Matching gift programs are an incredible opportunity for nonprofits of all sizes, but unfortunately, many organizations fail to take advantage of that opportunity.
Companies with a matching gift program will match part or all their employees’ charitable contributions. And they’re more common than you think. Chances are your organization has already missed out on some of these extra funds!
The secret to doubling your donation revenues through matching gifts is simply marketing them to your constituents.
That’s because many donors (probably a great portion of your own) are unaware of these programs, let alone their eligibility for them.
You can use these four marketing strategies to boost both donor awareness and your matching gifts revenue:
- Raise awareness by explaining matching gifts to your donors.
- Consider the best timing for your matching gift appeals.
- Use matching gifts to augment an online fundraising campaign.
- Optimize your site and digital content for matching gift tools.
Organizations of all sizes have expanded their marketing efforts to include matching gifts. Religious organizations, for example, have been particularly successful at incorporating matching gifts into their giving tools.
We’ve outlined four ways your organization can capitalize on these programs below!
1. Raise Awareness by Explaining Matching Gifts to Your Donors
The first step of marketing anything is to ensure your intended users or consumers understand what it is you’re marketing, right?
The hard part for nonprofits is that many donors, especially casual or first-time donors, are completely unaware of both the existence of matching gifts programs and their eligibility for them through their employers.
Take the opportunity to explain these programs to your donors throughout the donation pipeline in a natural and unobtrusive way.
One way to unobtrusively explain matching gift programs is through micro-moment strategies, or marketing techniques that take advantage of our mobile web habits.
By targeting and anticipating the short moments when we glance at our phones to read texts, check email, or browse social media, organizations can follow a similar marketing strategy. This means promoting matching gifts in ways that are easy to engage with quickly and make sense contextually. Consider mentioning and explaining matching gifts:
- On your website, especially your ways-to-give page. Anticipate the points in your online user experience where matching gifts information will be the most valuable.
- In your promotional emails. A reminder about matching gift programs can be read quickly and might serve as motivation to donate for some recipients.
- In your direct mail campaigns. These can be effective for your established donors, especially those who might not check your website often.
- At your live fundraising events. Your donors are already physically engaged with you at this point, so provide them with printed information on matching gifts.
Although matching gifts programs often need promoting and explaining to donors, the effort always pays off. When your donors understand how easy the process is on their end and how impactful the extra funds can be for your nonprofit, they’ll likely be encouraged to take advantage of their eligible matching gift programs as soon as possible.
2. Consider the Best Timing for Your Matching Gift Appeals
Just as it’s important to find the best contexts and formats for your matching gift reminders, it’s crucial you think carefully about when these messages will be most effective.
Think about all the ways donors engage with your organization. When is the most appropriate time to ask them to check their eligibility for matching gift programs?
You can find ideal times using one of two methods. First, you can consider your online user experience. In this context, the best times to mention matching gifts are immediately before, during, and after the online donation process because donors have already decided to contribute. You no longer have to convince them to help, you only need to help them maximize their impact – in this case, through a matching gift.
Second, you can review your organization’s calendar year and the ways it engages with donors from month to month. There are probably a handful of times during the year that would be perfect for maximizing matching gift donations because of your events, campaigns, or the times of year your donors prefer to give. Consider discussing matching gifts:
- In your end-of-year appeal campaign. Donors always enjoy both giving around the holidays and making some final tax-deductible contributions. A matching gift can make those donations go even farther.
- Around your major fundraising events. If you host a yearly gala or auction, this is a perfect opportunity to market matching gifts to donors who are already excited to see you.
- Around membership renewal deadlines. This is when members are reminded of the value of your work. Consider offering lower membership rates for matching gift eligible donations!
It’s important to choose times to market matching gifts that will maximize the exposure and effectiveness of your message. Live fundraising events tend to be a great time for this because event management software will compile the information you need to easily send matching gift information to every attendee.
Check out this Double the Donation list of the top event management software solutions that offer these kinds of tools.
3. Use Matching Gifts to Augment Your Online Fundraising Campaigns
Since donors can use online tools to both make their donations and check their eligibility for matching gifts, online fundraising campaigns are an ideal opportunity to simplify the entire donation experience and boost donor satisfaction.
Imagine the total donation revenue of your most successful fundraising campaign doubled. Matching gift marketing and eligibility search tools are easy to integrate into online campaigns of all kinds and are one of the simplest ways to double your fundraising revenue.
Here are a few online campaigns you can use:
- Crowdfunding campaigns. Crowdfunding platforms let you customize your campaign page and link to matching gift search tools. You can jumpstart your campaign by posting and promoting it in your online community, on your website, and via email. Check out some of the top crowdfunding websites for some ideas to get started.
- Mobile giving campaigns. Mobile giving offers you the ability to receive donations and engage with your donors through text messages. Immediately referring your completed mobile donors to matching gift information is a great way to raise awareness.
- Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. As a popular form of online fundraising, these campaigns let your volunteers raise funds for you and even compete to see who can raise the most. Matching gifts are the perfect element to add into the mix.
Consider the ways matching gifts can augment the effectiveness and reach of any of your online campaigns. If your organization hasn’t conducted many online-centric campaigns, do some research and find a technique that suits your goals.
4. Optimize Your Site and Digital Content for Matching Gift Tools
Now that you’ve put in the effort to raise awareness and direct your donors to act through the three previous strategies, where will you direct them to?
You need to optimize your your web presence to support matching gift tools in order to maximize all your marketing strategies with matching gifts. Make sure it’s easy to learn about matching gifts and search for eligibility on relevant web pages and other digital content you provide, You’ll contribute to a positive user experience at its most crucial points.
Your main donation page is an essential place to start, but you we recommend you think twice before including a matching gift tool on that page. Unless your donation forms are extremely intuitive and customizable, adding matching gift information can make the donation process more confusing and put off some donors. Check out some examples of what these pages might look like.
It’s important to keep donation forms simple and minimalist, but an optional field to provide employer information could provide you with some important matching gift insights. Instead, consider embedding matching gift search tools across other pages, including:
- Your ways-to-give page
- Your donation confirmation page
- Thank-you emails
- Social media pages
For example, here’s how the Girl Scouts included a matching gift search button on their annual fund donation page:
Additionally, optimizing your entire online donation and matching gift process allows for a greater level of analytic tracking.
You can also use automated matching gift services, like 360MatchPro, to gain powerful insights about your different types of matching gift donors. With this data you can better target specific companies that might make strong sponsors.
Automated tracking is an effective tool in many online contexts, but particularly marketing and donation tracking.
Take Advantage of Matching Gifts to Double Your Fundraising Efforts
Raising awareness and smoothly processing matching gift donations can create a permanent, built-in boost for your organization’s fundraising capacity. If your organization is looking to improve its donation revenue or will be beginning a new campaign soon, start preparing and marketing your matching gift capabilities now.