Guest Post By: Adam Weinger, CEO, Double The Donation
You’ve got a million things to do, but you’re starving, so you grab a quick cheap bite from the local sandwich shop. Promoting matching gifts is a lot like that efficient, inexpensive food option... The advertising doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but it can leave you feeling very satisfied when your donations are doubled through corporate matching gift programs.
Let's take a look at 4 ways that your nonprofits can promote matching gifts to your existing donors and new prospects.
What is a Matching Gift?
A matching gift is a double-decker sandwich. It’s twice the money on eligible donations. 65% of Fortune 500 companies plus many others set up charitable giving programs that match employee donations to eligible nonprofits. Most of these companies match dollar for dollar, but some will double, triple, or even quadruple charitable contributions.
For example, a Gap employee donates $300 to an eligible nonprofit. Gap will match the donation and write a check for $300 to the same nonprofit, doubling the employee donation to $600.
Tip: If you're curious about the best companies with matching gift programs check out this list.
You can leave a lot of easy money on the table by not promoting matching gifts. The most common reason that people don’t submit matching requests is because they’re not aware that their company offers such a program.
Corporate giving programs can give your fundraising a major boost, so it’s imperative that you promote matching gifts. Marketing doesn’t have to be a burden, as there are several strategies that you can implement in thirty minutes or less.
1. Social Media
Facebook and Twitter make it easy to spread the word about matching gifts. Posts go out instantly and remain on your profile. There are a host of other social media sites, too, but Facebook and Twitter provide the largest audiences, and most of your technologically savvy donors will be plugged into at least one of these outlets
If you use a scheduling tool, space out some posts about matching gifts throughout the next few months. Also, be sure to include a call to action requesting donors submit their matching gift if eligible and include a link to a dedicated matching gift page, where donors can both learn about matching gifts and if possible, easily access all the information they need to submit matching gift requests.
Here’s a sample tweet:
"It takes only a few minutes to submit corporate employee matching gift forms. Have you submitted yours? [Your dedicated matching gift page URL]"
Pictures and graphics can enhance social media posts, too. Get creative, and spend a mere five minutes or less promoting the matching gift word to your online donors.
Here’s a sample matching gift Facebook post:
2. Acknowledgement Letters
All donations require thank you letters, which are commonly sent via email. Donors appreciate gratefulness, so they read these messages, which makes those emails a great opportunity to remind donors as to how they can give twice as much in as little as five minutes.
And it will take you as little as five minutes to plop a blurb about matching gifts or a relevant graphic into an email. Recent donors have already actively given to your organization, and they should welcome the chance to double the donation without giving any more from their own pockets.
Here’s a sample acknowledgement email featuring matching gifts which Piedmont Healthcare sends out automatically after an individual makes a donation:
3. Email Signatures
Any email can become a matching gift email thanks to email signatures. Typically, email signatures contain basic contact information, but a quick line or a conspicuous matching gift graphic can help to raise awareness.
The call to action doesn’t need to be a literary marvel. Simple will do, such as:
"Does your employer offer matching gifts? Find out at [Your dedicated matching gift page URL]"
Not only will donors be reminded about matching gifts, but the signature will be visible on messages to staff, which can help to promote the cause within your organization. This should take five minutes or less.
4. Internal Promotion
The goal is to create a culture about matching gifts. It all starts with a matching gift leader, and everyone from the IT department to volunteers to donors should be made aware of matching gifts. The more people who know, the more the idea is associated with your organization, and the more likely people will be both aware of and participate in corporate giving.
The great thing about internal promotion is that, when your entire staff knows about matching gifts, it can help to encourage donors to donate in the first place. When happy donors promote your nonprofit to friends, you could receive more donations that are eligible for matching gifts.
Mentioning matching gifts in fundraising appeals raises the response rate by 71%, and those donations are 51% higher in total amount. Matching gifts won’t necessarily discover new donors, such as can be done through prospect research, but they can give that last little nudge that people need in order to donate, because they see how much farther their donations can go. Get the ball rolling with a short, five to ten minute conversation about matching gifts with an employee or to a group of staff at your next meeting. When more staff know about corporate giving, more of them can mention that perk in their asks.
You’re busy, busy, busy, and, while you’d love to promote matching gifts, it’s hard to find the time to sit down and perform the long-term implementation strategies, such as blogging about matching gifts, that can more permanently better your fundraising efforts. In the short term, there are the above ways, and plenty more, to promote matching gifts, and you can do so without sacrificing time from other important tasks.