible for gift matching programs. As a nonprofit organization, it is your job to educate these donors because it can result in a lot of extra cash for your mission.
One of the best places to educate your donors is on your donation confirmation screen. Many matching gift requests are time sensitive, so it is important to educate your donors quickly, and the easiest way to do that is, of course, directly after their donation has been made.
Educating your donors on the confirmation screen also allows you to target them while they are still in the giving mindset. The donor obviously feels connected and committed to your organization, so they will welcome additional ways to increase their initial contribution.
To do this, simply add a couple of sentences about gift matching on your confirmation page. You can even use tools like 360MatchPro by Double the Donation to allow donors to search for the name of their employer and then read more about their own specific gift matching program.
By placing matching gift information directly onto your confirmation pages, you can target donors quickly and efficiently while they are still feeling connected to your organization. This increases the chances that they will learn more about employer gift matching and then pursue a matching gift request.
Strategy #2: Encourage Action Through Automated Outreach
After your donor learns more about gift matching, you still want to ensure that they take action and submit their matching gift request. That is why our next must-know strategy also involves direct donor communication. This time, however, it entails using automated emails to follow up with donors after the donation process.
Email messages are a great way to provide additional gift matching information that might not fit on your confirmation page. It also provides a second chance for your donor to submit their gift matching request. There are many automated email stream options that allow you to send matching gift emails to donors after the donation process.
If you use gift matching software like 360MatchPro, you can even automate these messages to contain gift matching information that is specific to your donor’s employer.
These messages contain specific guidelines based on the information that your donor entered on the confirmation page.This can include employer match amounts, eligibility and a link to submit a gift matching request. This makes it easy for the donor to learn more about gift matching and take the final step of driving their gift to completion.
Automated emails that contain general matching gift information are especially important because even if your donor did not enter their employer into the gift matching tool you’re using, they might still be eligible for a matching gift. They might have simply neglected to read the confirmation page or they did not think that matching gift programs applied to them, which could be based on the awareness gap that we discussed before.
Most nonprofits choose to customize this email so that it matches their brand’s unique voice. Automated email outreach is a lucrative strategy that encourages donors to complete gift matching requests. It is a great way to further educate donors and help them secure extra funding for your organization.
Strategy #3: Track Insights to Plan Future Initiatives
The gift matching process produces valuable insights about your donors. This can include where they work, their matching gift eligibility and their response to automated outreach. It is important to keep track of this data so that you can better develop your ongoing fundraising strategies.
That is why the final need-to-know strategy involves tracking donor insights. By tracking the information that is produced from matching gift strategies, you can tailor future outreach and ensure that you are creating an effective matching gift approach.
360MatchPro can actually track all of these insights for you using its automated technology. While you could manually record all of this data, the 360MatchPro dashboard stores it for you in one, easy-to-navigate space.
Using this information, you could thank your donors for their matching gift request, or you could automate follow up emails to donors who did not open your first message. For example, if you have a donor named Jenny from the Home Depot who submits a matching gift request, you could wait to receive the gift, then send Jenny a personalized message that thanks her for her request and explains how it helped your organization. You could then track Jenny’s future contribution habits to see how this positively affected her donor behavior. Keeping track of this information is vital to maintaining a lucrative gift matching strategy.
The fundraising strategies don’t stop there! While you just learned about the most important matching gift strategies for the year-end holiday season, there are certainly more tools to explore. For example, if you are interested in learning more about which companies have the best matching gift programs, check out this page. This list details the most impressive matching gift programs, and it can help you target the most profitable matching gift employees.
You can also check out Double the Donation’s educational blog to discover more matching gift resources. Happy fundraising!
About the author:
Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of matching gift tools to nonprofit organizations and educational institutions. Adam created Double the Donation in order to help nonprofits increase their annual revenue through corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs.