Guest Post by Adam Weinger
Billions of dollars in corporate funding are left behind annually because nonprofit organizations aren’t taking full advantage of matching gift donations. Does your organization have a plan in place to raise more through matching gifts?
Briefly, matching gift programs are corporate giving programs in which companies will match employee donations, usually dollar for dollar, to eligible nonprofits. Some companies even triple or quadruple donations! Did you know, for example, that Walmart gave $1 billion in charitable donations in 2012 alone? There is plenty more where that came from, and it’s important for nonprofits to understand how to get it!
So, how can your organization maximize the dollars coming in from matching gift programs?
Promote Matching Gift Programs to Donors Via…
The number one obstacle to receiving matching gift donations is a lack of donor awareness that these kinds of programs exist. Many donors don’t know about this opportunity, and many who do know think it’s a long and arduous process to request matching funds from their employer.
It doesn’t have to be, and you can help educate them on the process!
…Thank You Notes (Paper or Email)
This is a perfect way to “kill two birds with one stone.” You can both thank your donor for their generosity and educate them on the “what’s next” steps. The thank you letter is often read and kept for tax purposes, and therefore you’re generally guaranteed a few minutes of your donor’s time. Utilize it as best you can!
You can simply include a short blurb about matching gift opportunities along the lines of: “Thousands of employers offer matching gift donations to eligible nonprofit organizations like ours, which literally doubles your donation! Please consider taking a couple of minutes of your time and checking to see if your employer is one of these generous organizations!”
… Social Media
Social media is another great way to educate your constituents on matching gift opportunities because of the quick and easy nature of these kinds of posts. Millions of people spend (at least) a few minutes of their day checking their Facebook or Twitter news feeds. Amid your success stories and multimedia posts that show your donors where their money is going, consider posting an educational tidbit about matching gifts!
Here’s a sample Facebook post: “We sincerely appreciate all donations to <Your Organization’s Name>! Did you know that your generosity has the potential to be doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled? Take a few minutes today to see if your employer offers a matching gift program!”
… “Ways to Give” Pages
Most nonprofit organizations have the opportunity for constituents to make online donations. Many organizations also offer other ways to give (besides through monetary donations) with pages about volunteering, workplace charitable campaigns, and countless other methods. Consider including Matching Gifts as a “way to give.”
Explain to your current and potential donors about the benefits (and more importantly the ease) of submitting a matching gift request from their employers. Many companies even offer online matching gift submission processes, streamlining the process and cutting out the tedious paperwork.
Use Matching Gift Software to Simplify the Process
There are several matching gift software programs available that cut out the “ask your employer” step of the matching gift submission process. Your nonprofit can simply integrate the software into your website and allow your donors to click through a database of employers to find theirs and figure out what kind of matching gift donations they are eligible to apply for.
Educate Your Donors
Simply put, the most important thing your nonprofit can do to maximize the amount of fundraising coming in from matching gift and corporate philanthropic programs is to educate your donors about the opportunities. Make sure you explain how beneficial it is to your organization, how easy it can be, and how little time it can take. Your donors are already invested – they’ve put their trust in your organization to spend their money responsibly. They are therefore likely to take an extra few minutes of their time to put in the matching gift request if you simply ask them to do so.
Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, a company focused on helping nonprofits raise money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs. Follow Double the Donation on Twitter or LinkedIn.