Guest Post Contributed by: Adam Weinger, President of Double the Donation
It doesn’t make much sense for you to walk around with only one shoe, and it certainly doesn’t make sense for your nonprofit not to talk to your donors about matching gifts. Skipping the matching gifts talk is like going out the door with only one sneaker on your foot.
But how exactly should you go about promoting matching gifts to your donors?
You’ve probably got questions, but luckily, we have answers. Read ahead for more information about matching gift communications you should be sending out to help you bring in more matching gifts than ever! Check out these four donor communications your organization needs to send out to boost your matching gift revenue.
1. Matching Gift Reminders
Your donors might not remember to submit their matching gift requests unless your organization reminds them to do so!
Mention matching gifts in your various donor communications including:
- Invitations to your fundraising events like school art auctions, church family fun days, or organizational dinners.
- Newsletter updates about ongoing or completed projects.
- Donation appeals.
- Thank you letters.
- Emails about volunteering opportunities.
- And more!
Whenever you communicate with donors via letter or email, make sure that you mention matching gifts at some point. When the opportunity to double their donation is fresh in their minds, they’ll be more likely to submit requests to their employers sooner rather than later.
You can either dedicate an entire email or letter to matching gifts, or you can briefly mention it. However you choose to let donors know about matching gifts, make sure you give them a way to find more information:
- Include links in your emails to a matching gift tool or database where donors can look up their employers’ programs.
- Encourage direct mail recipients to talk to their employers or their HR departments to learn more about matching gifts.
The more informed donors are about matching gifts, the more likely they will be to have their donations matched!
2. Matching Gift Acknowledgements to Donors
Everyone likes feeling appreciated, and your donors are no exception! If they’ve submitted a matching gift request to their employer and you’ve verified and received the funds, send out a thank you letter or email as soon as possible.
Well, you’re already thanking donors for their contributions after they make their initial donation. But the process of submitting, verifying, and receiving a matching gift can take weeks or even months. A donor might have completely forgotten that he or she even submitted a matching donation request! By sending out a matching gift acknowledgement after you’ve received a donor’s employer’s contribution shows that you see donors (and their employers!) as more than wallets or ATMs, an important component of donor stewardship.
And if you’re sending out emails on a regular basis, check out these five ideas for increasing your open rates!
3. Matching Gift Acknowledgements to Companies
Let’s not be too quick to forget who sends the second donation to your organization! Companies and businesses deserve recognition and gratitude just like donors do.
In fact, if you’re looking to form long-term partnerships with your donors’ employers, then you absolutely need to acknowledge the donations that they send your way.
This gratitude can take several forms:
- If one company in particular matches the donations of several of your donors, you can feature the business on your website or in your letters and emails to donors. Thank them and explain what their donations are going toward.
- Send a formal thank you letter to the companies that match employee donations. Have a senior executive or board member sign the letter to add a personal touch.
- Send the company email updates on what their donations have helped accomplish (P.S., this will encourage them to give in the future!).
Fundraising with matching gifts wouldn’t be possible without the help of the companies that donate those second contributions. Make sure that you’re including them in your letter and email acknowledgements and follow up communications.
4. Invitations to Special Events
Whether someone had a major gift matched by their employer or they’ve repeatedly had donations doubled, you might consider hosting a special “Matching Gift Donor Day” and sending out invitations via email and direct mail. Sending out personalized invitations is a good way to remind your donors of their past contributions and encourage them to give in the future. Previous giving is the best indicator of future donations, but sometimes your supporters just need an extra reminder.
Your special event can be a fancy, black tie affair, or a more laid back social event. However you plan on thanking your matching gift donors, make sure that their invitations adhere to the following criteria:
- The greeting is personalized. No one starts out a party invitation with “Dear Friend,” and your nonprofit shouldn’t begin yours with “Dear Donor.” Get personal with your supporters and take the time to make each letter begin with their preferred name.
- The body of the letter makes mention of their previous donations. If you have a good enough relationship with your donors to invite them to a special event, your letter or email should definitely include a reference and acknowledgement of their past support.
- The letter doesn’t ask for another contribution. If you send out an invitation to a special event, don’t try to sneak in an extra donation appeal. It will only make donors feel isolated and unlikely to come to your event or donate again!
Your letter and email invitations should be special, just like your matching gift donors!
There are other letters and emails that you should be sending out to all of your donors, but these four examples are a great starting point if you want to start growing your matching gift revenue. Start asking for (and receiving) matching gifts by sending out these four letters and emails as soon as you can!