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 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 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 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 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!

Relevancy After Elections: 5 Tips to Stay Connected

Nonprofits, social good, and politically affiliated organizations attract support in cycles. Charities earn most of their donations at the end of the end of the year, while political organizations attract the bulk of their support during election years. However, operations continue year-round and require year-round support. 

To fundraise smarter, create a sustainable base of supporters by staying in touch all year. Research shows that attracting new donors costs approximately ten times more than maintaining current ones. This means starting from scratch at the beginning of each election cycle hurts your organization’s fundraising efforts. It’s more cost-effective than letting supporter relationships slip.

This doesn’t just apply to donors. Whether they’re answering phones, researching potential donors, or canvasing the streets, volunteers help your organization function. Recruiting and training a new group every election cycle is a waste of time and resources. Manage and re-recruit past volunteers to build a knowledgeable base of advocates who can work on behalf of your organization during both on and off seasons. 

At Grassroots Unwired, we’re experts in helping grassroots nonprofit and political organizations make the most of their relationships with supporters. Our canvassing and event software solutions are all built around our belief that strong relationships are what drive powerful change.

To help you create and maintain these relationships year-round, we’ve compiled five tips for cultivating consistent support from both donors and volunteers:

  1. Keep Your Organization’s Website Up to Date
  2. Stay Active on Multiple Online Channels
  3. Empower Your Volunteers Through Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
  4. Create High Quality Branded Merchandise
  5. Offer Volunteers Resources and Opportunities all Year

Human resources are some of your organization’s greatest assets, and they often require the simplest maintenance. As we move forward in 2021, you can still make the most of our recent election year momentum. Build relationships with supporters and stay vigilant for opportunities to show your base that your mission never takes a break. 

1. Keep Your Organization’s Website Up to Date

Your website is the face of your organization. If your organization has a news page or blog, update it regularly, and if you don’t have a news page or blog, consider getting one. After elections, supporters’ attention can drift, but a steady posting schedule signals that your organization is active while also providing quality content to your supporters about your work. 

Even if news is slow, don’t neglect basic website maintenance. Here are a few ways to improve your visitors’ experience when they visit your homepage:

  1. Clear Navigation. Almost every nonprofit website has a few keypages: mission statement, contact information, and a donation form. Create obvious and easy-to-use menus so your supporters can find what they’re looking for in as few clicks as possible. 
  1. Fast Loading Times. Speed matters more than you think. 47% of people expect web pages to load in under two seconds. Ensure there is nothing slowing down your website. Uncompressed images and unnecessary link redirects are a few obvious suspects, and researching a caching method that works for your website can also reduce waiting times. 
  1. Mobile Adaptability. Make sure that your website will be viewable for your supporters to stay updated even when they’re away from their desktops. Minimize scrolling and design elements that may clutter the screen so key elements will be visible and easy to navigate to. 

If your website needs an update or more sophisticated features, consider hiring a consultant. Web design specialists will know how to create visuals for the web, and some even specialize in specific website types. Do your research ahead of time to figure out what your organization needs and what service makes the most sense for your website. 

2. Stay Active on Multiple Online Channels

Technology is your best friend for keeping in touch with your supporters. Regular updates will keep your organization in the back of your supporters’ minds even when election season finishes and they aren’t actively participating in events, pitching in for your canvassing efforts, or otherwise engaging in person. Online communication is also a low-cost investment, meaning you can hit post or send to remind your supporters about your organization without breaking the bank. 

However, different supporters watch different platforms for activity, making it necessary to diversify your organization’s outreach approach. 

Social Media

While social media has a low bar to entry, don’t start posting without a strategy. Create a formal social media plan with a timeline of posts, an index of appropriate post types, and knowledge about what strategies work best on what websites. 

