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.

Verification

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!
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.

Double the Donation has created a comprehensive matching gift database that houses accurate information on more than 20,000 companies with matching gift programs. In order to access this database, they offer two options for nonprofits:

Premium Plan

The Premium Plan 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. 

Use Double the Donation's search tool to find the top matching gift companies.

From there, donors can easily submit a matching gift request!

360MatchPro by Double the Donation

Sometimes your organization is larger and has to keep track of a lot of revenue streams. Or, perhaps you use specific donation software that you want to integrate with your matching gift solution. In either case, 360MatchPro by Double the Donation is an ideal choice. This solution integrates with more than 50 online donation tools, peer-to-peer fundraising platforms, and CRMs.

360MatchPro is a matching gift automation platform that 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.

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!
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, which offers two options:

  • The Premium Plan: Remember that matching gift search tool we mentioned earlier? Double the Donation’s Premium Plan 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.
  • 360MatchPro by Double the Donation: 360MatchPro by Double the Donation is a matching gifts automation platform that follows up with donors on your behalf. 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!
Matching Gifts for Higher Education

Matching Gifts for Higher Education: 7 Actionable Tips

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

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

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

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

1. Set Your Goals

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

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

2. Promote Matching Gifts to Alumni Donors

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

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

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

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

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

3. Customize Your Outreach

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

Matching gift outreach is no different.

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

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

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

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

4. Keep the Donation Process Simple

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

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

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

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

5. Demonstrate Impact

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

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

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

6. Thank Your Donors

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

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

Here are a few keys ways you can do this:

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

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

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

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

7. Leverage an Accurate Matching Gift Database

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep tabs on matching gifts companies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Automatically follow up on incomplete matches.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Integrate your matching gift software with your fundraising software.

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

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

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

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

Top 360MatchPro Higher Ed Integrations

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

GiveCampus

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

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

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

Anthology (formerly iModules)

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

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

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

Wilson-Bennett Technology

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

  • Online reporting
  • Database management
  • Live credit card processing

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

Almabase

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

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

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

Ellucian

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

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

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

Salesforce

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

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

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

Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT

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

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

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

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

Track your goals using the software.

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

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

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


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

Additional Resources

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

Get more matching gifts for higher education with Double the Donation!

Matching Gift Initiatives at 5 Higher Ed Institutions

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the examples we’ve pulled together:

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

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

Example 1: University of Georgia & Matching Gifts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The email then includes the below copy:

Dear Jane,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m not eligible for a matching gift.

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

Best regards and Go Dawgs!

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

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

Example 2: Carnegie Mellon University & Matching Gifts

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

Let’s take a closer look:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Example 3: Utah Valley University & Matching Gifts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Jane,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m not eligible for a matching gift.

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

Regards,

UVU Annual Giving

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

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

Example 4: Syracuse University & Matching Gifts

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Jane,

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

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

Match your donation and DOUBLE your impact!

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

I’ve submitted my matching gift request!

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

I’m not eligible for a matching gift.

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

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

Example 5: University of Michigan & Matching Gifts

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

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

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

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

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

Additional Resources

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

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

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

14 Important Questions to Ask About Matching Gifts

When you hear matching gifts, what do you think of?

Maybe it’s a major donor who matches contributions made during a big campaign. As a nonprofit professional, you might’ve even participated in one of those. But have corporate matching gifts ever occurred to you?

Yep, you heard right: corporate matching gifts.

Many donors, including those who give to your organization, are eligible for matching gifts through their employer. But this is a fundraising strategy that’s underutilized by nonprofits way too many times.

That’s why we’ve put together some super important questions you should be asking about matching gifts so you can harness this major fundraising power. Let’s jump right in!


1. What the heck are corporate matching gifts?

Definition: Corporate matching gifts are a form of corporate philanthropy in which companies match donations their employees make to nonprofits.

That’s the simple version.

Matching gifts are basically free money. They let donors to maximize the impact of their gift without reaching back into their own pockets. Can you think of anything better?

But how do organizations even get matching gift funds? Read on to find out.


2. How do matching gifts even work?

Matching gift programs vary by company, but here is the process in a nutshell:

This is how matching gifts work.
  1. An individual donates to a nonprofit.
  2. The individual submits a request for a match through their employer.
  3. The employer verifies the donation with the nonprofit.
  4. The employer matches the individual’s donation.

Again, that’s the simple version.

Many companies also have a policy around match ratios, minimum and maximum amounts, and employee/nonprofit eligibility.

