Essentially a BOGO sale for donations, employer matching gives both employers and employees the chance to give back and have their donations go twice as far. In a perfect world, every donation would be matched. Unfortunately, employer matching is extremely underutilized—not because donors don’t care, but because they don’t know where to start.
With GivingTuesday being one of the biggest online fundraising days of the year, nonprofits and donors alike would be remiss to not take full advantage of employer matching opportunities.
But first, what is employer matching?
Employer matching is a program set up by companies in which the company matches the monetary donation that the employee makes to a nonprofit—typically at 100%, but it can vary from higher rates (200%-300%) to lower rates (30%-50%). To receive a matching gift, donors need to submit a request to their employer after they make the donation.
How can you help donors utilize their employer matching programs?
- Let your donors know about it…repeatedly. Studies show that 84% of people are more likely to donate if an employer match is offered. Additionally, donors are more likely to give larger gifts if they know that their employer will match it. So make sure to let donors know what employer matching programs are, how to find out if their employer has one, and how to get their gift matched. This should be reiterated in all your communications, including your emails, social media posts, and newsletters.
- Emphasize the impact in your communications. Donors want to know that their contributions are helping to further your cause, and numbers can help you communicate that. Quantify how their donation can have an exponentially greater impact if they partake in their employer matching program (e.g., their donation that would originally provide 10 meals now provides 20 meals). This can also lead to higher individual donations and matching gifts.
- Make it a core component of your donation form. You’re already asking your donors to provide some information. Add in one more optional question that asks for their company name. It should be accompanied by a prompt that explains what employer matching is, how you intend to use their information, and any next steps.
- Reinforce it on your confirmation page. Leverage the momentum of the donation process while donors are still on their donation “high.” In addition to thanking them for their contribution on your confirmation page, highlight their chance to make an even bigger impact and provide action items to check their company’s matching gift eligibility.
- Bring employer matching programs to your donors. A matching gift database is a great way to quickly inform donors about their company’s matching gift eligibility—just embed it within your confirmation page. While matching gift databases do come with a price tag, they can help you streamline the process to the point of submitting match requests on behalf of the donor and collecting the match donation amount directly from the employer.
- Send follow-up emails. First, do your due diligence to identify match eligible donations with resources like Charity Navigator’s employer match search tool. Then send out a reminder email to those donors that provides them with detailed information about their company’s specific matching program. The sooner you can do these two steps, the better, as sending a reminder out within 24 hours of a donation results in a 53% open rate. And don’t be shy to send additional reminder emails—it can increase matches submitted to employers by 48%.
- Spread the word. Employer matching isn’t something that people are too familiar with. Clear up any confusion by including information on your website that breaks down what it is, how to determine match eligibility, and the steps to get a donation matched. Provide any links to relevant resources and write up an FAQ section to get ahead of any potential questions and uncertainties.