4 Ways Even Small Charities Can Get More Matching Gifts

We previously looked at what matching gift programs are and how they work. But how can smaller organizations benefit from these corporate giving programs?

In this article we take a look at some ideas that small nonprofits can use to increase donations through matching gift programs.

The beauty of matching gift programs is that, for nonprofits, they essentially represent free money. As an added bonus, you don’t have to seek out the donors—they already exist and they have already given a donation. If a company matches their employee’s contribution, you then have a donation for double the amount you would have had otherwise. The tricky part, however, is the process of converting a regular donation to a matched donation.

Especially if you are a small nonprofit, it can be difficult to have a successful matching gift program. Here are a few tips and tricks to optimize your organization’s use of matching gift programs.

1.  Make sure that you are marketing matching gift programs

Whether you’re a small or large nonprofit, lack of awareness is a huge impediment to countless matching gift programs. Many donors to your organization may simply have no idea what a matching gift is or that your nonprofit can benefit from it.

For small nonprofits which may not have the time to personally reach out to donors, make sure you’re including information about matching gifts on any and all of your communications, from:

  • Promoting matching gifts on social media
  • Highlighting matching gifts on your donation confirmation screen
  • Modifying acknowledgement letters to encourage donors to submit matching gifts
  • Including a sentence about matching gifts in your email footer
  • And many other locations

Learn more about how to promote matching gifts across your broader fundraising or check out these four ways to promote matching gifts in 30 minutes or less

2.  Focus on your major donors

All nonprofits, and particularly small organizations, have limited monetary and staff resources. Given the constraints one of the best approaches is to focus time and energy on your major donors. Who donated the most in the past is an easy method to identify major donors but it isn’t the only way.

According to research conducted by DonorSearch, “the strongest wealth-based indicator of future philanthropy is real estate ownership. The value of real estate owned is an excellent predictor of philanthropy, with greater wealth connected to greater giving.”­

Why is that insight important? Well small nonprofits should focus additional fundraising as well as matching gift efforts on the donors with the greatest ability to donate.

For example, let’s say your nonprofit can’t afford to use direct mail to solicit all donors for either a general fundraising campaign or matching gift letter. You can segment based on the amount they previously donated, mail to donors in wealthier zip codes, or use a vendor for advanced prospect research.

The key here is to devote your small nonprofit’s limited resources towards focusing time and energy on your organization’s existing major donors and those who have the propensity to give / have their donations matched at the greatest levels

Learn more about how to maximize matching gift revenue from major donors  

3.  Make it easy for donors.

The two leading reasons for donors not submitting matching gifts are:

  1. Donors may not know if their employer even offers a matching gift program
  2. Donors don’t know what the process is to submit a matching gift

Some companies have this information included in their HR manuals or on the company website, but it’s often buried where employees don’t see it.

As a small organization you should definitely list out at least the largest corporate providers of matching gift programs so donors can see the range of companies which match employee donations. Providing a list of local companies that match is especially useful for smaller organizations.

View Double the Donation’s list of top companies which match employee donations to nonprofits

4.  Follow-up, remind, follow-up, remind.

Even if a donor knows that their employer will match their donations and has every intention of participating in a matching gift program, oftentimes the follow-through is not there. It’s a good idea to send out periodic reminders and check-ins. According to Vibrant Data the amount of donations given is directly in proportion to the reminders and follow-ups made.

You can’t necessarily file the paperwork for them, but you can provide the gentle reminders and motivation needed to complete the process. A few easy opportunities include:

  • In thank you emails
  • In the annual report
  • To current donors who submitted a matching gift at some point in the past

Struggling to write a good thank you letter?


Matching gift programs can be hugely successful endeavors for small nonprofits. Having a strong program presence and awareness for your existing donors is all it takes to make the most (even double, triple, or quadruple) of your organization’s charitable donations. 

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