Matching Gift Databases: The Ultimate Q&A Guide for Nonprofits
Taking advantage of corporate philanthropy is one of the best ways to increase fundraising revenue for your nonprofit. Thousands of employers offer matching gift programs, matching donations made by employees to eligible nonprofit organizations at least at a 1:1 ratio.
But it also offers perks to the donor, who knows that their gift will go twice as far, and to the employer, by boosting their corporate social responsibility efforts.
However, an estimated $4-7 billion in matching gift funds go unclaimed every year—the main reason being a lack of awareness about these corporate giving programs and donor eligibility.
An effective tool for fighting back against this lack of awareness is a matching gift database. That’s why we’ve created this guide. In it, we’ll answer the following questions:
- What is a matching gift database?
- Why use a matching gift database?
- What information is included in a matching gift database?
- Where should you embed your matching gift database widget?
- What are important matching gift database features?
- What are the top matching gift software tools?
- How can you make the most of your matching gift database?
Now let’s jump in!
1. What is a matching gift database?
A matching gift database is a collection of information on matching gift programs across thousands of companies and their employee giving and corporate philanthropy programs.
It is a quick and easy process for a donor to use the database. These simple steps include the following:
- Access the database: The donor is presented with the matching gift database via an embedded search tool somewhere on your website.
- Search for employer: Donors simply search for their match eligibility by entering the name of their employer.
- View the results: A message pops up informing the donor of their eligibility status, minimum and maximum donations, match ratios, and eligible organizations.
- Decide on next steps: Donors are provided with next steps in the submission process, including links to online submission request forms or contact information for program facilitators.
2. Why use a matching gift database?
A centralized database of matching gift programs across various companies is invaluable for nonprofit organizations looking to tap into those funding sources efficiently. Without a matching gift database, pushing those matches to completion (and actually receiving the funds!) becomes much more difficult.
To tap into the value of corporate giving, you must leverage software to promote and educate donors on available programs. The right tool can help you:
- Educate supporters. A matching gift database makes it easy for supporters to determine their eligibility for matching gift programs, which is the primary way to secure these contributions. After all, 84% of supporters report being more likely to give if they know their gift will be matched.
- Maximize gifts. Not only are supporters more likely to donate when they know about matching gifts, but they’re also likely to give more. One-third of donors are inclined to give a bigger gift if they know a match is being offered, meaning you can increase the size of the donations you collect simply by putting your matching gift database front and center.
- Follow up after inquiries. If your database offers automated outreach, you can use it to immediately follow up with donors who are eligible for matching gifts. That way, the opportunity to give stays top of mind, and your nonprofit is able to directly engage eligible donors.
The only effective, scalable way to tap into them is to give your donors easy access to check their eligibility. Be sure to get a demo of the database you’re considering before officially committing to the software. That way, you’ll know the ins and outs of the software and how efficient it will be to use.
3. What information is included in a matching gift database?
As mentioned above, matching gift databases include a variety of helpful information to assist employees in researching their matching gift eligibility and submitting matched donations. Employees can access the following information from a matching gift database:
- Company name and contact information for matching gift questions
- Minimum and maximum donation amounts
- Eligible charitable organizations
- The match ratio
- Employee eligibility criteria
- Matching gift submission process
- Forms needed to submit a match request
- Volunteer grant information
Check out the Coca-Cola Company’s matching gift information page on Double the Donation for an example of the information matching gift databases provide. To better serve your nonprofit’s donors, it’s essential to find a matching gift tool that offers all of this comprehensive information at donors’ fingertips.
4. Where should you embed your matching gift database widget?
Remember, you have to actively promote matching gift programs and your database tool to compel donors to take advantage of the opportunity. Strategically choose places on your website where the search tool will have the greatest impact!
Popular places to embed the widget include:
- Ways to Give pages
- Donation forms
- Confirmation screens
- Follow-up messages
You may choose to incorporate the database in a variety of these locations, depending on what you think will work best for you. Once you have the behind-the-scenes part set up, your donors can utilize the database to check their eligibility.
5. What are important matching gift database features?
When searching for a matching gift database, there are a few key characteristics you should be looking out for.
To fully maximize the power of corporate philanthropy in your nonprofit, consider the following key features when making your decision:
You’ll want a database that is easy to set up on your webpages. One of the main benefits of an employer search database is efficiency, so avoid complicated programs that seem like they’ll be too difficult to navigate.
An easy-to-use database can be added to a webpage in just a few minutes, even without advanced knowledge of web development.
Although the plugin will be functional with just a few clicks of a button, you’ll still want to customize these pages to match your nonprofit’s personal style. This can include an updated color palette, integration of your own logo, and any other unique design you may choose.
When the plugin becomes a natural and seamless feature of your website, donors will be more likely to complete their search and request matching gift.
When donors provide their employer details and contact information to your search tool, you should be able to easily import that information back into your CRM, or Constituent Relationship Management system.
This easy integration will allow you to analyze that data to further improve your fundraising strategy. Look for a database option that will work efficiently with your current software.
Regularly updated data
Because thousands of nonprofits and donors rely on these databases, it is vital that the data is being constantly updated. Bringing donors to out-of-date webpages, broken links, and inaccurate contact information or program guidelines will not lead to many matches.
Be sure to find a database that is dedicated to regularly updating its data and ensuring the most accurate information concerning each donor and their employer. For example, the leading matching gift database provider, Double the Donation, leverages exclusive CSR platform integrations to ensure real-time updates flow automatically into their comprehensive database system.
Electronic matching gift forms
Finding a database that explicitly spells out the donor’s next steps will translate to an increase in the number of requests actually submitted. The best way to do this is through direct links to their employers’ electronic request forms, rather than a vague instruction to contact their employer.
