How to Train and Onboard Your Nonprofit Volunteers

If you have volunteers within your nonprofit organization, consider the following multiple-choice question:

Volunteers exist to: a) save us money or b) make us money.

There isn’t a right or wrong answer here. But it does reflect on your attitude toward training your volunteers.

If volunteers are all about saving you money, then you might question why you should invest in their training. After all, training is an expense, and they’re about saving, not costing you money. In that case, stop here. You wouldn’t want to look at an alternative, right?

On the other hand, if you see volunteers as a way of making your nonprofit money, read on to find out how to train and onboard your dedicated volunteers!

1. Better understand your volunteers’ value.

When you’re looking to get the most out of your volunteers, keep in mind that “making money” doesn’t just mean an increase in revenue. It’s providing great mission services so that clients talk up your nonprofit to others. It’s keeping your files in order so your staff can make more appointments. It’s treating your assets like their own when stewarding your finances. It’s attending town council meetings so your local government understands how serious your cause is to the community. And yes, it’s selling their share (and more) of tickets to your upcoming fundraising gala.

2. Invest in volunteer management software.

When you look at volunteers like an endowment—a reserve that makes money that you can use to move your mission ahead—that is when you get the most from your volunteers. 

If you take this approach, it quickly becomes obvious that just like a typical finance manager, you’re going to need some organization to track your assets so you can get the most from them. In today’s world, that means investing in software.

In other words, if you’re going to manage more than a handful of volunteers, putting a volunteer management software system in place is essential to carry out key functions such as:

  • Organizing records. This houses your volunteer personnel files, and allows you to send one-to-one and mass communication with volunteers, make notes on conversations, and even record disciplinary actions.
  • Scheduling and tracking hours. The bane of most volunteer managers’ lives is scheduling. Knowing who needs to be someplace and when, how many volunteers are needed in each role, and how much time they contribute gives you a better picture of individual volunteers and your program as a whole. Plus, effective hour tracking is critical for additional funding opportunities—such as volunteer grants
  • Tracking training and qualifications. Volunteers progress in training at various rates, and you need to know who is qualified for what when making assignments.  
  • Evaluating volunteer progress. How are they doing? It’s a question you need to ask and answer from the board down to the office clerk. A formal evaluation system, recorded so you can refer to it on a regular basis, is a great decision-making tool, even if the decision is whether they remain as a volunteer or not.
  • Recognizing accomplishments. Do you have a “Volunteer of the Year/Month/Week” award? Being able to systematize the process through your software can take the politics, and headaches, out of the decision. Plus, it’ll make sure your volunteers feel appreciated!

Remember, for volunteers to make you money, you need to be as time-efficient as possible with both your time and theirs. Using the right software will be a major step in that direction.

3. Emphasize strategic volunteer onboarding processes.

All this is good, but let’s get a little more granular. For instance, what are you tracking? 

Perhaps your mother said to you “what starts right ends best.” You never knew she had volunteer training in mind when she said this! But she’s correct: it’s essential to start off right. Since at some point or another, everyone is a newbie, let’s start there.

Onboarding is a lot more than introducing your volunteers and telling them where the bathroom is. It starts with some data collection. You need all of the basics—such as name, address, phone number, and these days, even their social media account handles—so they get all of your latest news. Don’t forget to get an emergency contact name and number, too!

Getting some professional background information will be very helpful as well. That will give you insight into their skills and interests. Do they already come with some of the mandatory training or clearances that are needed for your work, like child protection and background checks? That’s essential information to have.

Have they already interacted with your nonprofit in another capacity—as a donor, a client, or a customer? Knowing this means they already have some familiarity with your mission, or at least how you fund it.

Need a checklist of 25 onboarding ideas? Get it here.

4. Explore low-cost and effective training resources.

After you get the information you need from your volunteers, it’s time to get them more intricately connected with your mission. You want to strike a balance between time efficiency and personalization. 

You don’t need a high production-value training course. In fact, your volunteers may connect with you and your mission better if your content has a bit of homemade quality. However, it’s important to remember some best practices like these:

  • Create short segments that are hyper-focused on one aspect of your work. Single segments of less than five minutes are best. You want the information to be easily digestible. Long segments could mean that your volunteer stops in the middle and never comes back. 
  • Consider a short quiz with a few questions between segments to help increase retention. 
  • Create an outline of topics like history, mission statement, impact, clients, volunteer roles, and more. If you can get clients, community members, or other volunteers to narrate your training, all the better. 
  • Make training resources available online, preferably in a passworded section of your website. That makes them portable so your volunteer can look at them at any time, and exclusive, so your volunteer feels like they’re getting on the “inside” of your nonprofit.

If you can automate a connection between your volunteer management software and the completion of the quizzes, great! If not, be sure to record their progress manually—a good job for a volunteer! 

As your volunteer progresses through the sequence, ask them about their progress. Do more than say “how are you doing with those videos?” Inquire about their response to certain aspects of what they see. For example, you might ask, “what was your response to our client Betty, when she told the story of why she came to us?” 

If your organization requires mandatory training on topics like child protection, and your volunteer hasn’t completed the necessary program, your next step is to provide or arrange for external training and clearances. 

The information provided in your basic orientation is great for anyone to have, whether they follow through with volunteering or not. But you don’t want to waste time if your volunteer doesn’t qualify to take part in your mission. Plus, it’s important to remember that if these programs are required by governmental authorities or your nonprofit’s policies, you cannot have them do any work until they pass. 

Now comes the specialty training that’s tailored to their specific work with your nonprofit. It may be in accounting, fundraising, board service, marketing, mission services, or a wide variety of other areas. Today, with so much available online (including many of your volunteer opportunities!), you can and should put together a robust program from a variety of sources. 

An online education platform like Nonprofit.Courses can be a great help. It aggregates thousands of nonprofit education videos of a variety of lengths and topics, most of which are free and open access. For a fee, they can even set up a specific page for your volunteers and help you curate content.


Now, with your volunteers trained and ready, it’s time to make some money. Good luck!

Matt Hugg is an author and instructor in nonprofit management in the US and abroad. He is president and founder of Nonprofit.Courses, an on-demand, eLearning educational resource for nonprofit leaders, staff, board members, and volunteers, with thousands of courses in nearly every aspect of nonprofit work.  

Nonprofit Event Registration: 5 Tips for Sign-Up Forms

The registration process can be one of the first touchpoints that a supporter has with your organization. In fact, you’re more likely to host a well-attended and effective event if it’s easy for supporters to register. For this reason, you want the sign-up process to be easy and accessible to anyone who has expressed interest in your work. 

If you want to perfect the way that your nonprofit handles events, you might as well start with the first step of the attendee experience: the sign-up. One of the best ways to ensure that your donors will get involved with your events is by offering a seamless registration process. This way, you prevent any additional hurdles between your supporter and your activities. 

For example, according to Regpack, 90% of applicants prefer to register for an event online, so only offering in-person registration might lower your number of attendees. These mistakes are the ones you’ll want to avoid as your event schedule returns to its pre-pandemic level.

To help streamline your registration process, we’ve picked our top 5 tips for sign-up forms so that your donors can easily add their names to your event list. Here are our picks: 

  1. Only ask necessary questions.
  2. Use one or two powerful images.
  3. Optimize your form for mobile.
  4. Make your “submit” button stand out.
  5. Compile reports on attendance data.

Using these 5 tips will help you optimize your registration form for success, ensuring that your organization is off to the right start for this exciting new chapter. With an effective and easy-to-use sign-up form, you can prevent donors from potentially abandoning your event and instead increase your attendance rate.

1. Only ask necessary questions.

These days, it feels like we are filling out all kinds of online forms, so you want to be mindful of your donor’s time when you’re designing your sign-up process and form. Be sure to only ask for necessary information. Simplifying your website and registration form makes it less likely that potential attendees will abandon the form due to a lengthy process. The last thing you want is for a supporter to be interested in your event, only to exit out because the form was too long.

You could try using an online form builder to ensure that you’re getting everything you need without a lot of extra fluff. For example, you should ask for information such as: 

  • Name
  • Contact information 
  • Payment information
  • Dietary restrictions, if you’re offering food

It might seem obvious to only include necessary information, but you might think that some questions are essential when they really aren’t for event registration. You might consider leaving out: 

  • How the donor learned about your event 
  • Questions about the donor’s demographics (age, gender, race, etc.)
  • If the donor has attended one of your events before

If you do want to know this information, try asking at the event or sending a follow-up survey after the event has ended. You could also split your form into multiple pages. However, be sure to keep each page relatively short, as you do not want attendees to abandon your form because the process is tedious.You want to make it as easy as possible for the donor to register and attend your program, which will do more to build a connection than extra information fields. 

Ultimately, you want your form to follow a logical order that is free of unnecessary extra steps. Here’s a bonus tip: use registration software that adapts in real-time as registrants provide information so the supporter doesn’t have to see any irrelevant information. For instance, if your supporter doesn’t have any dietary restrictions, don’t allow the registration form to show them potential allergies.

2. Use one or two powerful images.

Now that you have a streamlined registration form, you might want to add some images to make it more engaging. Visuals make a huge difference in developing your nonprofit into a memorable and engaging brand. However, including too many images can actually distract the potential attendees from completing your form. 

Rather than having several compelling visuals on your registration page, use just one or two eye-catching images. Fewer pictures can help maintain your audience’s engagement levels without being too distracting. 

When choosing your images, you want to be selective. Make sure the images: 

While it may seem contradictory with images, less is more. One striking image can do a lot more than several mediocre ones, and it might even give a potential attendee the final push they need to register for an interesting and socially-beneficial event.

3. Optimize your form for mobile.

Designing your content for mobile use has become more and more important every year. Most people tend to access the Internet from their mobile devices, and engaging with your nonprofit through their phones is no exception. In fact, 360MatchPro found that donors made 33% of their online donation transactions on mobile devices in 2019. 

The frequency with which users engage with your content on their phones means that the mobile version of your website should be aesthetically pleasing and functional. Isn’t it annoying when you try to view a website on your phone, only to find that it’s too zoomed out, too zoomed in, or takes forever to load? By optimizing your website for mobile use, you’re ensuring that your user’s experience will be as satisfactory as possible.

If you’re not sure where to begin with your mobile optimizations, start with these adjustments: 

  • Images and text should modify in proportion to the size of the screen 
  • Forms should still be accessible and easy to fill out 
  • The page should load as fast as possible 

When so much online traffic comes from mobile engagement, it’s important to ensure your event registration page is optimized for phone use. The easier it is for your supporters to sign up, the more likely that they will. 

4. Make your “submit” button stand out.

Your “submit” button is how your donors seal the deal, so you want it to be unique and engaging. Don’t forget to exclude unnecessary or repeated questions to keep your registration form as short as possible. keep your entire registration on a single page, with the “submit” button on the bottom. 

