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How to leverage matching gifts in disaster relief fundraising

When disaster strikes, tons of people are left without basic necessities, such as food, clean water, shelter and more. As a result, nonprofit organizations often take part in disaster relief fundraising in order to collect and distribute financial support for those in need.

But did you know that leveraging corporate matching gift programs can be another great tool to elevate disaster relief efforts?

In this quick guide, we’ll dive into corporate gift-matching, the impact it has on disaster fundraising and key steps your organization can take to make the most of the practice.

The Basics of Corporate Matching Gifts

Corporate matching gifts are one of the most popular forms of corporate philanthropy and, more specifically, workplace giving. Thousands of companies offer these types of matching programs. Essentially, the companies agree to match personal donations made by employees to charitable organizations of their choice.

An individual donor then makes a donation to a nonprofit and requests a matching gift from their employer (typically by completing a brief online submission form). The employing company reviews the request, verifies that the initial donation adheres to the company’s matching gift program criteria, approves the funding and cuts its own check to the same organization.

For nonprofits, that means two donations for the cost of soliciting one!

How to Elevate Disaster Relief Fundraising with Matching Gifts

Because disaster relief is such a high-priority fundraising goal for many organizations, it makes sense that you’d do everything you can to increase the effectiveness of your efforts during a time of great need.

Matching disaster relief donations should be a no-brainer. Here’s how:

1. Reach goals faster with corporate matches.

Disaster relief efforts are one of the most time-sensitive forms of fundraising, which means that anything you can do to boost revenue quickly is a must. And matching gift funding can go a long way.

Every corporate match received brings your organization that much closer to your end goal⁠—in half the time or less.

2. Increase donor conversion rates with matching gift appeals.

Highlighting the availability of matching programs can also have significant positive benefits on your individual donor gifts (and acquisition rates) as well.

In fact, statistics by Double the Donation show that 84% of survey participants are more likely to donate if a match is offered. This is further solidified by the fact that donation appeals that mention matching gifts result in a 71% increase in response rate over those that don’t. 

3. Grow individual donation sizes.

Another key benefit of matching gifts is that donors tend to be willing to give in higher amounts. According to Double the Donation’s research, 1 in 3 donors indicate that they’d make a larger donation if matching is applied.

There are two key reasons why. First, some donors realize that their initial donation amount may fall below their employer’s matching gift threshold and decide to increase their gift size in order to qualify for a corporate match. Other supporters are simply inspired by the potential for increased mission impact (which can be a particularly significant motivator when it comes to disaster relief giving) and increase their initial donation.

All in all, this results in a 51% increase in the average gift amount simply by mentioning matching in your donation appeals. Think of all that can do for your nonprofit’s relief efforts!

What Your Nonprofit Can Do

The most essential thing any organization can do to increase gift-matching success⁠—whether for disaster relief efforts or otherwise⁠—is to make sure donors are aware of the corporate match programs offered through their employers in the first place.

Unfortunately, millions of individuals who work for matching gift companies have no idea that they’re eligible to participate (approximately 78% of the total match-eligible population of 26 million). Thus, marketing these giving opportunities is vital to their success.

Specifically, we recommend:

  • Incorporating matching gift information directly within the donation experience
  • Highlighting matching gift programs in your organization’s fundraising appeals and other digital communications
  • Following up with qualifying matching gift donors following the submission of their initial donations

And these promotional efforts should not be exclusive to times of catastrophe, either⁠—it’s actually a good idea to incorporate these programs in your messaging year-round. The more familiar your supporters are with the idea of matching gifts, the more likely they are to participate when the time comes.

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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