Would you turn down free money? Research suggests that approximately $10 billion of corporate matching gift money goes unclaimed annually, which represents about $20 billion to nonprofits. Approximately 1 in 10 gifts to nonprofits can be matched. That’s a staggering 10% of total donations! Did you know that increasing your matching gifts by 1% could be equal to THOUSANDS of dollars for most programs? Callers, management, and administrative personnel all influence results so make sure your team bands together to positively influence your next phonathon. Follow these helpful tips:

Train your callers to fully educate the prospect on the benefits of matching gifts.
Some prospects won’t know what a matching gift is or how to go about getting their gift matched. Callers should be able to walk them through this process and help them identify if their company offers a matching gift program. Devote a full page in your training manual to matching gifts. Make sure your callers are well educated on how these programs work. Every company has a different policy, so it is imperative that callers have access to the most accurate matching gift data. Have your matching gift coordinator be part of the training and serve as your matching gift expert.

Integrate HEPdata’s matching gift database, GiftPlus® to your phonathon software.
It would be great if all companies adhered to standard matching gift policies but that’s not the way it works. Every company has their own specific policies and match requirements. HEPdata’s matching gifts database tracks over 23,000 matching gift companies. By integrating this database with your phonathon software, your callers will have access to the following important information:

  • Instant verification if a donor’s gift is match eligible by searching on employer name
  • Matching Gift Forms and Links that can be emailed to donor
  • Policy Information on eligibility – who will match to what type of nonprofit or educational institution
  • Matching Ratios (1 to 1) (2 to 1)
  • Volunteer Programs -Dollars for Doers program details
  • Corporate contact information

Create a script for your callers that includes matching gift information.
Carefully train your representatives to ask for a matching gift on every call. Callers should ask prospects for their employment information and the spouse employment information (when applicable). How they ask is critical. Here is example script that your callers could use when asking prospects about matching gifts, “Many companies match charitable contributions and I would like to check if you or your spouse (when applicable) are eligible. Would you mind sharing your title and employer name?” or “The University likes to hear what alumni are doing with their degrees, would you mind sharing your employment information.” This sets up the caller to explain the details of a matching gift. If you are using HEP’s GiftPlus® integration, the caller can verify if the prospect or spouse pledge is eligible for a match. The caller can email the matching gift forms and guidelines to the prospect while they are on the phone.

Segment your donors who are match eligible.
One of the most effective ways to increase your matching gifts is to screen your donor database by match eligibility. AutoMatchXpress is a comprehensive prospect data screening service that will identify which records in your donor database are match eligible. It is designed to provide you with actionable matching gift statistics on your file. AutoMatchXpress will identify match-eligible donors and prospects, allowing you to target matching gift opportunities during phonathons. All this information can be uploaded into your CRM and phonathon software.

Include a reminder about matching gifts in thank you letter or email.
After you have the pledge or gift the next step is the thank you. Any emails sent to acknowledge, remind, or thank constituents for pledges or gifts should include information on matching gifts. With GiftPlus®® from HEPdata provides a custom reminder with the donor name and specific matching gift information. If you send a thank you letter this form can be included. If you don’t have a firm commitment to a matching gift be sure to include text in your letter that reminds them of the benefits of matching gifts. Here is some sample verbiage you can use: “You may work at a company that has a matching gift program. You can take advantage of this great benefit by contacting your human resource department or by visiting our on-line matching gift look-up link insert HEPdata E-Match Link.” This matching gift link will allow your donors to instantly verify if their gift is match eligible.

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Given today’s economy, it makes sense to take the time to strategize on using your phonathons to increase your matching gifts. To achieve your goal, spend the time training your student callers and give them the tools to be successful. Don’t leave free money on the table!

For more information on matching gifts, please contact HEPdata at info@hepdata.com or call 800-681-4438. The HEPdata team is happy to assist you in maximizing your matching gift revenue. Also, check out the Learning Center where you can view over 50 free, on-demand educational webinars by leaders in philanthropy, covering best practice on various fundraising topics. You can also find a weekly blog that provides useful fundraising tips.

How to Increase Matching Gifts Through Your Phonathons