This blog post is written by Guest Blogger Adam Weinger. Adam is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of tools to nonprofits to help them raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs. Connect with Adam via email or on LinkedIn.
Nonprofits seeking to boost donations through the power of corporate giving programs understand that strategic promotion is half of the battle.
For charitable organizations, marketing is always a priority. Between getting the word out about your cause, upcoming fundraising events, and volunteer opportunities, you’re always promoting something, usually online.
So where do important corporate giving opportunities like matching gifts fit into the picture?
To find out, read these 5 ways you can leverage your nonprofit’s online presence to promote matching gifts:
- Make the most of matching gifts during the donation process.
- Time your matching gift promotions right.
- Educate your donors on a dedicated matching gifts page.
- Use eye-catching visuals to spread the word on social media.
- Send personalized matching gift email communications.
When you leverage the power of matching gifts, your organization can open up a world of double or even triple the fundraising potential. And when you see how easy promoting these programs can be, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing it all along!
Let’s get right into it.
1. Make the most of matching gifts during the donation process.
Your donors are most receptive to matching gift promotions during the donation process.
Think about it: once your supporter clicks onto your online donation form and begins inputting their information, they’re already committed to the giving process and clearly in the charitable spirit.
Additionally, because they’re already showing interest in your cause, they’re likely to be open to extending their gift’s impact through just a few more steps.
You can push your online donors toward completing the matching gift process by including resources at every point of the online donation process.
Here’s are a few simple strategies we suggest:
- Add a “Match My Gift” checkbox on your donation form. Your online donation platform should allow you to create custom fields or options, so don’t forget to include a box that allows donors to opt-in to the matching gift process. Then, quickly follow up with those donors via email to provide next steps.
- Include a matching gift database search tool. You can embed a simple widget (such as the one offered by Double the Donation) on your donation page, the confirmation screen, and in the initial acknowledgement email. That way, donors can search for their company and instantly learn all they need to know about their matching gift program.
- Feature a bright call-to-action button. Lead donors to a separate corporate giving or matching gifts page or another informative resource that explains what matching gifts are, how they work, and what a donor needs to do to follow through with the submission process.
Remember: many supporters overlook matching gifts because they don’t know they’re an option. Highlighting matching gifts when donors are already engaged in the donation process will ensure they won’t miss this corporate giving opportunity.
2. Time your matching gift promotions right.
Savvy nonprofits know that timing is everything, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to marketing matching gift opportunities.
Don’t get us wrong—you should promote matching gifts all year long. That said, there are a few key times when matching gift promotions are most relevant and actionable for your donors:
- Immediately following the donation. You should already prioritize effective thank-you notes as part of your donor stewardship strategy, and you can easily add information about matching gifts to those emails to make sure match-eligible donors submit their requests as soon as they can.
- During year-end giving. Many corporate giving deadlines fall at the end of the calendar year, so it’s a natural time to follow-up with donors who’ve made gifts throughout the past 12 months to see if their gifts can be matched. (Plus, securing matched gifts is an effective way to reach those end-of-year fundraising goals!)
- Near matching gift deadlines. If you’re storing your donors’ employer information within your donor database, you can also add associated matching gift deadline information for each company. That way, you can tailor your communications so they align with a donor’s specific matching gift submission deadline.
The more time that passes after a donation, the less likely a donor is to remember to submit their matching gift request.
When you track each match-eligible donation according to that company’s unique submission timeline and requirements, you can make sure you’re keeping in touch with donors so they don’t let the deadline pass them by.
A great way to stay on top of all of your donors’ gifts? Invest in software that can do it for you! Whether you’re logging matching gift information in your nonprofit CRM or automating the entire process using high-powered matching gift software, the right technology can help you stay on top of donations and deadlines so you don’t miss a dime of matched gift money.
3. Educate your donors on a dedicated matching gifts page.
There’s a lot to consider as you’re designing your nonprofit’s website, but make sure that corporate giving makes the list!
Because your organization’s website is often the backbone of your online presence, it’s important that you pull out all the stops to outfit your site as a one-stop resource for anything your constituents need to know about your nonprofit, including corporate giving information.
You likely already have a general ways to give page. But if you want to show donors how highly you prioritize corporate giving (and matching gifts in particular), we recommend creating a dedicated matching gifts page as well.
A well-designed matching gifts page should do the following:
- Provide background on matching gifts. Imagine that your site visitors have never heard the term “matching gifts” before—there’s a good chance they haven’t! Keep your explanation brief, but feel free to link out to additional corporate giving resources too.