Not all social media is created equal. Many nonprofits use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay in touch with current supporters and attract new ones. Consider these suggestions for tailoring your content to the context of each platform:

  • Facebook. Almost all social media platforms prefer short form content, but if you do have a long story or report to share with your supporters, Facebook is the place to do it. You’ll still have limited time to convince someone scrolling through their feed to read your post, so consider starting off with an eye-catching header image. 
  • Twitter. With its strict word limit, Twitter is all about quick, snappy updates. Twitter also rewards interactive content that attracts responses, making it a good place to post supporter shoutouts or polls.
  • Instagram. If you have high-quality pictures of your work, put them on your Instagram. Take lots of pictures during busy times so you’ll have a pool to pull from during lulls in activity. Attractive graphic designs can also serve in a pinch. 

Invest in the platforms your supporters are already on. Volunteers advocating on behalf of your organization will likely use their social media as their main platforms. Even if you don’t have the time to devote to a comprehensive strategy, creating a semi-active account your volunteers can link to will make marketing outreach smoother on both your and their ends.  


No matter what other approaches your organization is using, you’ll need email. Regular emails will keep you in contact with your supporters by delivering thank you messages, newsletters, and fundraising letters. 

You can improve your email strategies to build relationships with volunteers both when they are and aren’t actively working for your organization. Personalize emails to reference past and current projects your volunteers have worked on and never forget to address them by name. Small touches like these will let your volunteers know that your organization recognizes and appreciates their contributions, which might convince them to lend a hand the next time things get busy. 

3. Empower Your Volunteers Through Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

During election cycles, your organization and volunteers coordinate schedules to meet campaign targets. After election season, your volunteers might keep different hours than your organization. Encouraging your volunteers to advocate for your organization individually can lead to connections and marketing strategies unobtainable if you’re directing their every move. 

Establish guidelines for branding and appropriate messages, then let your volunteers speak directly with their friends, family, and social media followers about your organization. 

While face-to-face marketing currently isn’t practical, your volunteers can still make personal connections online. For example, Grassroots Unwired has virtual canvassing software for political campaigns. This lends itself to giving more independence to your volunteers by letting them log-in from anywhere and engage supporters in video chats at any time. If your organization specialized in canvassing, check out this guide for strategies to employ when election season starts up again. 

Keep track of your volunteer’s efforts through regular check-ins and software with real time reporting. This way your volunteers will customize their approach to advocating for your organization while also providing feedback around what is and isn’t working. 

Also, never forget to thank your volunteers for all their work!

4. Create High-Quality Branded Merchandise

Branded merchandise benefits both your organization and your supporters all year round. Your supporters get t-shirts and sweaters as additions to their wardrobes, and your organization gets free advertising whenever they wear your merchandise in public. 

Designing high-quality merchandise will also be worth it in the long run for everyone. Your supporters will use and wear products that last longer, giving them more opportunities to show them off. Creative designs attract more attention, and out of the box merchandise ideas can spark conversations that lead back to your organization and the work you do. 

Shop around before investing in a store or supplier. Some online stores offer more opportunities for different organizations. For example, some suppliers give discounts to nonprofits while others like Bonfire let political campaigns collect donor information during checkout. 

5. Offer Volunteers Resources and Opportunities all Year

While it’s unlikely you’ll always have active projects for volunteers, create online resources for volunteers to engage with to keep them interested in your organization during down periods. Find opportunities to create evergreen materials, content your volunteers can interact with at any time without ever being irrelevant. 

A few examples of evergreen content are:

  1. E-learning courses. Your volunteers are interested in your field, so give them opportunities to learn more. Some courses on how to be a better volunteer are always appropriate, but additional knowledge will give your volunteers a better understanding about the implications of their efforts, leading to more investment in your organization’s mission.
  2. Entertaining videos. If your organization has or plans to launch events that will result in funny or interesting videos, be sure to save the produced content and urge your supporters to share their creations with you. Compilations of past events are fun to rewatch and highly shareable.

Inspire loyalty in your volunteers by making them feel like they’re part of your organization no matter what time of year it is. Pointing them towards activities to keep them interested can inspire volunteer retention and allow your organization to build long-lasting relationships with a strong core of reliable supporters. 