Match Ratios

Most companies match at a 1:1 ratio, which means a dollar for a dollar match. But match ratios can span anywhere from .5:1 to 4:1. For example, a 1:1 match on a $50 donation means $100 total, while a 2:1 match on the same $50 gets you $150 total.

Minimum and Maximum Amounts

Companies also have minimum and maximum donation amounts that they’ll match. The most common minimum amount is $25, but these amounts range from $1 to $100. The maximum amounts have an even wider range. These amounts are often between $1,000 and $15,000, though amounts will still vary below and above that range.

Eligibility

You should also know that companies have restrictions on the types of nonprofits and employees that are eligible to receive or request a matched donation.

For nonprofits, most 501(c)(3) organizations are eligible for matching gift programs, including educational institutions, arts and cultural organizations, environmental organizations, health and human services, and more. The most common restriction is usually religious organizations, but it’s still up to the company.

For employees, their eligibility also depends on the company’s guidelines. This can include full-time, part-time, and retired employees.

Tip: Looking for a way to stay up-to-date about employee matching gift guidelines? Check out Double the Donation.


3. What deadline??

Yep, there’s more than just eligibility, match ratios, and minimum/maximum amounts when it comes to matching gifts. You absolutely, without a doubt, have to meet the deadline.

These are important matching gift deadlines you should know.

The deadline to submit a matching gift request will vary based on your donor’s employer, but here are three main types of deadlines:

  • Within a set number of months. A company will match a gift up to a certain number of months after the donation is made. As an example, this could be three months after the date of the donation.
  • By the end of the calendar year. A company will match a gift within the calendar year of when the donation is made.
  • By the end of the calendar year, plus a grace period. A company will match donations made through the end of the calendar year, and then add on additional months for employees to submit a request. These grace periods usually go through the end of January, February, or March.

Chop, chop! While these deadlines may be longer and apply to more of your donors, the farther from a donation your supporter gets, the less likely they will be to submit a match request. That’s why you’ve got to promote matching gift opportunities to them ASAP.


4. Why aren’t more nonprofits using matching gifts?

That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? Turns out, much of the time, both nonprofits and donors don’t know about matching gifts.

For nonprofits, reasons include a lack of staff, resources, and time needed to zero in on matching gift revenue. Many times, organizations don’t know who a donor’s employer is or what their matching gift policy is.

For donors, most don’t even know that their company offers a matching gift program. And sometimes the process of getting their donation matched seems way too complicated or unclear.

This means (drumroll) that approximately $4-$7 billion in matching gift funds goes unclaimed every year. This is a huge amount of money that nonprofits are missing out on.


5. So…why should I care about matching gifts?

Glad you asked!

Matching gifts can do more than just double donations. Beyond boosting your fundraising revenue, matching gifts can also help improve donor retention, keep your donors engaged with your organization, and more.

Here’s some handy evidence: Did you know that 1 in 3 donors say they would give a larger gift if a match was applied to their donation?

Just knowing that their donation will go twice as far encourages donors to give a larger gift at the outset. Similarly, 84% of donors say they’re more likely to donate if a match is offered at all. This means if you have a potential donor who’s on the fence about giving to your organization, promoting corporate matching gifts can give them the extra push they need to make their decision.

Here are some other eye-opening matching gift statistics to help put things in perspective:

These are important matching gift statistics.

As you can see, there are plenty of benefits that come with matching gifts. They encourage donors to give to your organization, while also boosting the initial gift amounts.


6. So who’s throwing around all this cash?

Another great question!

We’ve talked a lot about matching gifts and how they work, but who actually offers matching gifts?

Good news: There are more companies that match donations than you may think. In fact, as you can see from the stats above, 65% of Fortune 500 companies offer matching gift programs.

Some of the top matching gift companies include, Microsoft, Apple, Google, The Home Depot, and Disney. Many of these companies offer high maximum match limits and match donations to most types of nonprofits. For example:

  • Microsoft matches up to $15,000 in donations to most nonprofits at a 1:1 ratio for full- and part-time employees. 
  • Disney matches up to $25,000 in donations to most nonprofits at a 1:1 ratio for full- and part-time employees.
  • Apple matches up to $10,000 in donations to most nonprofits at a 1:1 ratio for full- and part-time employees.

This is only a snapshot of the many matching gift companies out there. And it’s not just large corporations handing out money. These companies range in size and guidelines, which is why it’s essential that you understand where your donors work to get in on this funding source!


