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4 Reasons You’re Not Reaching Your Matching Gift Potential

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Matching gift fundraising is one of our favorite virtual ideas. For one, it equips you to collect more revenue without having to ask your already generous donors to shell out more for your cause. It also allows you to build out mutually beneficial partnerships with for-profit businesses in your network. It sounds like a win-win scenario, right?

Unfortunately, the vast majority of matching gift fundraising programs are not being utilized to their full potential. Studies by Double the Donation show that while more than 18 million individuals are employed by companies that match gifts, around 78% of them are completely unaware! As a result, an average of $4 to $7 billion in matching gift revenue is left unclaimed each year.

But why? Let’s discuss four of the most common roadblocks to matching gift success⁠—and what you can do to minimize them:

  1. Your donors don’t know what matching gifts are.
  2. Your donors don’t know if they’re eligible for a match.
  3. Your donors feel the match process is too complicated.
  4. Your donors are unmotivated to request a match.

If your organization is missing out on available matching gift revenue, it’s likely because of one (or a combination) of these reasons. Ready to learn more and collect more corporate donations in no time? Let’s get started!

1. Your donors don’t know what matching gifts are.

If you weren’t already involved with the nonprofit fundraising industry, would you know what corporate matching gifts are? Donors love having the opportunity to make their gifts go even further towards a cause they care about⁠—but for many, the idea seems too good to be true!

And unfortunately, if your organization’s donors have never been informed about the existence and availability of matching gift programs, they can’t possibly secure a match for their gift.

Take a proactive approach to minimize this concern by amping up your matching gift promotion strategies via your favorite marketing channels. Share educational resources on social media, via email, direct mail, and more!

2. Your donors don’t know if they’re eligible for a match.

Even if a donor understands what matching gifts are and why these programs are essential, they might not know if they are personally eligible for a match. Although thousands of employers offer charitable gift-matching, these opportunities are often not advertised to staff.

Luckily, a matching gift program database can provide users with tons of helpful information on thousands of companies’ match efforts. All it takes is a simple search of a businesses’ name! When a donor inputs their participating employer’s name, they’ll be met with the following information:

  • Minimum and maximum donations matched (e.g., anything between $20 and $50,000)
  • Match request or submission deadlines (e.g., by the end of the calendar year)
  • Types of eligible nonprofit causes (e.g., educational and human services organizations)
  • Types of eligible employees (e.g., full-time, part-time, retired, spouses)

Your database can provide you with other details such as match ratios (tip: while dollar-for-dollar is the most common, other businesses match at rates such as 2:1 or even 3:1)! This data point can help motivate your donors to submit their match requests and assist your fundraising team with more accurately estimating matching revenue forecasts.

Then, once you’ve determined many of your supporters’ employers along with their matching gift eligibility, be sure to track that information in your nonprofit CRM for future reference. This way, you can send them matching gift communications as relevant and specific to their company as possible.

3. Your donors feel the match process is too complicated.

Throughout the donor journey, there’s a significant emphasis on streamlining and simplifying donor-facing tasks. That’s because, when faced with barriers, a large number of donors tend to click out of the process and never return.

Luckily, working with a matching gift software provider is one of the best ways to keep your matching gift efforts going smoothly. Not only will this tool provide donors with company-specific data on program guidelines, but it can also go as far as incorporating direct links to online submission forms or downloadable PDFs.

The less independent research required of donors to complete a match, the more likely they will complete the entire process and secure a corporate gift for your cause.

4. Your donors are unmotivated to request a match.

Perhaps your donors understand the importance of matching gifts, are aware of their eligibility, and were provided with explicitly stated next steps. However, they still haven’t completed the request process. Sometimes the roadblock hindering matches concerns a lack of motivation. Luckily, one of the best ways to combat a lack of motivation is with gamification strategies.

Here are a few of our favorite engagement and gamification tactics when it comes to boosting matching gifts:

  • Incorporate a fundraising thermometer that displays growing matching gift revenue towards a goal
  • Leverage digital leaderboards that track matches collected by company or industry for a competitive spirit
  • Provide donors with virtual badges and awards when their employers match their gifts

When you engage donors in a game-like fashion, they’re more likely to become invested in “winning,” i.e., helping your organization reach its fundraising goals. It can be a great way to motivate supporters who otherwise might not have taken steps to request a matching gift.


Matching gift programs can make a big difference for nonprofits looking to make the most out of every donation they receive⁠—especially when the matching gift efforts themselves are being used at their maximum potential.

When you provide ample information about the background and availability of matching gifts, simplify the request process for donors as much as possible, and employ strategic engagement ideas, you’ll be collecting more corporate dollars in no time. Good luck! 

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