The Essential 9-Step-Checklist to End-of-Year Matching Gifts

November 16, 2021
5 minutes
Hey nonprofiteers! Please enjoy this guest post by our friends over at Double the Donation about the awesome benefits of matching gifts.

Year-end fundraising is a busy time for nonprofits of all shapes and sizes. Luckily, it’s also when your supporters are feeling the most charitable.

Wouldn’t you like to double the impact of each donation you receive? You can⁠—by following these nine easy steps.

1. Incorporate matching gifts into your end-of-year appeals.

You’re already sending out a plethora of year-end fundraising appeals to boost donations in the last few days and weeks of the calendar year. Research from Double the Donation has shown that 84% of donors are more likely to make a gift if they know their employer will match it. As you begin crafting and sending your end-of-year fundraising appeals, encourage supporters to look into matching gifts before submitting their gifts.

2. Increase donation revenue with matching gifts.

In addition to increasing the likelihood of giving in the first place, fundraising studies show that 1 in 3 donors indicate they’d even make a larger donation if a match is being applied. As a result, prioritizing matching gift strategies tends to lead to increased fundraising revenue⁠—both in terms of the initially upgraded donations and the bonus corporate gifts secured.

3. Explore eligible yet unmatched gifts throughout the year.

The year-end giving season is also an excellent opportunity to secure matches for eligible donations made earlier that year. Many employers agree to match their employees’ donations for several months after the initial donation is submitted⁠—often until December 31st of the calendar year.

The beauty of matching is that it's not seasonal! But with the end-of-year giving season bringing in so many additional donations, it’s the perfect opportunity to highlight the ease and value of company donation matching.

4. Look for match-eligible recurring donors.

Another group of potentially match-eligible donors to target with your year-end matching gift strategies is your regular recurring givers.

Many companies allow their employees to batch match requests for regular donations made through a recurring schedule. Still, the process might differ from securing a match for a one-time gift, so sharing relevant information and next steps is critical. This can also allow donors to secure a corporate match when a single gift may have fallen below their employers’ minimum donation threshold.

5. Provide resources to inform donors about matching gifts.

The majority of matching gift-eligible donors are unaware of these programs, so taking the time to equip supporters with detailed information is a critical step in the process.

Consider offering donors access to a searchable database of employer information. This type of resource contains comprehensive data on thousands of companies and their giving programs, such as donation minimums and maximums, match ratios, eligible employees and nonprofits, and submission deadlines. All the donor has to do is type their employer’s name and be met with all sorts of company-specific information, including next steps.

(Put on some sunglasses because here comes some serious brightside-ing!)

Reminder: Most donors give to multiple nonprofits over their lifetimes. When you educate your donors about employer matching, our entire nonprofit sector benefits. You're doing every nonprofit a favor by being a beacon of knowledge, so don't dim that light!

6. Encourage donors to regularly check their eligibility.

Just because a donor has looked into matching gifts in the past and found themselves ineligible doesn’t mean they’ll remain with that status forever! That’s why we recommend encouraging your donors to regularly double-check—especially those who had previously been determined match-ineligible or of unknown eligibility.

Each year during the end-of-year giving season is a great time to promote this suggestion. Donors may have switched employers throughout the year, while thousands of companies are continuing to add and adjust their new corporate matching programs.

Pro Tip: If you've been checking and checking with your employer and still no donation matching... suggest it! Toss a note in the suggestion box or bring it up in your departmental check-ins or hit up HR. You may find that your colleagues are itching for matching, too.

7. Automate the donor outreach process.

If you’re looking to increase matching gift revenue while saving time and effort for your team, automation is the answer. By investing in a matching gift automation tool like 360MatchPro by Double the Donation, you can ensure eligible donors receive targeted email communications that drive more matches to completion.

You’ll also have more resources to devote to your highest-value match-eligible donors, helping you build those relationships and secure those dollars effectively.

8. Communicate appreciation to matching gift donors.

Don’t forget to thank those donors who ultimately secure a matching gift for your organization. Although the follow-up gift isn’t coming directly from their own pockets, be sure to acknowledge that the corporate funding would not have been possible without their help.

We suggest thanking matching gift donors at three distinct points: after they’ve made their initial gift, once they’ve indicated that they’ve requested a match from their employer, and finally upon receiving the corporate donation.

9. Remember: Consistency is your friend! Don’t give up on matching gifts.

Matching gifts often encompass a learning curve, both for the donors giving and requesting matches and the fundraising team behind the scenes. It takes time for everyone to get acquainted with the concepts, processes, and software involved. So, listen: even if you don’t see significant matching gift results in the first few weeks or months after rolling out these new strategies, don't give up on this extremely valuable yet underutilized funding source.

To be very very clear, we're telling you that mentioning matching in one email or social post won't cut it. You have to talk up matching in your regular emails, your 1:1 donor stewardship calls, and in the donation FAQ on your website. Basically, the more you talk about company matching, the more likely your donors are to remember and engage with this tool.

Matching gifts have the potential to bring your nonprofit’s year-end fundraising to the next level. By following these best practices, you’re sure to raise more and double your nonprofit’s impact.

Find out more about matching gift strategies and tools from Double the Donation at https://doublethedonation.com/.

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