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Marathon Fundraising Plan, Week 5: Optimize the Matching Gift

Posted Nov 12 2008 7:58am

Matching gifts will help you reach your fundraising goal faster than you thought possible.

Cross-posted at  Team Firstgiving  

A matching gift is a benefit that many companies provide, where they match all or part of their employees’ charitable donations.

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The first marathon  I ever participated in (The Bermuda Marathon 2002), I did so with Team in Training and raised money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Massachusetts.

My fundraising goal was $3200 - this scared me! How was I going to raise this? I had never raised that much money before.

After expressing my concerns to a friend, she told me that her company had a matching gifts program. She explained that she would make a donation of $50, fill out and submit the proper paperwork (which she got from HR), and her company would send $50 on my behalf to my nonprofit.

This prompted me to change my approach to the way I asked for donations. In the end, I raised more than $4000 for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Massachusetts.

Below are some tips to help you optimize the matching gift:

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask - When you ask donors to make a contribution, ask them if their company provides a matching gift program.
    If they donate through Firstgiving, we ask them for you
  2. Stay on top of your fundraising - If a donor tells you they have a matching gift program, follow-up with them to see if they need any information about the organization, such as:
    * Tax ID number (also known as EIN)
    * Nonprofit name
    * Nonprofit address
    * Nonprofit contact and contact information
    If a nonprofit provides this information to Firstgiving, we pass it along to the donor. Also, feel free to contact us if you need your orgranization’s information.
  3. Tell the nonprofit - Help your nonprofit by keeping them in the loop about your matching gift. Pass along the donor’s and company’s name so that they can be on the look out.
    If your donor makes a donation via Firstgiving, we pass this information along to your nonprofit.
  4. Share the good word - Be sure to highlight any donors when you give your fundraising updates, but don’t forget to include companies who provide matching gifts - they’re donors, too. This serves a few purposes, such as:
    * Promote the company who gave back to your community
    * Remind other donors about their companies’ matching gift programs
    * Encourage other companies to match gifts
    On your Firstgiving fundraising page, you can highlight your donors in Your personal message text area.

If you have tips on how you have optimized matching gifts, or want to share other fundraising tips with us, please add a comment!

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