This guide explores how nonprofits can use matching gift forms to fund their missions.

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 Double the Donation’s matching gift statistics, $4-$7 billion in corporate matching gift funds goes unclaimed every year!

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, including:

In the end, you’ll know how to raise matching gift revenue for your nonprofit! Let’s get started.

Click this graphic to learn more about using matching gift forms in your nonprofit's marketing to boost donations.

What Are Matching Gifts?

Matching gifts occur when a company or charitable individual matches another individual’s donations to an organization.

Various 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, foundation, group of supporters, or another benefactor will match gifts up to a certain amount.

The most common type is corporate matching gifts, where employers match the donations their employees make to eligible nonprofits.

This graphic explains how matching gifts can double someone's donation to a nonprofit.

Most companies 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. That’s why it’s important to promote matching gifts in your marketing strategy—many supporters won’t know to check with their employers until you suggest it!

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 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 considerations have to be addressed. 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.

What Are Matching Gift Forms?

Matching gift forms are used by the matching gift company to review the donation and the donor’s information, as well as the recipient organization. There are a few types of matching gift forms that can be used for this process: paper, electronic, and Double the Donation’s standard matching gift request form.

Paper Matching Gift Forms

While paper matching gift forms aren’t very 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 includes the following key components:

This graphic shows the typical format of a paper matching gifts form.

  • Donor Name
  • Employee Identification Number
  • Mailing Address
  • Phone Number
  • Donation Amount
  • Recipient Organization
  • Donation Date

The donor will typically need to provide documentation of their donation, which your nonprofit will need to create, as well as including 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 employer’s preferred method (mail, fax, etc.), and the company will then review the request.

Electronic Matching Gift Forms

Electronic matching gift forms make it easier for employees to submit their matching gift requests, which is great for your organization! The entire process is more streamlined, which results in more donors filling them out.

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

Here are the key components of electronic matching gift forms:

This graphic shows the typical format of an electronic matching gifts form.

  • Employee sign-in page: In order to access their employer’s electronic matching gift forms, employees typically need to sign into the company website using their employee username and password. Retirees might have to register and log in 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. Then, 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 have 501(c)(3) status.

Double the Donation’s Standard Matching Gift Forms

Double the Donation is the industry’s leading provider of matching gift software for nonprofit organizations looking to raise more through corporate giving opportunities. They’ve rolled out a new type of matching gift form that’s expected to make a significant difference in overall program participation rates. This is called Double the Donation’s standard matching gift form.

From a donor’s perspective, the key difference between this standard matching gift form and other types of matching gift forms is that the donor is not required to provide any additional information about their donation to complete the process. Instead, Double the Donation leverages data from the donation record itself, along with details provided directly from nonprofit organizations to complete the form behind the scenes.

All the donor typically needs to do is enter their corporate email address to verify their identity and authorize Double the Donation to submit a match request on their behalf. From there, the standard match form is automatically completed and emailed to the donor’s employing company to review, approve, and disperse funding as usual.

How Can Matching Gift Software Help?

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 details 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:

  • 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 makes 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.

Once you’ve settled on one, you’re ready to get started! If you need a little extra advice, 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.

You’re likely already aware that the right tools can boost your nonprofit’s ability to raise support and donations for its cause. Learn how to use matching gift tools with your donation form to heighten your chances of receiving matching gifts even further!

How to Incorporate Matching Gifts into Your Donation Form

When people come to your donation page, they’re seriously considering donating to your organization They’re engaged with your mission and therefore 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 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: 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, donors will only give it a try if they know their donation could be doubled!

How to Market Matching Gifts

So you’ve invested in matching gift software and paved the way to start accepting matched gifts. But how do your donors know to get on board?

Like any other opportunity to give, your nonprofit must do its part to inform supporters and request their donations by spreading the word about your fundraising efforts! The good news is, the message about matching gifts can be incorporated into all of your classic marketing channels, including:

  • Social media: Especially since matching gift forms and the right software make them so easy, a quick explainer post about matching gifts on your social media channels can encourage followers to check their eligibility and submit a request!
  • Your website: Create a page dedicated solely to matching gifts. Include everything your site visitors need to know, like a definition of matching gifts, the most frequently asked questions, and a link to your matching gift database.
  • The Google Ad Grant: If you’re already leveraging Google’s Ad Grant program for nonprofits to draw more traffic to your website, it’s a great place to increase visibility and awareness of matching gifts!
  • Flyers and promotional materials: A small section or reminder about matching gifts in any of your promotional materials is all that it takes to get supporters interested. Include a link on your fundraising flyers or promotional posters to more information about matching gifts so supporters are reminded to check into it.

Advance your fundraising efforts by explaining how donors can multiply their gifts. When supporters know matching gifts are an option and have the resources to easily check their eligibility and submit a request, your nonprofit will tap into even more revenue!

Matching Gift Form Example

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

This graphic shows an example of the steps a matching gifts form might take a donor through.

  1. A donor finds the search tool plugin on a nonprofit’s website.
  2. They type the name of their employer into the search tool.
  3. Their employer’s matching gift program information populates, offering a direct link to the electronic matching gift form.
  4. The donor can log into their company account to access the matching gift form and submit all of the necessary information.

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

Conclusion and Additional Matching Gift Resources

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.

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

Click this graphic to learn how Getting Attention can help your nonprofit promote matching gifts.