Here are some ways you can make your “submit” button stand out: 

  • Use a bold font 
  • Incorporate striking colors
  • Draw your donors to the “submit” button with a compelling tagline
  • Choose your words wisely — a straightforward call-to-action like “submit” or “register” will be more effective than a longer phrase

You’ll also want to be sure that registrants will receive confirmation that they’ve registered, whether it’s a different page that shows their submitted information, an email confirming their RSVP in their inbox, or both. In this confirmation, you could include pertinent details about the event, such as the location, the time to arrive, or what to bring.

5. Compile reports on attendance data.

With the right event registration technology, you can pull reports that provide valuable information about sign-ups and attendance. This data can give you a better idea of which supporters are involved and which ones aren’t. Now you can strategize different ways to re-engage donors who might have become disconnected from your nonprofit. 

But who’s signing up for your events isn’t the only thing that you can track. You can also collect data about: 

  • Conversion rates on your registration page
  • Attendance rates compared to registrations
  • Registrants who have paid and those who haven’t
  • Attendance trends over time as you host more events

If you want to go above and beyond, you could even try A/B testing to compare the effectiveness of specific portions of your registration page or emails. Doing so might help you determine which strategies work best for your supporters.


With these 5 tips, you can improve your registration process, making it faster for supporters to sign-up and easier for you to manage your events. And although your programming efforts are likely focused on in-person events, all of these tips could still apply to planning virtual events

But here’s a good rule of thumb for any event: always prioritize your supporter’s registration experience. Streamlining the sign-up process is a crucial step in boosting your attendance numbers.

Matching Gift Initiatives at 5 Higher Ed Institutions

Higher ed institutions everywhere are making a difference in their students’ lives and education. But a lot of student success depends on those colleges and universities having the resources they need to continue their programming. 

For that reason, fundraising is a huge priority at higher ed institutions. Without funding, institutions can’t continue to provide the quality education that they promise their students, or even research opportunities for faculty.

That’s why identifying opportunities to maximize funding is so important. As such, we’ve compiled a list of some prime examples of higher ed institutions that have taken their fundraising efforts very seriously.

More specifically, these institutions have tapped into corporate matching gifts.

By actively promoting and encouraging donors to check their eligibility for a match through their employers, these five institutions have doubled the impact of their donations on more than one occasion. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how they’ve done this so you can start raising more for your institution.

Here are the examples we’ve pulled together:

  1. University of Georgia
  2. Carnegie Mellon University
  3. Utah Valley University
  4. Syracuse University
  5. University of Michigan

Hopefully by seeing the matching gift initiatives these schools have taken, you’ll be inspired to start tapping into this form of corporate philanthropy on your own. Let’s begin. 

Example 1: University of Georgia & Matching Gifts

The University of Georgia made our list because their dedicated matching gifts page offers both educational and actionable information to encourage donors to submit a match request. This page is easily accessible from the navigation bar (How to Give → Matching Gifts) and immediately catches our eye with a graphic that illustrates how matching gifts can maximize impact.

Here’s a look at the first part of the page:

Here's a closer look at UGA's matching gift initiatives.

UGA’s matching gift page outlines simple instructions for submitting a matching gift, as well as a contact form for any additional questions.

Now let’s look at the rest of the page:

UGA uses a company name search tool as part of its matching gift initiatives.

This is where it gets interesting! UGA has embedded a company name search tool from Double the Donation, which makes it easy for donors to find the information they need about their employer’s matching gift program. 

Below that, they’ve listed some top employers who match donations with information about their respective guidelines. Here’s an example:

As part of their matching gift initiatives, UGA lists some of the top matching gift companies for donors to see.

There’s also more matching gift contact information for anyone with questions, as well as an EIN number and accreditation info.

UGA’s matching gift efforts aren’t just limited to this page. They have also embedded the same matching gift search tool into their donation form, and the tool is branded to match the rest of their page.

UGA is also promoting matching gifts on social media. Check out this Facebook post:

Here's an example of UGA's matching gift initiatives on social media.

Asking followers, “Do You Match?” with a corresponding image is a creative approach to encouraging donors to determine their matching gift eligibility. The post also offers basic information about how matching gifts work.

Lastly, UGA sends out automated emails once a match-eligible donor has submitted their donation. The email features a banner at the top that illustrates how matching gifts work:

As part of its matching gift initiative, the University of Georgia uses this educational banner at the top of its emails.

The email then includes the below copy:

Dear Jane,

Thank you for your gift to the University of Georgia. Every day, donors like you are changing lives. What if you could change even more by applying for a matching gift?

Your donation of $50 is eligible for a matching gift from The Home Depot!

Please see the below instructions and documentation to submit a matching gift request:

Step 1: Start the matching gift submission process! [Click here]

Once you’ve submitted your matching gift request, please help us keep our records up to date by clicking the following link:

Step 2: I’ve submitted my matching gift request! [Click here]

If your or your spouse’s company doesn’t offer a matching gift program or won’t match your donation, please let us know by clicking the link below:

I’m not eligible for a matching gift.

Below is the information that we have about your company’s employee giving program. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me directly by email at matching@uga.edu. I am happy to help you manage the matching gift process and provide support for any other needs you may have.

Best regards and Go Dawgs!

This email identifies the donor’s employer and offers direct links to start the matching gift submission process and indicate their status. Additional information about their employer’s matching gift program is listed underneath this text, as well.

UGA is an excellent example of providing educational information that encourages donors to look up their matching gift eligibility. The university covers all their bases on social media, their website, and in email outreach.

Example 2: Carnegie Mellon University & Matching Gifts

Our next example comes straight from Carnegie Mellon University. Carnegie Mellon also offers actionable verbiage and options to encourage donors to match their gifts through their employer. Their matching gifts page is easily accessible from their “Give” page (Ways to Make Your Gift → Matching Gifts).

Let’s take a closer look:

Here's a closer look at Carnegie Mellon University's matching gift initiatives.

The top of the page offers brief but useful information about matching gifts, along with instructions on how to submit a matching gift directly to the university or process it online.

Following this part of the page is an embedded search tool (also from Double the Donation), which automatically pulls up company names and information once the donor starts typing in it. 

This page is easy to find and a great example of promoting matching gifts because it offers the information needed, as well as a phone number, email address, and mailing address for their Gift Administration office.

But again, the matching gift information isn’t limited to this page. On CMU’s donation form, there’s a checkbox where donors can indicate “My company will match my gift.” If selected, an option to search for the donor’s employer pops up along with the company name search tool:

Carnegie Mellon University promotes its matching gift initiative right on the donation form.

Carnegie Mellon does an exemplary job of educating their donors and web visitors about matching gifts and guiding them through the process.

Example 3: Utah Valley University & Matching Gifts

Utah Valley University is another great example of a higher ed institution that puts matching gifts front and center during their cultivation and donation process. Their matching gifts page is easily accessible from the menu of their main Institutional Advancement page (Ways to Give → Matching Gifts).

This page starts with a brief but precise description of what matching gifts are and how donors can search for their company to determine their own eligibility. Below this description is a company name search tool donors can use to look up their company’s program:

Here's a closer look at Utah Valley University's matching gift initiatives.

This page also includes the name and contact information for the Director of Annual Giving.

For supporters who are ready to make a donation, UVU offers the same search tool on their donation page. The tool matches the rest of the form and helps donors find their company guidelines on a subsequent page:

As part of their matching gift initiatives, UVU offers a company name search tool right on their donation form.

Finally, UVU sends out automated emails to donors who have been identified as match eligible. Here’s an example of an email they send to those donors:

Dear Jane,

We appreciate your generous donation of $50 on Jan 11, 2021, and are pleased to inform you that your donation is eligible for a matching gift from your employer, The Home Depot. Your impact on UVU students will significantly increase merely by following the instructions below and submitting your request to The Home Depot!

Good news! Many employers also extend their matching gift program to retirees and spouses, too. We invite you to search for any other companies you may have a connection to.

Step 1: See if I’m eligible! [Click here]

Please see the below instructions and documentation to submit a matching gift request. Please make note of your company’s established deadline to ensure enough time is allowed for processing. Thank you for your prompt attention.    

Step 2: Start the matching gift submission process! [Click here]

Once you’ve submitted your matching gift request, please click the following link to let us know!

Step 3: I’ve submitted my matching gift request! [Click here]

If your company doesn’t offer a matching gift program or won’t match your donation, please let us know by clicking the following link:

I’m not eligible for a matching gift.

Thank you again for partnering with us in providing exceptional care to our students. If you have any questions regarding this process, please reach out to us at matchinggifts@uvu.edu or 801-863-5426.  

Regards,

UVU Annual Giving

This email identifies the donor’s employer, outlines how they can go about submitting a match request, and offers additional contact information. More information about the specific company’s guidelines are listed below this text, as well.

UVU does a great job offering numerous ways for donors to learn about matching gifts through multiple channels, as well as providing actionable tools donors can use to submit their match requests.

Example 4: Syracuse University & Matching Gifts

As soon as donors land on Syracuse University’s matching gifts page, they’re greeted with helpful information about corporate matching gifts and a company name search tool. From there, donors can follow the brief and easy instructions on the page to search for their company and click on the appropriate button to submit a match, if they’re eligible:

Here's a closer look at Syracuse University's matching gift initiatives.

This matching gifts page is easy to access from the navigation bar (Ways to Give → Matching Gifts). To get visitors started on the donation process, the page also includes a prominent “Give now!” button that leads them straight to the donation form.

What’s notable about this page is that every element is branded to match the university’s colors, creating a consistent experience for donors and a visually appealing page and form.

Syracuse also sends out automated emails to match-eligible individuals who have completed a donation. Here’s what that email looks like:

Dear Jane,

Your donation of $50 made on Jan 11, 2021 is eligible for a matching gift from The Home Depot!

Please see the below instructions and documentation to submit a matching gift request. 

Match your donation and DOUBLE your impact!

Once you’ve submitted your matching gift request, please click the following link to let us know!

I’ve submitted my matching gift request!

If your company doesn’t offer a matching gift program or won’t match your donation, please let us know by clicking the following link:

I’m not eligible for a matching gift.

Below this text, Syracuse’s email also includes specific information about the employer’s matching gift guidelines, including their match ratio, minimum and maximum match amounts, employee eligibility, and deadlines.

Syracuse does an excellent job maintaining a consistent brand, communicating with donors, and guiding them through the matching gift process.

Example 5: University of Michigan & Matching Gifts

The University of Michigan is our final example of effective higher education fundraising through matching gifts. Donors can access their matching gift page from the navigation bar of the university’s philanthropy website (How to Support → Matching Gifts). From there, the page offers information about different ways to submit a matching gift request.

