Almost weekly, I get told by fundraising and nonprofit organizations, “I want to do what (insert organization name) is doing to raise more matching gift funds.”  The belief being, if they work with the same vendor and use the same data and technology, their results will be the same.  The truth is, maybe they will be, maybe they won’t.

Why?

The general rule is that 10% of donors are matching gift eligible, so the common assumption is that 10% of your fundraising revenue should come from matching gifts. But think of all of the other variables that make your organization different the one you admire.  Things like location, demographics, how you engage your constituents, fundraising campaigns and even your mission all play into your potential for matching gift revenue.

This common assumption has formed the entire basis for HEPdata’s matching gift solution set.  Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, we like to get under the hood when working with our customers to help build a specific program for that organization and their constituents.

Let’s look at a couple of variables that impact your potential for matching gift revenue.

What platforms are you using?

Let’s face it, the tools you use to fundraise are your lifeblood.  Digital engagement, peer-to-peer, day of giving, calling software, and your general online donation platforms all play a massive part in your ability to reach your fundraising goals.  Making matching gifts a part of every fundraising conversation allows you to promote matching gifts and build it into the donation process.

Our eMatch Portal is an easy-to-use platform for nonprofit and higher education institutions to identify, automate, and convert all matching gift opportunities. eMatch Portal integrates at the point of gift to capture the donor’s employer for easy identification of a new matching gift opportunity, increasing matching gift revenue on average by 53% in just year 1.

How does your data look?

Employment data is not always something you have on your donors/constituents and when you do, it can often be challenging to keep up to date.  However, the employer’s name is THE critical piece of information needed to identify a donor as a matching gift opportunity.  We often audit our customer’s data and create a matching gift scorecard to see what opportunity lies within that data.

Here’s an example:

You have 10,000 annual donors and employment information on 30% of them.  Using the rule of 10%, we’ll identify the ~300 or so that work for a matching gift company.  Then we screen the remaining 7,000 constituents to identify an employer for approximately half of them (another ~3,500).  Mining that data further, we’ll identify an additional ~350 matching gift eligible donors.  Let’s say the average gift size of this data set is $150.  We just identified almost $100K in a matching gift opportunity that was previously hidden!

The point here is no two organizations are the same in terms of their data, so expectations and strategy must be set accordingly.

Time and resources

It’s no secret that most fundraisers wear multiple hats.  Chances are a Matching Gifts Coordinator isn’t one of them.  If you’re like many organizations starting, matching gifts are considered a “good to have,” but no resources are spent proactively pursuing them.

Or maybe you are proactively trying to identify matching gift opportunities, similar to the scenario I mentioned above, but are unsure of what happens next.  How are you going to engage those 650 donors to ensure they submit their request to their company?  Do you have the time?

Whether we integrate into your giving platform(s) or mine your data for opportunities, eMatch Portal automates the follow-up process to ensure these opportunities convert.  Your organization’s communication plan is likely completely different than the one you admire, so customizing your engagement is a crucial feature we’ve added within the platform.

Branding, messaging, and timing are all things that can be easily configured to ensure you are maximizing your outreach to your donors, ultimately leading to these matching gift opportunities being fulfilled.

The bottom line:

Being proactive around matching gifts and prioritizing matching gifts as a critical piece of your fundraising strategy is something that all organizations can and should strive to do. Still, it is not a one size fits all approach.  It takes a strategy, something we’ve done thousands of times, to make sure your program is firing on all cylinders.

We know there’s massive opportunity out there, regardless of what type of organization you are. Let’s get under the hood so that matching gifts can play a significant part in helping you not only achieve your fundraising goals but exceed them.