7. How do I get in on matching gifts?

We’ve made it clear that a lack of awareness is a big issue when it comes to matching gifts. So how can your organization market matching gifts to your donors?

Lucky for you, there are many ways your nonprofit can promote matching gifts. We’ll cover some of the top marketing methods below!

Email Outreach

Promote matching gifts via email.

Email outreach takes a few different forms: confirmation emails, newsletters, thank-you letters, and more. When you send out these types of messages, it’s important to mention matching gifts.

To give you an idea, here’s some text you can include in your thank-you email after a donor has given to your cause:

Thank you for supporting our organization! Did you know that many companies match their employees’ donations to our nonprofit? Check your eligibility and access the appropriate forms and instructions to submit a match today!

You can even include a link to learn more about matching gifts within your email. 

Social Media

Promote matching gifts on social media.

Take to social media! Your organization’s social media platform is a great way to raise awareness around matching gifts. If your nonprofit has a strong social media presence (or is building one), take advantage of those scheduling tools to post about matching gifts throughout the year.

Social media impacts donors—in fact, 18% of donors who give online say that social media is the channel that most inspires them to give.

Whether you’re using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other platforms, be sure to include links that direct supporters to the information they’ll need to submit a match request to their employer.

Donation Page

Promote matching gifts on your donation page.

When supporters are already on your donation page, that means they’re serious about donating to your cause. Very serious. Since donors are most engaged at this step, this is the perfect time to promote matching gifts.

Prompt your donors to figure out their eligibility for a matching donation through their employer. This can be done by including a brief piece of information about matching gifts, or even by embedding a matching gift search tool on your form.

Donors are most receptive during the actual donation process. Raise awareness at that point so they don’t forget to check their eligibility.

Dedicated Matching Gift Page

Promote matching gifts on a dedicated matching gift page.

There are also other areas of your website besides your donation page that you can use to promote matching gifts. One of these is a dedicated matching gift page. A dedicated matching gift page provides donors with general educational information about matching gifts, as well as company-specific matching gift forms, guidelines, and instructions.

A matching gift page is an awesome piece of content to link to as you promote matching gifts. You can send donors there from social media posts, emails, and other types of communication. Having a specific page that houses all of the information donors need will make it easier for supporters to submit a match request.

Matching Gift Search Tool

We mentioned embedding a matching gift search tool onto your website earlier. But how can you find one?

By investing in matching gift software that offers access to a matching gift database, you’ll hand-deliver donors updated and comprehensive information about their employer’s matching gift guidelines and forms.

This is a matching gift search tool, which allows your donors to search for their company's program.

Interested in learning more about matching gift databases? Jump to that section now!


8. What about my staff members?

Let’s be frank: It’s obvious that raising awareness around matching gifts, especially to donors, is important. But sometimes that lack of awareness extends to your team members too.

Many nonprofits don’t spend time educating their staff about matching gift programs. This is especially true for organizations that don’t realize the impact matching gifts can have on their revenue.

That’s why we’ve rounded up some effective steps, as outlined by Double the Donation, that you can take:

  1. Target the right staff members. This includes staff members who are in charge of campaigns and events, finances, and marketing. To give you an example, campaign and event organizers can advertise matching gifts in their communications with attendees, while finance staff can track and report on matching gift revenue. Your marketing team can then promote matching gifts across all communications.
  2. Provide educational resources. Offer resources to educate your team about matching gifts so they’re more receptive to the information. This way, they’ll know what there is to know about matching gifts and can answer questions from donors.
  3. Make matching gifts part of onboarding. Train new team members on the matching gift process so they know about them from the outset. You can also give out one-pagers, set up calls or meetings, and attend webinars to help educate all current staff.

Educating your new staff members and giving those refreshers to your entire team will help make matching gifts more effective across your organization. Be sure to offer helpful resources that they can access and provide training so they’re ready to handle anything matching gift-related that comes across their desk.


9. But…what about getting leadership onboard?

Yeah, we know that can be concerning. But you’ve got to do it!

Educating your staff isn’t the only task you’ll need to tackle when it comes to matching gifts at your organization. In addition to rallying your team around matching gifts, you’ll also need to focus attention on getting that leadership support. Because if you don’t, it may be more challenging to get your staff onboard in the first place.

So how can you get that leadership support?

First and foremost, you need to help leadership see the value in matching gifts. This momentum will then trickle down to the rest of your staff. 

