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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

7 Signs It’s Time to Redesign Your Website

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Ready to Blast Off?

Have the Perfect Website to Launch
your Digital Marketing Campaigns

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Similar to anything in life, there are cycles – doing your laundry, working out, and even stages in your life. It’s no different with digital marketing. We’ve talked about how to reach your customers online, but there’s more to it than that.

The fact of the matter is, what looked and functioned amazingly in 2012 isn’t going to hold up 5 years later. Design, just like your underwear, should always be changing. There’s new advancements in technology every day, people are interacting differently with their environment, and brands that influence design style are more prominent through social media.  But, having a good-looking website is only one piece of your game plan to blast off into 2017 into unknown territory.

We’ve compiled 7 mission-critical red flags to look for when deciding whether it’s time to upgrade/update your website.
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PERCENT
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of Mobile Search users have found a new company or product through use of their smartphone.
(Google, 2015)

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1. Your Website Doesn’t Look Good on Mobile

There are several website design approaches you can take to make sure your website’s functionality is working for your audience, but the best one is Responsive Website Design. Today, more users are using their phone to find information or shop. This means your website will potentially (if search engines are finding your information relevant for users) be in front of more eyes, more often and more frequently. Here are some things to consider:

  • Does your website layout fit to the screen without scrolling horizontally?
  • Is the text readable?
  • Is information easily found?
  • Are your call-to-actions loud and distinct?
  • Can people navigate from page to page?
  • Can a customer successfully check-out with minimal clicks?

If you answered “no” to one of these questions, chances are it’s time for you to look into getting a mobile responsive website. Just one of those questions can lead to a user leaving your website without the information or product they want and go to a competitor.
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2. You Can’t Update Your Site

At Maximize, we believe in empowering our clients. We don’t ask that you become expert designers, but do provide training that will have you feeling comfortable about changing a paragraph, uploading images, managing inventory — if you want that ability, you should have it. HTML websites require people who know developing language to build and edit your site. This, as you may know, is not functional for people on a budget.

Now, Content Management Systems (CMS) are on the rise for their easy-to-use interface. WordPress  is by far the most popular of the bunch. Building your website on an CMS platform allows you to manage your website with minimal coding knowledge. The only downside is setting up WordPress onto a domain will most likely require you to start fresh.

If you do not have the ability to edit your website, whether it is due to restrictions set by your website designer or because your site is designed through HTML, you may need to start thinking of empowering yourself as a business owner with a site you can manage.
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3. No Social Media Outbound Links

Your social media and website should work hand in hand. With the role that social media plays in our life now, it is crucial to have activity that is engaging and valuable to your potential customers.

By having social media links visibly on your website, you’re encouraging visitors to follow further for updates and special offers. Your website often offers static information (pricing, product information, history of your company), but social media is dynamic and ever-changing. Ideally, you should have both header and footer links promoting your social media pages.

If your website has no links to your Facebook, Twitter, etc… you’re missing out on providing a valuable connection to your customers that can increase your brand loyalty.
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4. Search Engines Can’t Find Your Website

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is key to making sure you’re found online. Ranking on page 1 on Google is a hard task, but sometimes… maybe your website isn’t ranking at all? Graphics and design refreshers are great, but ultimately you’ll need to understand that SEO is an ongoing process.

Website design with keyword infused into the elements help organically boost rankings. For example, if all of your images are saved as the filename from a digital camera (ex: IMG495883.PNG), that’s not offering anything relevant. You want to name images using keywords related to the image contents & your keyword strategy. SearchEngineWatch has a good guide on how to optimize images for web use.
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Is the text on the page written well? That’s a question people tend to have. By focusing on creating keyword relevant headlines and mentioning locations in your post, you’re able to boost into local searches for the keyword + location. Having a website that is not optimized for SEO can hinder you greatly and there are tools (on WordPress, especially) that allow easier management than hand-coding.