- Explain the impact of matching gifts. As with every page on your website, your matching gifts page is an opportunity to showcase your nonprofit’s mission. Reminding donors what their donations (along with their employers’ matching gifts) can do might be the impetus they need to make a gift or submit their match request.
- Inspire the visitor to take action! Your matching gifts page should clearly provide a next step for the visitor. List any important details about your nonprofit that they’ll need in order to complete their matching gift submission and embed a matching gift database search tool so they can find their specific company guidelines too.
You should include a link to your matching gifts page on your ways to give page, as well as in any social media or blog posts that encourage donors to submit a match request. That way, supporters always know where to go to find out more about matching gifts.
4. Use eye-catching visuals to spread the word on social media.
You should know by now that social media isn’t going anywhere as a means of promoting your cause and connecting with constituents or potential new donors. But did you know that social media can (and should) be a powerful way of influencing supporters to take part in their company’s matching gift programs?
It’s true! As with any social media post, the best way to capture your followers’ attention when marketing matching gifts is to make your posts as visual as possible.
We know what you’re thinking. How do you take a concept like corporate giving and make it easy on the eyes? There are several ways:
- Create an infographic. Data can be a great ally in demonstrating the impact of matching gifts on your cause, but a paragraph full of statistics won’t stop donors in their tracks as they scroll through Facebook or Twitter. Make your data more interesting by laying it out in a visual format, like a creative infographic.
- Do a demonstration. Submitting a matching gift request is easy, but your social followers might not believe it until they see it. Have a volunteer or a member of your team do a live (or pre-recorded) demonstration of your matching gift search tool and show how simple it is to find a company, fill out the paperwork, and double your gift!
- Design a series of branded graphics. There’s plenty of free design software that your team can use to create professional graphics that promote your matching gift opportunities. On your graphics, you might include statistics, quotes from beneficiaries or staff, or even instructions for submitting a matching gift request.
Not only are visual posts more eye-catching than text-only posts, but they’re also more likely to communicate your nonprofit’s brand and personality, making it easier for followers to develop an emotional connection with your organization.
As you’re posting, be careful not to overwhelm your followers. Don’t post more than 2-3 times per week (unless you’re running a specific short-term social media campaign), and diversify your posts across platforms so that users who follow you on multiple sites don’t see the same content over and over again.
5. Send personalized matching gift email communications.
Even though your donors won’t technically be giving you any more money from their own pockets, you should look at your matching gift promotions as a kind of donation request letter.
As such, your matching gift communications can help you connect with your donors one-on-one and encourage them to be a part of your organization’s mission.
Here are a few of our favorite strategies for making your matching gift marketing efforts as personal as possible:
- Use your donor’s preferred name and title. It’s a simple change, but switching from “Dear Donor” to a more personal greeting can show your supporters that you’re reaching out to them individually rather than sending a generic message to everyone in your list.
- Explain their company’s distinct submission process. When you store your donors’ company information in your supporter database or matching gift software, you can send them materials that communicate their employer’s unique submission guidelines.
- Keep donors updated on the status of their matching gift request. Don’t let your donors think you’ve forgotten them after they’ve completed their end of the matching gift process. Make sure to keep them in the loop on the status of their request and thank them again after their employer has completed the match, too.
When you have complete donor data on file in your CRM, sending out personalized messages is a breeze. With the right software, you can even automate many of these steps so that most of the matching gift process is all taken care of for you.
Matching gifts can have an astonishing impact on your fundraising results, but perhaps the most surprising part of this strategy is how easy it can be for your team to pull off.
With these tips in mind, you’ll be prepared to go forth and reap the benefits of corporate giving through the power of online communication. Good luck!
Adam Weinger is one of the leading experts on corporate giving programs.
He’s the President of Double the Donation, a company which helps organizations raise more money from employee matching gift and volunteer grant programs. The company partners with nonprofits ranging from arts and cultural organizations, hospitals, educational institutions, and community based organizations to help them increase fundraising from corporate giving programs.
Adam is a frequent contributor to many leading nonprofit magazines and blogs, including NonprofitPro, GuideStar, Nonprofit Marketing Guide, Top Nonprofits, Nonprofit.About.com and of course, Double the Donation’s blog.
Organizations looking to learn more about employee matching gift and volunteer grant programs should check out the resources the company provides which include lists of the top matching gift and volunteer grant companies.