Matching gift programs. We’ve all heard about them and probably have a basic idea of their purpose. But have you thought about how your nonprofit organization can stand to benefit from them? Here is some in-depth, practical information about the benefits of taking advantage of corporate giving programs like matching gifts.
Matching Gift Basics
What is a matching gift?
A matching gift is a charitable donation by a corporation that matches an employee’s donation to an eligible nonprofit organization, most often dollar for dollar. Thousands of companies across the United States (and some companies internationally) offer matching gift programs to their employees as part of a corporate giving philanthropy. This means millions of individuals are eligible to participate in a matching gift program. In addition, 65% of Fortune 500 companies offer a matching gift program, and some companies even double, triple, or quadruple donations!
Here is a non-exhaustive list of companies that offer great matching gift programs.
How do matching gift programs work?
The main concept of matching gift programs is quite simple. A $100 donation to your organization is eligible to be matched by a corporate employer, literally doubling the donation for a total of $200. All an individual has to do is fill out the matching gift forms (which can usually be obtained from the Human Resources department or an online portal), and then submit them to the appropriate personnel or intranet site. The employer will validate that the donation was submitted to an eligible nonprofit, and will send a check of the same value (or higher, depending on the parameters of the program) to your organization.
How to Benefit from Matching Gift Programs
Did you know that billions—billions—of dollars get left on the table annually because nonprofits aren’t taking full advantage of corporate giving programs? Let’s change that!
So, the hard part is done—the donor has already made the connection with your cause and monetarily supported you. That’s great! Now, chances are, your donor doesn’t actually know that their employer may offer a matching gift program, and it’s up to you to help them realize it (and guide them along the way, too, because the easier it is for them to do, the more likely they’ll be to do it).
Increase awareness of matching gifts to your donors.
There are several ways to increase awareness of these programs, many of them marketing-related.
1. Add a blurb about matching gift opportunities in your acknowledgement letter. These are often kept for tax purposes, so your donor will often read the letter fully and recognize the opportunity for additional monetary support.
2. Include information about matching gifts on your website’s donation pages. Individuals have already taken the step to check out your “how to” donation pages, so encourage them to take that extra leap and talk to their employer about the potential for matching gifts.
3. Social media! Enough said.
Here are examples (some are ready-to-use) of matching gift marketing materials.
Make it as easy as possible for your donors.
Your donors have already opened up their wallets for you, and by making this “extra work” intuitive and as easy as possible for them, it increases the chances that they’ll make the matching gift request.
Unless your nonprofit organization requires employer information when an individual is donating, then tracking matching gift information will be very difficult for you. It could be beneficial for your nonprofit to subscribe to an online matching gift service—like Double the Donation—that will make it simple for your donors. These programs allow constituents to view their employer’s matching gift parameters (if they exist), and direct donors to the appropriate matching gift forms. At this point, all an individual has to do is finish the forms and submit them to the appropriate personnel.
Enjoy the benefits!
Once the matching gift requests have been submitted, your work is done, and all you have to do is sit back and wait for the check to arrive in the mail—It’s that easy.