Unlock your school’s end-of-year fundraising potential! Discover how matching gifts can help you raise more to achieve your giving season goals in this guide.
The year-end or holiday giving season is characterized by increasing generosity that spurs high levels of giving and more. And for schools powered by smart fundraising efforts, with it typically comes dedicated campaigns and time-based fundraising goals.
However, there’s a powerful tool that many schools have yet to fully harness: matching gifts. Corporate matching gifts are a form of charitable giving program offered by tens of thousands of businesses as a way to give back to the causes their employees support. When your school’s supporters work for such companies, you have the power to literally double existing funds for your efforts—thus reaching your goals more efficiently than ever before.
In this blog post, we’ll explore key ways in which your fundraising team can drive game-changing results with matching gifts. These include the following recommended practices:
Let’s start with the basics!
It’s important to make the most of the months and weeks leading up to the year-end giving season. One of the best things you can do is ensure your whole team of fundraisers—from volunteers to hired staff—is well-prepared to incorporate matching gifts into your engagement plan.
For example, anyone involved in fundraising should have a solid understanding of the matching gift opportunity. This includes program basics, overcoming common roadblocks, strategies for marketing matching gifts to your audience, tracking and management practices, and more.
But don’t worry—getting your team up to speed can be easy! One of our favorite resources for doing so is Double the Donation’s online Matching Gift Academy. This digital learning system provides users with a comprehensive look at matching gift fundraising and can be an excellent team training tool as you prepare for the coming season.
Remember: the more your internal team is on board with the programs, the better prepared they will be to advocate for participation from your supporters. And the more effectively you’ll be able to reach your fundraising goals with matching gifts!
Giving Tuesday is one of the most essential fundraising days of the year, empowering many schools and nonprofits to kick off their year-end giving initiatives with a splash.
But one of the best ways to ensure your institution’s Giving Tuesday appeal stands out in supporters’ inboxes (or feeds) is to integrate corporate matching gifts throughout your fundraising plan. This might include highlighting matching gift opportunities in Giving Tuesday outreach and donor appeals, emphasizing the benefits of matching gifts in relation to your school’s upcoming projects and programs, and even crafting partnerships with giving-focused companies in your network.
Here’s an example of copy you might include in an email or social media post to celebrate the day of giving: “This Giving Tuesday, make your support go even further for our school. All you need to double the impact of your donation is to complete your gift and request a match from your employer!”
Gamification can go a long way in school fundraising campaigns, and matching gifts are no different. In fact, the nature of friendly competition can have a significant impact on many schools’ year-end matching gift efforts.
That said, as you craft your end-of-year fundraising plan, consider using elements of gaming such as leaderboards, competition, achievement badges, challenges, and more. For example, you might offer a prize to the company that employs the most donors that give—and get their gifts matched—to support your school. Or perhaps you offer a digital badge to signify donors who have secured multiple matching gifts on your institution’s behalf!
All in all, these aspects of gameplay add an extra layer of fun to the fundraising experience, encouraging more supporters to get involved. And they work particularly well with time-based campaigns, such as Giving Days or year-end initiatives with tangible and urgent deadlines!
More than likely, you plan to distribute at least one end-of-year fundraising appeal within the season to your school’s network of supporters. These recipients may include students, families, alumni, friends, community members, and more.
But did you know that incorporating matching gift information in your donor outreach can lead to more donation conversions compared to appeals that do not mention matching gifts? That’s because, according to Double the Donation’s research, 84% of survey participants are more likely to donate if they know a gift will be matched, while 1 in 3 individuals report giving a larger amount if their contribution would be doubled.
Afterward, send post-donation reminders about the matching gift opportunity to encourage participation. This allows you to re-engage supporters, drive matching gifts to completion, and keep your school at the top of donors’ minds for even longer.
Consider sending an email along these lines after a donor contributes to your year-end fundraiser:
“Thank you for supporting our school as the year comes to a close! Did you know that your employer may provide a matching donation, further amplifying your impact on our community? Don’t forget to submit your request form by the end of December to ensure deadlines are met. Your match makes a difference in our goal of [brief summary of project or vision].”
Whether your school seeks to raise funds for a new project or program, enhance educational and extracurricular offerings, or simply position your school for greater success in the year ahead, end-of-year fundraising is essential to many campuses and communities. Just think about what matching the incoming support might mean for your institution, its students, and beyond.
Best of luck!
Hudson is the Marketing Manager at Boost My School. He is a graduate of Fordham University and the Albany Academies. Hudson is dedicated to the growth and support of K-12 education and is an active member of his local school community. In his free time, Hudson enjoys playing soccer, hiking, and cooking.