How To Harness the Magic of Corporate Matching Gift Programs
Matching gifts include any kind of program where a donor's contribution is "matched" by another entity. If a donor gives $10 to a nonprofit, for example, that nonprofit will also receive $10 from the other entity.
Corporate matching gift programs are a system through which a company commits to matching the donations their employees make to eligible organizations. After an employee makes their own donation, they can submit a request to their company to have them donate, as well.
Corporate matching gift programs are a huge opportunity for your nonprofit to increase the impact of individual donations – but comparatively few nonprofits take advantage of them.
The Corporate Matching Gifts Program Process
The exact process of making an employee matching gift will vary from company to company, but most programs share common core steps:
- An employee makes a donation to the nonprofit of their choice.
- The employee submits their request for a matching gift to their employer.
- The company verifies the organization and employee's eligibility via their own program parameters. They might also take steps to verify the employee's donation.
- The company sends the matching gift to the nonprofit organization.
The parameters that define corporate matching gifts generally include the match ratio, the minimum or maximum amount of the initial donation, and how many gifts and of what size has that single employee made during the eligibility year.
Encourage Your Donors To Take Advantage of Corporate Matching Gift Programs
The biggest hurdle to success when it comes to matching gifts is employee awareness. Many employees forget their company will match the charitable donations they make – others aren't aware of the program at all.
Consider promoting your corporate matching gift program through the following methods.
If your donors are giving online, then use that donation process to engage them! There are software packages you can purchase that allow your donors to search right then and there for their employer's matching gift program.
Alternatively, you can use a simple text field or radio button to allow donors to signify whether their company offers matching gifts. In this case, follow-up would be necessary on your part.
If you already have a social media marketing strategy, make sure matching gifts are a part of it! Highlight the program, how to find out if a company participates, and spotlight donors and corporations that have helped to support your organization in this way.
Tag the companies whose programs you've benefited from, and start building those relationships online!
If you send out marketing emails or newsletters, be sure to mention matching gifts there, too! You can even link your readers to online forms, search tools, or information about a matching gift program -- especially if you've written a great blog on the subject that lives on your website!
Not every email should have a fundraising ask, but the ones that do can easily highlight your matching gift program amongst the other giving opportunities you offer.
It’s All About Promotion!
The biggest reason nonprofits don't reap the benefits of corporate matching programs is that donors don't know matching gifts are an option.
But if you can encourage your donors to check in with their employers and take advantage of corporate matching programs, you'll be well on your way to doubling (or tripling, or quadrupling) those unrestricted dollars. So don't hesitate to mention matching gifts wherever it makes sense!