Corporate matching gifts can make a huge difference in the funds you raise during a capital campaign. Learn why they are so important during this time!
This is a guest post by Adam Weinger, President of Double the Donation.
The Importance of Matching Gifts During a Capital Campaign
By Adam Weinger
Many nonprofits all over use capital campaigns to raise the funds they need for large projects or undertakings. This could mean a new building, equipment, scholarships for educational institutions, or other important goals.
You may be familiar with the process of running a capital campaign already, but have you thought through all the possible ways you can make the most of your fundraising efforts?
One especially effective way you can heighten the chances of reaching your campaign goal is by leveraging matching gifts.
Matching gifts shouldn’t be confused with challenge grants — a challenge grant involves funds that are released by a grant-making entity after a nonprofit meets a challenge or goal. For the purpose of this article, we’re talking about corporate matching gifts — a form of corporate philanthropy in which companies match donations their employees make to nonprofits like yours.
By incorporating a matching gift strategy into your capital campaign, you can unlock new revenue channels within your fundraising efforts and, in turn, boost your numbers. And of course, nonprofits that are always looking for ways to evolve their practices, especially when it comes to capital campaigns, will see more results, as well.
Are you looking to double the corporate donations you receive during your upcoming capital campaign? We’re going to cover the basics you should know about matching gifts, how they work with capital campaigns, and what you can do to make them part of your strategy.
Let’s get started!
What You Should Know About Matching Gifts
According to Double the Donation’s guide to corporate matching gifts, many organizations overlook matching gifts because their donors aren’t always aware of their employer’s corporate philanthropy programs. Even more, nonprofits don’t know who a donor’s employer is, or what that company’s specific policy covers.
But matching gifts can have a huge impact on any kind of nonprofit campaign. When eligible donors give to a nonprofit, they can submit a match request to their employer, who will then review the request, verify the donation, and match the gift! It’s a pretty simple process overall. The issue that remains is raising awareness.
To demonstrate the value of matching gifts in general, here are some key statistics:
84% of survey participants say they’re more likely to donate if a match is offered.
A majority of donors would reportedly donate if they knew a match would be applied to their donation. In terms of capital campaigns, if you’re looking to bring in more donors in general, alerting them that their gift may be eligible for a match by their employer could encourage them to give.
91% of participating companies match donations at a 1:1 ratio.
This means a majority of donors who successfully apply a matching gift to their donation will essentially double their gift. This can have a huge impact on your capital campaign fundraising because you’ll receive double the funds you would have otherwise raised.
Mentioning matching gifts in fundraising appeals results in a 71% increase in response rate and a 51% increase in average donation amount.
Want to significantly boost the response rate and donation amounts during your campaign? Mention matching gifts in your outreach. That alone can have a big effect on your fundraising success. We’ll cover this more in a bit.
It’s clear that matching gifts hold a lot of value for nonprofits. Now let’s dig deeper into why matching gifts and capital campaigns work so well together.
Why Matching Gifts and Capital Campaigns Work Together
During your campaign’s Quiet Phase, you’ll be reaching out to your biggest potential donors to secure as many major gifts as possible. This is when you’re likely going to raise 50-70% of the funds for your campaign.
For that reason, the Quiet Phase is a prime opportunity to bring in your matching gift strategy. Promote matching gifts to all of your major donors. Educate them about matching gifts if they’re not already familiar with the process. Point them in the right direction so they can successfully submit a match request.
If the major donors of your capital campaign receive a matching gift from their employers, their donations will mean even more and make a bigger difference.
However, the Quiet Phase isn’t the only phase where matching gifts come into play, as there are many different gift ranges that are covered in capital campaigns. During the Public Phase of your campaign — when the campaign is open to all types of donors — matching gifts can also hold value.
Remember that stat about participants being more likely to donate if there is a match available? Encourage regular donors to give by promoting matching gifts to them, as well. Those smaller donations add up, and when paired with a match, you can essentially double many of the donations you receive during the Public Phase.
Nonprofits that raise awareness around matching gifts to all of their capital campaign donors set themselves up to bring in more revenue.
How to Leverage Matching Gifts During a Capital Campaign
Now that we’ve covered the overall value that matching gifts hold when it comes to capital campaigns, let’s dive into how exactly you can leverage matching gifts as part of your strategy.
Promoting matching gifts takes organization and effort, but the results are worth it.
According to Getting Attention’s primer on matching gift best practices, promoting matching gifts can take many forms, including email communications, direct mail, social media, and your website.
Depending on which donors you’re interacting with, and which phase you’re in, you may have a different approach to outreach. Here are some strategies to consider for any or all of them:
- Thank-you Correspondence
Whether you received a gift from a major donor or a regular donor, you should be thanking them more than once if they contributed to your capital campaign. Especially in your earlier communications, be sure to mention matching gifts when their donation is fresh on their minds. Donors are at the height of their engagement once they’ve contributed to your campaign. Use this time to educate them and encourage them to look into their matching gift eligibility.
Major gift solicitation often involves a lot of face-to-face interaction with donors. Personalize the experience by looking up their employer’s matching gift program, if they have one, and present the guidelines to your major donors. Though this takes some extra effort, the extra revenue can make it worth it.
- Website Information
Many donors will give directly through your website. That’s why it’s important to feature matching gift information on your donation page, your Ways to Give page, and even a dedicated matching gifts page. The more information you give donors, the more likely they’ll be to follow through with the match submission.
- Matching Gift Software
If you’re looking for a more streamlined way to identify donors who work for matching gift companies, consider investing in matching gift software. The right solution should offer easy ways for donors to look up their eligibility on your website, such as through a company search tool. The tool should then link donors directly to their company’s matching gift forms and guidelines.
Pursue outreach opportunities like the above to effectively promote matching gifts to all of your capital campaign donors. You never know—some of your donors may work for top matching gift companies, like these!
Your campaign isn’t done when you’ve reached your goal, of course. There are many tasks to take care of, such as creating your final campaign report, but you should also focus on building and cultivating the relationships you’ve acquired through this process.
Be sure to thank your donors and update them when their matching gift comes through from their employer. Donors want to know the impact their contributions made, and keeping them updated on the match request will show them you genuinely appreciate their effort.
This can also keep them coming back to support your organization in the future!
Matching gifts can make a huge difference for your organization when running a capital campaign. But the impact goes beyond revenue. Even more than doubling major gifts and regular donations you receive, matching gifts help you build relationships with new and existing donors. The more you demonstrate the difference their contributions make, the more likely they will be to continue supporting you.
Now it’s your turn to meet your next capital campaign goal. Best of luck!