While your organization has busy seasons, it should never have an off season. Retaining your volunteers and donors will always be easier than attracting entirely new ones. Keep the lines of communication open all year long, let your volunteers advocate on behalf of your organization, and always say thank you to all your supporters for sticking around. 

Matching Gift Forms for Nonprofits

How to Use Matching Gift Forms 101: A Nonprofit Guide

Nonprofits all over have probably heard of matching gifts. But how many organizations actually pursue them? According to these statistics, $4-$7 billion in matching gift funds goes unclaimed every year!

A huge part of the reason that nonprofits miss out is because the process for donors to actually submit a matching gift form is complicated or downright confusing.

So how do donors submit matching gift requests? A lot of the time, they don’t.

That’s why we thought it would be helpful to show you exactly how to use matching gift forms. This basic guide will cover the essentials of matching gifts, explain how matching gift forms work, and offer some options to make the process even easier. That way, in the end, you can get yourself some more matching gift revenue!

Let’s get started.

Matching Gift Basics

Matching gifts occur when a company or charitable individual matches the donations made to an organization.

The most common type is corporate matching gifts, where employers match the donations their employees make to eligible nonprofits. Companies generally have a set match ratio (usually 1:1, but it can be higher or lower), but lots of employees don’t know their companies even offer these programs.

Other types of matching gift programs include personal matching gifts, where a generous supporter matches all the donations up to a certain amount for an organization during a campaign, and larger matching gift campaigns, where a business, benefactor, board member, or foundation will match gifts up to a certain amount, as well.

How Corporate Matching Gifts Work

Now that you have a broader idea of what matching gifts are, we want to zoom in on corporate matching gifts.

Matching gift forms are important because they can get your organization a lot of matching gift revenue.

Generally, the corporate matching gift process looks like this:

  1. An individual donates to a nonprofit.
  2. The individual looks up their eligibility for a matching gift and accesses the forms needed to submit their request (this is a big part of it, and the purpose of this article!).
  3. The individual submits the match request to their employer.
  4. Their employer reviews the request and verifies the donation with the nonprofit (another important part!).
  5. The employer matches the donation.

But as you get into the nitty gritty details of matching gift policies, there are other things you need to keep in mind:

  • Eligibility. Both your donors and your organization have to be eligible for a matching gift. Donors need to check to see if their employment status (full-time, part-time, retired) allows them to submit a match request, and your organization needs to fall into the categories of nonprofits that the company donates to.
  • Minimum and maximum gift amounts. Most of the time, a company has a limit on the amount of money they’ll match. But there’s also a minimum amount, usually around $25. It’s crucial that your donors understand what donation amounts can be matched to ensure their gift falls under that umbrella.
  • Match ratios. Depending on the company, they may offer a dollar for dollar match, or a higher or lower ratio. In general, ratios range from .5:1 to 4:1.

Before the donation can be matched, all of those requirements have to be met. And that’s where matching gift forms come into play—these forms usually include this info so the donor can confirm their eligibility when they fill out the form.

Matching Gift Form Process

If you’re not sure how to use matching gift forms, it’s actually pretty straightforward. These forms are used by the matching gift company to review the donation and the donor’s information, as well as the recipient organization.

But there are two types of matching gift forms that can be used for this process: paper and electronic.

Paper Matching Gift Forms

While paper matching gift forms aren’t as common these days, it’s still important to offer access to a paper version if it’s available, especially for supporters who prefer to submit a paper form.

The paper form has two key components:

Here's an example of a paper matching gift form.
  • Donor section: This section is where employees provide details about themselves and their donation, such as their employee identification number, personal information (like a mailing address and phone number), and the donation amount.
  • Nonprofit section: This section will include questions about the recipient organization (you!). The donor will typically need to provide documentation of their donation, which your nonprofit will need to create, as well as list your organization’s name, the type of organization (cultural, educational, etc.), and the donation date.