Databases that use unclear calls-to-action will result in higher levels of match request abandonment, and ultimately fewer matches. Avoid this issue by selecting a database that focuses on clarifying the process.
Because software can be finicky sometimes, be sure to look for a database that comes with reliable tech support to fix any issues that arise. If a donor is directed to a broken web page, they are not likely to go back and search again later when it may be fixed.
Thus, you want to minimize any losses by ensuring you have a qualified support team that has your back— to catch issues quickly or even before they become problematic.
Volunteer grant database
One more way to take advantage of corporate giving is through volunteer grants. These are similar to matching gift programs, but with the employer making a financial gift to match the number of hours the employee volunteered rather than to match a donation.
The employer match rates vary, but 80% of employers participating in volunteer grant programs offer between $8 and $15 per volunteered hours. This means more free money!
A good matching gift database will include information on this aspect of giving as well, by including relevant details for the company.
Decide which of these elements to prioritize in order to make the best decision for your nonprofit, and choose a database with a good set of features to promote your success.
Look for a matching gift database that is easily accessible to you and your donors, and will provide enough information and guidance to enable success.
Check out this comparison of a few leading databases currently on the market to see which features are being offered and how they stack up!
6. What is the top matching gift software tool?
Double the Donation’s 360MatchPro
Double the Donation offers top tier matching gift software for any nonprofit looking to boost their matching gift revenue.
If this sounds like you, read all about what Double the Donation can do for your organization.
Some of the best qualities offered by this software platform include:
- Extensive coverage: Double the Donation is the most comprehensive matching gifts database on the market, including information on over 24,000 leading employers. As such, the tool is currently in use by over 8,500 organizations.
- Accessibility: Donors access the database through a plugin that can be eaisly embedded wherever you want it. All it takes is copy-and-pasting a section of code into your own webpages!
- Constant updates: The employer information in the database is being updated very regularly, with smaller updates occurring almost every day, and more major updates taking place quarterly and annually. You won’t have to worry about outdated policy information with this platform, especially knowing they offer exclusive CSR database syncs that ensure real-time updates are made in the Double the Donation database directly as the companies make the changes.
But Double the Donation offers so much more than a matching gift database. In fact, their flagship product, 360MatchPro, has created a program that takes almost all of the manual labor out of matching gift fundraising—through matching gift automation.
What is matching gifts automation?
Matching gifts automation is the process of automatically bringing in new matches by identifying elibible donors, sending out preconfigured messages, and tracking matches to completion. It takes all the guesswork out of pursuing matching gifts and ensures you don’t lose out on any potential opportunities for matches.
The process goes like this:
- 360MatchPro collects contact information during the donation process.
- The program scans for eligibility based on the donor’s email address, interaction with their company search tool, and more.
- Customized email follow-ups are sent out automatically as both a thank-you and a reminder to request a donation match.
- The software then drives these potential matches to completion.
Even further, Double the Donation’s 360MatchPro has recently rolled out innovative new auto-submission functionality. By partnering with CSR management software providers, 360MatchPro is able to streamline the process for select donors who are able to complete the matching gift process directly from their favorite nonprofits’ giving pages.
360MatchPro is powered by Double the Donation, meaning you get complete access to their extensive database and embedded search tool widget as well!
To learn more about how 360MatchPro can take your nonprofit to the next level, take a look at the website here.
7. How can you make the most of your matching gift database?
Once your matching gift database is up and running, it’s time to promote your programs to your target audience. As mentioned before, without this step, you’ll have a great matching gift database, but it will go underutilized!
Take preventative measures by effectively communicating your nonprofit’s matching program and cultivating existing donor relationships. Here are some best practices you can use to market your matching gifts successfully:
- Train your internal team. Your staff is the most valuable asset for communicating your matching gift opportunities. Activities such as managing CSR vendor portals, verifying donations, and answering common corporate questions are just a few of the items your team should be well-trained to tackle.
- Opt for a multichannel strategy. Impactful matching gift marketing requires a thoughtful promotional plan that uses several channels to connect with companies that donate to nonprofits. Leverage digital newsletters, social media, and your website to highlight your program and provide steps on how donors can get involved.
- Use multimedia. Resonate with your audience using photos, videos, and even eCards to promote matching gift opportunities. Be sure to link back to a dedicated matching gift website page for donors to be able to learn more.
- Follow up. To retain your donors, it’s important to nurture relationships even after they’ve donated a matching gift. You can do this by sending a personalized thank you note. This way, when year-end appeals come around, they’ll remember your nonprofit’s genuine appreciation.
By following these best practices, your team will be equipped to promote your matching gift programs and inspire generosity among your corporate supporters. For best results, consider planning matching gift requests in the first 24 hours after an employee donates as matchable donations do have a lifespan. If you opt for matching gift auto-submission, this feature will automatically send a request, so no matches slip through the cracks.
With this newfound information concerning matching gift databases, your team is better equipped to make an important decision for your organization. The key to a successful matching gifts campaign is finding the tool that works best for you!
And when it comes to corporate philanthropy, matching gifts are just one aspect of a broader category of initiatives that companies use to better engage their employees and improve their reputations. Consider implementing some of these other corporate giving programs that many employers take part in as well!
If you’re looking for more information about matching gift databases and how they can take your organization to the next level, check out these additional resources below:
- Corporate Matching Gift Programs: Understanding the Basics. Ready to become a matching gift expert? This guide will tell you what you need to know.
- Corporate Giving and Matching Gift Statistics. Check out these facts and figures that will have you convinced to incorporate matching gifts into your fundraising strategy!
- 131 Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits and Individuals. These brilliant and unique fundraising ideas will boost your donor engagement and get supporters excited about your mission.