Best Practices

Matching Gift Marketing for Universities: 5 Best Practices

Matching Gift Marketing for Universities: 5 Best Practices




October 29, 2021

Last modified: 

October 29, 2021

Is your university making the most of matching gift fundraising opportunities? Unfortunately, the answer is probably not. The truth is that matching gifts are a significantly underutilized form of funding for all sorts of schools, universities, and institutions. That means that to maximize your school’s revenue, the way you view and promote matching gifts to donors could likely use a revamp.

Matching gifts have the potential to fuel any organization’s fundraising efforts and help you secure the most revenue possible. Ready to drastically improve your matching gift marketing strategies and bring in more corporate dollars? Check out these five best practices if you’re looking to up your matching gift marketing strategies to encourage corporate giving participation among your university donors.

Advancement playbook

1. Promote matching gift opportunities to alumni

Many alumni enjoy supporting the schools that helped pave the way for their success. Effective fundraising campaigns can be an excellent means for engaging these former students long after they leave your campus. And taking things a step further is matching gifts.
According to statistics from Double the Donation, more than 18 million individuals are employed by companies with matching gift programs. More than likely, a good amount of your school’s alumni are among those people.
However, the vast majority of match-eligible donors are unaware of the programs offered by their employers⁠ — which often puts it on the organization to market these opportunities effectively. If you’re looking to promote matching gifts, consider the following powerful marketing and outreach avenues to use:

  • Email
  • Newsletters (physical or electronic)
  • Social media
  • Direct mail

While it’s certainly a good idea to inform all sorts of people about the wide availability of matching gifts, taking an alumni-centered approach can be a great way to focus on these types of generous supporters and target your efforts accordingly.

2. Create a dedicated matching gifts page on your school website

Many donors use your university’s website to learn more about how to get involved and where to give as well as additional opportunities for support. As such, it’s important that you provide ample information about matching gifts on your site.

We suggest crafting a dedicated matching gifts web page with the following tips in mind:

  • Incorporate a company search tool for users to quickly and easily research their employers’ matching gift programs.
  • Provide users with employer-specific next steps for completing the match request submission process. This might include links directing donors to their company’s online forms or downloadable PDFs.
  • Ensure it’s easy to navigate to this web page from your home page, menu, and more. This way, supporters interested in matching gifts will know exactly where to go to find additional information.

Then, direct supporters to this informative resource by linking to it in your matching gift emails, school-wide newsletters, social media posts, and other fundraising materials.

3. Incorporate matching gifts in the online donation process

Whether you’re looking to plan for a dedicated giving day or other fundraising occasion or simply optimize your long-term strategy, corporate matching gifts are a great way to go. When you integrate matching gift fundraising into your existing donation process, it allows donors to determine their own eligibility for a matching gift without ever having to leave your donation page.

Here’s how it typically works:

1.  A donor fills out your school’s online donation form.
2. The donor is provided with a simple company search widget embedded in the page.
3. The donor fills in their employer’s name and submits the donation.
4. The donor is provided with guidelines for their employer’s matching gift program on the confirmation screen.    

Supporters are usually at the peak of their engagement while completing your online donation form, so it makes sense that you’d want to incorporate matching gifts at this time. Plus, research shows that 1 in 3 donors report that they’d likely make a larger gift if they know it will be matched by their employer, which makes it an impactful strategy for increasing donation sizes as well.

4. Keep track of companies with matching gift programs

When it comes to matching gift fundraising for universities, one of the best things you can do to set your team up for success is to keep a detailed record of companies with especially generous matching gift programs. Then, you can compare this information against the companies that your alumni are working for to get a better idea of your existing match-eligible prospects.

After all, a significant part of effectively leveraging matching gifts depends on having and using the right data to drive your fundraising strategies. For matching gifts, donor employers are the most important metric there is.

5. Encourage match-eligible donors to submit their requests

Following up with supporters after they’ve made their gifts is one of the best ways to take your donor relations to the next level and maximize the number of donors who request corporate matches. We recommend segmenting donors by their likely eligibility for a match (based on information collected during the donation process) to ensure your messaging is as tailored and relevant as possible. Consider these examples:

  • For a donor who is likely eligible for a match, you might provide them with direct links to their employer’s program guidelines and online submission forms.
  • For a donor who is likely ineligible for a match, you might encourage them to reach out to their employer to double-check for the existence of any matching gift programs.
  • For a donor who has unknown match eligibility, you might ask them to select their employer from a company search tool to determine whether they offer a corporate match.

Luckily, if you’d like to streamline this process and save time and resources for your school, you can automate the follow-up process from beginning to end. All you have to do is invest in a matching gift automation tool, and the software will do the rest!

Failing to promote matching gifts to supporters is essentially throwing away free donations. When you take a strategic approach to marketing, however, you allow your generous donors to make an even larger impact on your school, establish corporate partnerships with businesses in your network, and secure additional revenue for your university’s needs.
Just remember to inform alumni and other supporters of these exceptional giving opportunities, promote matching gifts through your school website and donation page and follow up with donors to drive match requests to make the best of your fundraising efforts.

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

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