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Donors and matching gifts: New insights in 2021

Nonprofits have learned quite a bit throughout the past year. Adapting to operating in a changed world, connecting communities virtually when in-person events weren’t a possibility, and practicing a new kind of resiliency in their fundraising efforts are just a few of the learning curves organizations have experienced.

Fundraising with matching gifts was no exception. Nonprofit organizations saw shifts in donor and corporate behavior that affected the way those parties interacted with matching gifts.

So what did we learn from this past year, and what are some changes we can expect to stick around through the rest of 2021? Here are four new insights from the Double the Donation team about the world of matching gifts and how you can leverage those insights for your organization:

  1. Companies are expanding their matching gift programs
  2. Young donors are giving (and matching!) superheroes
  3. Matching gifts encourage larger gift amounts
  4. Digital fundraising will remain a focus in mission-driven spaces, opening up more matching gift opportunities

 Read on for details on each of these insights.

1. Companies have expanded their matching gift programs

As part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, many companies have opted to expand their corporate matching gift programs. While many were already offering matching gifts, some chose to raise their maximum dollar amount, meaning donors who gave larger amounts could get their gift matched.

Companies also expanded their parameters for eligible organizations, meaning more types of nonprofit organizations became eligible for a match from more companies. And some companies that had not previously had any programs in place started offering matching gifts for the first time!

Some of these expansions offered special matching gift programs for COVID-19 response efforts, but many companies kept those expanded programs throughout the rest of the year. They saw the impact they could make with their CSR programs, and these programs are here to stay. Make sure you’re paying attention to these companies and their matching gift offerings.

2. Young donors are giving superheroes

Earning the moniker of “Philanthroteens,” young donors have made a huge splash in the mission-driven space over the past year. These donors care deeply about the world they live in, are the leaders in creative online connection, and have demonstrated astonishing levels of philanthropy. Generation Z does not shy away from donating to causes they believe in, so make sure you’re not missing out on these super-donors!

Many members of this giving generation are starting out in new jobs with new employers, or are at least at an early stage in their professional careers. Take the time to not only recognize these donors’ generosity, but also encourage them to discover the world of corporate matching gifts early on.

To cultivate a longstanding matching gift strategy, make sure your youngest active donor group is taking action to get their gifts matched.

3. Matching gifts encourage larger gift amounts

We’ve known matching gifts have been a big factor in encouraging donors to increase their donation amount for years now, but there was no telling what 2020 would change for nonprofits in terms of donor behavior. Luckily for nonprofits, donors stepped up and continued giving to their favorite causes, encouraged by the knowledge of a match from their employer.

And when donors know their employers will match donations that reach a certain minimum, they’re happy to give the extra few dollars to multiply their impact. Prior to COVID-19, we saw that 1 in 3 donors would give a larger gift if matching was applied to their donation. Those stats didn’t waver throughout the pandemic.

Knowing about matching gifts makes a huge difference for donor behavior, whether that’s the initial decision to give or having that incentive to increase donation amount—and now we know that this behavior is a constant.

Educate your donors at every turn; it’s proven to help your donor relationships blossom!

3. Digital fundraising will remain a focus in mission-driven spaces, opening up more matching gift opportunities

Flexibility where donors can give always matters, but we can’t ignore just how much online fundraising has taken over the space! 86% of donors want to be able to give their original donation directly to a nonprofit through the organization’s website, and revenue from online gifts grew 19% last year.

Make an online donation the perfect opportunity to introduce matching gifts to donors and collect employer information.

Since matching gifts are time sensitive, online donations are the perfect place to plant the seed early in the giving process. Remember—knowledge of matching gifts can positively impact donor behavior, so it’s never too early to start educating!

Try to ask your supporters for their employer information directly on your donation pages, letting them know that there is a chance for their donation to be matched. You can collect this information either via a plain text field or automate the process with a tool like 360MatchPro by Double the Donation.

When building out your next matching gift campaign, consider these insights to attract new donors or excite your existing supporters throughout the rest of 2021. And stay flexible—who knows what surprises the next year may bring!

Adam Weinger

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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