Double the Donation outlines effective ways to get your leadership onboard with matching gifts:

  • Using internal data. Rather than talking about the value of matching gifts, show the impact they can have on your organization through data. Highlight information about your number of match-eligible donations versus actual submitted matches, total revenue raised from matching gifts, and the number of donors who work for matching gift companies.
  • Spending time developing a strategy. Take a few hours a month to develop your matching gift strategy, and then encourage your leadership to do the same. This way, you’ll make your strategies even more effective.
  • Holding short meetings with leadership. Respect their time! Schedule short, 15-minute meetings that still allow you to demonstrate the value of matching gifts. Explain the basics of matching gifts, their impact, and the benefits. Schedule future meetings to report back on your progress and growth.

When your leadership is onboard with your matching gift plan, your entire team will be more willing to work toward your matching gift goals. And when leadership is enthusiastic about matching gifts, that enthusiasm can be contagious!


10. What on earth is a matching gift database?

Even after you’ve gotten support for matching gifts across your organization, there’s still more that can be done to build up your matching gift revenue. 

Making the investment in matching gift software can provide just the boost you need to drive those match-eligible donations to completion. More specifically, a matching gift database can give you access to information about thousands of company matching gift programs.

How does a matching gift database work?

A matching gift database is easily accessible via a search pool plugin. This plugin can go anywhere on your website, including donation forms and dedicated matching gift pages, and allows donors to search for their eligibility in seconds.

Here’s how it works:

  1. The donor accesses the search tool on your website.
  2. The donor types their employer’s name into the search tool.
  3. The search tool then populates with information about their employer’s matching gift program.
This is how a matching gift database works.

If you’re looking for effective matching gift software, check out Double the Donation, the leading provider of matching gift tools (and our favorite choice!).

Double the Donation offers both a Premium Plan and 360MatchPro. The Premium Plan allows organizations to embed the matching gift search tool anywhere on their website. From there, donors can access their comprehensive matching gift database, which houses information on more than 20,000 companies and subsidiaries and their matching gift programs.

360MatchPro by Double the Donation then takes this several steps further and automates the entire matching gift process. The platform scans information donors provide during the donation process, determines their matching gift eligibility, and triggers automated emails that outline next steps specific to the donor.

360MatchPro also integrates with more than 50 of the leading nonprofit CRMs, peer-to-peer fundraising software, and donation software, so it’s an excellent choice if you’re already using one or more of those tools.

360MatchPro by Double the Donation can significantly boost your matching gift revenue.

Using these tools from Double the Donation can help you zero in on more match-eligible donations, see those matches through to completion, and boost your overall revenue.

Learn more about Double the Donation!


11. What about the donor’s experience during all of this?

As you collect donations from your supporters, their experience throughout the process is so important for donor retention and engagement.

That’s why it’s important to streamline your entire donation process, including your matching gift efforts.

First, you should make sure you understand the matching gift lifecycle:

  1. A donor makes a gift to a nonprofit.
  2. The nonprofit follows up with the donor about matching gifts and the donor submits a request to their company.
  3. The nonprofit verifies the donation with the matching gift company.
  4. The nonprofit follows up and cultivates a relationship with the donor.

After you’ve successfully identified each stage of the matching gift lifecycle, you can then focus on improving each of these steps to make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible for your donors:

Evaluating Your Current Donation Process

As donors give to your organization, do they see helpful resources about matching gifts? If not, the time of the donation is a prime opportunity to educate them.

This is where that embeddable matching gift search tool comes in handy. Allow donors to use the search tool during the donation stage so they can immediately take action.

Following Up About Matching Gifts

Once donors have submitted their donation, follow up and let them know that their gift can go twice as far! If they haven’t submitted a match request to their employer, now is a perfect time to send a follow-up email to get the ball rolling.

Again, if you choose to use a tool like 360MatchPro by Double the Donation, you can automate this process. This matching gift platform will automatically email donors on your behalf with the information they need to figure out their eligibility.

But there’s even more you can do than email outreach. What about good, old-fashioned phone calls?

Make phone calls to a narrowed-down list of high-value matching gift donors. Basically, it should be those who are more likely to submit a match request. Phone calls take more of your staff’s time, but being selective about who you call can add a meaningful human touch to your matching gift outreach.

Streamlining Your Verification Process

While the verification process might seem straightforward enough, many organizations might run into issues with understanding the process. Verifying the original donation with a matching gift company means familiarizing your team with the corporate giving platforms that companies are using. 

