Donor engagement is an essential component of an optimized nonprofit fundraising strategy. High levels of engagement lead to effective stewardship plans, increasing retention rates over time, and overall successful supporter relations.
As a nonprofit fundraiser, you’re likely familiar with these ideas already. But did you also know that matching gifts can have a significant impact on your donor engagement efforts?
In this guide, we’ll share everything you need to know about matching gifts and effective donor engagement, including:
- What are matching gifts?
- The relationship between matching gifts and donor engagement
- Tips for driving matching gifts and donor engagement
Ready to make the most of corporate matching opportunities while simultaneously elevating donor engagement levels among donors? Let’s begin with the basics.
What are matching gifts?
Corporate matching gift programs are one of the most popular forms of corporate philanthropy. Companies that offer the programs—which are tens of thousands of businesses across all corporate sectors—essentially agree to match employee donations at a predetermined rate to qualifying nonprofit organizations.
The most common donation ratio falls at a 1:1 match, meaning the company will contribute a corporate gift in the same amount as the employee’s initial gift (e.g., a $100 corporate donation corresponding to a $100 individual donation).
Research shows that millions of people work for companies that offer employer matching programs. And despite $2-3 billion being donated through the initiatives on an annual basis, over $4-7 billion in additional match funding goes unclaimed each year, making it an excellent opportunity for fundraising organizations to leverage and grow. Plus, matching gifts can lead to increasing donor engagement as well.
The relationship between matching gifts and donor engagement
Matching gifts and donor engagement share a largely positive correlation. When donors are aware of and participate in matching gift programs, they are expected to see higher levels of engagement with your organization. This can largely be attributed to the fact that matching gifts directly result in increasing contribution impact. Where a $100 donation may have previously enabled your team to serve X number of constituents, that same gift plus a corporate match can have twice the spending power for your mission—all without having to ask the donor for another cent.
And the research backs this up! Double the Donation’s studies indicate that 84% of survey participants report being more likely to donate if a match is offered, and 1 in 3 donors would give a larger gift if matching is applied.
Meanwhile, the inverse is true as well—donors who are highly engaged are more likely to take part in their employers’ match initiatives. That’s because highly engaged donors typically feel strengthened connections to the missions they support and are willing to take the extra steps to secure a match on behalf of their favorite causes.
Tips for driving matching gifts and donor engagement
With a strong correlation between matching gifts and donor engagement, you may be interested in learning how to leverage leading strategies to increase overall fundraising success. We recommend exploring (and incorporating) these tried-and-true best practices:
1. Mention matching opportunities in fundraising appeals.
According to the same corporate giving research by Double the Donation, highlighting matching gift program availability in general fundraising appeals can have significant benefits regarding donor engagement and gift conversions.
In fact, simply mentioning matching gifts in donation requests results in a 71% increase in response rate and a 51% increase in the average donation amount compared to those that do not mention matching.
Thus, it’s a good idea to incorporate mentions of corporate matching in your organization’s donation requests. It can be as simple as adding a line to the end of an existing solicitation: “Dear Jeff, will you consider donating to help support our nonprofit’s mission? You can even get your gift matched by your employer to stretch your contribution even further.” However, we recommend providing a good deal of context in case your donors have never heard of matching gifts and be sure to outline clear and specific next steps for how to get involved.
This way, you’re likely to see substantial increases in corporate matching participation, plus more—and larger—individual donations. Your donors will love it, too!
2. Incorporate matching gifts within the giving process.
Donors tend to vary in engagement levels at different stages throughout the supporter lifecycle. Most typically, individuals are at their highest rates of engagement with an organization as they are actively giving to the cause—whether through an online donation page, text-to-give form, peer-to-peer campaign, etc. Thus, directly within the giving experience is one of the most opportune chances to promote matching gift potential and expect big results.
Specifically, we recommend collecting employment data from donors via online giving forms—either using plain text fields or with matching gift software—to best identify matching gift opportunities. For example, if you determine that a donor works for Coca-Cola, you can compare their employer against lists of top matching gift programs to conclude that the individual is likely eligible for a 2:1 match up to $20,000.
From there, you can incorporate matching gift promotions on your donation confirmation pages as well. This should not only remind donors about the possibility of matching gift programs but also provide company-specific information such as individual eligibility and direct links to online request forms.
When donor engagement is particularly high, nonprofit supporters will be more willing and likely to complete the steps required to secure a corporate match from their employers.
3. Automate matching gifts to streamline and standardize your process.
Donor engagement doesn’t end once an individual completes their initial donation to your organization, and matching gift promotions shouldn’t end there, either—which is why we recommend following up with donors post-transaction to encourage matching gifts.
However, manually promoting matching gift opportunities to your organization’s donors can be a big undertaking, especially as your overall fundraising efforts continue to grow. Doing so will likely result in match-eligible donations slipping through the cracks, and even those that do get followed up with are not likely to be conducted in a timely manner.
For example, Double the Donation’s matching gift studies indicate that sending matching gift reminder emails within the first 24 hours after a donation is made results in significantly increased engagement levels—even boasting a 53% open rate, which is 2-3 times higher than the average nonprofit email open rate. However, it would be difficult to ensure all donors are being engaged in the hours after their initial gifts without automation technology at play. And that’s quite a shame because these additional funding opportunities for your organization are certainly worth it.
But automating the matching gifts process is easy, especially thanks to Qgiv’s partnership with Double the Donation. Double the Donation’s leading matching gift tools empower organizations to increase matching gift revenue by ensuring every donor is exposed to matching gift opportunities throughout and following the giving process itself—all without your fundraising team having to lift a finger!
Matching gift program participation and donor engagement can substantially benefit fundraising organizations like yours. High rates of each typically showcase effective practices alongside a network of supporters who are eager to get involved for a good cause.
Make the most of your team’s efforts by prioritizing matching gifts, donor engagement, and the positive relationship between the two.
Interested in learning more about matching gifts and the impact they have on donor engagement levels? Check out these additional resources:
- 3 Ways to Promote Matching Gifts Online. Share matching gift information effectively by meeting your donors where they are—the internet! Learn more about top online promotional strategies here.
- Top 40 Matching Gift Companies: Leaders in Philanthropy. Do your donors work for some of the most standout matching gift companies? Check out Double the Donation’s list of top programs to find out.
- Corporate Giving Programs: The Ultimate Fundraising Guide. Matching gifts aren’t the only type of corporate giving program available either. Explore additional corporate philanthropy opportunities in this guide.
About the Author
Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of tools to nonprofits to help them raise more money from corporate matching gifts and volunteer grant programs.
Double the Donation’s robust solution, 360MatchPro, provides nonprofits with automated tools to identify match-eligible donors, drive matches to completion, and gain actionable insights. 360MatchPro integrates directly into donation forms, CRMs, social fundraising software, and other nonprofit technology solutions to capture employment information and follow up appropriately with donors about matching gifts.