By Dawn Clark

Early in 2022, we expanded our scope of work with one of our longtime clients to include Donations Management. Part of our expanded responsibilities included researching, planning, and executing a matching gifts program. 

Fortunately, matching gifts programs are not new to us, as we manage similar programs for another non-profit client. We were able to use our past knowledge and experience as a resource to pick and choose which parts of their processes we wanted to adopt and what we wanted to tweak to be a better fit for this client. 

Matching gifts are donations from a donor’s employer that match the amount of the original donation, typically on a 1:1 ratio, but sometimes higher. These donations can have a huge impact on the overall success of a fundraising campaign and the programs they fund, so it was important for us to get this program up and running ASAP. We wanted to make sure we weren’t leaving potentially matchable money on the table. Every dollar adds up! 

While building a super-solid matching gift program is vital, it’s ultimately up to the donor to make the magic happen. Because of this, an effective communication and follow-up plan that helps donors navigate the system is crucial to the overall success of this program. In fact, many donors are unaware their company matches charitable donations. At the average non-profit organization, only 1.31% of individual contributions are matched! Communication is extremely important to help boost this percentage.  

If you’re currently building or thinking about building a matching gifts program, here are our three most important communication tips. 

  1. Utilize engaging messaging before, during and after the donation process
  2. Create both automated and personalized follow-up messages to donors
  3. Establish easy-to-follow instructions to provide the donor with as much support as possible to get them to cross the finish line 

Managing a matching gifts program also requires a lot of patience…like, a lot! Even after you do everything right and the donor does all the things they need to do, you still could have to wait 3-6 months to see the outcome of all those efforts and get the payout from the donor’s employer. But, it feels like a sweet, sweet victory when you do. Since the program’s inception, matching gift revenue has been, on average, more than $6,500 per month. We’re sure to celebrate each match with our donors, participants, and clients because we know with each one, they’re able to continue the life-changing work they do with those funds.  

Has your organization added matching gifts to your fundraising strategy? If not, do you need help getting started? Send us a note, we’re here to help make sure you don’t leave any money on the table. 

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