Once the paper form has been filled out, the donor can submit it via the preferred method (mail, fax, etc.) to their employer, who will then review the request.

Electronic Matching Gift Forms

Electronic matching gift forms are way more common in this day and age, and most companies have transitioned to this method. This also makes it easier for employees to submit their matching gift requests, which is great for your organization!

Here are the key components of electronic matching gift forms:

This is how donors access electronic matching gift forms.
  • Employee sign-in page: In order to access their employer’s electronic matching gift forms, employees typically need to sign in using their employee username and password. Retirees might have to register and login using a third-party company, but from there it’s pretty simple to navigate.
  • Submission: Similar to paper forms, employees need to provide information about their donation, such as the recipient organization’s name and info—which is found on a list of 501(c)(3) organizations—and the donation amount and date.

Once the electronic form has been submitted, the employer reviews it and determines whether the donation is eligible for a match.


Once the donor’s employer has reviewed the match request, you’re not in the clear just yet! Your organization will need to verify the donation for the matching gift company. This means confirming receipt of the original gift and potentially verifying that you do have 501(c)(3) status.

Without verifying the gift, it’s simple: no match for you.

That’s why you need to make sure your team understands the process of verifying the donation, whether that means logging into the company’s online verification system or mailing a letter. Many companies use third-party corporate giving vendors, like Benevity, YourCause, or CyberGrants, and nonprofits need to verify the amounts through these platforms. Make sure you have a streamlined process for verifying these donations!

Benefits of Electronic Matching Gift Forms

When it comes to electronic vs. paper matching gift forms, the benefits of going the electronic route stand out. For one thing, the entire process is more streamlined, which results in more donors filling them out at all.

Electronic matching gift forms can also be used in conjunction with matching gift software, which nonprofits use to encourage matching gift request submissions and also automate this entire process.

Matching Gift Software

You might have heard the phrases matching gift software or matching gift database floating around. But have you ever looked into these options before?

A matching gift database houses information on thousands of companies that offer matching gift programs. This means the database includes information about the company, their match ratio, minimum and maximum amounts, and most importantly, a link to their matching gift form.

Depending on the type of matching gift software you use, there are a couple of ways it can benefit your organization:

Use automation tools to direct donors to the necessary matching gift forms.
  • Search tool plugin: Through an embeddable search tool that can go anywhere on your website, donors type in the name of their employer. The tool then pulls up all of the info they need about submitting a match request. 
  • Automation tools: Some matching gift software even automates the entire process. When a donor submits a gift to your organization, the platform automatically scans the information they provide to determine their eligibility for a match. Depending on their eligibility, the platform will then trigger an email outlining the next steps they should take.

When choosing matching gift software, you’ll want to look at a few different factors:

  • How long the software has been around.
  • How comprehensive their database is.
  • How many matching gift forms they contain.
  • How accurate and up-to-date the information is.
  • How easy it is to search.
  • How the platform can integrate with your current fundraising software.

Luckily, we have a recommendation for you: Double the Donation.

Double the Donation is the leading provider of matching gift solutions. Their matching gift database has collected data on more than 20,000 companies and subsidiaries and their matching gift program information.

Keep reading to learn how tools like the ones from Double the Donation can help you incorporate matching gifts into your donation process!

Incorporating Matching Gifts into Your Donation Form

People come to your donation page at the peak of their engagement. They’re seriously considering donating to your organization (hence, the reason they’re on your donation page in the first place) and most receptive at this time to learning about matching gift opportunities.

Here’s a scenario to build out this point:

  1. Joe, a prospective donor, visits your donation page, ready to make a gift to your organization.
  2. While on the page, Joe notices a search tool by the donation form that says, “See if your employer will match your donation!”
  3. Joe types in the name of his employer (Microsoft), and Microsoft’s matching gift guidelines and a link to the form come up on his screen.
  4. Joe completes his donation and fills out the electronic form to submit a match request.

