In my last blog post about matching gifts, I discussed how important it was for an organization to maximize opportunities for matching gifts. After all, any gift is good news, and a matched gift is even better news. I talked about having an evangelist for matching gifts on your staff, someone who know how it works, and how to make it work for your organization. In this post, I discuss some additional steps to matching gift success for your nonprofit:
Go After The Biggest Fish
First, determine the 10-20 largest matching gift eligible employers of your friends and donors and make your corporate fundraisers aware of that potential revenue stream for when they interact with the companies or donors who work for the companies. For example, if your non-profit is based in the Houston area you would want to know that BHP Billiton Petroleum matches up to $40,000 annually, Halliburton matches up to $20,000 annually and; Conoco Phillips matches up to $15,000 annually. These are just three of the top matching gift companies in the Houston area. Your organization will want to make strong connections with companies that offer such generous support.
Similar organizations could be in your backyard. Some companies offer corporate volunteer grants also know as “dollars for doers” programs. These programs allow employees to volunteer for their favorite cause and the employer with match their volunteer hours with a financial donation. The average rate is $10 per each eligible hour spent volunteering. This may open a whole new segment of donors who may not have the money to give, but have the time and inclination to contribute to your organization.
Match Major Donor Gifts
Be sure your major gift officers are informed about their prospects who are Matching Gift eligible. Matching gifts and major gifts go together and 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. As a way to enhance their corporate social responsibility and corporate giving programs, 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 $150,000. So, make the next major gift a matching major gift!
As a way to enhance their corporate social responsibility and corporate giving programs, many companies offer senior executives and board members a higher matching gift opportunity.
Go Viral With Matching Gifts
Another idea is to embrace social media as a way to promote your matching gift program. Many nonprofits understand the power of social media but don’t always know how to leverage that matching gift message. Are you promoting the benefits of matching gifts on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter? Millions of people are on social media, so why not take advantage of the free venue to engage with your donors and community?
You can see other examples of how organizations use social media to promote matching gifts here.
Integrate Matching Gifts Information Across Platforms
Finally, don’t forget to market matching gift opportunities in your newsletters, appeals, acknowledgments and phonathons. Share a matching gift success story with your donors. For example, University of Texas at Austin received a record matching gift from ExxonMobil of $1.31 million. Not every non-profit can boast that sort of match, but any excuse to reach out and encourage a gift is a chance to increase your fundraising.
With so many companies offering employee matching gift programs, your non-profits can’t afford NOT to aggressively pursue this free money.
Joan Graham is Director of Client Relations at HEP Data. Joan is a graduate of George Mason University. She began her career in the association management field; including eight years with Washington, DC based non-profit organizations. After moving to South Florida with her husband and daughter in 1998, Joan became involved in fundraising and development in the independent school sector. Besides her development work, Joan is very active in the local community, serving as a volunteer tutor at PACE Center for Girls, PTO Board member at Cardinal Gibbons High School, and volunteer at Women in Distress Program. Joan joined HEP in 2007 and is focused on matching gift resources.