Imagine using the Pony Express to make matching gift appeals. With all due respect to horses, your messages probably won’t arrive in the timely manner you desire.
The internet has facilitated the creation of several fast, efficient ways to fundraise. These include using social media and email to remind donors about matching gifts.
While speed isn’t everything, the fact of the matter is that most of your donors are plugged into laptops, phones, and tablets. Reaching them entails catering to the messaging systems to which they respond to best.
Matching gifts are an easy way to boost fundraising by earning free money, and we’ve got the tips to help you increase donor awareness through social media and email.
Facebook and Twitter are not just publishing services. Social media is a form of sharing information, and your nonprofit needs to play to that angle in order to get the most out of your matching gift promotions.
Social media can make up a large part of your online identity. As such, it’s important to include the occasional matching gift post. Donors are looking at your profiles, and you never know when a certain piece of information might provoke them to finally submit those gift requests.
The key to a good matching gift Facebook post is including a link that sends donors to a dedicated matching gift page. This is a place where donors can learn more about the matching gift process, such as how to submit matching gift forms and where to access those forms.
Your Facebook posts should be informative. Sure, you can get creative and make fun videos or GIFs, but matching gifts tend to be pretty vanilla information to share. Getting your point across to donors can be as straightforward as saying what you want and how donors can help.
The National Kidney Foundation demonstrates an effective matching gift Facebook post:
In just six hours the post had 297 like, 132 shares, and six comments!
There are three key elements to this post:
- Text – They articulate an important benefit and hit an emotional chord that will convince donors to seek matching gifts.
- Link – They direct donors to their dedicated matching gift page, thus bringing people closer to actually submitting gift requests to their employers.
- Graphic – The eye-catching image attracts people to the post and makes the relevant text both easy and enjoyable to read.
An effective matching gift Facebook post should incorporate these three elements, but, if you don’t have great graphic design capabilities, you can make do without an image. The important part is to convince donors why matching gifts matter and to give them a way to easily find the information they need.
Extra expert advice: Be human in all your social media interactions and let your followers meet the true you.
With fewer characters to play around with, Twitter may feel limiting. However, your nonprofit has all the freedom it needs to promote matching gifts.
Posts need to include two essential elements, both of which you can fit into any matching gift tweet:
- A call to action.
- A link to your dedicated matching gift page.
The Center for Puppetry Arts shows how simple a matching gift tweet can be:
The tweet effectively incorporates a call to action and a link to a dedicated matching gift page. That’s it. No picture or witty joke. Donors are given the information they need, and nothing more.
Social networks, such as Twitter, help nonprofits to connect with more donors than ever before. Once you’ve built a large following, it’s likely that many followers are current donors.
A main reason why eligible donors don’t submit matching gift requests is due to a lack of awareness. Thanks to social media, you can make donors aware of how much more a single donation can do.
Extra expert advice: Learn three keys to social media success.
Email is the ultimate evolution of the Pony Express. Mail can be sent and replied to almost instantaneously, and horses don’t have to be worked until the point of exhaustion. CRMs even make it a breeze to craft email campaigns inside of the same software that manages your other fundraising efforts.
There are many types of emails, as well as strategies to optimize messages for matching gifts. Here are a few to get started.
Thanking donors is key, and also a great opportunity to ask for matching gifts.
The Piedmont Healthcare Foundation presents a great acknowledgement letter:
The note begins with a thank you and works its way to a matching gift ask. The matching gift appeal does not take away from the thank you, but rather extends the opportunity for donors to make their contributions go twice as far. Donors are already in the giving mindset, and your gratefulness can help to encourage them to put out a little effort in order to help your cause a lot more.
Extra expert advice: Learn more about acknowledgement letters for matching gifts.
It’s good to keep donors up to date about the goings on at your organization. At the same time, you can make appeals for matching gifts.
While you can incorporate matching gifts into newsletters that discuss other topics, the best practice is to send one or two newsletters per year that teach donors about matching gifts and their benefits for your organization. A lot of people either don’t know about corporate giving or that their employers offer corporate giving programs, so it’s up to nonprofits to let donors know.
The Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association has a newsletter dedicated entirely to matching gifts:
They share relevant information, such as how easy it is to find out if an employer offers matching gifts, and provide a noticeable link that takes donors to their dedicated matching gift page.
A newsletter that’s all about matching gifts isn’t hindered by donors being distracted by multiple pieces of information. Ensure that donors will pay attention to your call to action to double their donations by crafting a newsletter that’s exclusively about matching gifts.
Extra expert advice: Learn five fast ways to make better email newsletters.
Adding a matching gift appeal to your email signature might be the quickest, easiest way to increase exposure for matching gifts.
You likely have an email signature, and incorporating a matching gift appeal can be as easy as adding a few lines of text, such as:
- Don’t forget to double your donation: [link to your dedicated matching gift page].
- Are you eligible for a matching gift? Find out now: [link to your dedicated matching gift page].
- Double your donation today with a matching gift: [link to your dedicated matching gift page].
You can also use an image, as opposed to text, to call donors to action to submit matching gifts.
Extra expert advice: Learn more about incorporating matching gifts into your email signature.
Fundraising is tough, and matching gifts are a rare way for nonprofits to capitalize on free money from many donations. Social media and email are rare communication strategies that make it simple for nonprofits to reach out to all of their donors at almost no cost.
While it might sound easy to reach out to all donors and hope that some are matching gift eligible, you can save time and money with help from prospect research. You can find employer information and follow up your emails and social media posts with more personal communications to matching gift eligible donors.
Email is easy. Social media is fun. Tell your nonprofit’s story to engage more donors, and reap the benefits of more matching gifts.
About the author: Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of employee matching gift tools and services to nonprofits. Have questions about matching gifts or Double the Donation’s service? You can connect with Adam on LinkedIn, Twitter, or via email.