This is one of several ways you can incorporate matching gifts into your donation process. Alternatively, you can embed your matching gift search tool, like the one from Double the Donation, into your donation page, confirmation page, dedicated matching gift page, or other areas of your website.

Then, if you want to take this several steps further, think about the automation tools we mentioned earlier.

An automation platform will automatically follow up with match-eligible donors and encourage them to submit a matching gift request. Double the Donation also offers such a platform, as well: 360MatchPro.

Using tools like 360MatchPro, you can:

  • Make it even easier for donors to access the matching gift forms they need.
  • Boost the number of completed match requests.
  • Increase your matching gift revenue.

Incorporating matching gifts into your donation form and process will raise even more awareness around matching gifts. And that’s exactly what needs to happen if you want donors to submit a match request. After all, if donors don’t know their donations can be doubled, they won’t try it!

Matching Gift Form Sample

If you’re interested in seeing what a matching gift database entry looks like, we’ve pulled a sample for you.

Below, you’ll see that a donor has found the search tool plugin on a nonprofit’s website:

This is the first step to accessing a matching gift form through a database.

Next, they’ve typed the name of their employer (The Coca-Cola Company) into the search tool:

This is the second step to accessing matching gift forms through a database.

Then, their employer’s matching gift program information populates, offering a direct link to The Coca-Cola Company’s electronic matching gift form:

This is the third step to accessing matching gift forms through a database.

Lastly, the donor can log into their company account to access the matching gift form and submit all of the necessary information:

This is the final step to accessing matching gift forms through a database.

From there, your nonprofit will be on its way to securing more matching gift revenue!

Understanding how to use matching gift forms is essential for your nonprofit. Your team should be able to answer any questions donors have, know how to verify match requests for companies, and raise more as a result. 

When you use matching gift software to streamline this entire process, you’ll make it easier on donors and yourself.

Additional Matching Gift Resources

If you’re looking to learn more about matching gifts, top companies that offer matching gift programs, or just corporate giving in general, check out the resources below!

Find all the matching gift forms you need with Double the Donation's tools!

Is Direct Mail Dead? Here’s Why Fundraising Experts Say No

In today’s society, digital communications have become the norm. This doesn’t mean that direct mail is dead! Nonprofits looking to stand out from their competition incorporate both virtual and direct mail marketing into their strategies. 

When you implement direct mail marketing, your team is sending a fundraising appeal to a potential or existing supporter’s mailbox. These are effective for asking for a donation, announcing an event, or reporting on progress toward your goal.

Our GivingMail nonprofit fundraising overview confirms that physical mail should be a main component of your multi-channel marketing strategy. The biggest benefit of sending a letter is the chance to motivate donors with a story about your cause. If your team is still on the fence about sending direct mail, consider the following facts:

  • Direct mail can have a median ROI of 29%. 
  • People remember print better than digital communications. 
  • Direct mail can be combined with digital strategies. 
  • 70% of donors feel more valued with direct mail. 

With this compelling information, your team has all of the right reasons to implement direct mail into your next fundraising strategy. Let’s dive in!

Direct mail can have a median ROI of 29%. (source)

Direct mail is absolutely worth it when you use it as a working part of a well-defined marketing strategy—especially when you consider it has one of the highest ROI of any fundraising channel..

Your ROI relies on the effectiveness of your messaging, so write your mailers with specific goals in mind. Think of how your wording can raise brand and campaign awareness. Try incorporating these tips into your writing:

Send it to the right people. 

Foremost, your letters should be going to the donor segments that are inclined to respond well to your letter. To start this process, you should segment your audience using your donor’s data, paying attention to those who want to receive direct mail vs. those who don’t. You don’t want to waste time and money sending materials to people who are not likely to engage with your appeal.

Hook your reader from the start. 

