If you work for a small nonprofit that wants to tap into corporate matching gifts, we’ve outlined some of the top strategies to do so! Check them out here.
When you’re part of a small nonprofit, it’s vital that every fundraising dollar has a purpose. It’s fair to say this applies to any size organization, but this is especially true for nonprofits that are growing.
That’s why it’s also important to maximize those fundraising dollars whenever possible.
As you look into ways to make your donations and funds go further, it might seem like a daunting task. But luckily, there’s a specific giving channel that can help your growing organization get double the value from the same donations: matching gifts.
Matching gifts are a form of corporate philanthropy in which companies match donations their employees make to nonprofits like yours. Not only do they cause one donation to turn into two, but they also help your team build relationships with donors and secure long-term support.
That’s why we’re going to explore five key ways your nonprofit can get started with matching gifts and reap all of those benefits:
1.Understand the full picture.
2. Start educating everyone.
3. Act on your knowledge.
4. Don’t limit yourself.
5. Bring in technology.
Stewarding donors and building relationships with them is challenging enough. But matching gifts can help with this. Let’s begin.
1. Understand the Full Picture.
According to these statistics from Double the Donation, only 1.31% of individual contributions are matched at the average nonprofit organization. That means there are tons of donations going unmatched every day.
But matching gifts come with a lot of benefits, such as:
– Double the funds without having to solicit a separate donation, which means your team will save time and resources.
– Deepened relationships with donors, which can lead to additional forms of support, like volunteering and in-kind donations.
– Deepened relationships with corporations, which can lead to partnerships or sponsorships.
Matching gifts also extend beyond typical donations. For example, they can take the form of:
– Fundraising matches: When your nonprofit hosts an event, like a walk or run, the funds raised by participants are eligible for a match through their employer.
– Donations from spouses: What happens when two spouses donate to a nonprofit, but they’re both eligible for matching gifts through their respective employers? In most cases, both spouses can request a match, and the single donation will effectively be tripled.
There are many ways your nonprofit can bring in extra revenue from matching gifts. But before you can enjoy these benefits, your team must understand the full spectrum of matched donations: how they work, how you can raise awareness around them, and how much revenue you’ll be missing if you don’t actively pursue them.
All of this starts with education.
2. Start Educating Everyone.
Start from inside your organization. Staff should be able to answer questions from donors about matching gifts and guide them through the process if needed.
This means understanding the basic process of how matching gifts work:
1. After an individual donates to your nonprofit, they must submit a request for a match to their employer.
2. Their employer will then review the request and verify the donation with your nonprofit.
3. Finally, the donor’s employer will match the gift.
Educating your staff also means having clear expectations and systems in place as part of your operations strategy. Your team should have an understanding of what their goal is in terms of matching gift revenue and have a set process in place for assisting donors. Make this training part of your onboarding so new staff members can get up to speed.
The more you organize your team’s efforts, the more likely donors will be to complete the matching gift submission process.
Once your staff has been trained and understands the matching gift process, it’s also important to focus on your donors and educate them, as well.
For a growing nonprofit like yours, this could mean:
* Offering resources on your website that educate donors about matching gifts (e.g., a dedicated matching gift page).
* Sending out regular newsletters and other communications that mention matching gifts.
* Offering instructions donors can follow to check their eligibility and/or ask their companies how to submit a matching gift request.
Since you may not have a large team, it’s important to offer information in prominent places on your website and in your outreach, thank-you emails, and newsletters. It might seem like these strategies will take up a lot of your staff’s precious time, but it’s actually pretty useful to have these resources readily available. That way, whenever a donation comes through, you’ll have a place to direct those donors so they can learn how to match their gift.
3. Act On Your Knowledge.
As we’ve already implied, having the knowledge about matching gifts doesn’t do any good unless you act on it.
That means you need to actively promote and pursue matching gifts.
For a nonprofit of your size, there are many ways you can promote matching gifts. These include:
-Meeting donors at the height of their engagement. Right when donors give to your organization, they’re at the height of their engagement. Include a brief description of matching gifts right on your donation page when they’re most likely to respond to it.
-Following up with donors. Once you receive a donation, be sure to follow up immediately. Your thank-you email templates should include a section that briefly explains matching gifts and how donors can check their eligibility. Consider direct mail and general email fundraising as additional channels to use to reach out about matching gifts.
-Keeping matching gifts at the forefront of your supporters’ minds. There are many ways you can keep the dialogue going on matching gifts. Schedule posts on your social media pages throughout the year promoting this giving channel, and make sure your dedicated matching gifts page on your website is easy to find.
Wondering why it’s so important to meet donors at these touchpoints? According to these statistics, 84% of donors say they’re more likely to donate if a match is offered. That means if donors aren’t quite convinced they want to give to your organization, notifying them that they may be eligible for a match could be the final nudge they need.
Acting on your knowledge will also lead to donor retention. Promoting matching gifts shows donors that your nonprofit is a good steward of their funds, and that you’re maximizing their donations. Be sure to keep them updated on the status of their matching gift so they know you genuinely appreciate their support and that their contribution made a huge difference.
4. Don’t Limit Yourself.
There are other forms of corporate giving that shouldn’t be overlooked. That’s why, even as a small nonprofit, you shouldn’t limit yourself to only one form of corporate support.
For example, if your team is establishing a dedicated group of volunteers, many of those individuals could be eligible for volunteer grants.
According to Crowd101’s guide to volunteer grants, these grants help your volunteers make a bigger impact with the hours they commit to your organization. Essentially, companies send monetary donations to organizations for the hours their employees volunteer with them.
This form of “hour matching” is a great addition to matching gifts because you’ll get double the benefit: time committed from skilled volunteers and money for those hours.
There are tons of other types of corporate support your nonprofit can receive, including in-kind giving, community grants, and even team volunteer grants. As you begin to build out your fundraising strategy, consider incorporating these, as well.
5. Bring In Technology.
You might be wondering at this point how your team can manage all of these elements of promoting matching gifts and corporate giving. Sometimes you just don’t have the resources or staff available to dedicate to finding matching gift revenue.
That said, doubling the donations you receive will have a huge impact on your fundraising efforts, and there’s one avenue you can consider if you’re not able to go it alone.
Matching gift tools help small nonprofits identify their donors’ employers without having to ask them one-by-one. By making it easy for donors to determine their eligibility on their own, this takes a lot of the legwork out of your fundraising process.
Here’s how it works:
1. Choose matching gift software that offers an embeddable search tool that can be added anywhere on your website. This includes donation forms, dedicated matching gift pages, and other educational pages.
2. Direct donors to the search tool so they can search for their company by name. Their company’s matching gifts forms and guidelines will then populate then and there.
3. Once donors access the forms they need, they can easily submit a matching gift request straight to their employer.
The easier you make it for donors to identify their company’s matching gift guidelines and submit their request, the easier it’ll be on your staff. The main point to focus on is raising awareness. When staff and donors alike are made aware of matching gift opportunities, this brings in more revenue and saves your staff time from soliciting extra donations.
Matching donations is one of the most common ways for companies to support growing nonprofits like yours. Consider using tools like the above to ensure you’re not leaving money on the table.
Your size shouldn’t determine your success. Consider these tips and ideas to start bringing in revenue from matching gift programs. From there, you’ll tap into an entire network of corporate philanthropy and forms of support that will benefit your organization for years to come.