Corporate Matching Gift Programs: A $4-7 BILLION Missed Opportunity

It’s no secret that donor acquisition is time-consuming and expensive for nonprofits of all sizes. But how enticing would it be if your efforts were guaranteed to bring in at least 2X the donor’s original gift?

Well, over 18 million individuals work for companies that offer matching gift programs — and yet an estimated $4-7 billion in matching gift funds goes unclaimed every year!

And that’s not to say that these prospective donors aren’t willing to give. A study by The Big-Give Research Initiative found that 84% of donors say they’re more likely to give when a gift match is offered.

So where is the disconnect here? Although corporate matching gift programs are fairly straightforward, it is still an often overlooked opportunity for nonprofits to connect with willing donors.

What’s A Corporate Matching Gift Program And Who Benefits?

Matching gift programs enable corporations to support the charitable endeavours of their employees, usually at a 1:1 ratio (but sometimes more!). Philanthropic programs like this fall under a company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative.

The employer usually has a set of guidelines for their gift match program, such as:

  • A minimum and maximum eligible gift amount (ex. $25 - $10,000)
  • Varied gift matches depending on employment (ex. part-time, full-time, and retirees)
  • Submission deadlines (ex. end of year, or 3-12 months after a donation was made)
  • Eligible 501(c)(3) nonprofits (ex. environmental, educational, health care)
  • * Commonly non-eligible organizations: politically or religiously affiliated organizations

By matching employee’s donations, the corporation enjoys a more positive reputation in the eyes of their employees, surrounding community and the general public. Meanwhile, the nonprofit benefits from, say, a $100 donation doubling or even tripling before landing in the nonprofit’s pocket!

How Does The Matching Gift Submission Process Work?

In order for a donor to submit a matching gift request successfully to their employer, the process will look a little something like this…

STEP #1: Your donor gives a donation. Ideally, your donor will be presented with the relevant corporate philanthropy information during or immediately after their donation is successfully submitted. You will want to redirect your donor through a link or plugin to the matching donation process.

STEP #2: Your donor must determine eligibility. Once your donor has been made aware of the potential of a corporate gift match, they need to find out if/what their employer will match. Using a searchable database tool, your donor types the name of their employer — if it pops up, your donor can then check the employer’s eligibility requirements for its matching gift program.

STEP #3: Your donor submits any required forms. If your donor has confirmed their gift is eligible for a company match, then they simply need to fill out and submit any necessary online forms provided by the gift matching database tool.

STEP #4: The donor’s employer makes the matching donation. The corporation must review the submitted forms and confirm with your nonprofit that you received the donor’s original gift. If all looks good to go, then the company will send your nonprofit the promised match! Be sure to send your donor a follow-up thank you letter letting them know you received the corporate gift match and how this generous contribution will support your cause.

Why Are These Matching Gift Programs Overlooked?

Overwhelmingly, potential donors simply aren’t aware of their employer’s philanthropy initiatives. Nearly 80% of match-eligible donors have no idea that their company offers a matching gift program!

Similarly, nonprofits have to maintain a lot of data in their donor management system. Unfortunately, details like a donor’s employer (or spouse’s employer) are not often prioritized and therefore missing. 

If the donor’s employer data has been collected, then it’s crucial to clearly communicate guidelines and instructions as to how that eligible donor can ensure their gift stretches at least twice as far using their company’s match.

You can use searchable matching gift databases like Double The Donation to determine whether your donor’s employer offers a gift match.

Mentioning matching gifts in your fundraising appeals is proven to result in a 71% response rate increase and 51% increase in average donation amount. You can raise awareness among your donors about their respective corporate gift matching programs through targeted email marketing in Donor Engine (or your preferred CRM).

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By Tanya Aquino (RA) on Mar 18, 2020, 12:00 AM


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