April 18, 2023
According to this 360MatchPro guide, “Organizations everywhere are beginning to automate more and more of their fundraising efforts—including supporter communications, donor acknowledgments, fundraising asks, and more.” After all, fundraising automation enables nonprofits and other charitable groups to take back a ton of their time and efforts that were previously going to manual and repetitive tasks.
Now, we want to talk about a specific kind of automation for smart nonprofits: the automation of matching gifts.
Matching gifts are one of the most popular forms of corporate philanthropy programming offered by tens of thousands of companies across the globe. And employed by those thousands of companies are more than 26 million individuals who qualify to have their charitable donations matched.
But nonprofits looking to pursue these opportunities may find that it takes a lot of time and energy to track down and follow up on matching gifts on their own. That’s where matching gift automation comes in handy and brings with it the following benefits that we’ll discuss in this guide:
Let’s jump in.
In terms of fundraising, efficiency typically refers to the idea that a nonprofit can maximize its team-wide outputs (i.e., outreach, conversations ultimately resulting in funding) compared to its inputs (staff time, energy, and effort to do so). And, of course, that’s where automation—and having the right tools to power your strategy—comes in.
Think of it this way: a fundraising team of five staff members may reasonably be able to identify, research, draft, and send five matching gift follow-up messages per hour. In an eight-hour workday, the team might produce 40 donor communications. But what happens if the organization receives more donations than it can keep up with? Not to mention, you know that matching gift appeals are not the only item a fundraising team is tasked with.
On the other hand, matching gift automation software can trigger thousands of match appeals in mere seconds. In fact, the right solution can take over the identification (by automatically scanning donor data for eligible gifts), research (pulling program details from a comprehensive company database), drafting (using pre-written, personalizable templates), and sending (employing optimized email cadences) with ease.
In the end, organizations that leverage matching gift automation see highly efficient operations, enabling team members to take back substantial amounts of time that may otherwise have been tied up with manual efforts.
After a donor contributes to your nonprofit, it's important to follow up with them promptly to express gratitude and provide information about matching gift opportunities: while your organization is still at the forefront of their mind. However, manually tracking and identifying matching gift opportunities can be time-consuming—not to mention evenings, weekends, holidays, and other non-working hours—which often leads to delays in outreach.
But timing is everything! Double the Donation studies indicate that match reminder emails that are sent in the first 24 hours after a donation is made result in a 53% open rate. That’s more than 2-3 times the average nonprofit email open rate, which goes to show the vitality of timely outreach.
Speaking of time, when you free up time by employing automation software, you’ll be able to reallocate additional resources to your highest-value opportunities.
Depending on your organization’s goals and priorities, that may mean taking an increasingly personal approach to a lucrative potential match, exploring new fundraising strategies, pursuing a major donor, or investing more into your mission-focused programming. Thus, the results of these alternative avenues (e.g., increased revenue, improved supporter relations, etc.) can be indirectly attributed to matching gift automation as well!
If your matching gift practices rely on manually sent communications from your fundraising team, your efforts ultimately run the risk of suffering from human error. After all, pursuing match opportunities can be a complex and error-prone task, leading to missed opportunities and wasted resources.
Technology, on the other hand, specifically automation technology, is designed to maximize accuracy throughout the process. For example, it can help ensure that all gifts are followed up on (and none slip through the cracks!) and that donors are provided with the right information about their employers’ programs (pulled from a continuously updated and highly accurate matching database).
This way, you won’t have to worry about matches going unclaimed—and thus, funding lost—due to simple clerical errors.
Another benefit of matching gift automation lies with your organization’s donors. But when donors are happy, the nonprofit teams stewarding those relationships are happy, as well.
So how does automation lead to more positive overall donor experiences? It starts with growing their knowledge about the programs in the first place. The aforementioned studies also show that without automation, 78% of donors are unaware if their company offers a matching gift program. Meanwhile, an additional 16% know their company has a program but are unsure if they’re eligible or how to get involved.
If donors don’t know about their company’s matching initiatives, they aren’t able to request qualifying matches. But donors love participating in matching gift programs and seeing the impact of their generous giving stretch twice as far for a mission they care about. Thus, automation ensures that eligible donors are aware of the opportunities they have to do more for their favorite nonprofit groups without reaching back into their own wallets.
And going a few steps further, the right matching gift tools can even help guide supporters through the request process. By providing company-specific program guidelines and direct links to employers’ online submission portals, it’s easier than ever for donors to follow the instructions to get their gifts matched!
Matching gift automation can also provide your team with elevated reporting capabilities. As your technology solution streamlines the matching process, it likely also collects valuable insights and data that can help inform future fundraising and outreach efforts.
By tracking and analyzing giving patterns, you’ll gain a better understanding of various match strategies’ successes. This can help you develop more effective communication strategies, tailor matching gift appeals to specific donor segments, and continuously identify new opportunities for growth.
Not to mention, it can help your team track matching gifts throughout the cycle. Your software recognizes as donors move between steps in the submission process, automatically updating progress levels in your matching gift dashboard. This allows you to quickly see where each match is at any time and even better forecast incoming corporate funds for budgeting purposes.
Last but certainly not least, matching gift automation is a game-changer for enabling nonprofits to maximize corporate fundraising revenue and better serve their communities. By making it easy for supporters to partake in matching gifts and following up on eligible matches with automated email streams, organizations that use this type of tool end up seeing significantly higher levels of successfully completed matching gifts.
In fact, previously cited research indicates that donations are 7.5x more likely to be ultimately matched when the organization leverages matching gift automation. And ultimately, automation increases corporate match revenue for nonprofits by an average of 61%.
Now that we’ve established several of the most prominent benefits of automating matching gifts, try thinking of each advantage in terms of what it can do for your organization and its mission.
For example: what, specifically, could your team do with more time, energy, data, funding, etc.? Then, enlist matching gift automation technology—such as GivingFuel’s integration with industry-leading provider Double the Donation—and move forward with better achieving your overarching goals.