Guest Blogger: 5 Smart Ways Your Nonprofit Can Market Matching Gifts Online

 

This blog post is written by Guest Blogger Adam Weinger.  Adam is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of tools to nonprofits to help them raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs. Connect with Adam via email or on LinkedIn.

 


 

Nonprofits seeking to boost donations through the power of corporate giving programs understand that strategic promotion is half of the battle.

For charitable organizations, marketing is always a priority. Between getting the word out about your cause, upcoming fundraising events, and volunteer opportunities, you’re always promoting something, usually online.

So where do important corporate giving opportunities like matching gifts fit into the picture?

To find out, read these 5 ways you can leverage your nonprofit’s online presence to promote matching gifts:

  1. Make the most of matching gifts during the donation process.
  2. Time your matching gift promotions right.
  3. Educate your donors on a dedicated matching gifts page.
  4. Use eye-catching visuals to spread the word on social media.
  5. Send personalized matching gift email communications.

When you leverage the power of matching gifts, your organization can open up a world of double or even triple the fundraising potential. And when you see how easy promoting these programs can be, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing it all along!

Let’s get right into it.

 

DTD-5 Smart Ways Your Nonprofit Can Market Matching Gifts Online-Header1

1. Make the most of matching gifts during the donation process.

Your donors are most receptive to matching gift promotions during the donation process.

Think about it: once your supporter clicks onto your online donation form and begins inputting their information, they’re already committed to the giving process and clearly in the charitable spirit.

Additionally, because they’re already showing interest in your cause, they’re likely to be open to extending their gift’s impact through just a few more steps.

You can push your online donors toward completing the matching gift process by including resources at every point of the online donation process.

Here’s are a few simple strategies we suggest:

 

  • Add a “Match My Gift” checkbox on your donation form. Your online donation platform should allow you to create custom fields or options, so don’t forget to include a box that allows donors to opt-in to the matching gift process. Then, quickly follow up with those donors via email to provide next steps.

 

 

  • Include a matching gift database search tool. You can embed a simple widget (such as the one offered by Double the Donation) on your donation page, the confirmation screen, and in the initial acknowledgement email. That way, donors can search for their company and instantly learn all they need to know about their matching gift program.

 

 

  • Feature a bright call-to-action button. Lead donors to a separate corporate giving or matching gifts page or another informative resource that explains what matching gifts are, how they work, and what a donor needs to do to follow through with the submission process.

 

Remember: many supporters overlook matching gifts because they don’t know they’re an option. Highlighting matching gifts when donors are already engaged in the donation process will ensure they won’t miss this corporate giving opportunity.

 

DTD-5 Smart Ways Your Nonprofit Can Market Matching Gifts Online-Header2

2. Time your matching gift promotions right.

Savvy nonprofits know that timing is everything, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to marketing matching gift opportunities.

Don’t get us wrong—you should promote matching gifts all year long. That said, there are a few key times when matching gift promotions are most relevant and actionable for your donors:

 

  • Immediately following the donation. You should already prioritize effective thank-you notes as part of your donor stewardship strategy, and you can easily add information about matching gifts to those emails to make sure match-eligible donors submit their requests as soon as they can.

 

 

  • During year-end giving. Many corporate giving deadlines fall at the end of the calendar year, so it’s a natural time to follow-up with donors who’ve made gifts throughout the past 12 months to see if their gifts can be matched. (Plus, securing matched gifts is an effective way to reach those end-of-year fundraising goals!)

 

 

  • Near matching gift deadlines. If you’re storing your donors’ employer information within your donor database, you can also add associated matching gift deadline information for each company. That way, you can tailor your communications so they align with a donor’s specific matching gift submission deadline.

 

The more time that passes after a donation, the less likely a donor is to remember to submit their matching gift request.

When you track each match-eligible donation according to that company’s unique submission timeline and requirements, you can make sure you’re keeping in touch with donors so they don’t let the deadline pass them by.

A great way to stay on top of all of your donors’ gifts? Invest in software that can do it for you! Whether you’re logging matching gift information in your nonprofit CRM or automating the entire process using high-powered matching gift software, the right technology can help you stay on top of donations and deadlines so you don’t miss a dime of matched gift money.

