If you are reading this, there is a good chance you’ve decided to start pushing for matching gifts. You’ve seen the easy fundraising opening and you are about to take it.
The biggest issue facing nonprofits seeking matching donations is a knowledge gap amongst donors. Most donors just really don’t know about matching gifts. In order to secure those additional corporate funds, it is the nonprofit’s job to ensure that donors are aware of the valuable money at their disposal.
There are many relatively easy and cost effective ways to market matching gifts to donors. One of the best promotion methods is to incorporate them across your online presence.
Below you’ll find a list of four great ways to promote matching gifts online.
#1: On a Dedicated Matching Gift Page on Your Website
A nonprofit looking to promote matching gifts must have a matching gifts page on its website.
Typically, there will be a “Ways to Give” section of the website—make sure to feature matching gifts there and link to the dedicated page.
You’ll be linking to the dedicated page across your online platforms, from emails to donation confirmation pages. Given how often traffic will be driven to it, it is crucial that it is set-up well.
The matching gift page should both educate people on what exactly matching gifts are and help those people determine if their company has a program.
There isn’t a set formula for dedicated matching gift pages, but they should try to anticipate and answer the kinds of questions donors would have, such as:
- What are matching gifts?
- How do donors submit matching gifts? Are there forms? What does the donor need to do?
- What are a few examples of companies that match donations?
- What is the organization’s contact information
- What companies have matched gifts to your organization in the past?
For example, here is the National Kidney Foundation’s “Matching Gifts” page:
As you can see, this page provides the necessary information and a tool for the donor to learn if his company participates and to access the appropriate forms, guidelines, and instructions.
Tip: Have you checked out the Salsa and Double the Donation matching gift integration?
The matching gift process isn’t too complicated; you want your donors to understand that. A donor should leave the dedicated page confident and ready to apply for matching gifts.
#2: During the Online Donation Process
One of the most important times to advertise matching gifts is during the actual donation process. There are two main points within the process to do so.
A. On the Actual Donation Pages/Forms
When a donor is physically in the process of submitting donation forms, he is in a position to be receptive to matching gift information so that he can maximize his donation. Once he’s done donating, it is less likely that he’ll go out of his way to seek out details on matching gifts.
While the funder is on the donation page, make sure she is seeing a call to action regarding matching gifts. There are a few ways to incorporate the call to action:
- Insert a link that takes the donor to your dedicated matching gift page
- Insert a matching gift search box that allows the donor to enter her company name and learn all about how to get her donation matched
- Tell the donor she can ask her HR department to see if her employer will match what she has donated
The third option here requires more work on the donor’s part, but it is still at least promoting the option of matching gifts, so it has some benefit.
The first two make things very easy for your donor. Let’s walk through an example to get a better idea of how the linking could actually work.
The image below is an example of a sample organization which has inserted Double the Donation’s plugin into a Salsa donation form.
As a donor using the site, while filling in the necessary blanks, you’d notice the prominently placed “Employer Gift Matching” box. The box itself contains a search box which opens up additional directions for a donor.
The experience is seamless for the user and eliminates any doubt about what matching gifts are and how to get them.
After the donor submits his form, there’s a final step in the process that matching gifts can be tied into.
B. On the Confirmation Page
Some nonprofits prefer to promote matching gifts at the close of the process on the confirmation page. The donor will read through his confirmation info, usually including a thank you and tax-exemption details. You can make matching gift links part of the confirmation materials.
Just like with the donation pages, you can either include a search box or a link to your dedicated matching page.
Confirmation pages can have, but don’t have to have, a major call to matching gifts. Something as subtle as a bold link that says “Find out now if your employer will match your gift” will work, like in this example from the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy.
Alternatively you can add more detailed information on matching gift programs or a lookup tool directly on the page.
Confirmation is a good stage to make the matching gift ask because employees cannot submit match requests until they have actually donated. Hook them right as they wrap up donating.
#3: On Social Media
Increasingly tech savvy donors have helped transform social media into a major marketing component for all types of nonprofits. Hopefully you already have a carefully curated social media strategy, but make sure to incorporate matching gifts into it.
There seems to be a social media site for everything nowadays, but the two key sites for matching gifts are Facebook and Twitter.
With Facebook and Twitter it is quick and easy to get a post out there about matching gifts. If a donor is on social media there is a good chance he is on either Facebook or Twitter or both.
For Twitter, your space is obviously limited. A brief call to action regarding matching gifts with a link to your dedicated page is the best option.
Follow the Center for Puppetry Arts’ Twitter feed lead and get straight to the point.
On Facebook you’ll have a bit more flexibility. The post can be matching gift-centric, like on twitter, or it can be a part of a larger fundraising push. Try to vary how you broach the subject.
Below you’ll see how Welcoming America managed to successfully add a paragraph about matching gifts to a post about another topic, mobile giving.
Or here’s an example from the CMTA where they feature matching gifts in a dedicated post:
Brainstorm ways to incorporate matching gift mentions into your preexisting post types. For instance, you might have a weekly Facebook shout-out in which you recognize one donor who has helped the organization. Try to find a donor who has matched gifts for one week and mention how her company helped her raise even more funds.
Donors will grow tired of seeing the same posts over and over, so diversity in your approach will make a big difference.
#4: Within Emails
Email requires little time and work and can reach thousands of your donors. Surely you’re already using email as a fundraising tool, so why not incorporate matching gifts into the routine?
Donors will be numb to seeing the same thing in every email you send so be strategic about when and how you bring up matching gifts.
One email option is to include some level of discussion of matching gifts in a newsletter.
The newsletter can be mostly dedicated to matching gifts at an educational level such as the following from the CMTA:
You could also choose to carve out a small place in a newsletter on other topics to write a brief blurb about it. Or, combine both of those techniques by starting with a matching gift newsletter and then later throughout the newsletter series add in the blurbs.
The Colon Cancer Alliance email below presents a unified newsletter with a small spotlight on matching gifts. And it does the trick.
Another email option is to place matching gift details in an email signature. Design a nice graphic with a link to your matching gift page. Have staff add the graphic to the bottom of their email signatures. Now every time a staffer sends an email, matching gift programs will have a spotlight.
There are also always opportunities to include matching gifts in other email correspondence like acknowledgement letters. Much like confirmation pages, after thanking the donor, while the donation is still a recent memory, let the donor know how he can double his contribution on his employer’s dollar.
You already have an established online presence. None of these options are going to drastically alter how you do things on the web. They’re simply minor tweaks here and there to make the most of your donations.
If you have questions about all things matching gifts, make sure you read the Ultimate Guide to Matching Gifts.