One way is—you guessed it!—by using their embedded company name search tool. Donors can read the step-by-step instructions on the page before using the search tool and beginning the gift process:

Here's a closer look at the University of Michigan's matching gift initiatives.

Contact information is also included on this page, and donors can direct their matching gift questions to the university via email, phone number, or snail mail.

The University of Michigan offers substantial information to its supporters to ensure they understand what matching gifts are, how to determine their eligibility, and what steps they can take to submit a match request. 

Additional Resources

If you’re part of a higher education institution and you’re looking for ways to incorporate matching gifts into your fundraising efforts, we hope these five matching gift examples have gotten the ball rolling!

Looking for even more resources about matching gifts? We’ve handpicked some of our top articles below:

As part of your own matching gift initiatives, consider using Double the Donation!

Leveraging Direct Mail for Your Annual Fund Campaign: 5 Tips

Launching your annual fund campaign is a critical task for nonprofits, and it is important to get the most out of your efforts to best pursue your mission. In order to fulfill your needs, it’s a good idea to leverage effective planning and promotion strategies to get the word out far and wide.

And how can you do that? We suggest direct mail.

Adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge for all sorts of organizations, yet we know that your mission needs support now more than ever.

At GivingMail, we work to provide a simple and affordable way for nonprofits to build relationships with supporters and fund their causes. We’ve seen the power of direct mail firsthand, and we believe that it has the potential to make a difference in your annual campaign. 

Specifically, these five tips can help maximize the impact of your fundraising dollars and bring in more revenue for your annual fund:

  1. Launch a marketing campaign ahead of time
  2. Seek out a fundraising consultant
  3. Target existing and repeat donors
  4. Incorporate data-driven strategies
  5. Work with a direct mail partner

Ready to dive into each of these nonprofit fundraising tips and discover the power of direct mail for an annual campaign? Let’s get started.

1. Launch a marketing campaign ahead of time

Your nonprofit marketing strategies can make or break your annual campaign’s potential net donations. Marketing to get the word out prior to your annual campaign is a valuable strategy that can serve both immediate and long-term needs well. 

Ensuring that people know about your organization and its mission prior to receiving your largest asks will help people recognize you by name and make it more that they’ll contribute. However, the message should be clear, explaining the reason behind your cause and that a more significant appeal is coming.

This way, you can give supporters a taste of what they are going to support and hopefully excite them to donate when the time comes for your large-scale annual mailing.

2. Seek out a fundraising consultant

If you’re looking to maximize the ROI (or return on investment) of your annual fund campaign, we recommend seeking a nonprofit consultant. After all, fundraising consultants provide unique expertise and can help guide your campaign in the right direction—especially if you’re not sure where to start. 

The right fundraising consultants are not only good at helping you accomplish what you need, but they can also help you discover what exactly it is that you do need. These professionals are well-versed in giving tendencies and understanding which recipients are most likely to donate to your cause. 

Each segment of your audience has different things that are important to them, and your donors will respond better to your mailing if your messaging specifically appeals to their wants and needs. However, it can be difficult to make sure your appeals are carefully crafted with the intended recipient in mind—which is where your consultant comes in.

Decisions like these can grow the potential your mailing has of bringing in the most amount of donations possible. Not to mention, it certainly won’t be their first experience with an annual fund campaign.

3. Target existing and repeat donors

One-off donations can be great for certain causes. However, for long-term success, repeat donors provide more sustainability and reliability. For a successful annual fund campaign, we recommend largely targeting existing supporters.

It’s also cheaper to retain an existing donor than it is to constantly seek one-time donations. That means that existing supporters often make the best contributors for annual campaigns because of their tendency to show continued support. After all, repeat donors have shown their desire to be a part of your organization and its mission. 

To keep repeat donors on board, however, it’s critical that you provide a streamlined giving process and effectively communicate a donor’s impact. When contributing is simple and they understand how their gifts are being used, they’re more likely to give time and time again.

4. Incorporate data-driven strategies

Your fundraising data is a vital resource in determining the best ways to maximize your ROI. It also allows you to track the performance of your direct mail appeals and other fundraising asks, and to think of new ways to produce the best possible results.

Even better, data-driven strategies are great for segmenting your audience and making the most of each piece of mail you send. A great way to do this is to use a donor management software or CRM

These process your donors’ information and help you manage their preferences, contact information, and engagement history to personalize your outreach and make donors feel like valued members of your organization. This way, you can determine what works best for you and your particular audience, and in what areas there is room for improvement. 

5. Work with a direct mail partner

While direct mail is one of the most profitable fundraising channels available, it’s also one that can take a great deal of time and effort to pull off successfully. Working with a direct mail partner is a huge asset in terms of maximizing donations and reallocating resources. 

These companies can help you design, produce, and manufacture your direct mail appeals to send for your annual campaign. They have tested their products time and time again and are your best bet for maximizing your ROI.

Effective mailing partners can teach you some very important strategies to boost your donations and provide an easy-to-use platform to streamline the entire process. For example, grabbing your supporters’ attention through the expertise of your partner is a huge step in the right direction in terms of getting a contribution.


All in all, effective direct mail strategies have the potential to bring your annual fund campaign to the next level. By increasing your marketing efforts, targeting dedicated supporters, and leveraging previously collected fundraising data to improve your fundraising, you’ll be well on your way to a successful campaign. 

Plus, don’t forget to reach out to the experts for assistance if you’re not sure where to start—whether that’s a nonprofit fundraising consultant or a direct mail partner. Good luck and happy fundraising!

3 Tips for a Successful Virtual School Fundraiser

As schools are returning for the Spring 2021 semester, many are remaining in an entirely virtual or hybrid setting. This school year has brought forth many challenges of how to effectively involve the school community, as well as provide support for the students and staff.

Schools that have moved to a virtual setting during COVID must adjust their activities accordingly, including fundraising efforts. Especially in such uncertain circumstances, school fundraising is crucial for providing funding for new accommodations. The catch is, virtual fundraisers require unique or brand new strategies to be pulled off successfully. In addition, it’s crucial to have an effective marketing plan in place. With this information, going virtual can be an easy transition!

At 99Pledges, we’ve helped numerous schools take on all kinds of social-distanced fundraising challenges with effectiveness and ease. We’ve also accounted for issues schools may encounter when transitioning from in-person to virtual events. To help your school plan a successful virtual fundraiser, we’ve put together a list of things to consider when hosting one for your school. Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Deciding on an idea for your event
  • Planning out the fundraiser
  • Marketing to your school’s community

Remember, just because it’s crucial to remain distanced for such events, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your goals as a school. These events will ensure safety for your community members while providing a memorable event that involves the entire family. Let’s get started on how to move your fundraiser online.

Deciding on an idea for your fundraiser

With COVID, it can put pressure on your team to keep participants engaged if they can’t physically gather to support your cause. How will your school most effectively host an event for the whole family while in a virtual setting? 

Thankfully, there are many ways to plan a fun, yet fully virtual school fundraising event! The 99Pledges guide to school fundraising ideas offers a range of events to kickstart your team’s brainstorming. Our favorites include: 

  • A walkathon where walkers pick their own course to complete during a designated timeframe
  • A read-a-thon that can be logged online
  • A talent show made of videos to be voted on by your school community
  • A raffle that can be tuned into from home

Each of these events can keep your students and families safe and distanced from others. There are a lot of helpful online resources for specific events. For example, a walkathon can be planned and tracked through a running app (or logged manually through the honor system if needed). Therefore, participants can walk their own course but remain a part of a team effort to raise money.

We recommend taking a pledge approach to your school fundraisers because these campaigns are more engaging for students and will help you reach a wider audience. Pledge fundraisers are campaigns in which your participants gather support on their individual donor pages through pledges from their friends and family. Easy as that!

Remember, this step of the process can be tricky, but it can be a creative exercise to see which fundraising event ideas you can turn into online activities. Online guides such as the ones in this section are great places to start when your team needs extra inspiration!

Planning your event

Now that you’ve chosen which idea you want to go with for your fundraiser, your school must use best practices for smart virtual fundraising

Learning these tips now will serve your organization in the future. That’s because virtual fundraising events will likely remain a trend because of the wide range of benefits they offer, chief among them being cost-effectiveness and the ability to reach larger audiences. Here’s how to set one up.

First, choose your fundraising software. You’ll want to look for a platform that helps keep incoming contributions organized and offers donors a streamlined donation process. For instance, with the 99Pledges fundraising platform, your school can create a campaign page to serve as the main event hub. Then, each participant will be set up with their own fundraising pages that connect to your primary page. Your software should make it easy for donors to pledge money and for your participants to track their progress on their pages. The pledges will turn into fundraising dollars for your school after your event.

Then, strategize your campaign approach based on past event data. This can come from your records on who has contributed to your school in the past, who has participated in events, and how people found out about your fundraiser. Such information can help you ask strategic questions to propel your virtual event forwards such as:

  • What platforms of promotion lead to more first time engagements?
  • What were key motivators to donate in the past?
  • How do your donors prefer to give?
  • When are the best times to post on social media, or send an email?

With those things considered, be sure you’re taking advantage of the data your chosen software can collect. In a completely virtual setting, you can use new data about who donated, how they found your page, and more detailed information to develop a strategy for future events. 

Marketing your virtual school fundraiser

Now that your event has a concrete plan of action, your marketing timeline must attract support before, during, and after the virtual event.

Effective event marketing sets your school up for success in interacting with your supporters as well as your larger community. It’s an excellent opportunity to tell people about your school’s efforts and mission, and it establishes rapport in your community. In promoting your virtual event, consider the following steps:

Have your volunteers help spread the word.

Empower those who are already passionate about your cause to spread the word about your virtual event. Your volunteer base already has multiple networks they can pull support from including social and professional. Their friends and family are likely to donate because they see their loved one caring about your mission and will want to help. If your school is looking for great ambassadors consider the following groups:

  • School board members – These figures in your community are already dedicated supporters of your school and its efforts. Their promotion will reach large professional networks, especially those who are involved in education. 
  • Parent volunteers – These parents have likely participated in multiple school events, and they have a personal connection to your cause—the student. They are accustomed to devoting time and effort to your school, and their social networks involve local families and relatives who also have a personal connection to the student.

Your school’s ambassadors and volunteers can easily direct their networks straight to the relevant fundraising page, which will help your event tremendously. To empower them to do so, consider incentivizing them with special rewards, like a thank-you event or a free t-shirt. Appreciation goes a long way for volunteers.

Use the right platforms to communicate your message.

Once you find the right volunteers to market your virtual fundraiser, provide them with the right messaging tactics. Supply them with the right materials and tips for best practices.  For example, refer them to a Fundraising Letters donation request template to ensure a unified message. You’ll reach a larger audience of potential donors in no time.