Some of these top corporate giving platforms include Benevity, YourCause, and CyberGrants. Understanding the guidelines for each of these major vendors will help you respond to verification requests quickly and avoid missing out on any matching dollars. Be sure to educate your staff so they understand how the verification process works.

Thanking Your Donors

Thanking your donors should go without saying, but it’s still something we have to emphasize. Be sure to use your automation tools to thank your donors not only following their donation, but also after you’ve received the match from their employer. This will help you cultivate the relationships you need to continue growing and serving your mission as a nonprofit.

For high-value donors, think about even more personalized approaches to give your thanks. Handwritten letters, postcards, and phone calls from senior leadership staff are just a sampling of the channels you can use.

Looking at how your nonprofit handles the matching gift lifecycle can help you streamline the matching gift process for donors. Make it as easy as possible for donors to submit their matching gift requests, and then follow up (and follow up again!) to make sure they understand what the next steps are and are properly thanked.


12. Sure, but my organization has multiple chapters or affiliates. Now what do I do?

For many organizations, going after matching gifts means keeping track of your donors’ employers and having a set process in place for outreach.

But what about even larger organizations that have multiple chapters or affiliates? How can nonprofits of that size incorporate matching gifts into their strategies?

You can do this by consolidating your matching gift process.

According to Double the Donation, consolidation means that each chapter or affiliate will follow a central process to secure matching gifts. Here are some top tips on how you can do this:

  • Choose how you’ll consolidate. Whether this is on a national level, a regional level, or independent by chapters, you’ll want to base this decision on how consistent you want your donor experience to be and how you want reporting to take place.
  • Develop an action plan. Your action plan should include understanding your current process, putting together a matching gift team, optimizing the verification process, and determining your revenue goals.
  • Standardize the follow-up process. Set clear guidelines to ensure individual chapters are identifying and following up with match-eligible donors. This way, you can continue the conversation around matching gifts and create a more consistent donor experience.
  • Standardize the overall process. Beyond following up, select someone who can keep your organization on track to help standardize the process across chapters or affiliates. And don’t forget to make it positive! Help each section of your organization see the benefits of consistency.

These strategies can make a huge difference if your organization runs in multiple locations. A consistent process will help your teams avoid missing out on matching gift opportunities and create specific guidelines each unit should follow.


13. Are matching gifts the only type of corporate giving?

Nope! There are many other types of corporate philanthropy.

From monetary grants for volunteer hours to programs that take place on the corporate side, here are some of the top corporate giving programs:

Volunteer Grants

Also known as Dollars for Doers programs, volunteer grants are a type of corporate philanthropy in which companies provide monetary grants to organizations where their employees regularly volunteer.

Here’s how volunteer grants work:

  1. An individual volunteers with a nonprofit.
  2. The individual tracks their hours and submits a request for a volunteer grant with their company.
  3. The company verifies the hours with the nonprofit.
  4. The company provides a check to the nonprofit.
Like matching gifts, volunteer grants are another common form of corporate philanthropy.

If you already have a dedicated group of volunteers, encourage them to check their eligibility for a volunteer grant. You might be able to get some extra corporate dollars this way!

Tip: Did you know that matching gift software can also provide information about volunteer grants? Check out Double the Donation to learn more.

Fundraising Matches

Fundraising matches are similar to matching gifts in that donations are matched by a company.

The difference?

Fundraising matches apply to fundraising events, like walkathons or 5Ks. The event participant’s employer will then match the money the participant raises through sponsorships or other donations.

Automatic Payroll Deductions

One of the simplest forms of corporate giving is automatic payroll deductions. Through this corporate giving program, employees have a portion of their paycheck donated to a nonprofit on a regular basis.

But hold on! Specific companies may have guidelines on which organizations they’ll donate to.

Typically, the organization has to share similar values with the company, like environmental causes or other issues. Once your organization has been approved, this is a great source of recurring donations.

In-Kind Donations

Many companies donate more than just money to nonprofits. Some also provide in-kind donations, which means goods or services. To give you an example, a company might donate computers, consulting services, or even food to organizations.

In-kind donations are an awesome way to benefit nonprofits and give companies a sense of pride in helping a worthy cause.

Looking for more types of corporate giving programs? Check out this guide.


14. This is great to know! Where can I learn more?

If you’re looking for additional information about matching gifts, we’ve handpicked some helpful resources below:

Learn more about matching gifts and raise more with Double the Donation!