Summer is quickly coming to an end and it is time to start thinking about how to kick off your annual fund campaign. If you are like most independent schools, tuition only covers a portion of your operating costs so you depend on the annual fund to bridge that gap. When developing your annual fund marketing strategy don’t forget to include matching gifts. Below are 5 tips to help you maximize your matching gift dollars.

1. Educate Your Parents: Take advantage of any communication to remind your parents and friends about the benefits of matching gifts. Make sure to include information on matching gifts in your solicitation, web site, newsletters, emails, tweets, and phonathons.

2. Educate your PTO Board and Development Committee: I was on the PTO Board and Development Committee at my daughter’s school more years than I care to remember. It’s extremely important that these board and committee members understand the benefits of matching gifts. We would directly target parents that worked for matching gift companies.

3. Screen your donor data base: One of the benefits independent schools have is that they know where their parents work; it’s on the student application. Consider running an AutoMatchXpress on your families. HEPdata will identify which parents work for a matching gift company. This information is invaluable to your annual fund because you can remind that parent that their gift can be double or tripled. Better yet, you can provide them with the matching gift form and all the instructions on how to get that gift matched. HEPdata will run a FREE AutoMatchExpress screening and provide your school with a summary report detailing how much matching gift money you left on the table last year.

4. Add the E-Match Donor Link to Your Web Site:  E-Match allows donors and friends to determine the match eligibility of their gift, with “how to” instructions and access to employer-specific match forms. It is a proactive approach to increasing matching gifts.  Check-out how Bishop Feehan High School uses the E-match donor link on their web site.

5. Remind donors during your phonathons: This is a great opportunity to promote matching gifts. If you have already identified that a parent works for a matching gift company this makes that phone call much easier. If you haven’t screened your database, you can still remind your parents during that call about the benefits of matching gifts.

Think this sounds like a lot of effort for a small shop and you aren’t sure it will pay off? Think again. I recommend listening to a webinar we did with Bishop Feehan High School on how they raised close to $100,000 in matching gifts for the past five years. They started from scratch and built a matching gift program with a very small staff.

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At HEPdata we are happy to help you evaluate how you can increase your matching gift revenue. Check out our Learning Center where you can view over 50 free on-demand educational webinars given by leaders in philanthropy, covering best practice for matching gift administration and other fundraising topics. You can also find a weekly blog that provides useful fundraising tips. If you are interested in more information or a free AutoMatchXpress screening, email: or call 800-681-4438.

5 Tips for Matching Gift Success for Independent Schools