Regardless of the platform, make sure your mission’s message is clear. Your call to action should lead donors to the correct webpages for your virtual event. If supplementing your fundraiser with an interactive event, the details of when and where to find it should be included as well. 

Then, consider which channels are most effective for your marketing strategy. Use multiple outlets to spread the word to a wide audience of potential contributors. This can include both digital and print mediums. Just be sure to use the platforms that are most relevant to the segments you’re trying to target. For example, if your previous donors frequently engage with your school’s emails, consider ways to personalize your email marketing most effectively. 

Other marketing channels can include:

  • Social media posts
  • Digital newsletters
  • Text updates
  • Direct mail
  • Handouts to students
  • Community bulletin boards

Just remember, the most effective marketing strategy across multiple platforms will help you reach a broader audience beyond just your students and their parents.


Although fundraising events adjusted to a virtual setting this year, it doesn’t mean your school has to sacrifice its goals. Remaining flexible as an organization is key for planning a virtual event during the COVID era. 

Build your teamwork skills by deciding on a creative virtual event idea. Then, use best practices to plan your event and strategies for fundraising. Finally, empower the members of your school community to help market your efforts. With these tips in mind, you’ll have a memorable and successful virtual school fundraiser!

Volunteer Grants - Learn the Basics

You’ve Never Heard of Volunteer Grants?! Learn the Basics

Let me ask you a question.

Yes, you.

Have you ever heard of volunteer grants?

Okay, better question:

Do you know what volunteer grants are and how to get them for your nonprofit?

You might already have an idea of how volunteer grants work, and perhaps occasionally even receive these grants for your organization. But let’s be honest: there’s probably a lot more we can do to maximize revenue from this channel.

That’s why we’ve put together this awesome guide to walk you through the basics you need to know to set your nonprofit up for success.

Because let’s be real: every extra dollar helps get you closer and closer to meeting your goals.

Without further ado, let’s get right to it!

So you might not know what volunteer grants are…

…or you might have an idea already. Either way, we’re going to break it down for you.

Volunteer grants are just one of many types of corporate giving programs. For this one, employers provide monetary grants to organizations where their employees volunteer on a regular basis.

Volunteer grants are monetary contributions companies make to nonprofits where their employees regularly volunteer.

So basically, if your nonprofit has a dedicated volunteer who devotes 15 hours a week to your organization, and their company offers volunteer grants, the company will pay you for those hours.

It’s worth mentioning that it doesn’t have to be 15 hours a week. Many companies have different hour requirements that can be met over a specified period of time. That’s just one example!

So in a nutshell, here’s how volunteer grants for nonprofits work:

First, an individual volunteers with your nonprofit. This can include performing office-related tasks, volunteering virtually, or any other roles your organization offers.

Second, that individual looks up their eligibility for a volunteer grant from their employer.

Third, if they find out they’re eligible, great! They can submit a request for a volunteer grant from their company.

And fourth, once the company has verified the hours with your nonprofit, your organization gets a check!

So what does it take to get a volunteer grant? Companies will vary by their requirements, but in general there will be a minimum number of hours that must be volunteered—sometimes within a year, or within each quarter—and the company will either pay by the hour, or provide a set amount once a threshold has been met.

That means some companies pay $25 per volunteer hour, while others might pay a set $500 after 40 hours have been contributed.

Seems pretty great, right? Unfortunately, a lot of nonprofits aren’t spending much time trying to get volunteer grants. It’s easy to let this opportunity fall to the wayside when you’ve got dozens of other things on your plate. And most volunteers don’t even know whether they’re eligible or how to check. But tapping into this type of corporate philanthropy is so worth it.

Wait…but what about Dollars for Doers?

Good point! Dollars for Doers is just another name for volunteer grants. In fact, there are a few names these programs go by:

  • Volunteer Grants
  • Dollars for Doers
  • Matching Time Programs
  • Dollar for Hour Programs
  • Grants for Time Programs

Regardless of the name, the concept is the same: monetary grants are given to your nonprofit for the volunteer work you’re already getting.

Listen to those volunteer grant statistics!

If you’re still not sold on the idea of volunteer grants, we’ve pulled together some key statistics that demonstrate how important (and common!) these programs actually are.

Here are some key volunteer grant statistics.

For example:

  1. 40% of Fortune 500 companies offer volunteer grant programs.

That is a huge percentage. And that’s just Fortune 500 companies. There are plenty of other businesses and corporations that offer some sort of volunteer grant program.

  1. 80% of companies with volunteer grant programs give between $8-$15 per volunteer hour.

Those dollars add up! If you have a dedicated group of volunteers, and many of them are eligible for volunteer grants, those accumulated hours will offer you a nice sum.

  1. The average corporate volunteer participation rate is 33%.

So about a third of corporate employees are volunteering. That means the chance that your volunteers work for companies with volunteer grant programs is pretty decent.

Source: Double the Donation Volunteer Grant and Volunteering Statistics

Reap the benefits of volunteer grants!

You’ve probably guessed by now, but there are so many benefits that come with volunteer grants. Aside from the obvious—getting extra money for your organization—volunteer grants are also great for individuals, companies, and the nonprofits they help.

For individual volunteers, these grants allow them to make an even bigger impact with the hours they give to your nonprofit. They already care about your mission and purpose; now they get to give you twice the support through one avenue.

For companies, offering volunteer grants that employees take advantage of means the company gets to maintain a positive public image. It also means their consumers and employees will be happier to work with them.

For nonprofits, you get to reap the benefits of building stronger relationships with both companies and volunteers. Your volunteers know the impact they’re making and will want to keep working with your organization. And company relationships could even turn into sponsorships or other regular programs!

Some companies offer team volunteer grants, where groups of employees from the same company can volunteer together at a nonprofit, and they can get a grant for that too!

There are many ways volunteer grants can help everyone involved. Why not take a step back and think about how they might help your organization in particular?

Manage your volunteers like a pro.

Volunteer grants are awesome for building relationships with your supporters, but part of getting a volunteer grant means communicating with volunteers and making sure they know how to submit those requests to their employers.

If you want to be successful at this, you’ve got to manage your volunteers like a pro.

First, start with the recruitment process. This is where you promote all the amazing work your volunteers get to do and offer up opportunities to get involved.

Second, engage your existing volunteer base and match them with roles they can do well and that they’re interested in.

Third, make sure they log all of their hours and encourage them to look up their eligibility for a volunteer grant.

Lucky for you, there’s corporate giving software out there that can give you easy access to a database of thousands of volunteer grant programs. This software comes with search tools you can embed anywhere on your website, so when volunteers type in the name of their employer, they’ll immediately see their volunteer grant guidelines.

Here’s an example of such a search tool:

Here's an example of a volunteer grant search tool.

And fourth, be sure to recognize your volunteers for a job well done! Thank them for requesting a volunteer grant, and thank them again when you receive it. Showing encouragement and how much you value their time and efforts will keep them coming back.

Managing volunteers can seem like a lot just on its own, but if you have a good process in place to track their hours, communicate with them, and keep them engaged, you’ll build up more loyalty and qualify for many more volunteer grants than you would’ve before.

How about some examples?

Some of us are visual learners, so here are some of the top companies with volunteer grant programs to give you an idea of how much businesses put toward corporate philanthropy.

Verizon’s Volunteer Grant Program

Verizon is one of the top companies with volunteer grant programs.

Verizon offers a Volunteer Incentive Program (VIP), which awards $750 to an organization after an employee volunteers 50 hours with that organization. Even better, Verizon employees can request up to two of these grants per year.

Microsoft’s Volunteer Grant Program

Microsoft is one of the top companies with volunteer grant programs.

Microsoft has another pretty generous volunteer grant program. With no minimum hours required, Microsoft employees can earn $25 per hour they commit to a nonprofit.

ExxonMobil’s Volunteer Grant Program

ExxonMobil is one of the top companies with volunteer grant programs.

ExxonMobil is a great example of a company with multiple volunteer grant programs. For their individual volunteer grant program, employees can get a $500 grant after volunteering 20 hours with an organization—and they can request up to four of these grants per year!

This company also offers team volunteer grant opportunities. Once a team of five or more employees volunteers for a total of at least 20 hours, they can receive a grant of $500. Employees are limited to $2,000 in grants per year, while individual organizations are limited to $5,000.

It’s pretty obvious that, while a lot of these programs vary from company to company, they’re still effective and can significantly boost the amount of money your nonprofit brings in.

Pro Tip: If you’re having trouble keeping track of all these companies and their volunteer grant programs, try a volunteer grant database! This software keeps up with both volunteer grant programs and matching gift programs.

So…how can you tap into these volunteer grants?

And now, the big finale! Now that you understand the basics around volunteer grants for nonprofits, it’s time to put all of that knowledge into action.

Let’s build on what we already know:

Many companies offer a variety of volunteer grant programs, so consider creating individual and team volunteer opportunities. Plan for group community service projects or create teams for your events. This will then boost the number of volunteers you get from a company, increase the grant money you receive, and build a long-term relationship with the company they came from.

Many volunteers don’t know whether they’re eligible for a volunteer grant at all, and many nonprofits don’t track their volunteers’ employer info. So consider educating your volunteers from the start to encourage them to check their eligibility. This can mean adding details about the volunteer grant process to your website or registration page, embedding a search tool into your site that they can use to look up their employer’s program, and adding this same info to your communication channels.

Many long-term relationships between companies and nonprofits start with small volunteer or donation opportunities. So consider taking advantage of corporate partnerships when you can. A lot of companies are into corporate social responsibility (CSR) these days, so think about companies whose values align with your mission and goals and see if they’re willing to partner with you. This partnership can include getting volunteers sent out to your organization and receiving grants for those hours. With the support of a company, you’ll have even more resources available to serve your mission.

Intrigued? Do some more research on volunteer grants!

Tapping into volunteer grants doesn’t have to be daunting. The more knowledge you arm your team with, the more successful you’ll be.

We hope this guide has helped your organization realize all the untapped volunteer grant opportunities you can benefit from! If you want to continue your research, we’ve handpicked some great resources to get you started:

Find more volunteer grant companies with Double the Donation!

6 Tips to Adjust Your Year-End Fundraising Strategy for 2021

At the start of a new year, it’s a great time for your organization to take an “out with the old, in with the new” mindset when it comes to your fundraising efforts. 

In this period of self-reflection, you might be looking to transform your fundraising plans to start seeing improved results. Start by analyzing your previous year-end fundraising strategy to discover opportunities to adjust and improve.

Your year-end giving plan is one of the most important aspects of your overall fundraising strategy for each year. DNL OmniMedia’s guide to year-end giving explains why this time period is so crucial for fundraising—not only does the holiday season put people in a charitable mindset, but the end of the year also represents the final opportunity for supporters to make tax-deductible donations before the new year. 