The opening lines of your fundraising letter will make the difference in whether it’s read or not. In choosing a hook, try catering to your reader’s interests and concerns. Use compelling language and create interest surrounding your topic. Depending on your mission, you’ll be able to open with a line such as:

  • A moving statistic
  • A call to action
  • A question
  • An anecdote

With these, you’ll grab your audience from the start, and increase the chances they’ll want to find out more about your cause and even contribute their own hard-earned dollars.

Speak directly to your reader. 

Focusing on your reader can help increase their likelihood to participate in your cause. Write directly to the recipient and explain why you’re choosing them to be your audience and how their participation can benefit them. Include details about volunteering and giving opportunities and how they can be the hero of your campaign. 

Effectively writing to your reader will involve including inclusive language such as “you”, or “our”. For example, write: “Your support has helped feed X families in need,” rather than “The organization has fed X families in need.” The personal approach is always the more effective option when calling readers to action.

End with a clear call to action. 

Make the point of your letter obvious to readers. Don’t be afraid of conversational calls to action, such as, “What does this mean for you?” or “Here’s how you can get involved.” They’ll feel inclined to help out, and it’ll feel natural and conversational rather than formal. Be sure to include resources for how to give and get involved, and offer a method of contact for questions and concerns they may have after reading your letter.

Speaking to your reader as though they’re the hero of your mission will go a long way in increasing your mail’s ROI. Be sure to make your hook and purpose clear to increased readership and success. For more information on writing for specific campaigns, check out this in-depth fundraising letters template library for your needs. 

People remember print better than digital communications. 

If you need another compelling reason to incorporate mailers into your communication strategy, consider that a study found recall for print advertisements is 70% higher than digital

This recall can benefit your organization by leveraging brand awareness in your community. When your readers recall your organization’s name or logo after seeing it in their mail, this creates an association in their mind. Then, when they see your logo or name as a sponsor of an event or on their social media feed, they’ll recognize you!

For example, if someone reads about your upcoming event in a mailer, then sees an advertisement for it on Facebook, they’ll be more likely to remember the event as they run across it later. This simple association can turn a reader into an active participant in your organization.

GivingMail’s guide to direct mail for nonprofit organizations further explains how to create a physical mailer that will efficiently stick in the minds of your readers. Remember, creating a lasting impression with your letter involves tactful visual components as well as effective wording. However, this doesn’t mean you should rely only on direct mail but rather that you should use it in support of your marketing strategy overall. 

Direct mail can be combined with digital strategies. 

As mentioned before, you can absolutely ask for donations with direct mail fundraising appeals. However, you should also combine your approach and support digital appeals with your direct mail for a well-rounded communication strategy.

In asking for donations in your campaign overall, have one streamlined call to action across every platform so as to not muddle your ask, as well as create a repetitive recall in your reader’s minds when they see your deliverables. This guide suggests  that you use a combination of platforms such as:

  • Email
  • Telemarketing
  • Social media platforms 
  • Websites

All in all, it’s a fantastic idea to support your digital fundraisers with direct mail marketing. And, in turn, to support your donation request letter with digital marketing strategies. This multi-channel approach will ensure more people read your message, increasing your impact. 

70% of donors feel more valued with direct mail. (source

Finally, when direct mail is done well with personalized introductions, well-constructed appeals, and information leveraged from your CRM, you have the potential to show that you care about your supporters for more than their wallets. This helps build your donor relationships and can result in higher donor retention rates. Here’s how:

  • People experience tons of digital marketing. However, the mail someone receives will be paid attention to, as they go through it on a daily basis. 
  • It’s more personalized. Sure, digital marketing costs money to run, but a physical mailer provides value as well. It communicates that the recipient is valued enough to be sent a physical item that costs your organization ink, paper, and postage.

You care about your supporters, and they’ll feel this sentiment when you go the extra mile to mail a letter to their home!

Direct mail surely isn’t dead. Your organization should take advantage of the benefits of sending a mailer. You’ll be sure to stand out from the clutter of digital promotions, effectively communicate your message in a personal way, and help supplement your overall marketing efforts. Get to writing, so that your mission can gain support in a whole new way!

