Matching Gift Programs: Getting Your Nonprofit Team Onboard

As a nonprofit professional, raising the funds you need to continue serving your mission and constituents can be challenging. In fact, you may already be looking into other ways you can raise funds without putting too much extra pressure on your team.

You’ve probably heard of matching gift programs, a type of corporate giving program in which companies financially match donations their employees make to nonprofits. But have you been able to make matching gifts an active part of your fundraising strategy?

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has risen in recent years, so more and more companies are implementing or expanding their matching gift programs. That means more employees are eligible for a match when they donate to nonprofits like yours.

If you’re unsure of how to convince your nonprofit team to jump on the matching gifts bandwagon, we’ve outlined some key strategies you can use to get your organization onboard:

Focus on both leadership and staff.
Demonstrate the value of matching gifts.
Develop a long-term plan.

It can be difficult to convince a nonprofit organization that it should be investing time and energy into pursuing matching gifts. We’re going to offer ways you can successfully do this. Let’s get started.

1. Focus on both leadership and staff.

When we talk about getting your nonprofit team onboard, we mean your entire team. That includes both leadership and staff.

Start with leadership first, and once you’ve made your case at that level, you’ll be in a better position to bring your staff on board, too. Why? It’s simple: When leadership at your organization is excited about and invested in matching gifts, that commitment will trickle down to all of your team members.

As you prepare to engage with your organization’s leadership about matching gifts, follow these tips for success:

Respect their time. Above all else, make sure you’re respecting your leadership team’s time. They’re already busy juggling many other tasks, so if you show that you respect their time and schedule short meetings with actionable information, you’ll already be a step ahead.

Effectively convey your message. One effective way to convey your message is to share educational information that teaches your leadership team about matching gifts and helps them see the impact they can make. After all, your leadership may not have a lot of background knowledge around matching gifts.

Use data. Use data your team already has to make your case. For example, compare your current matching gift revenue to what you could be getting from match-eligible donors. Part of this means identifying whether your donors work for companies that match donations. We’ll discuss this more in the next section.

Once you’ve met with leadership, continue scheduling short follow-up meetings to keep them updated on your progress. As leadership warms up to the idea of pursuing matching gift programs, you’ll be in a better position to rally your staff, as well.

America’s Charities nonprofit members, you could qualify for an exclusive discount on Double the Donation’s matching gift tools. Learn more here.

Next, as you begin reaching out to your staff members to get them on board as well, be sure to consider the following tips:

Educate them. Just as you’ve been educating your leadership team, offer resources to your staff (like this one) to cover the basics of matching gifts.

Incorporate matching gifts into onboarding. Whenever you train new staff members at your nonprofit, make sure they understand how matching gifts work from the start so they can assist donors and other individuals when needed. Offer additional resources like one-pagers, meetings, and webinars to continue educating them. 

Encourage outreach. Encourage staff to include matching gifts in their marketing and campaign materials. Keeping matching gifts at the forefront of everyone’s mind (including staff and donors) will help build up your revenue and maintain its importance.

Both your leadership and staff should have a clear understanding of matching gifts and how they work. When leadership buys into matching gift programs, your staff will follow suit. And from there, you’ll be in a great position to grow your revenue.

2. Demonstrate the value of matching gifts.

Now that we’ve covered the general steps of securing support from your leadership and staff members, it’s important to discuss specific ways you can demonstrate the value of matching gifts. 

After all, showing the value that matching gifts can bring to your organization is one of the most effective ways to convince your team that it’s worth focusing on.

We’re mostly going to talk about data here. As you make your case to both leadership and staff, think about the following:

Use general matching gift data. The numbers speak for themselves. According to these statistics from 360MatchPro, more than 18 million individuals work for companies with matching gift programs. That means there’s a chance that most of your donors are eligible to submit a match request following their donations. 

Use the data you already have. Build on the data you’ve compiled in recent years. This can include the number of match-eligible donations you’ve received versus actually submitted matches, total revenue raised from matching gifts, and the number of donors who work for matching gift companies. You can also add up the number of match-eligible donors from last year who didn’t submit a match request, as well as the total value of those missed opportunities.

Make it visual. Display your key data points about matching gifts in a visually appealing manner. This will make it easier for your team to digest and understand the impact matching gifts can have on your organization.

Using all types of data, both general- and organization-specific, can back up your reasons to actively pursue matching gift programs. This data will then help demonstrate the value offered to your nonprofit, and you’ll present an excellent case to your team.

3. Develop a long-term plan.

Even after you have your nonprofit team on board, there’s still a lot of work to be done. That’s why developing a long-term plan will enhance the value that matching gifts offer your organization.

Here are some ideas to keep in mind as you think long term:

Develop a matching gift team. This team can be made up of representatives from all over your nonprofit, but it shouldn’t be too large. These team members will work on your matching gifts strategy to develop a plan, determine your budget for matching gift outreach, and analyze data and reports.

Think about marketing. Consider all the marketing channels your team can use to reach out to donors about matching gifts. This includes social media posts, newsletters, thank-you emails and letters, and other forms of communication.

Create a standardized process. This point especially applies if your organization has multiple chapters. It’s essential to follow a standardized process for matching gift management so you can be sure everyone is on the same page. The less confusion staff members and donors encounter, the better.

When you have long-term plans set in place, you’ll ensure that your matching gift strategy is ready for the long haul. This means keeping your leadership team and staff members in the loop and delegating responsibilities to the appropriate individuals and departments.

There are many ways to fundraise, and implementing a matching gifts strategy at your organization is essential for success. Hopefully, these tips have given you ideas for getting your nonprofit team onboard and engaged with matching gifts. Good luck!

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Matching gifts are an excellent way for nonprofits to potentially double their fundraising revenue without asking supporters for more donations, and for employers to incentivize giving and increase support of their community:

Nonprofits, learn everything you need to know about matching gifts here.
Companies: Download the Definitive Matching Gifts Guide for Employers here

Reminder: America’s Charities nonprofit members who are new Double the Donation clients are eligible for a $250 credit on any Double the Donation plan in your first year! Learn more.

Adam Weinger is the president of Double the Donation, the leading provider of tools to nonprofits to help them raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs. 

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