The stats reflect the importance of this period. According to Nonprofits Source, around 30% of annual giving happens in December, with about 10% of all annual donations coming in the last three days of the year. 

To adjust and improve your year-end fundraising strategy and maximize your fundraising gains in the new year, there are a few key tips to implement:

  1. Analyze your data from 2020.
  2. Consider virtual fundraising strategies
  3. Build relationships all year round
  4. Make a plan to start early
  5. Look for new revenue sources
  6. Partner with a tech consultant

In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at each of these tips and offer solutions along the way to get your year-end strategy in top shape with plenty of time for planning and organizing. As they say, the early bird gets the worm (or rather, the increased fundraising boost!), so let’s dive in. 

1. Analyze your data from 2020. 

Before you start looking ahead and constructing your year-end fundraising strategy for 2021, look back to your data from 2020 to get an idea of how successful your fundraising efforts were last year. 

Dig into your organization’s database to analyze past fundraising data. Use this information to find what your organization does well and where you have opportunities for improvement. 

For example, if your organization discovers that a lot of your supporters RSVP’d for year-end virtual events and gave a donation on top of their registration fee, you should maintain this as a primary part of your year-end campaign. However, you may also find that your email open rate is lower than expected, meaning there’s an opportunity to better optimize your email marketing strategies.

Keep these discoveries in mind as you construct your year-end plan for 2021.

2. Consider virtual fundraising opportunities. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the importance of virtual fundraising and amplified its use in the nonprofit sector. This trend for virtual fundraising opportunities is unlikely to go away, so learning how to incorporate it into your strategy now will help you in the future.

If you’re looking for virtual fundraising ideas, there’s no shortage of unique, fun opportunities to get people excited and inspired to contribute to your cause, especially around the year-end holiday season. A few options include:

  • Hosting a virtual cooking class that guides participants through a holiday recipe
  • Putting on a “most festive pet” photo contest where people “vote” on their favorite by contributing a donation in the name of their favorite photo
  • Selling tickets to a Netflix Party fundraiser featuring a film that relates to your mission or the holiday season 

These ideas and many more can be found on Fundly’s list of virtual fundraiser options, which includes specific ideas for nonprofits, schools, teams, and clubs, and more groups. These types of fundraisers serve a dual purpose of giving your supporters a fun activity to look forward to while also raising contributions to your organization.

3. Build relationships all year round. 

While the end of the year provides a great opportunity for raising funds, you don’t want to only reach out to your supporters at the end of the year. By building relationships throughout the year, you can increase your year-over-year retention rate and even increase your year-end donations. 

Focus on building relationships through stewardship activities and personalized outreach. For example, you can:

  • Host events and activities to show that you care about your supporters without asking them to open their wallets each time. In these appreciation events, show your supporters how much they are valued and the impact of their contributions to your organization. 
  • Personalize outreach to your supporters by using their names in all communications and taking their interests into consideration. Consider segmenting your donors or volunteers by common interests to simplify this process, ensuring you’re only giving people information that’s relevant to them. 
  • Keep people engaged all year online by maintaining your social media and website presence. This provides easy access points for volunteers and donors to get updates on your organization and donate when they’re inspired to do so.

Strong relationships are not only the foundation of your fundraising strategy, but your organization as a whole. Fostering the ongoing support of your volunteers and donors is crucial to maintain your supporter base year after year. 

4. Make a plan to start early. 

Year-end fundraising isn’t just about the month of December. In fact, many nonprofits really get things up-and-running in late summer (such as in August) or even earlier, when you can start marketing your upcoming events and lay the groundwork for the busy final months of the year. 

Therefore, it’s important to start planning for your year-end fundraising campaign early, so you don’t have to scramble as December approaches. This plan should include:

  • Your Giving Tuesday Campaign. Giving Tuesday is the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving and will probably be one of your busiest donation days of the year. Make sure you’re prepared for the day by rolling out a marketing plan a few weeks ahead of time on all your social media pages, your website, and your email newsletter. 
  • Holiday considerations for your supporters. Lean into the holiday good cheer by emphasizing the idea of the “season of giving” and focus your messaging and communication materials on this idea.
  • Emphasis on the last few days of the year when fundraising is most lucrative. Plan your biggest communications push for these last few days of 2021, where donors have their last chance to make a tax-deductible gift for the year. 

Careful planning guarantees that when the end of the year rolls around, you can be confident that you’ve increased awareness of your year-end events. This allows you to focus on executing your fundraising campaigns effectively and efficiently. 

5. Look for new revenue sources. 

For the new year, consider diversifying your revenue sources to widen the pool of donation options for supporters. For instance, in addition to your current year-end fundraising plans, you might try:

  • Incorporating matching gifts and volunteer grants. Corporate matching gifts are opportunities for companies to match contributions that their employees make to charities and nonprofits. Volunteer grants work in a similar way—companies reward a nonprofit with a donation once an employee volunteers a specified number of hours with that nonprofit. Encourage your supporters to investigate if their companies already have these programs or are interested in starting them.
  • Launching a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. While most in-person peer-to-peer fundraisers are still not possible, you can still host a successful fundraising campaign by incorporating the P2P framework into a virtual or socially-distanced event. This guide to virtual peer-to-peer fundraising includes several ideas for events that encourage participants to raise money before participating, such as virtual 5Ks or trivia competitions. 
  • Seek grants for specific projects. Take this opportunity to revamp your grant-writing strategy by identifying certain projects that would most benefit from grant funding. Be sure to implement the features of effective fundraising grant-writing—creating a unique proposal for each application, describing the similarities in the mission of your organization and the funder, and making your request captivating and unforgettable. 

Instead of relying on the same type of revenue year after year, expanding your funding sources can help you discover areas of untapped fundraising potential. 

6. Partner with a tech consultant. 

A nonprofit tech consultant can help your nonprofit get organized and strategize for online fundraising opportunities. 

When searching for a nonprofit strategy consulting firm, you’ll want to connect with a firm that understands your nonprofit’s fundraising goals and has the experience necessary to offer recommendations for future actions. 

Nonprofit tech consultants can help with tasks such as:

  • Implementing new technology. This may be helpful if you’ve decided that new tech will help you solve some of the challenges you encountered in 2020. For example, if it’s been awhile since your last website update and users have noted that it’s slow or difficult to navigate, a tech consultant can help figure out the best strategy for a redesign.
  • Analyzing your online fundraising efforts from 2020. Sometimes, having a third-party analyze your fundraising efforts helps ensure that you didn’t miss anything when analyzing yourself. For example, a consultant may notice an opportunity for your organization to take a stronger multi-channel approach to fundraising rather than relying on just one or two fundraising platforms. These experts can bring fresh eyes and insights to enhance your plan moving forward.
  • Developing analytics and data maintenance strategies. Nonprofit tech consultants offer backgrounds in data analytics that can set up your team to manage data more effectively. They can dive into your Google Analytics, for instance, to assess current website performance and implement new integrations to make the most of your online presence.

If you feel that your team could use a little extra push this year, a tech consultant might be the last piece of the puzzle your organization needs to confidently carry out your year-end fundraising strategy for 2021.


By following these recommendations, you can start your nonprofit off on the right foot this year and get a jumpstart on your year-end fundraising plans. Although the end of 2021 might seem far off, it’s never too early to line up your game plan for your year-end strategy to make sure you’re maximizing fundraising opportunities this year. Happy planning!

Matching Gifts for Higher Education

Matching Gifts for Higher Education: 7 Actionable Tips

If you work for a higher education institution, you know that bringing in donations is essential. After all, those contributions fund school programs, supplies and materials, and other crucial components that drive your curriculum.

But rather than asking donors to dig back into their pockets time after time, what if you could maximize their existing donations?

Corporate matching gifts describe when employers match the donations their employees make to eligible organizations and educational institutions. Matching gifts for higher education can go a long way, but you need an actionable plan to secure this source of fundraising revenue. 

Here at Getting Attention, we’ve compiled our best tips for grabbing the attention of your supporters and boosting your matching gift revenue.

1. Set Your Goals

Of course, when putting any plan into action, you’ll be working toward a specific goal. Craft a plan that details your matching gift revenue goals for the year, how you’re going to meet those goals and stay on track, and any deadlines you’ll want to meet in the process.

With tangible goals in place, your team is in a better position to actively work toward those goals. From there, you’ll be ready to dig deeper into how you’ll reach each milestone.

2. Promote Matching Gifts to Alumni Donors

Your alumni base is huge, and many of them have probably donated to your institution at some point. According to recent statistics, 84% of donors say they’re more likely to donate if a match is offered.

That’s why promoting matching gifts to your alumni donors is extremely important.

How can you promote matching gifts to alumni donors? We have a few ideas:

Here are four key ways you can promote matching gifts for higher education to alumni donors.
  • Email communications. Whether you’re sending out an email to thank a donor for their specific gift or sending out an alumni newsletter, it’s important to include information about matching gifts to raise awareness about this giving opportunity.
  • Phone calls. Are your current students phone banking for your school? Make sure they know to bring up matching gifts when speaking with prospective donors. Educate both the current students making the calls and your alumni donors so everyone has the information they need.
  • Direct mail. Another simple way to promote matching gifts for higher education is with direct mail outreach. Include a paper insert within your other mailings or send out a postcard that specifically highlights matching gift opportunities. 
  • Website. Prominently feature matching gifts on your institution’s website. This can be a mention on your donation page, on a dedicated matching gifts page, or even confirmation pages after a donation is completed.

Promoting matching gifts to your alumni donors doesn’t have to be a chore. With a set process in place that streamlines how you educate alumni about matching gifts, you’ll be in a better position to secure more matching gift revenue.

3. Customize Your Outreach

Your institution probably uses a donor database to keep track of all of your supporters. And you probably segment your communications to ensure different groups of people receive relevant communications.

Matching gift outreach is no different.

Whether you’re reaching out to new alumni, older alumni, small- or large-dollar amount donors, or donors who work for top matching gift companies, every message will be different.

For example, let’s say you’re performing prospect research to find major donors for your university. As you do this research, include a matching gift specification to target multiple alumni working for the same companies with matching gift programs. 

Once you’ve determined this information and established it within your donor database, send those individuals personalized outreach to encourage them to participate in their employer’s matching gift program.

When you customize your communications to individual donors and create targeted campaigns, you’re more likely to find higher engagement and response rates from your donor pool.

4. Keep the Donation Process Simple

This particular tip might seem obvious, but for a lot of organizations and institutions, it doesn’t always happen. Your donation form itself should be succinct and easy to fill out.

This means asking the bare minimum to capture necessary donor information. Extra fields like employer addresses and less relevant details will become laborious and discourage many prospects from completing the form.

Keep your donation form simple to encourage more matching gifts for higher education.