Promoting Your Virtual Volunteer Opportunities: 4 Pro Tips

With people and organizations moving to the virtual landscape in the COVID era, there are new ways to empower and engage your supporters. Whether you’re looking to increase virtual event attendance or expand your volunteer base, developing a volunteer management strategy tailored to attracting online engagement is crucial.

In the digital age, effectively promoting your virtual fundraising opportunities is essential for mobilizing people to support your organization’s mission. 

Effectively managing your volunteers has a beneficial payoff for your organization. With a well-planned strategy comes increased engagement, meaningful relationships with your volunteers and community, and boosts to revenue over time. Plus, developing a strong plan will save your team time and expand your events’ turnout. 

Surprisingly, many growing organizations neglect developing a concrete promotional strategy for their volunteer programming. This component is often overlooked due to other priorities taking precedence. Some consider it to take too much time to address, or sometimes volunteer management is an issue not yet on their radar. However, remember that your organization can get ahead and grow your impact by making effective volunteer engagement and management a point of focus. 

Because virtual volunteering is at the forefront of an organization’s recruitment strategies and has staying power, it is a worthwhile endeavor. Digital platforms reach a broad audience regardless of location and can exponentially grow your organization’s reach. However, effectively promoting these opportunities is the challenge, as virtual volunteer involvement is still new for many supporters. 

Here’s what to consider when forming your strategy for promoting volunteer opportunities:

  • Using dedicated volunteer management software.
  • Tapping into the power of peer-to-peer recruiting.
  • Taking a targeted approach to marketing.
  • Promoting new ways for volunteers to grow their impact. 

This year, aim to seek out new ways for your organization to stand out online. Promote your organization’s opportunities strategically while forming meaningful connections with those who support you. Here’s how to promote your nonprofit’s virtual volunteering opportunities to your online audience of supporters. 

Use dedicated volunteer management software.

Anchoring your recruitment efforts with dedicated volunteer management software is a crucial aspect of your growth in the digital age. This software simplifies the management of those who volunteer with and support your mission. It will also provide invaluable data by tracking volunteer engagement. 

With this information, it’ll be easier to refine your marketing strategies over time by showing you what does and doesn’t work to attract and engage new volunteers. The long-term value of investing in management software is beneficial as it helps your organization increase volunteer engagement and retention to better support your cause.

For example, tracking engagement data can help you discover:

  • Which marketing outlets most effectively attract volunteers
  • Trends in volunteer feedback
  • Common characteristics of your most engaged volunteers

With these crucial metrics at your fingertips, your organization has untapped growth potential. Reading into trends and understanding behaviors will help you place your promotional efforts in the right place at the right time.

For instance, if you find that social media is your most effective source for volunteers for a particular type of virtual volunteer opportunity, you can anchor your future outreach strategies with social media. Or, if you find that volunteer sign-ups dropped for a recent event or campaign, you can look back to your marketing strategies to see exactly where your promotional efforts underperformed.

Tap into the power of peer-to-peer recruiting.

Your current volunteers are some of your most valuable assets when it comes to recruiting new volunteers. Provide them with the right tools to recruit volunteers to support your cause! Whether it’s on-the-ground or virtual support, every member is a crucial part of your organization and can act as a powerful ambassador when equipped for the job.

An effective way to gain traction with potential volunteers is through digital communication. This can take many forms on a variety of platforms. Encourage your volunteers to actively share their experiences on their social media platforms and by digital word of mouth; texting.

You want to ensure that your volunteers provide valid links to connect potential supporters with your online pages. Volunteer opportunity networks (like Mobilize) also help with this task too. It provides your volunteers with easy social share buttons and copy-and-paste codes to share via text or email. 

