Create a Culture of Matching Gifts within Your Organization
The first step to increasing matching gift revenue is to educate your development staff and board members on the benefits of matching gifts. After all, any gift is good news, and a matched gift is even better news. Designate a matching gift expert on your staff, someone who knows how to make it work for your organization. It is crucial to engage the development team around the potential of matching gifts. Keep them apprised of the amount raised through matching gifts in previous years; this helps reinforce why matching gifts are so important to your institution’s overall fundraising strategy. Depending on the size of your organization, the matching gift team includes representatives from the annual giving team, advancement services, and major giving departments. Clearly define staff roles and responsibilities for matching gift solicitation and fulfillment processes.
Go After the Biggest Fish
First, determine the 10-20 largest matching gift eligible employers of your friends and donors and make your corporate fundraisers aware of that potential revenue stream for when they interact with the companies or donors who work for them. For example, if your non-profit is based in the Houston area you would want to know that Chevron matches up to $10,000 annually, Exxon matches up to $25,000 annually to higher educational institutions, Southwestern Energy Corporation matches up to $15,000 and; Shell matches up to $7,500 annually. These are just some of the top employers in the Houston area with generous matching gift programs. Your organization will want to make strong connections with companies that offer such support.
Similar organizations could be in your backyard. Some companies offer corporate volunteer grants also known as “dollars for doers” programs. These programs allow employees to volunteer for their favorite cause and the employer will match their volunteer hours with a financial donation. The average rate is $10 per each eligible hour spent volunteering. This may open a whole new segment of donors who may not have the money to give, but have the time and inclination to contribute to your organization.
Match Major Donor Gifts
Be sure your major gift officers are informed about their prospects who are matching gift eligible. Matching gifts and major gifts go together and having knowledge of details like preferred matching rates and if the prospect is a board member of the company is powerful information to add into a negotiation for the next gift. To enhance their corporate social responsibility and corporate giving programs, many companies offer senior executives and board members a higher matching gift opportunity. For example, Sierra Health Foundation offers board members a 3:1 matching gift benefit up to $45,000. So, make the next major gift a matching major gift!
Go Viral with Matching Gifts
Another idea is to embrace social media to promote your matching gift program. Many non-profits understand the power of social media but don’t always know how to leverage that matching gift message. Are you promoting the benefits of matching gifts on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter? Millions of people are on social media, so why not take advantage of the free venue to engage with your donors and community?
Integrate Matching Gifts Information Across Platforms
Finally, don’t forget to market matching gift opportunities in your newsletters, appeals, leaflets, acknowledgments, and phonathons. Share a matching gift success story with your donors. Incorporate the HEPdata E-Match Donor Link to your web site so your donors can instantly see if their gift is match eligible. Add a reminder about matching gifts in your email signature and include the HEPdata E-Match link.
With so many companies offering employee matching gift programs, your non-profits can’t afford NOT to aggressively pursue this free money.
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