The simpler the giving process is, the more likely donors will complete their donations, many of which may be eligible for a corporate match.

5. Demonstrate Impact

One of the most actionable tips we can offer is demonstrating the impact donations and matching gifts will have on your school. This means specifically noting what certain dollar amounts will go toward.

Here's an example of how matching gifts for higher education can make a tangible impact.

Will $200 go toward new books for the school library? Will $500 go toward establishing a new student scholarship fund? Associating dollar amounts with a tangible item will encourage more donations, which could then be amplified by a company match!

6. Thank Your Donors

Beyond demonstrating the impact a donor’s contribution will have on your institution, another thing donors want is to be recognized. They want to know your institution appreciates their gift and that you value them as a supporter, alumni, or whatever their relationship may be.

In order to do this, it’s important to maintain open communication with your donors. 

Here are a few keys ways you can do this:

  • Thank your donors for the initial donation. This might seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. Thank your donors immediately for their donation. Email is the quickest and most efficient way to do this, but you can also send a printed letter in addition to the initial email confirmation, depending on their donation level and your institution’s budget.
  • Thank your donors for submitting a match request. If you’ve been tracking which donors submit a match request to their employer (which you should be!), make sure you thank them for getting the matching process started. This is a huge step they’ve taken to make their donation go twice as far, so showing your appreciation is crucial.
  • Thank your donors after the company match has been received. Once the company’s matching donation has come through, you owe it to your donors to update them and thank them once again. Let them know their donation has gone twice as far and how much of a difference this has made for your school. This also serves as a point of reference for them so they understand how long the process actually takes.

Here’s an example of a message that thanks a donor and notifies them that the corporate match has been received:

Here's an example of a message you can send to a donor once you've received their matching gift for higher education.

This outreach can take the form of an email or direct mail, depending on which point in the process your donors are and how much you want to spend on printed materials. But the end result is the most important: that your donors understand your appreciation for them, feel valued, and are inclined to donate again in the future.

7. Leverage an Accurate Matching Gift Database

While all of these tips will propel you forward in your matching gift fundraising, the process as a whole might still seem daunting. Our final tip applies to higher ed institutions that want to bring in more donations and matching gifts: invest in matching gift software.

Matching gift software streamlines the entire matching gift process from start to finish.

Setting goals, promoting matching gifts to alumni donors, customizing your outreach, and many of the other best practices we’ve mentioned can actually become easier if you take this step for your school.

The best part of using matching gift software? It gives you direct access to a matching gift database.

A matching gift database offers information on thousands of companies with matching gift programs. That’s right—thousands.

Below, we’ve outlined the top ways matching gift software can help higher education institutions like yours:

Keep tabs on matching gifts companies.

Matching gift policies at different companies will change on occasion. Some companies will no longer offer matching gifts, while others will institute brand new programs. So how can you stay on top of these matching gift companies?

Matching gift databases are consistently updated to ensure their information on each company is up-to-date and accurate.

Our favorite matching gift database solution, Double the Donation, has information on more than 20,000 companies, and they’re constantly keeping their entries updated so anyone who accesses the database gets accurate results.

Save your team a lot of work, research, and time by investing in a matching gift database that automatically pulls up the company information you and your donors need.

Offer a search tool widget that allows donors to find their employer’s matching gift info.

At this point, you might be wondering how you and your donors can actually access the matching gift database.

Well, it’s simple. Matching gift software like Double the Donation comes with a company name search tool that embeds anywhere on your website. This means donors can quickly look up their company’s matching gift program without needing to ask their HR departments or look it up on their own (or even more importantly, without leaving your website).

Here’s an example of a result you could get from the search tool:

This search tool widget offers information about matching gifts for higher education institutions.

These matching gift search tools are easy to use and immediately populate with essential info about the donor’s company’s program, such as:

  • Employee eligibility
  • Nonprofit eligibility 
  • Minimum and maximum match amounts
  • Match ratios

The tool will also typically include a link to the company’s matching gift forms so your donors can fill out the match request right then and there. Immediacy is important—donors are most engaged with your school as they’re donating, so offering them a direct link to the necessary forms at that moment will result in more completed match requests.

Automatically follow up on incomplete matches.

If you don’t have a set process in place for tracking and following up on incomplete matches, this can seem like an overwhelming task to take on.

But there’s another way you can seamlessly reach out to donors and follow up: a matching gifts automation platform.

Just as Double the Donation’s matching gift software makes it easy to find your donors’ company information, they also offer a second solution that automates the entire matching gift process.

360MatchPro by Double the Donation’s automated platform tracks matching gift submissions from start to finish. When donors give a gift on your donation form, the platform uses the information they provide, such as their email domain or employer details, to determine their eligibility for a matching gift. If it finds a link between a donor and a matching gift program, it will then trigger a follow-up email to the donor explaining how they can submit a match request. 

What if your team was able to spend more time on high-value matching gift opportunities, rather than chasing every last match-eligible donation that came through? That’s exactly what 360MatchPro allows you to do.

You’ll be able to choose how often follow-up emails go out, and with 360MatchPro’s tracking capabilities, you’ll easily track any incomplete matches and see more requests through to completion. 

Integrate your matching gift software with your fundraising software.

As a higher ed institution, you probably already use other fundraising software, like CRMs and online donation tools.

What if you could integrate these solutions with matching gift software? It would make tracking your data a lot easier, that’s for sure!

Our favorite automation platform, 360MatchPro by Double the Donation, integrates with more than 50 of these solutions. That means if a donor changes jobs, for instance, once a donation comes in and is logged within your CRM, 360MatchPro will automatically capture their new employer info and follow up if the company offers a matching gift program.

Integrate your CRM and other fundraising software with 360MatchPro by Double the Donation so you can get more matching gifts for higher education.

Top 360MatchPro Higher Ed Integrations

Among 360MatchPro’s many integrations, the software works with several higher education fundraising and CRM platforms. Here are some of the top integrations they offer:

GiveCampus

GiveCampus is a fundraising and volunteer management platform that helps educational institutions raise more. Their services include:

  • Donation forms
  • Volunteer management
  • Educational peer-to-peer fundraising

360MatchPro and GiveCampus’s integration allows donors to easily find their company’s matching gift forms and guidelines. Automated and personalized matching gift emails can also be sent to eligible donors.

Anthology (formerly iModules)

Anthology is an educational fundraising solution offering a suite of modules that helps institutions boost their fundraising numbers—while also creating important relationships with their constituents. Anthology’s services include:

  • Web content management
  • Marketing communications
  • Online giving
  • Event management
  • E-commerce
  • Social media integration

Schools can add 360MatchPro’s company search field to their Anthology donation forms, which will help them track matching gift opportunities right from the donation process.

Wilson-Bennett Technology

Wilson-Bennett Technology is a phonathon service that helps universities strengthen their connections to their communities. Their services include:

  • Online reporting
  • Database management
  • Live credit card processing

Wilson-Bennett’s solution DonorConnect integrates with 360MatchPro so call agents can instantly find matching gift program information after determining where their donors work.

Almabase

Almabase is an all-in-one alumni management solution that specializes in peer-to-peer crowdfunding, event management, and alumni management. Specific services include:

  • Email marketing
  • Event registration
  • Alumni directories
  • Alumni websites
  • Online donations

Once 360MatchPro is integrated with an Almabase account, donors will see a company search field on their confirmation screen following the donation. This will allow them to search for their employer’s guidelines and receive automated follow-up matching gift emails.

Ellucian

Ellucian empowers higher ed institutions to build lifelong relationships with their students. Through their services, you can:

  • Build advancement relationships using their CRM
  • Keep up with fundraising best practices using their solutions sheets and white papers
  • Take advantage of corporate matching gifts

The integration with 360MatchPro allows universities to track match-eligible donors and provide them with the necessary links to submit a matching gift request. The company search tool can also be added to Ellucian’s CRM Advance online donation form.

Salesforce

Salesforce is a cloud-based solution offering CRM services, as well as several other applications that focus on marketing solutions, customer service, and more. Using Salesforce, you can:

  • Improve the donor experience
  • Engage with constituents
  • Make insightful decisions

After linking your Salesforce account to 360MatchPro, 360MatchPro will pull donation data from your Salesforce CRM. Your school can then start identifying match-eligible donors and drive those matching gift requests to completion.

Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT

Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT offers cloud-based software that helps schools increase their efficiency by connecting fundraising solutions, educational management, award management, and more through their integrated tools. Use Blackbaud to:

  • Increase revenue
  • Boost engagement
  • Earn more in matching gifts

Once the integration with 360MatchPro is established, new donation records in Raiser’s Edge NXT will flow into 360MatchPro. Within 360MatchPro, donations will then enter automated email streams to drive the matching gift process to completion.

Integrating matching gift software with solutions you already use is probably pretty important to your institution. That’s why making the investment in a solution that already has built-in integrations with your CRM and online donation tools will make following up with donors a lot easier for your staff.

Track your goals using the software.

Beyond automatically following up with donors, your team would probably like a way to track their matching gift status throughout the entire process. Matching gift software offers detailed data and analytics reporting that let you see where each donor is in the process:

Track where your donors are in the matching gifts for higher education process.

This will give your school actionable data you can use to figure out where your team can improve and how much matching gift revenue you’ve brought in. And those goals we first mentioned in this article? You’ll be able to revisit those and make sure you’re still on track.


Following these strategies for higher ed matching gifts can help your school bring in the revenue you need to fund the programs and activities that make your institution even more successful. When you have a set goal in mind and optimize the donation process using matching gift software and other key strategies, you’re in a better position to raise the funds you need.

Additional Resources

Love the idea of matching gifts for higher education? We’ve got plenty more resources for you to read:

Get more matching gifts for higher education with Double the Donation!
Matching Gift Best Practices for Nonprofits

Matching Gift Best Practices: Raise More for Your Nonprofit

As a nonprofit professional, you probably already know the basics arounds matching gifts. But ask yourself this question:

Do I know how to implement matching gifts effectively as part of our team’s fundraising strategy?

You might have some sort of idea of how you can do this. But when you really think about it, do you have a set action plan or understand the best practices surrounding matching gifts?

That’s why here at Getting Attention, we’ve put together this guide to help you set your plans into motion. We’ll start with the basics, and then jump into some essential best practices you can leverage to make matching gifts work for you.

1. How Matching Gifts Work

There are a few different types of matching gifts, but the most common ones are corporate matching gift programs and matching gift campaigns. Matching gift campaigns involve getting a business, benefactor, board member, major donor, or foundation to match donations made during a campaign up to a specific amount. This is a common practice among many organizations and donors are usually excited to participate.

However, what many donors don’t know is that their own employer might match their personal donations to many nonprofits. That’s where corporate matching gift programs come in—and they’re the focus of this article!

