The holidays are over and if you are like most people you have made a new year’s resolution. Whether it’s to exercise more, lose weight or cutting back on social media, many of us start each year with a goal to make improvements in our lives. At HEPdata we have a suggestion to our non-profit friends – Resolve to ramp up your matching gift program in 2019.

Below are 10 simple steps you can take to raise donor awareness, each of them is easy and inexpensive to implement.

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!

Informing individuals about the possibility of literally doubling donations via matching gift opportunities is step one to extra financial support, but step two is ensuring that these marketing efforts are working.

Here are 10 tips on the benefits of matching gifts:

  1. Add a matching gift FAQ to your web site
    Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center does an excellent job of providing their donors with an FAQ on the matching gift process. On this FAQ page they educate the donor on matching gifts, provide the donor with a link to search if their gift is match eligible, and a contacts name at Memorial Sloan Kettering for more information.
  2. Add HEPdata’s E-match 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.
  3. Promote matching gifts in several places on your web site
    You can promote matching gifts on your ways to give page, online donation page, and under a separate matching gift tab.
  4. Keep your data updated
    We know approximately 10% of most donors are match eligible (that number can be higher or lower depending on constituency and type of 501(C)3 designation). So, for example, let’s take a university with 50,000 solicitable alumni and they know where 20,000 work and don’t know where the other 30,000 work. HEPdata’s EmployerFind™ can fill those gaps in information by providing a current employer name, job title and Social Media URL (when available). We can also verify the validity of your existing employer names. We can take your 50,000 donors and identify which ones work for a matching gift company though our AutoMatchXpress tool. If you are interested in a free AutoMatchXpress report, please contact Teddy Callow, Director of Sales at tcallow@hepdata.com. There are many non-profits that receive over a million dollars in matching gifts. Whether you are a large or small nonprofit, don’t overlook the importance of accurate employment data.
  5. Include a reminder about matching gifts in your thank you letter and gift receipt
    Again, thank you so much for your generous support to (insert non-profit name). We think you may work at a company that has a matching gift program. You can take advantage of this great benefit by contacting your human resources department of by visiting (insert HEPdata E-match link).”
  6. Remind donors during your phonathons
    This is a great opportunity to promote matching gifts. Ensure that your telefund callers have a script for verifying and asking for employer information and reminding alums and donors alike of the possibility of matching gifts; input or import matching data into phonathon software.
  7. A Matching Gift Can Turn into a Major Gift
    Educate your major gift officers and prospect researchers on the potential of matching gifts. 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. 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!
  8. Share a Success Story around Matching Gifts:
    LSU is a great example of how you can share a success story on matching gifts. ExxonMobil donated $1.2 million to LSU Foundation in 2016 through their matching gift program. This is also a great way to publicly thank your corporate donors. Another great example comes from Denison University. They take a different approach and list interesting facts/statistics on the matching gifts they received.
  9. Use Social Mediato promote matching gifts
    Nonprofits understand the power of social media but how do you leverage that platform to maximize your matching gift message? Go viral with your matching gift promotion via social media.
  10. Craft a targeted email solicitation
    Send a special solicitation to your matching-gift-eligible alumni and/or donors letting them know that their employer will help them double their impact to your institution. Send an email to recent year-end donors letting them know that their donations can still be matched if their employer participates in the matching gift program.

Check out our 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. Email info@hepdata.com or call 800-681-4438 for more information.