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Matching gifts 101: Getting started with fundraising's best-kept secret

If you’ve been in the fundraising game for a while, you have likely heard the term "matching gifts." But have you really thought about the value matching gifts could bring to your organization? Have you ever tried to pursue matching gifts in earnest? Have you seen the immense value they can provide to your organization in additional revenue? 

Creating matching gift appeals is easier and more valuable than you may think. We’ve cracked the code on fundraising's best-kept secret, and we're ready to share some key knowledge points and best practices to help you succeed.

 In this article, we'll get to the bottom of what matching gifts are, what your organization may be missing out on, and how you can get started raising more money right now!

What are matching gifts?

Matching gifts are a form of corporate philanthropy in which companies contribute money to nonprofits and other organizations by matching the individual donations of its employees.

If a supporter of your organization gives $50, they can submit a request to their company to receive a donation match and make their $50 donation a $100 donation. In fact, some companies match donations at a 2:1, 3:1, or even 4:1 ratio. These matches really add up if you know how to ask for them—especially considering that more than 18 million individuals work for companies with matching gift programs.

At the end of the day, it’s a simple concept. An individual gives to an organization that matters to them, and their company matches that donation at a predesignated ratio.

If matching gift programs are so widespread, why don’t organizations see matches from companies more often?

Up to $7 billion in matching gift revenue goes unclaimed each year. That kind of money could make a monumental difference for nonprofit organizations—imagine the impact they could make on your mission! So why isn’t your org seeing gift-matching revenue when so much money is set aside for you in the first place? 

It's a simple issue of donor awareness. Even though those 18+ million individuals have the power to get their gift matched, few donors know that matching gift programs exist in the first place.

Of those who do, only a small percentage understand the steps it takes to actually get their donation doubled by their employer. If your donors knew they could double their impact, they’d surely take the opportunity to make sure that match moves to completion.

How to start making more from matching gifts

So we know the what and the why of matching gifts. But what about the how? Since we've identified that the number one roadblock to your organization seeing those matches come in is donor awareness, you need to address that first and foremost.

Keep these best practices in mind when pursuing matching gifts: 

  1. Educate your donors during the giving process. 84% of donors say they’re more likely to donate if a match is offered. Letting your donors know they may be eligible for a matching gift from their employer while they’re making a gift increases the chances of future donations, increases the potential amount of initial donations, and can even spur word-of-mouth encouragement from one donor to another!
  2. Guide your donors to their next steps. Minimizing the number of steps a donor has to go through to get their gift matched maximizes your chances of seeing that match to completion. Make sure donors have a quick and easy path straight from your website to their company’s matching gift request form or employee portal.
  3. Pop into your donors' inboxes with a friendly follow-up. Sometimes donors are in a hurry, or just breeze through the donation process without paying attention to your initial calls to action. Remind them of the opportunity to double their impact via personalized emails and newsletters, or on your "Ways to Give" page.  

Automation software can boost matching gift efficiency

Implementing these three steps effectively can require some serious time and effort if you don’t have an automation tool to help.

With matching-gift automation software that integrates directly with your donation management software, you can cut your matching gift outreach efforts into a one-time setup and configuration session. After that, you can leave it in the hands of your software to automatically gather employee information, market match eligibility to donors, and send those customized follow-ups!

Consider a solution like 360MatchPro by Double the Donation. 360MatchPro integrates seamlessly with RKD Group's DMC donation forms to help you raise more from matching gifts by:

  • informing your donors of their match eligibility
  • providing donors with a one-click path to their company's matching gift request form,
  • sending out custom email outreach based on your organization's configuration

With automation taking care of everything you need to get those matching gifts flowing in, you can rest easy knowing your organization is getting a boost in fundraising revenue without dedicating too much of your time or resources.

To get started on your matching gift journey, schedule a personalized demo today. Make sure you mention that you're an RKD Group client when you schedule!

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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