“Easy” Money: Are you Maximizing Matching Gifts?
I received an email from a donor the other day, with a matching gift question. He and his wife had made a gift of $750. He had already submitted a matching gift request to his employer, which matches gifts 3:1. He wanted to know if his wife, whose company matches gifts 1:1, could submit a request as well. I admit I had to think for a minute, and honestly do a little research. I quickly learned that yes, they both can, indeed should, request matching gifts. In this case, the donors’ $750 gift easily leveraged $3,000 in additional income for my client.
This donor’s inquiry served as a timely reminder to review my client’s matching gift program – and to invest some time in ensuring we’re using strategies to maximize this “easy” income. I suggest you set aside some time this week to review and assess your organization’s matching gift program, by asking:
Do you have a designated matching gift coordinator on your team?
If you’re part of a small shop, you probably don’t, although you should. It’s vital you ensure one team member’s responsibilities include matching gifts.
Are you actively promoting matching gifts?
Once you’ve designated a staff member with matching gift responsibility, you can build your program through awareness. Donors need to know about matching gifts before they can request them! Use all of the tools you have to promote awareness: add a line to your donation form, include information on your website, add a P.S. to your acknowledgment letter, share a donor-matching gift impact story in your newsletter. The possibilities are endless.
Do you collect employer information for your constituents?
Strive to learn who employs your donors and include that information in individual records in your database. If you know where someone works, you can easily determine if their gift is eligible for a match. If so, you can reach out to the donor to thank them for their gift – and to ask them to double, or even triple, their impact. Don’t forget to encourage their spouses to request a matching gift, too!
Do you make it easy for your donors to secure matching gifts?
Give your donors some clear, concise instructions for secure matching gifts. Most companies’ program work the same way, so you can list the typical steps involved for donors. You can also promote a list of companies in your area that match gifts to your organization.
Do you have a system for tracking matching gifts?
An internal system that tracks requests through to fulfillment is essential to your success. Standardization and systematization will help maximize results.
Are you thanking your donors and the matching gifts companies?
We all know the number one rule of fundraising: thank, thank, and thank again. Be sure you thank your donors for their gift, and for requesting their employers’ match as well. Be sure you thank the proper person at the company, too. Matching gifts can be an entrée into a deeper, more significant philanthropic relationship with a company.
With relatively little effort, you’ll begin to see improved results with your matching gifts program. Do you have a strategy that works well for you, or a success story to share? Please post it in the comments below!
by: Molly Galo, Senior Consultant HUB Philanthropic Solutions