DTD-5 Smart Ways Your Nonprofit Can Market Matching Gifts Online-Header3

3. Educate your donors on a dedicated matching gifts page.

There’s a lot to consider as you’re designing your nonprofit’s website, but make sure that corporate giving makes the list!

Because your organization’s website is often the backbone of your online presence, it’s important that you pull out all the stops to outfit your site as a one-stop resource for anything your constituents need to know about your nonprofit, including corporate giving information.

You likely already have a general ways to give page. But if you want to show donors how highly you prioritize corporate giving (and matching gifts in particular), we recommend creating a dedicated matching gifts page as well.

A well-designed matching gifts page should do the following:

 

  • Provide background on matching gifts. Imagine that your site visitors have never heard the term “matching gifts” before—there’s a good chance they haven’t! Keep your explanation brief, but feel free to link out to additional corporate giving resources too.

 

 

  • Explain the impact of matching gifts. As with every page on your website, your matching gifts page is an opportunity to showcase your nonprofit’s mission. Reminding donors what their donations (along with their employers’ matching gifts) can do might be the impetus they need to make a gift or submit their match request.

 

 

  • Inspire the visitor to take action! Your matching gifts page should clearly provide a next step for the visitor. List any important details about your nonprofit that they’ll need in order to complete their matching gift submission and embed a matching gift database search tool so they can find their specific company guidelines too.

 

See this example of how March of Dimes embedded a Double the Donation widget to give their donors a tangible next step on their matching gifts page:

DTD-5 Smart Ways Your Nonprofit Can Market Matching Gifts Online-March of Dimes

You should include a link to your matching gifts page on your ways to give page, as well as in any social media or blog posts that encourage donors to submit a match request. That way, supporters always know where to go to find out more about matching gifts.

DTD-5 Smart Ways Your Nonprofit Can Market Matching Gifts Online-Header4

4. Use eye-catching visuals to spread the word on social media.

You should know by now that social media isn’t going anywhere as a means of promoting your cause and connecting with constituents or potential new donors. But did you know that social media can (and should) be a powerful way of influencing supporters to take part in their company’s matching gift programs?

It’s true! As with any social media post, the best way to capture your followers’ attention when marketing matching gifts is to make your posts as visual as possible.

We know what you’re thinking. How do you take a concept like corporate giving and make it easy on the eyes? There are several ways:

 

  • Create an infographic. Data can be a great ally in demonstrating the impact of matching gifts on your cause, but a paragraph full of statistics won’t stop donors in their tracks as they scroll through Facebook or Twitter. Make your data more interesting by laying it out in a visual format, like a creative infographic.

 

 

  • Do a demonstration. Submitting a matching gift request is easy, but your social followers might not believe it until they see it. Have a volunteer or a member of your team do a live (or pre-recorded) demonstration of your matching gift search tool and show how simple it is to find a company, fill out the paperwork, and double your gift!

 

 

  • Design a series of branded graphics. There’s plenty of free design software that your team can use to create professional graphics that promote your matching gift opportunities. On your graphics, you might include statistics, quotes from beneficiaries or staff, or even instructions for submitting a matching gift request.

 

Not only are visual posts more eye-catching than text-only posts, but they’re also more likely to communicate your nonprofit’s brand and personality, making it easier for followers to develop an emotional connection with your organization.

As you’re posting, be careful not to overwhelm your followers. Don’t post more than 2-3 times per week (unless you’re running a specific short-term social media campaign), and diversify your posts across platforms so that users who follow you on multiple sites don’t see the same content over and over again.

DTD-5 Smart Ways Your Nonprofit Can Market Matching Gifts Online-Header5

5. Send personalized matching gift email communications.

Even though your donors won’t technically be giving you any more money from their own pockets, you should look at your matching gift promotions as a kind of donation request letter.

As such, your matching gift communications can help you connect with your donors one-on-one and encourage them to be a part of your organization’s mission.

Here are a few of our favorite strategies for making your matching gift marketing efforts as personal as possible:

 

  • Use your donor’s preferred name and title. It’s a simple change, but switching from “Dear Donor” to a more personal greeting can show your supporters that you’re reaching out to them individually rather than sending a generic message to everyone in your list.

