Securing Nonprofit Board Buy-In for Matching Gifts

Learn how to secure board buy-in for matching gifts with these easy tips.

Matching gifts are one of the most powerful yet most underutilized forms of fundraising⁠—often because people don’t realize the potential this strategy holds. If your nonprofit board is among them, it can be challenging to get started making the most of this impactful funding source.

However, getting your board on board with any fundraising effort is an essential prerequisite for effective operations. That’s why we’ve put together this quick guide to assist your team in securing organization-wide matching gift buy-in. We suggest following these powerful best practices:

Ready to get started with matching gift fundraising, better engage your donors, and explore potential business partnership opportunities? Let’s dive in!

1. Demonstrate the value of matching gifts with external data.

If your nonprofit board is unconvinced about the power and availability of matching gifts (and whether they’re worth the investment), communicating the value with facts and figures can make a significant difference.

For example, consider sharing the following matching gift statistics from Double the Donation:

  • Over 18 million individuals work for companies with matching gift programs, despite 78% of match-eligible donors being completely unaware.
  • An average of $2 to $3 billion is donated through matching gift programs, while more than $4 to $7 billion in available funding is left on the table each year.
  • 84% of survey participants indicated a higher likelihood of giving if a match is being applied, with 1 in 3 donors making a larger gift if they know their employer will match it.

It’s hard to argue with the numbers, and these numbers make a powerful case for the vitality of matching gifts. Plus, this research has already been conducted for you!

2. Search internal records for match-eligible donors.

Another way to emphasize the value of matching gifts to your nonprofit board is through internal donor information. Although this tactic requires more effort on your part, it’s an increasingly targeted approach that highlights the impact that matching gift strategies can have on your organization.

As you conduct internal research through your donor records and other CRM data, consider the following questions:

  • How many of your donors work for the most generous matching gift companies?
  • How many donors are actually requesting and securing matches for your cause?
  • How many mid-size and major donations in your system would be eligible for a match?

The most crucial piece of data you need to determine your nonprofit’s matching gift potential concerns your donors’ employers. Luckily, a lot of this preliminary information can be found online using LinkedIn and other search tools.

Then, once you have board buy-in to adopt innovative matching gift tools and software, you’ll be able to determine donor eligibility and employer data in a significantly more straightforward fashion.

3. Communicate the impact of additional funding for your cause.

One of the best ways to make fundraising enjoyable is by continually bringing the focus back to the mission and any specific fundraising needs. By putting matching gifts in more concrete terms for your nonprofit board, you can better demonstrate their importance and highlight the potential they could bring to your organization.

Look at it this way: Imagine a $100 donation can provide five students with the school supplies they need for a successful year. If the donor’s employer doubles that gift, an additional five students can receive school supplies as well.

Don’t you want to help those extra students? Your board certainly does!

As an added bonus, when you invest in matching gift automation tools, you’ll save a ton of time and resources that can be reallocated to your mission as well. When the matching gifts begin securing themselves, your fundraising team will have more opportunities to pursue higher-value and additional prospective supporters.

4. Look at examples of successful nonprofit matching gift efforts.

If your organization has never taken a strategic approach to matching gifts, it’s a good idea to research similar organizations that have. Providing your nonprofit board with examples of successful matching gift efforts is an easy and impactful way to demonstrate the power of corporate matching in action.

For example, take a look at this dedicated matching gift web page by the National Kidney Foundation. As you explore their site, highlight ideas that you’d like to emulate with your own nonprofit’s matching gift efforts⁠—such as:

A basic explanation of matching gifts and information on how to find out more
Essential nonprofit contact information and tax ID (EIN) number
Searchable employer database tool

If you navigate to their donation page, you can see that they’ve also incorporated matching gifts directly within the online form. As users complete the donation form, they’re prompted to search for their company name in an embedded employer database, where they’ll be met with employer-specific guidelines on the confirmation page.

5. Focus on matching gift ROI.

One of your board’s most prominent functions is to help guide your fundraising efforts while ensuring that profitable and practical ideas are prioritized. That often means taking a good look at fundraising ROI or return on investment.

The good news is that matching gifts offer some of the highest returns on investment of any fundraising idea. Although the exact ROI will vary based on broader fundraising strategies, matching gifts essentially offer nonprofits a two-for-one sale on charitable gifts. For the price of soliciting a single donation, you can receive a second “bonus” gift for free!

As you explore matching gift ROI, consider case studies by nonprofits that have successfully enacted matching gift fundraising⁠—and note the typically high levels of returns.

6. Provide educational resources to learn more.

Even after following steps 1-5, your board members will likely have additional questions about matching gifts before they’ll be prepared to dive in. Be sure to anticipate some of these inquiries beforehand, as well as provide members with valuable resources for learning more.

For example, Double the Donation offers a number of educational resources to help guide nonprofits’ efforts through the matching gift exploration and adoption processes. Try to have as much additional information on costs and investments, expected returns, typical fundraising processes, and more. The more you have prepared to present to your organization’s board, the more likely you’ll be able to get them on board and ready to go.

In the end, you’ll have hopefully convinced your board of directors to invest in this valuable fundraising initiative⁠—and have what you need to launch your efforts effectively. Although it’s a fairly risk-free fundraising endeavor, corporate matching gifts stand to offer a ton of valuable benefits to nonprofits such as your own. Good luck, and happy fundraising!

Adam Weinger is an expert on matching gifts and created these tips for securing board buy-in. Author: Adam Weinger

Adam Weinger 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.

Double the Donation’s robust solution, 360MatchPro, provides nonprofits with automated tools to identify match-eligible donors, drive matches to completion, and gain actionable insights. 360MatchPro integrates directly into donation forms, CRMs, social fundraising software, and other nonprofit technology solutions to capture employment information and follow up appropriately with donors about matching gifts.