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When it comes to event planning, there’s a lot to manage. From branding your event page to promoting merchandise, there’s a lot your nonprofit can do to improve the attendee experience and earn more revenue. 

One often overlooked source of revenue nonprofits can leverage during fundraising events is matching gifts. Matching gifts are a CSR program offered by businesses to match employees’ donations to nonprofits, usually at a dollar-per-dollar rate. This applies to donations made almost under any circumstance, including regular online donations, donations through peer-to-peer campaigns, and of course, donations made during a fundraising event. 

However, in the excitement of an event, supporters may not be thinking of matching gifts or even assume it’s not worth it to bother making a matching gift during the middle of an event. 

To help your nonprofit earn more through matching gifts, this guide will explore how your nonprofit can incorporate matching gifts into your fundraising events from beginning to end.  

Provide matching gift information.

Earning matching gift donations during events can be a challenge because many of your supporters likely aren’t familiar with matching gifts. This means one of your first steps is to share educational resources with your supporters about matching gifts. 

Normally, nonprofits promote matching gifts by creating a page on their website, sending out emails and letters, or making social media posts about corporate giving programs. However, during an event, your supporters will be focused on the activity or presentation at hand. 

Determine what need-to-know information about matching gifts should be shared during your event. After all, there’s a lot to say about matching gifts, and your educational content should be concise to retain event attendees’ attention. 

One way to hold supporters’ attention is to create a matching gift video that you can show during your event. To engage supporters, make sure this video is:

  • Short and to the point. Your video should be a minute and a half maximum. Grab supporters’ attention quickly with striking visuals or a bold statement that would make someone want to learn more. For example, start the video by informing viewers that over 26 million individuals work for companies with matching gift programs. Then, stick to the basics and take advantage of the video format by making sure something interesting is happening on screen the entire time. 
  • Accessible. When designing a video for an event, consider the perspective of all of your guests, including those sitting in a back row or passively watching while waiting in a line. Make your video accessible to all of your supporters by including large closed captions. This also makes it so you can easily play the video without sound if need be. 
  • Actionable. After viewing your video, supporters should know exactly what their next actions should be. Provide a call to action at the end of your video, such as encouraging supporters to find more information on your website, donate right then and there, or check with their employers about their matching gift eligibility.  

Video can set your nonprofit apart and help you raise more, especially as an increasing number of social media sites are pivoting to promoting short-form videos. Consider uploading your matching gift video to your social media profiles after your event to reach even more supporters. 

Simplify the matching gift process.

A major reason qualifying supporters don’t make the leap to turn their donations into matching gifts is because the process may seem too complex or inconvenient. Plus, these supporters have already just made the effort of donating and likely won’t be thrilled to learn there’s still more information to look up and forms to fill out, especially when they want to get back to enjoying your event. 

Fortunately, technology can help make the process as simple as possible. Numerous software solutions have features that make giving during an event quick and easy. For example, some auction solutions prompt event attendees to opt into donating their auction bids so they can still support the nonprofit even if they don’t place the winning bid. 

Of course, the main type of software to be aware of when it comes to matching gifts is matching gift software. These solutions help supporters find their employer’s matching gift programs and sometimes even submit their match requests. Double the Donation’s guide to matching gift eligibility explains the type of information these platforms can share with donors:

Various matching gift eligibility requirements are listed, written out below.

  • Employment duration. Many companies require employees to have a certain length of employment before they become eligible for a matching gift. Usually, this is between six months and a year. 
  • Employee level. Most businesses with matching gift programs will match all employees, but some restrict matching gifts to more senior positions, such as executive and director-level roles. 
  • Employment status. Usually, matching gift programs are open to all full-time employees, but some generous programs also allow part-time employees and retirees to get their gifts matched. 
  • Employee family. If a qualifying employee has a spouse, they may be able to get their gifts matched by their partner’s employer, as well. 

Matching gift software will also provide the next steps for eligible donors to submit their match requests. This usually involves logging into their company’s CSR software and filling out an application for their employer. To encourage supporters to take this step after your event, make sure to use your matching gift software to follow up with them. 

Follow-up afterward the event. 

To drive matching gift requests to completion, check in with match-eligible donors as part of your event follow-up process. Funds2Orgs’s fundraising event planning guide recommends planning how to thank donors for their attendance before even hosting your event and suggests a few ways you can show appreciation for donors who went out of their way to submit a matching gift request:

  • Thank-you letters. Mailed thank-you letters are the most traditional way to thank supporters, and they’ve stood the test of time for a reason. Create a letter template that thanks supporters and has spaces to add information about their attendance, such as if they donated, if they submitted a matching gift request, or if your nonprofit has already received a check from their employer. 
  • eCards. Add a little fun to your event follow-up by sending eCards. eCards are electronic postcards sent via email, text messages, and sometimes even social media. Add branded designs, animations, and personal messages that reference the specific contributions each recipient made. 
  • Impact reports. Let attendees know whether your event succeeded in its fundraising goal, what that means for your nonprofit, and how their specific contributions helped. For match-eligible donors, consider sharing how much your nonprofit received in corporate gifts so they understand just how big an impact their matching gift request made. 

Following up isn’t just about securing matching gifts; it also helps you secure donor relationships. To track your attendees and build long-term connections with them, use event software that integrates with your CRM. For example, nonprofits using Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge NXT will be happy to know Trellis has an easy integration with their platform

Events are an opportunity to earn donations, connect with supporters, and spread awareness for your cause. Improve your fundraising by making matching gifts a part of your events, and be sure to consider the guest experience at every point, whether it involves making information easy to find, helping them through the matching process, and thanking them for going the extra mile to help your cause.