 

 

  • Explain their company’s distinct submission process. When you store your donors’ company information in your supporter database or matching gift software, you can send them materials that communicate their employer’s unique submission guidelines.

 

 

  • Keep donors updated on the status of their matching gift request. Don’t let your donors think you’ve forgotten them after they’ve completed their end of the matching gift process. Make sure to keep them in the loop on the status of their request and thank them again after their employer has completed the match, too.

 

When you have complete donor data on file in your CRM, sending out personalized messages is a breeze. With the right software, you can even automate many of these steps so that most of the matching gift process is all taken care of for you.

Matching gifts can have an astonishing impact on your fundraising results, but perhaps the most surprising part of this strategy is how easy it can be for your team to pull off.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be prepared to go forth and reap the benefits of corporate giving through the power of online communication. Good luck!

 


 

Adam Weinger is one of the leading experts on corporate giving programs.

He’s the President of Double the Donation, a company which helps organizations raise more money from employee matching gift and volunteer grant programs. The company partners with nonprofits ranging from arts and cultural organizations, hospitals, educational institutions, and community based organizations to help them increase fundraising from corporate giving programs.

Adam is a frequent contributor to many leading nonprofit magazines and blogs, including NonprofitProGuideStarNonprofit Marketing GuideTop NonprofitsNonprofit.About.com and of course, Double the Donation’s blog.

Organizations looking to learn more about employee matching gift and volunteer grant programs should check out the resources the company provides which include lists of the top matching gift and volunteer grant companies.

Have questions for Adam Weinger or Double the Donation? Email Adam or connect with Double the Donation on Twitter or LinkedIn.

5 Quick and Easy Ways to Incorporate Branding into Twitter

42% of companies have acquired a customer through Twitter. That means in 140 characters, they have managed to make enough of an impression to move someone through to the next phase of the sales process. That’s crazy to think about! Whether you’re just getting your Twitter started or have one that really needs some work, here are 5 ways to incorporate your business’ branding into Twitter.

1. Your Handle

You Twitter handle is your @NAME. Its what p people use to connect with you and you will be tweeting under. This makes it an important part of carrying your branding over to Twitter. Make sure it has something to do with your business, and isn’t something random. It may be hard to think of a good one if your company’s name is already taken, but taking the time to come up with something that doesn’t include numbers or an underscore will be super beneficial to you.

2. Your Profile Photo

Your profile photo should be your logo. It best represents your company and will be attached to everything you tweet. You want to make sure your logo looks good at a few different sizes because it will be scaled down in some places. On your profile it will appear at 73×73 px. When Twitter recommends for someone to follow you via the “Who To Follow” feature, it will be scaled down to 48×48 px. The smallest size you have to worry about your logo looking good at is 24×24 px, the size your photo will be when it appears in someone’s Twitter feed.

3. Your Header Image

Your header image (similar to Facebook’s cover photo) is what appears at the top of your Twitter behind your profile photo and bio information. This can be a great way to tie in the branding from your current marketing campaigns! Just keep in mind that the minimum dimensions for this are 1252×626 px and it has to be under 5MB, so you may have to create an image especially for this area.

4. Hashtags

That’s right, you can make your own hashtag. Like your handle, it should be unique to you and have some thought put into it. It can be as simple as the tagline you’re using. Think along the lines of Taco Bell’s “#WakeUpLiveMas.” When you see #WakeUpLiveMas, you know it has to do with Taco Bell’s breakfast promotion. Additionally if you come up with something really clever and promote it, yes, you can promote your hashtag, you may capture the attention of someone that could become a new customer for you down the line. Do not underestimate the power of the hashtag!

5. Shared Images

You know you have to provide your audience with helpful and engaging content, but how do you put your company’s unique touch on it? Create images and share them! One way to do this is to incorporate information from your helpful and engaging blog posts. When promoting your most recent blog post on Twitter, have an image to attach that’s styled along with your branding. It should contain a line or fact from your blog post. An awesome image will carry your branding over to what you’re sharing on Twitter, as well as provide a visually appealing and interesting preview of your blog post. These images will be shown in your follower’s Twitter feeds as 435×375 px, but if they are larger they will be shown at full size when clicked. You can either post images that are 435×375 px, or post larger ones that look good when scaled down to that size, it’s up to you.