Salsa Blog

[Guest Post] 3 Ways Matching Gifts Can Improve Donor Retention

 A fresh point of view is always welcome here at Salsa. With that in mind, we like to include posts by guest contributors to talk about donor management and many other topics in the nonprofit sector. Today’s guest post about matching gifts is by Adam Weinger of Double the Donation.


3 Ways Matching Gifts Can Improve Donor Retention

Your nonprofit is probably already doing what it can to retain your existing donors. It’s a worthwhile effort since donor retention is easier and more cost effective than donor acquisition.

However, as many as 6 out of every 10 donors make a contribution and never give to an organization again.

If your nonprofit struggles with donor retention, one way to give it a nudge in the right direction is to incorporate matching gifts into your donor communications.matching-gift-donor-retention.jpg

Matching gifts are donations that an individual’s employer will make after the employee has made a contribution and submitted the appropriate paperwork to the employer. While not every company offers a matching gift program, those that do essentially double the donations that their employees give to eligible nonprofits.

Take a look at the top three ways matching gifts can boost your donor retention.

1. Send donors a thank you acknowledging their contribution.

You should already be thanking donors for making their contributions. Acknowledgements alone can be an important piece of the donor retention puzzle.

But when you include information about matching gifts on those acknowledgements, you increase the chances that a donor will make a future donation.

Simply put, encouraging donors to have their gifts matched shows that your organization is a good steward of their initial donations. Additionally, matching gifts are a great way to generate more revenue without asking donors to open their wallets a second time. You can also potentially convert your advocates into donors by promoting matching gifts to them!

Follow the example of the Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation (HNF). Their acknowledgement emails genuinely thank donors for their contributions and offer them information about potentially doubling their donations.

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When you let donors know that you appreciate their initial donation and remind them that they might be able to double (or even triple!) it, they are more likely to make another contribution down the road.

2. Keep donors informed about matching gifts.

Even if your donors didn’t submit a matching gift request the first time they made a donation to your nonprofit, you should still keep them in the know about matching gift programs.

This can take several forms. You could:

  • Mention matching gifts at a fundraiser.
  • Highlight a quick list of top matching gift companies
  • Include matching gift info in your future emails and other communications with donors.
  • Form partnerships with local companies that offer matching gifts and work with them to get the word out to donors/employees about doubling their donations.

Every time you go to make a donation appeal, make sure that you are promoting matching gifts. 

It’s a worthwhile endeavor to keep all of your donors in the loop about matching gifts. For instance, if you mention matching gifts to a major gift prospect, you might be able to turn one large donation into two major gifts!

3. Thank donors for their employers’ matching gift.

Whenever donors submit a matching gift request to their employers, the donation doesn’t immediately get sent to your nonprofit. It takes time for the company to review the request, send out the donation, and wait for it to be verified by your organization.

After a couple months, your donors might have forgotten they even submitted a request to have their donations doubled! Therefore, sending them a genuine thank you once the funds have been received is a good way to stay in touch and keep your donors engaged.

You can also use this time to make another donation appeal, depending on the relationship the donor has with your organization.

Reminding donors that they had their donations matched is a great way to increase your donor retention down the line.

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These three tips are by no means the end all, be all for donor retention. In fact, one of the best ways to strategize for donor retention as well as acquisition is to attend a nonprofit conference. However, combining donor retention with matching gifts is a great way to make sure that your donors continue to give in the future.


Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of tools to nonprofits to help them raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs. Connect with Adam via email or on LinkedIn.

Topics: Supporter Management Fundraising