Guest Post: Jayme Klein, Helen Brown Group
As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic has put us in uncharted territory. While fundraising is certainly being impacted, people are stepping up to help as best they can, however they can. Those who work in development roles know that no major gift is too small and each one is certainly appreciated. We all wish that we could donate more, but current circumstances now might not allow for it. What if there was a way for fundraisers to ask donors for an even larger gift without the funds coming out of their wallets?
How many of your donors know that they can double (or triple!) their impact by filling out their employer’s corporate match form? How many of them work for (or have retired from) companies that have a corporate matching gift program? How can you find them?
A matching gift is a charitable contribution from an employer that matches an employee or retiree’s gift to an eligible nonprofit. This can be done on a dollar-for-dollar basis, or at a larger ratio, depending on corporate practice. Per Double the Donation, 78 percent of donors are not aware of their company’s philanthropic giving programs, while only seven percent actually complete the required form for a corporate match. Double the Donation provides a list of the top 20 companies and their statistics, but there are so many more out there! More than half of all Fortune 500 companies match their employees’ giving. This means 18 million individuals in America work for companies where the value of their gift could double or even triple! Nearly $7 billion each year gets left on the table. From both a fundraising and donor perspective, this is a huge amount of money that could make a difference for a worthy cause but never makes it there.
As researchers, how can we better connect our organizations with donors who have the potential to make the greatest impact? Better yet, how many of those donors are already known to us but haven’t had corporate matches included in their gift conversations? While many of us are taking this quieter time to clean up our databases and better analyze our data, one useful project is to confirm constituent employment.
That data will assist you in the next step, which is searching for iWave’s matching gift database. In this tool, you can search for companies in both the United States and Canada who participate in corporate matching. It also includes their philanthropic criteria such as their giving ratio, donor and recipient eligibility, maximum match amounts, the types of programs that each company participates in, and their distribution rates.
Do you work in higher education? Healthcare? An environmental group? Another great feature of iWave is the ability to see which companies give to your specific fundraising area. Individual tear sheets per organization are able to be saved or printed which is helpful for both researchers to access and for fundraisers to show to donors. You can export your list of participating organizations in several formats to be sorted and analyzed, as well.
Once companies are identified, querying your database for constituents employed there is a great way to target fundraising in order to make the most impactful gifts. This can be done by searching for both past and present employees (at many companies, retirees can also make matching gifts) and by the domain names in their email addresses. Add a matching gift search into your research checklist each time you profile a donor in case they work for one of the participating companies.
While matching gift programs only apply to outright gifts, not pledges, it still has the potential to redefine an organization’s donor pool. Double the Donation notes that donors who are aware of their company’s matching gift program are more likely to donate (and make a larger gift) in the first place. A constituent that is able to make an outright gift on the annual level can now be stewarded as a major gift donor thanks to their employer’s contribution. Once these donors are identified, they can be included in targeted solicitations. Including language about matching gifts on websites, in mailings or gift acknowledgments, and in phone or face to face gift conversations will help to keep both nonprofit staff and their donors informed.
Matching gifts can be the key to transformational change in your organization’s revenues. Knowing how to find them is the first step. With iWave’s matching gift database, it just got a little easier to get more money.