Year-end giving is officially upon us—but luckily, it’s not too late to get started with matching gift tools and strategies before the ball drops on New Year’s Eve.
As you likely know, the end-of-year fundraising season is a critical time for nonprofits of all shapes and sizes. What better way to maximize such an impactful opportunity than with matching gifts?
Our studies show that an estimated $4 to $7 billion in available matching gift funding goes unclaimed each year, essentially leaving tons of corporate donations on the table. And the #1 reason for this significant gap is a lack of awareness of such programs!
This holiday fundraising season, set your organization up to make the most of these giving programs by increasing donor awareness—and we’re here to help! Let’s discuss this particularly relevant topic and its importance for any fundraising organization, with these key points:
Ready to dive deeper into fundraising research and learn more about matching gift software, strategic donor appeals, retroactive outreach, and automated email streams? Let’s get started!
The Correlation Between Matching Gifts and Year-End Giving
End-of-year fundraising and matching gifts are each vital components of a successful nonprofit strategy. Not to mention, the two complement each other very nicely. More donations flowing during the holiday season means more potential for matches, and promoting matching gift opportunities to donors leads to more and bigger donations in the first place!
Let’s take a closer look at some statistics that help illustrate the power of both year-end fundraising and matching gifts.
End-of-Year Fundraising By The Numbers
- 30% of annual giving happens in December.
- 10% of all annual donations come in the last three days of the year.
- 50% of nonprofits receive a majority of their annual funding through year-end giving.
- An average of $48 billion is donated to nonprofits in the holiday giving season each year.
- 1/3 of nonprofits incorporate two or more “touches” in their end-of-year appeals.
Sources: Double the Donation and Nonprofit Hub
Matching Gifts By The Numbers
- Over 26 million individuals work for companies with matching gift programs.
- 84% of survey participants say they’re more likely to donate if a match is offered.
- 1 in 3 donors indicated they’d give a larger gift if a match is applied, resulting in a 51% increase in average gift size.
- Mentioning matching gifts in fundraising appeals results in a 71% increase in response rate.
- Leveraging a matching gift automation tool can double or triple an organization’s matching gift revenue.
Sources: Double the Donation and 360MatchPro
What It Means for End-of-Year Fundraising and Matching Gifts
Matching gifts and end-of-year giving strategies go hand-in-hand for effective fundraisers.
Since a large percentage of an organization’s total revenue typically comes from year-end giving, it makes sense that you’d want to double those gifts. And because matching gift promotions often result in a significant increase in both the number and size of donations, it’s a great way to make your appeals stand out and keep your organization at the forefront of donors’ minds for longer!
4 Tips to Get Started With Impactful EOY Gift-Matching in 2021
Now that you understand the importance of matching gifts and their relevance during the holiday fundraising season, what actionable next steps can you take to get started? These four tips should help!
1. Set up matching gift software ASAP.
You might worry that it’s too late to get started with any new software this year—but that’s simply not true. In fact, the end of the year is typically the time you rely on fundraising software the most. You already have a lot on your to-do list, and equipping your fundraising team with the best tools also provides you with the biggest impact for the lowest effort.
Luckily, implementing matching gift software can be quick, easy, and massively effective! Check out this case study from a nonprofit that was set up for matching gifts in mere hours:
The Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges was able to be fully onboarded with Double the Donation’s tools within 12 hours of buying—all in time for an evening fundraising event on the same day! During this period, Metro YMCA of the Oranges integrated our matching gift tool with their online donation forms, configured automated matching gift follow-ups, and embedded the company search database in their website.
In the following ten months, they’ve identified more than $32,000 in match-eligible donations and maintained a 61% matching gift email open rate and a 9% click-through rate (each more than 3x higher than the average nonprofit).
The moral of this story? Tight turnaround times for software implementation are entirely possible when you need to get up and running quickly—like when the end of the year is quickly approaching. However, it is a priority that you’ll want to dive into matching gifts as soon as possible to make the most of your tools as year-end giving ramps up.
2. Highlight matching gift opportunities in end-of-year appeals.
You might have already drafted your 2021 year-end fundraising appeals, or you might be working on them right about now. Either way, consider adding a section about matching gifts!
As the statistics above illustrate, nonprofit supporters tend to be more likely to give (and to give in larger amounts) when they know there’s a match being offered. Donors love having the opportunity to see their gifts stretch significantly further, making a larger impact on a cause they care about.
Jeff is an avid supporter of your organization, but it’s the end of the year, and he’s tight on funds. He was considering skipping his year-end donation this year (thinking, “what good could my $50 really do, anyway?”) when he was informed that his employer, Coca-Cola, would match his gift at a 2:1 rate.
All of a sudden, he realized his initial gift could be worth $150 (which seems a lot more significant to Jeff), and he made his donation. That’s $150 you likely wouldn’t have collected if not for matching gifts—and there are a lot of “Jeff’s” in the world, too!
The way you market matching gift opportunities to supporters can be simple. Incorporate a reminder about matching gift programs in your social media, email, text, and other appeals, and across your nonprofit website as well. Consider saying something like this: “Make your year-end donation go further this year with company gift-matching. See if you’re eligible here.”
Matching gifts can be exactly what you need to coax on-the-fence supporters into becoming end-of-year donors for your cause, and it often starts directly within the donation request itself!
3. Reach out to match-eligible donors retroactively.
When you incorporate matching gift outreach into your end-of-year strategy, it doesn’t have to be solely focused on new donations, either. Many gifts made throughout the year may still be eligible for a match!
Each business that offers a matching gift program chooses its own match request criteria and submission guidelines. While it varies from company to company, many employers grant employee matches through the end of the calendar year in which the initial gift was made. So for a good deal of your match-eligible donors, their request window might be closing quickly.
That makes the end of the year a perfect opportunity to reach back out to these individuals, remind them about matching gifts, and encourage them to complete the request process with their employer. This is a fantastic way to boost year-end revenue from existing donors without requiring them to reach back into their own wallets.
4. Leverage automated end-of-year email streams.
Another significant roadblock to matching gift success lies with nonprofit fundraising staff who feel they don’t have time to manage and promote the process. Luckily, that’s where matching gift automation comes in!
Automated email streams enable nonprofits to configure a number of customizable messages (such as one for match-eligible donors, one for likely ineligible donors, and one for donors with unknown eligibility) that are triggered when an individual gives to your organization. This ensures that every donor receives matching gift outreach in a timely manner and that no donation falls through the cracks, even when your team is juggling 100 different end-of-year tasks.
These email streams can either take place directly following a donation (typically within 24 hours of the initial gift) or retroactively, as detailed above. Both are excellent ways to encourage donors to participate in their matching gift programs and drive additional revenue for your cause.
Regardless, you’ll want to provide the donor with as much employer-specific information as is available, including donation minimums and maximums, match ratios, submission deadlines, and direct links to their company’s online request forms. And your automation system can gather all of that data so that you don’t have to!
It’s not too late to launch matching gift strategies this year-end fundraising season, but it is time to get started now. The longer you wait, the more potential matches you’re missing out on.
Incorporate these practices and invest in powerful, innovative tools to make the most of corporate gift-matching in the remainder of 2021. As an added bonus, you’ll be all set to get your 2022 gifts matched, as well.
Good luck, and happy fundraising!