The most important thing to remember is SEO is an ongoing process. It can take 30 to 90 days to see a result. For further questions about SEO and getting to page one, please view our FREE guide on Thinking Like Your Customers.
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5. Your Site Looks Outdated

A good general rule of thumb is to have your website evolve every year or so. Whether that’s a full redesign or not is up to you, but elements should change to reflect your business’s growth. Unfortunately, you have around 5 seconds (if you’re lucky) to make a good first impression on your site visitor. Modernizing buttons, call-to-action areas, and streamlining content can make a big change in how your website is presented.

Right now, minimalist styles are huge! For example, if you’re a Pool Cleaning company, you don’t need to slap water images, dancing water drop .gifs or the sound of rushing water on your website. A simple white background instead of a rippling pool of water texture allows your audience to digest information clearer.

Drop the Comic Sans and leave the clip art alone — the early 2000s are long and gone. Your website is a reflection of you and thus, should look its best.
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6. Your Site IS Outdated

Okay, so we talked about graphics, but what about the content on your website? Google is definitely in favor of having fresh content written for users. By creating new valuable content on a semi-regular basis, you’re showing the search engines that you’re relevant.

A great strategy is keeping your “About” page up to date and adding new services to your website when they are available. We’ve seen websites with team members that have been gone for years! It is important to not only appease to the search engine gods, but to also keep important information visible.

Your website should also have the capabilities to have blog posts. Blog posts are crucial for giving important content to people browsing on certain topics. Is someone looking for a way to fix a leaky sink? If you’ve written a blog post about fixing a leaky sink with relevant advice, there are chances your blog post will appear and provide you a chance to make a great first impression, and perhaps gain that user’s business if they are within your service area.

Bottom line: if you can’t update the site (as we mentioned) or have out-of-date content… Houston, we may have a problem.
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7. Phone’s aren’t ringing

Web traffic is what everyone wants. It’s casting a wide net, but if you don’t have the right strategy… there may not be any fish there. You can have an awesome website, but ultimately, is your phone ringing? Are you getting purchases? We highly suggest you have Google Analytics installed on your account so you can monitor web traffic at the source. You want to be able to find where visitors drop off in their visit to your website.

By understanding the conversion funnel, you’re able to speak with a designer to make stronger call-to-actions, bigger buttons, more compelling headlines, and genuinely how to improve problem areas on your website.

Ultimately, we want to ensure your site is nicely designed, but if it’s not functioning… it may be time to look at a strategy. Design and function go hand-in-hand: without function, there can be no good design. Smriti Chawla, marketing specialist, Visual Website Optimizer, which provides A/B and split testing tools says: “Once you know the problems, you can hypothesize design/content solutions to fix them and use A/B testing to validate your hypotheses.
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How To Reach Your Customers Online

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Whether you’re a local business with a store front (office, warehouse, etc.), or a business who serves its customers strictly online, the question always will come – “How do I reach my customers online?”

Let’s look at this from two angles… Continue reading How To Reach Your Customers Online

The Top 10 Reasons Your Business Needs to Be Blogging

In the concept of marketing, our biggest goal is to be seen. Customers will so often get lost in the muddle of numerous businesses vying for their attention that before you know it, you have lost your customer to a sea of nonsense. How can you prevent that?

With the help of the Internet, blog posts for businesses have generated a lot of site traffic for business websites, and a good blogging strategy can do wonders for building brand awareness, and developing stronger relationships with your readers. Here is how you can implement a blogging strategy for your own business’s website and how to effectively manage and provide relevant content that will have your business popping up in search engines across the Internet and beyond.

1. Good Content is a Magnet for Good Website Visitors.

As obvious as this sounds, blogs provide your business website with relevant content pertaining to and as a means to attract your audience. What’s more is that this gives your website a feeling of importance and upkeep. Customers will realize that you are active on your website and therefore the content you’re providing will establish your value proposition as a reliable source, and thereby give your business additional credibility online.

Along with content goes the type of content you are posting. Business blogs are not like personal blogs. They have information in them that relates to your business and customer base. For instance, if you are a small business that sells second-hand clothing, you may write a blog on the newest fashion trends for summer or how to save money on fashion finds. These posts should directly connect to your market – and the personas they represent – acting as a landing platform for your client base to recognize a similar interest, explore your website further, and eventually generate revenue through a purchase.

