If you are looking to make the most of every dollar given to your school this year then matching gifts should be a part of your fundraising appeals.
Matching gifts programs are a way companies give back by matching the charitable donations made by their employees. If an employee donates $150 to their alma mater, for example, this could become $300 or more if their company has agreed to triple or quadruple employee gifts.
Why Match Gifts?
An estimated $6-$10 billion in matching gift funds get left behind each year! That is a lot of donations that are not being taken advantage of!
Apart from extra funds, major gifts is a fundraising strategy in itself. The added value of matching a gift increases donor engagement and prompts donors to give more. This can double the amount of an average donation – and that is before the matching gift is accounted for!
Educate your Donors about Matching Gifts
The main reason that such a high amount of matching gift funds go unclaimed every year is donor awareness. Companies want to support philanthropy through their programs, nonprofits want to take advantage of the additional funds, and donors want to support the causes they care about in any way that they can. But donors can’t participate in programs they don’t know about.
Make it your mission to inform donors about matching gifts. Around 18 million individuals work for a company who offers matching gifts, but many employees don’t know about it. Consider adding mention of matching gifts here:
On your donation forms. Donors who make it to your donation form obviously want to support your mission, so show them another way to do so without actually contributing any more of their own money. Take a look at how the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta incorporated the Double the Donation matching gift database search tool plugin into their donation form:
On confirmation screens and emails. You want to introduce the idea of matching gifts when donors are still thinking about their donation and looking for their donation receipts. Plus, companies always set submission deadlines for matching gift requests. You need to give your donors as much time as possible to meet those deadlines. See how the Piedmont Foundation encourages supporters to follow up their donations with matching gift requests:
On a dedicated matching gift page on your website. Don’t limit your matching gift information marketing to just the donors who have already made it to your donation form. Presenting this information without the pressure of an immediate donation gives your more casual website visitors a chance to check their eligibility on their own time, which can encourage a donation! Take a glance at how the ASPCA makes it easy for donors to check their eligibility with the Double the Donation plugin:
On your social media timelines. Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have a wide reach, but users scroll through their feeds quickly and often fail to stop on any single post. Check out how the DRI Foundation encourages followers to stop and engage with this Facebook post by including an eye-catching graphic and a sense of urgency:
Matching Gift Details
65% of Fortune 500 Companies have matching gifts programs – but, how do you know exactly which ones, the details of their program, or what requirements they have? You could research the companies one-by-one by looking at top matching gifts companies, however, this can be time-consuming. Using a vendor makes a lot more sense if you’re planning on searching for all alumni employer’s matching gifts data. A vendor is able to provide you with company’s matching gift details in bulk so you can make sure you are not missing out on extra donations.
Consider a company like Double the Donation who are leaders in matching gift data. They use employment data to find over 98% of individuals eligible for matching gifts. They provide program details and all the necessary information to make the matching gift submission as easy as possible, not to mention, they share plenty of strategies and statistics to help you be as efficient as possible.
Annual giving has been on the decline in past years – something we’ll examine in a future blog – but these smaller gifts still add up to big changes for many colleges and universities. Matching gifts could be the motivation these individuals need to continue giving back. The most important thing you can do is inform your alumni and other donors that these programs are available!
Sources & Additional Reading
 Matching Gift Basics—How Does Your Nonprofit Benefit? Nonprofithub.org
 Matching Gift and Corporate Giving Statistics, Doublethedonation.com
 The Big Give, Thebiggive.org.uk
 Top Matching Gift Companies, Doublethedonation.com