Every dollar counts when a nonprofit organization is trying to rally and raise funds for a designated cause, but sometimes potential donors might be wary of giving because they fear it won’t make enough of a difference.
One way to help generate more support is to alert potential donors whose employers match charitable contributions, doubling each donation and giving benefactors the confidence to make a contribution.
Matching grant programs can be presented as a limited-time opportunity, providing the necessary urgency to encourage donors not to wait. They can result in a marked spike in contributions.
Classy.com, an online fundraising platform that assists nonprofits trying to make a social impact, advises charitable agencies to consider pairing a matching grant program with a push for recurring gifts, which can seed the future and guarantee a continued influx of contributions.
By taking the time to designate a matching grant as something special – some nonprofits give their programs names such as “legacy” – an agency can separate the ongoing effort from traditional fundraising efforts.
Other ideas include creating a separate online webpage specifically for the matching program, or providing donors with added incentives, such as exclusive updates, which show how their gifts are being used.
Helpful Tips to Maximize Matching Gifts
Another online resource, DoubleTheDonation.com, recommends 11 ways to maximize a matching gift program to its full potential.
- Do your research: It’s important to know what has worked in the past, so do research on the concepts behind matching gifts before launching your effort. Many companies have designated guidelines for charitable contributions. Find at least three large, local benefactors and learn what they require in advance.
- Designate a leader: Nonprofits are typically directed by a small team of key executives. Designating a matching gift coordinator can streamline efforts by having one person responsible for spearheading any effort to solicit such donations. That individual can then update the entire team while taking the lead, allowing other workers to remain focused on their specific jobs.
- Spread the word: Matching gift programs only work if the community knows about the effort. By utilizing free resources such as social media or an inexpensive stand-alone web page, a nonprofit can quickly reach a wide audience. Other options include drumming up publicity through local media and targeting specific audiences to receive information about the program.
- Know your donors: Gathering key information about donors, such as where they work, can provide a roadmap for identifying specific companies to inform about the matching gift program. This limits the amount of research your staff must perform and allows for more time to be spent on outreach.
- Keep it simple: It should be relatively easy to donate. By keeping the process simple and providing concise, plainly-worded directions for donating, donors may be more likely to make a contribution. Any information packets distributed should highlight the impact of matching gifts and provide instructions for donors to quickly identify whether their employer participates.
- Be organized: Another benefit of naming a single matching gift coordinator is that the person becomes solely responsible for making sure every gift is documented and every outreach attempt is recorded. This eliminates duplication and provides a clear visual of what has been done to date.
- Give thanks: Matching gift donors are special, and they should feel that way too. That’s why any outpouring of appreciation from the nonprofit should come for the initial gift and again when the matching donation arrives. Some agencies host special events for matching gift donors to praise their efforts. Online efforts can not only spotlight a matching gift donor by thanking them personally, but also draw attention to the program itself.
- Build bonds: Appreciation shouldn’t stop with the donor. Companies that match contributions also need to know their kindness is recognized. By taking the time to get to know corporate leaders, a nonprofit can cultivate a relationship with a potential major contributor that might make an impact down the road.
- Be organized, part II: Maintaining up-to-date, organized records allows nonprofits the ability to identify matching gifts that may not have arrived in a timely manner. If an agency doesn’t know what donations have arrived and when, it won’t know if every dollar has been received.
- Prospect screening: A little research can go a long way. By taking the time to designate companies with matching gift programs, and investigating whether spouses and others affiliated with donors work at similar companies, nonprofits can help extend the reach of matching programs.
- Know your progress: Nonprofits succeed when they know what works and what doesn’t. By tracking the progress of matching gift programs, organizations can better understand how much money has been raised, who contributed it, what it costs in manpower and time to get those gifts, and other pertinent information.
Many large corporations provide information about their matching gift programs, which can provide nonprofits with a valuable resource. DoubleTheDonation.com has compiled a list on its website that identifies the top matching gift companies in the United States.
Some companies, such as General Electric, offer a one-to-one match ratio with a maximum match of $50,000. Other companies, such as ExxonMobil, offer up to a three-to-one match, with a lower maximum amount.
According to DoubleTheDonation.com, Soros Fund Management provides well-to-do benefactors with an incredible matching gift opportunity. This investment management firm offers a three-to-one match up to a maximum amount of $300,000.
Nonprofits need as much money as they can get, and often, matching corporate gift programs provide a great way to multiply donations and motivate potential donors to contribute because they understand the added benefit of a matching gift.
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