John Wright spends his work days helping his clients make good matches.
No, John isn’t a professional matchmaker for men and women in search of fun and love. He’s a business development director for HEP Development, a Virginia-based company that’s a leader in providing nonprofits with the tools they need to take advantage of corporate matching gift opportunities.
Whether you’re an employee or a nonprofit, you’ve probably heard of matching gifts, which are FREE company money that “matches” an employee donation to a qualified nonprofit. As the name suggests, matching gifts double a donation, but guidelines vary depending on the company. (Some companies offer an even more generous “match.” For example, Soros Management Fund offers a whopping 3:1 match.)
John shared a few facts about matching gifts that are sure to arouse your interest in this popular but often undervalued corporate giving program.
- — 1 in 10 gifts is matchable.
- — Around 50% of Corporate 500 Companies offer matching gifts.
- — HEP Development is adding a new matching company to its database DAILY.
Smart nonprofits that have doubled their efforts to tap matching gift programs are reaping the rewards. The American Cancer Society quadrupled what they raised in three years from $2 million to $10 million.
Do I have your attention now? Good. Here’s what John suggests you do to have your own successful matching gift program.
“First, your organization has to be 100% committed to finding and securing matching gifts,” said John. “All the key players in your organization have to be convinced of the benefits and committed to a successful program.”
If your organization is large, you may want to entrust the program to several key team members. However, even if your nonprofit is small, the program should still have a champion to ask, “Are we making the most of this fundraiser as a matching gift opportunity?”
“Next, it’s important that you use every resource you have to collect information on donors’ employers,” explained John. “If you don’t know where a donor works you can’t find out if they have a matching gift program.”
The key is to make “employer” as required as name, address and credit card number on all donor communications. If a donor forgot to include her address when making a gift, would you ask her for it? Be sure to give employer information the same priority.
“Finally, promotion is key,” said John. “‘Does your employer have a matching gift program?'” has be on the lips of every employee, volunteer, and donor.”
You can put a matching gift tab on your website. And don’t forget to include the information in brochures, thank you letters, newsletters, and online fundraising sites. Don’t give people an excuse to forge,t or to say no.
“Nonprofits know that money doesn’t grow on trees,” said John. “But money from corporate matching gifts may be the closest thing to it.”