Many companies match employee donations at a certain ratio, usually 1:1, to most eligible nonprofits. And corporate matching gifts are one of the most commonly used forms of corporate philanthropy.

Here’s a basic rundown of how the corporate matching gift process works:

One of the best matching gift best practices is understanding the process.
  1. An individual donates to a nonprofit.
  2. The individual submits a matching gift request to their employer.
  3. The employer reviews the request and verifies the donation with the nonprofit.
  4. The employer matches the donation.

Beyond this, there are other important rules and guidelines to be aware of when it comes to this type of corporate giving program.

Corporate Matching Gift Rules

As amazing as corporate matching gifts are, there are a few important guidelines to take note of. That means, as a best practice, following and meeting these guidelines will ensure your nonprofit reaps the benefits of matching gift programs.

Guidelines usually include:

  • Minimum and maximum match requirements. In order to qualify for a matching gift, the donation amount must usually meet specific thresholds. Minimum amounts are typically around $25, but these vary, as do maximum amounts, which can be anywhere from $1,000 and beyond.
  • Match ratio. Another important guideline to look out for is a matching gift ratio. They’re typically set at 1:1, but ratios range anywhere from .5:1 to 4:1.
  • Nonprofit eligibility. One of the biggest specifications to look out for is whether your nonprofit is eligible to receive matching donations. Usually, most nonprofits are eligible, including educational institutions, arts and cultural organizations, and health and human services. However, the most common type of ineligible nonprofit is religious organizations, though there are exceptions to this as well, especially if the donation is being used for a non-religious purpose.
  • Employee eligibility. It’s also a best practice to understand your donors’ eligibility for matching gift programs. Companies often specify whether full-time, part-time, or retired employees are eligible for matched donations.
  • Nonprofit verification. Once a donor has submitted their matching gift request to their employer, it’s your nonprofit’s responsibility to verify the donation with the company. You’ll usually receive an email or letter with instructions on how to verify the gift, and this will either be done online through a corporate giving vendor or via mail. This is incredibly important. If you don’t follow the instructions and confirm the donation and your nonprofit’s eligibility, you will lose out on the match.

Understanding the basic guidelines from companies is one of the most important matching gift best practices. Without meeting these requirements, it’s simple: you won’t get the matching funds you need and deserve.

2. Promoting Matching Gifts

Did you know that approximately $4-7 billion in matching gift funding goes unclaimed every year? That’s because too many donors are unaware that they’re eligible for matching gift programs. And even if they knew they were eligible, they wouldn’t know how to start their match request.

That’s why one of the most impactful matching gift best practices is promotion.

If you don’t promote this awesome opportunity to your donors, they won’t take the next step toward matching their donation. Luckily, we’ve identified some of the top ways you can effectively promote matching gifts to your supporters. 

Online Donation Forms

Donors are at the height of their engagement when they arrive on your donation form. They’re serious about making a donation to your organization, which means this is the perfect time to promote matching gifts.

At the very least, ask donors in a prominent spot on your form if they are looking to get a matching donation from their employer. From there, link to an informational page on your website that explains what matching gifts are.

To drive even more results, though, consider inserting a matching gift search tool on your donation page. Tools like these capture employer information on the donation form, then display that company’s matching gift information immediately following the donation.

These tools then track the donors who take the next step and click on their company’s matching gift form. Some of these tools will even autocomplete a company’s name in the search field as a donor types it in:

Featuring a matching gift search tool on your donation form is a matching gift best practice.

Adding matching gift information to your donation process, whether that’s on the actual donation page or confirmation page, can significantly impact the number of matching gift funds you ultimately receive.

Email Outreach

According to these statistics, mentioning matching gifts in fundraising appeals results in a 71% increase in the response rate and a 51% increase in the average donation amount. 

That’s why using email outreach to make your matching gift appeals is so important.

Mention matching gifts in your emails, whether you’re sending out a regular newsletter or specifically thanking a supporter for their donation. Briefly explain what a matching gift is, how they can submit a matching gift request to their employer, and how they can let your nonprofit know that they’re doing so.

Incorporating matching gifts as part of your email appeals is a matching gift best practice.

Like in the example above, provide links in your email that donors can click to:

  1. Indicate that they’ve submitted a matching gift request.
  2. Indicate that their donation is not match eligible.

By doing this, your organization will be able to keep track of who is engaging with your matching gift appeals, as well as the status of each active matching gift request.

Direct Mail

Contrary to popular belief, direct mail is not dead! Many of your supporters still prefer traditional mail to other methods of communication. Whenever you send out printed marketing materials or thank-you letters, include an insert or other mention of matching gifts.

Here's an example of a printed matching gift insert, one of the top matching gift best practices you can use.

Just as with email outreach, the insert should briefly explain what matching gifts are and offer ways for the supporter to learn more. You might even include a scannable QR code that directs the reader to a dedicated matching gifts page on your website!

To simplify the process of designing, printing, stuffing, and sending your mailings, consider reaching out to a direct mail fundraising platform like GivingMail. This can save your team time and money that can be reinvested into your mission and putting efforts toward your highest value match opportunities.

Social Media

Social media is already an excellent way to promote giving opportunities. So why not promote matching gifts through this channel, too?

Spread the word across social media platforms, whether you’re running a specific campaign or simply looking to bring in more corporate donations. Include information about matching gifts, such as how they work and how donors can learn about their employer’s programs, and then link to a dedicated matching gift page on your website.

Using social media as a way to promote matching gifts is a matching gift best practice.

There are many ways you can promote matching gifts. From mentioning them at the height of a supporter’s engagement, to sending out matching gift appeals on a regular basis, following these best practices will keep your strategy in line and help you raise more.

3. Acknowledging Matching Gifts

While promotion can certainly get you a long way, you still want to sustain the new relationships you’ve created with your supporters. That means acknowledging both the donations and the matches you’ve received.

After you’ve sent out matching gift appeals via a variety of channels and those matches start coming in, you should always keep up a solid communication strategy to retain those donors and cultivate your relationships with them.

Here are a few best practices you can follow:

  • Thank donors for their original gift. This goes without saying, but always remember to thank your donors for their original gift right after they’ve submitted it. If and when a corporate match comes in, be sure to acknowledge the original gift then, as well.
  • Thank donors for applying for a match. This is why it’s crucial that you keep track of the donors who have submitted a match request. That way, you can reach out to them and thank them for taking this extra step!
  • Notify donors when the match comes in. This is often an overlooked step, but one of the best things you can do to show your appreciation and acknowledge your donors is notify them when your organization receives the match. Thank them again and let them know how much of a difference they made.

Even though the match was initiated by the donor, it’s the matching gift company that made the second gift. Typically, there’s no need to send a separate thank-you letter to the company—especially if it’s a large one. However, smaller companies might have a different preference, and if any company requests an acknowledgment letter, you should send one.

When it comes to acknowledging matching gifts, one of the best things you can do is be transparent. Openly demonstrate the impact matching gifts have had on your organization, and let donors know what that money accomplished.

Donors want to know that their support is making a difference. If you’re open and transparent and show what those matching gift funds are going toward, you’ll encourage donors to continue supporting your organization and cultivate meaningful relationships that will benefit you in the future.

4. Matching Gift Software

Of course, all of these matching gift best practices make sense on paper. But how can you actually implement them?

There are tools out there designed with nonprofits and their needs in mind. Specifically, matching gift software helps you incorporate all of these best practices into your fundraising strategy with ease.

Whether you’re promoting matching gifts or acknowledging their impact and thanking donors, matching gift software streamlines the entire process.

Our favorite solution for matching gifts is Double the Donation.

Remember that matching gift search tool we mentioned earlier? Double the Donation gives your nonprofit access to a database of more than 20,000 companies and their matching gift programs. All you have to do is embed their search tool anywhere on your website. That means donors who visit your website will get an opportunity to look up their employer’s program with ease.

Then, the platform sends out customizable emails depending on users’ eligibility that include links donors can click to update you on their matching gift status.

For donors, finding their matching gift eligibility and understanding how to submit a matching gift request can be a real challenge. Using Double the Donation’s matching gift database, they’ll be directed to their company’s matching gift forms, rules, and guidelines, which will make submitting their request a breeze.

Use a matching gift database like Double the Donation's to implement these matching gift best practices.

Consider matching gift software as an effective way to incorporate all of the matching gift best practices we’ve talked about. From there, you’ll be well on your way to raising the funds you need for your organization and doing more good!

5. Additional Resources

Looking for more information about matching gifts? We’ve handpicked some excellent resources from Getting Attention to help you out:

Implement these matching gifts best practices with Double the Donation!
Top Matching Gift Companies

17 Matching Gift Companies with Impactful Programs

What if you could double someone’s donation to your organization?

Well, you can! Corporate matching gift programs are a big part of corporate philanthropy—companies essentially match donations their employees make to nonprofit organizations. However, many nonprofits and donors don’t actively pursue those matches.

Here at Getting Attention, we thought it would be helpful to list some of the best matching gift companies around. Knowing what kinds of programs are out there can be a huge help in educating both your team and your donors about matching gift programs. From there, you can learn more about the process of receiving a matching gift and growing your matching gift revenue.

Here are some of the top matching gift companies:

  1. General Electric
  2. Pfizer, Inc.
  3. The Coca-Cola Company
  4. PepsiCo
  5. The Home Depot
  6. Apple
  7. Google
  8. Nike
  9. American Express
  10. Microsoft
  11. Dell
  12. Soros Fund Management
  13. Starbucks
  14. Disney
  15. Amgen
  16. Bank of America
  17. Boeing

Let’s dive in!

1. General Electric

GE is one of the top matching gift companies.

Matching Gift Company Details

  • Match ratio: 1:1
  • Minimum match amount: $25
  • Maximum match amount: $5,000
  • Employees eligible: Full-time, part-time

Why This Matching Gift Company Made the List

In 1954, General Electric created the first corporate matching gift program—ever! Their matching gift program matches donations made by current employees to most nonprofits, including educational institutions, health and human services, arts and cultural organizations, and environmental organizations. They also offer a generous deadline for employees to submit a matching gift request (April 15 of the year following the donation). To date, GE has raised more than $1 billion in nonprofit donations.

2. Pfizer, Inc.

Pfizer, Inc. is one of the top matching gift companies.

Matching Gift Company Details

  • Match ratio: 1:1
  • Minimum match amount: $25
  • Maximum match amount: $20,000
  • Employees eligible: Full-time, part-time

Why This Matching Gift Company Made the List

Pfizer, Inc. offers an incredibly generous maximum match amount, matching up to $20,000 in donations per employee per year. This matching gift company offers a volunteer grant program, as well. Employees who volunteer for 40 hours are eligible to receive a grant of $500 per calendar year to the organization they serve. The Pfizer Foundation also offers disaster matches when humanitarian disasters occur, identifying organizations for which it will provide a dollar-for-dollar match for all colleague contributions.