2. Using keywords is important, but not the only thing to consider

Inserting keywords into your content will more than likely boost traffic to your blog, however remember this: quality is always better than quantity.  Always create content for humans first, and optimize for search engines as a secondary motivation.

Provide your consumers with content that would be interesting to them. You want them to find your blog based on related interests, not on keywords. Keywords may drive traffic, but will they keep the customer on your site? Not if the content doesn’t pertain to them, or even worse, bores them. Keep this in mind when creating your content: the main purpose of your blog is to provide an entry point for those with like-minded interests to discover your brand. Providing content that benefits them will benefit you in the long haul.

3. Blogs increase online visibility

“Online visibility” is your ability to be found on the Internet. This most often is done through search engines and they will rank your content and the information on your site based on factors such as keywords, freshness, and . What blogs will help you do is get in front of other businesses fighting to sell similar products or services by increasing your online presence. And we know – as both a marketer and consumer – that customers will typically search online for a business before actually making a purchase from that business. The more present you are online, the higher your business will rank on search caches.

4. Your blog won’t make you money, but your platform should

Your blog will not be a direct source of income (most of the time, we will get to that later). It should act as a landing page in the scheme of Inbound Marketing – a fancy term for locking in a customer to what you are selling them.

Your landing page is what will draw customers in. They will read your content, and if your content is good (and relevant), they should explore more of what you have to offer. Upon exploring, they may find something that also interests them, such as a free download of a PDF or a coupon for 10 percent off an online purchase. These freebies help lock them in to your services provided or products, and eventually should generate sales.

So, while your blog may not directly make you money, it acts as a catalyst for future sales. Take an interest in what you are providing your customers to make the experience a worthwhile one.

5. Blogs establish your credibility

Blogs for businesses help customers feel like they have found a trustworthy source. You are providing them with solutions to what they are seeking and answering questions to their problems. This helps you initiate authority in your field and will give customers the confidence in your business to provide what you are promising and hopefully turn them into loyal customers.

6. Blogs generate long-term results

They say that what happens online stays online, and for businesses this can be extremely beneficial. Unlike social media where posts have a shelf life of minutes, blog posts actually have a much longer shelf life. High-ranking blog posts will continue to show up in search results for a long period of time, therefore increasing online presence, credibility, and a higher volume of customer readership. Sounds like a much more effective way to market your company than just relying on your Facebook feed.

7. Blogging is low-cost

Small businesses (even big businesses) can be stretched for cash now and then, and through blogging, you can save your money on advertising while still getting your name out there. It may take some time management on your part, or perhaps look into outsourcing for blog content, such as Digital Media companies like Maximize.

8. Blogs can become a source of income

If you are using a blogging site like Blogger, your content can generate ads and revenue right from the page. According to big-time business blogger Michael Hyatt, his blog is able to generate a cash flow of at least $35,000 a month. That’s pretty impressive. Of course, a lot more goes into generating revenue than just hosting some content on a blog. Be sure you are actively posting, providing relevant content, and supplementing the business field by what content you are generating on your site for the greatest results.

9. Blogs need to be a part of your brand’s content strategy

At most businesses, you have a calendar in place for posting on your social media. Your blog should be on there, too. Most businesses find the most success from their blogs by posting content every weekday. What’s more: blog posts can even supplement content for your other social media by acting as platforms to drive them to your blog. It’s like killing two birds with one stone. This effective method could be what takes you above and beyond the crowd of other businesses in your field.  Even though the best strategy is daily posting, don’t let that keep you from posting something on a regular basis.  Even if once a month is all you can muster, blogging is becoming an essential part of any business’s online marketing strategy.

10. Blogging creates conversation

One of my favorite things about blogging is the connection I can make with my readers and followers. People will comment on your posts, perhaps ask for suggestions or point out other solutions to what questions you are posing. Respond to these and engage with your readers. Sparking conversation can lead to additional SEO value and also build your credibility and make you seem tangible and approachable as a business that cares about people.


Wondering how you can establish a blog on your website? Contact Maximize today and let us help you launch the process of creating a successful and profitable platform for your business today. Click the link below to get started.