Be sure to include your organization’s social media handles as a point of contact, as well. Here, you might offer a range of engaging content:

  • Testimonials and stories from past volunteers
  • Impact reports and photos or videos of previous volunteer events
  • Volunteer shout-outs
  • The general buzz and conversation around your mission and work

Through social media, potential volunteers can get an accurate and immersive look into what it would be like to volunteer for your organization. Be sure to work these into your broader social media strategies to see the best results over time.

Finally, thank your volunteers for spreading the word. People respond well to appreciation and will be compelled to keep recruiting on your behalf. This directory of thank-you templates from Good United is a handy resource to get started. 

Take a targeted approach to marketing.

In the last year, marketing communication has shifted largely online, especially with people working from home. This sudden change forces nonprofits to rethink communication strategies, especially their approaches to marketing their events and efforts to their volunteers. 

Just as your organization has altered its strategy for communicating with employees internally, make sure your external communication to volunteers is also following today’s best practices. To stand out in a crowded online space, targeting your message specifically to them will be your best bet.

Start by refining your email strategies. With email being a cornerstone of digital communication, messages that seem irrelevant or spammy are much more likely to get ignored by your volunteers. Combat this by keeping your end-user in mind. Write your subject lines and openers to acknowledge that they’re people behind the screens, too. Rather than blasting general announcements about new opportunities to all of your supporters, take a more targeted approach when possible. 

There are helpful resources to refer to for tactful audience-centric messaging. This will help make your messages more effective and prevent them from feeling like generic or irrelevant appeals for support. 

These emails can be personalized by direct your users to the most relevant opportunities based on what you already know about them. An example of this could be tracking which types of opportunities a volunteer has engaged with in the past to promote specific future opportunities to them. This will further enhance their relationship with that supporter and encourage them to continue to support your cause.

This messaging practice can further be used to encourage non-volunteers to get involved. When someone donates to a particular campaign, consider how that campaign’s specific messaging and goals motivated them to give. What action words and attention grabbers did they use to reach the end goal of the user donating? Use those insights to determine which types of volunteer opportunities and messaging tactics will be most appealing to them.

Promote new ways for volunteers to grow their impact.

Giving current volunteers ways to grow their impact on your mission is another vital part of effective long-term volunteer management. When you’ve built strategies to retain volunteers over the long haul, also use them to attract new supporters. Beyond expanding your volunteer base, find creative ways to expand their opportunities with your organization. An investment in their engagement is a powerful motivator.

When you expand opportunities for your volunteers, it can look like a variety of methods. For example, you can provide current and potential volunteers with opportunities like:

  • Volunteer grants that can help them boost their impact on your mission through matched donations from their employers.
  • Training programs and additional development opportunities to learn new skills related to your work.
  • Special membership perks for stand-out members, such as long-term volunteers, and those who are proactive in recruiting new volunteers.

By offering ways for volunteers to grow their impact over time, you essentially give them a reason to stick around. In addition to simply offering a range of different volunteering opportunities, Tactics like these are key to engage and retain supporters over the long run, which is itself one of the best ways to market your programming to potential volunteers.

With new and effective methods to promote your organization’s virtual volunteer opportunities, you can grow your reach and impact. Digital platforms have taken precedent with volunteers and organizations alike to recruit, retain, and motivate volunteers. 

It’s crucial to remain at the forefront of effective volunteer management strategies. If strategic volunteer management is a new undertaking for your organization, brush up with Mobilize’s complete guide, which walks through even more marketing and recruiting tips.

Regardless of the exact tactics you roll out, the main idea is to come up with the best ways to effectively inform others of your opportunities, as you want to expand your reach as much as possible. Your organization’s online presence has the potential to reach a broad audience regardless of location. Your impact can grow in exponential ways as you deepen relationships with your supporters. 

Creating your strategy is as simple as using the right volunteer management software to expand your organization’s mission’s reach and impact. Be sure to supplement it with peer-to-peer recruiting and targeted messages. 

With the new year, there is ample opportunity for creative and practical ideas to bolster your digital presence. With this, your organization’s volunteer base will expand and further the impact you have in your community.