3. The Coca-Cola Company

The Coca-Cola Company is one of the top matching gift companies.

Matching Gift Company Details

  • Match ratio: 2:1
  • Minimum match amount: $25
  • Maximum match amount: $20,000
  • Employees eligible: Full-time, retired

Why This Matching Gift Company Made the List

The Coca-Cola Company matches up to $10,000 per employee or retiree per year. And since their matching gift program offers a 2:1 match, the resulting maximum is $20,000 in company contributions. This matching gift company matches donations made to many nonprofits, including educational institutions, arts and cultural organizations, and more.

4. PepsiCo

PepsiCo is one of the top matching gift companies.

Matching Gift Company Details

  • Match ratio: Up to 2:1
  • Minimum match amount: $25
  • Maximum match amount: $10,000
  • Employees eligible: Full-time, part-time, retired

Why This Matching Gift Company Made the List

PepsiCo’s generous matching gift program encompasses all active and retired employees. They match donations to most nonprofits with a standard 1:1 ratio. However, if an employee is a board member at an organization, PepsiCo provides a 2:1 match for their donations.

5. The Home Depot

The Home Depot is one of the top matching gift companies.

Matching Gift Company Details

  • Match ratio: 1:1
  • Minimum match amount: $25
  • Maximum match amount: $3,000
  • Employees eligible: Full-time, part-time

Why This Matching Gift Company Made the List

The Home Depot matches up to $1,000 annually per employee to each organization they donate to, with a maximum of $3,000 per employee. Their matching gift program also matches donations to most nonprofits, including educational institutions, civic and community organizations, and arts and cultural organizations.

6. Apple, Inc.

Apple is one of the top matching gift companies.

Matching Gift Company Details

  • Match ratio: 1:1
  • Minimum match amount: $1
  • Maximum match amount: $10,000
  • Employees eligible: Full-time, part-time

Why This Matching Gift Company Made the List

Apple has a generous matching gift cap of $10,000, which applies to most nonprofits. We also love that Apple employees can log in to access the company’s giving portal and view the complete guidelines with ease. Apple also offers a volunteer grant program, matching volunteer hours with monetary grants. For every hour an Apple employee volunteers with an organization, the company donates $25.

7. Google

Google is one of the top matching gift companies.

Matching Gift Company Details

  • Match ratio: 1:1
  • Minimum match amount: $50
  • Maximum match amount: $10,000
  • Employees eligible: Full-time, part-time

Why This Matching Gift Company Made the List

Google’s matching gift program matches donations made by its employees to most nonprofits. What we love about this matching gift company is that they offer multiple matching opportunities. Google will match personal donations to nonprofits, as well as disaster relief/international relief donations. Even more, Google matches funds raised by employees for charitable events, such as walks, marathons, and bike rides. Google also offers a volunteer grant program, donating $10 for each hour an employee volunteers with a nonprofit.

8. Nike

Nike is one of the top matching gift companies.

Matching Gift Company Details

  • Match ratio: Up to 2:1
  • Minimum match amount: None
  • Maximum match amount: $10,000
  • Employees eligible: Full-time, part-time

Why This Matching Gift Company Made the List

Nike matches donations made to nonprofits up to $10,000 per year at a 1:1 ratio. For sport-related organizations and organizations they’re supporting through their Black Community Commitment, they will match at a 2:1 ratio. And when employees volunteer, they receive a $10 credit per hour (up to $1,000) to donate to an organization of their choice. Last year, employees donated $9.8 million to nonprofits, including company match contributions.

9. American Express

American Express is one of the top matching gift companies.

Matching Gift Company Details

  • Match ratio: Up to 2:1
  • Minimum match amount: $25
  • Maximum match amount: $8,000
  • Employees eligible: Full-time, part-time

Why This Matching Gift Company Made the List

American Express not only offers a generous cap on matching donations, but also increases its matching gift ratio if an employee serves on a nonprofit board or volunteers more than 50 hours in a year. This results in a 2:1 match for the first $1,000 donated, and then the standard 1:1 match comes into effect.

10. Microsoft

Microsoft is one of the top matching gift companies.

Matching Gift Company Details

  • Match ratio: 1:1
  • Minimum match amount: $1
  • Maximum match amount: $15,000
  • Employees eligible: Full-time, part-time

Why This Matching Gift Company Made the List

Microsoft matches employee donations to most nonprofits, including educational institutions, health and human services, arts and cultural organizations, and more. This matching gift program stands out because of its high employee participation rate. In fact, last year alone, Microsoft employees donated $221 million, including company matches, and volunteered more than 750,000 hours. Through their volunteer grant program, Microsoft employees can also request a grant of $25 per every hour they volunteer.

11. Dell

Dell is one of the top matching gift companies.

Matching Gift Company Details

  • Match ratio: 1:1
  • Minimum match amount: $10
  • Maximum match amount: $10,000
  • Employees eligible: Full-time, part-time

Why This Matching Gift Company Made the List

Dell matches employee donations to most nonprofit organizations, including civic and community organizations, educational institutions, environmental causes, and more. We love this matching gift program because it offers multiple types: individual employee donation matches and matches of funds raised during a charitable event, such as walks, runs, and bike rides. Dell also offers a volunteer grant program. For every quarter a Dell employee volunteers more than 10 hours, they can allocate a $150 donation to a nonprofit of their choice.

12. Soros Fund Management

Soros Fund Management is one of the top matching gift companies.

Matching Gift Company Details

  • Match ratio: Up to 2:1
  • Minimum match amount: $25
  • Maximum match amount: $100,000
  • Employees eligible: Full-time

Why This Matching Gift Company Made the List

What stands out most about Soros Fund Management is its incredibly generous maximum match amount. This matching gift company matches employee donations to most nonprofits, while also offering an impactful volunteer grant program. After an employee volunteers at least 20 hours with an organization, Soros Fund Management will provide a grant between $1,000 and $4,000 to that organization, depending on the number of hours volunteered.

13. Starbucks

Starbucks is one of the top matching gift companies.

Matching Gift Company Details

  • Match ratio: 1:1
  • Minimum match amount: $20
  • Maximum match amount: $1,500
  • Employees eligible: Full-time, part-time

Why This Matching Gift Company Made the List

Starbucks matches donations made by current U.S. and Canada-based employees to nearly all nonprofit organizations. This matching gift company offers a generous deadline, as well, giving employees 12 months from the donation date to request a match. Starbucks employees are also eligible for volunteer grants ranging from $250 to $1,000, depending on the number of hours they commit.

14. Disney

Disney is one of the top matching gift companies.

Matching Gift Company Details

  • Match ratio: 1:1
  • Minimum match amount: $25
  • Maximum match amount: $25,000
  • Employees eligible: Full-time, part-time

Why This Matching Gift Company Made the List

Beyond their generous matching gift cap, Disney matches donations made by its employees to most nonprofits. Also notable is its volunteer grant program. Depending on the number of hours employees volunteer with an organization, they can receive grants ranging from $100 to $2,000. In addition, Disney offers “VountEARS of the Year” grants, which recognize exceptional volunteers in the amount of $2,500.

15. Amgen

Amgen is one of the top matching gift companies.

Matching Gift Company Details

  • Match ratio: 1:1
  • Minimum match amount: $50
  • Maximum match amount: $20,000
  • Employees eligible: Full-time, part-time

Why This Matching Gift Company Made the List

Amgen’s matching gift program matches up to $20,000 in donations for full-time employees and up to $10,000 in donations for part-time employees. In addition to these generous matches, Amgen offers a volunteer grant program. Once an employee has volunteered at least 15 hours with an organization, they can request a $500 grant. Each additional hour over the initial 15 hours nets another $25. Full-time employees can request up to $2,000 in volunteer grants, while part-time employees can request up to $1,000 annually.

16. Bank of America

Bank of America is one of the top matching gift companies.

Matching Gift Company Details

  • Match ratio: 1:1
  • Minimum match amount: $24
  • Maximum match amount: $5,000
  • Employees eligible: Full-time, part-time

Why This Matching Gift Company Made the List

Bank of America matches employee donations to most nonprofit organizations, including educational institutions, health and human services, and civic and community organizations. While retirees are no longer eligible for the matching gift program, they can participate in the company’s volunteer grant program. Any employee (or retiree) who volunteers with an organization can receive one of two grants: $250 for 50 hours, or $500 for 100 hours.

17. Boeing

Boeing is one of the top matching gift companies.

Matching Gift Company Details

  • Match ratio: Up to 1:1
  • Minimum match amount: $25
  • Maximum match amount: $10,000
  • Employees eligible: Full-time, part-time, retired

Why This Matching Gift Company Made the List

Boeing’s matching gift program includes all current employees, in addition to retirees, spouses, and domestic partners. Active employees receive a 1:1 match, while retirees, spouses, and domestic partners receive a .5:1 match. Additionally, Boeing offers a volunteer grant program, providing $10 grants for every 10 hours of volunteering (minimum 25 hours to qualify). They also offer team volunteer grants, which increase depending on the number of employees who participate.

How to Grow Your Matching Gift Revenue

Now that you’ve gotten to know some of the top matching gift companies, you might be wondering how you can effectively keep track of all this info.

Luckily, there are tools made exclusively for nonprofits that will not only help your team identify these matching gift programs, but also help you boost your matching gift revenue overall.

What’s our favorite tool, you might ask?

Great question! After a lot of research and comparisons, we’ve decided our favorite tool is Double the Donation.

360MatchPro by Double the Donation

Double the Donation has created a comprehensive matching gift database that houses accurate information on more than 20,000 companies with matching gift programs. This service allows your organization to embed a company search tool anywhere on your website (including donation pages, confirmation pages, etc.).

Donors can use this tool to search for their employer while they’re making a donation, and the widget will automatically populate with their company’s matching gift forms and guidelines. 

360MatchPro scans the information donors provide during the donation process (such as email domain, employer info, etc.) and triggers follow-up emails depending on their matching gift eligibility. So if your donor works for a company with a matching gift program, 360MatchPro will send out instructions outlining how to submit a matching gift request on your behalf.

Even better, these emails are customizable and can be branded to your organization.

Use 360MatchPro's automated platform to find more top matching gift companies.

360MatchPro by Double the Donation even integrates with more than 50 online donation tools, peer-to-peer fundraising platforms, and CRMs to provide a seamless matching gift fundraising experience for everyone involved. With the help of matching gift software, you’ll be able to identify more donors who are eligible for matching gifts and boost your fundraising revenue as a result!

Additional Matching Gift Resources

If you’re looking for more matching gift resources, check out the additional articles below:

Find more matching gift companies with Double the Donation!