How Matching Gifts Can Boost Your University’s Fundraising Success

Christina Balotescu

August 23, 2020

Many hands together with a heart painted on them, implying generosity

Just like any organization, universities have to raise money to successfully operate. Tapping into alumni giving by itself is a great way to generate revenue, but what if you could double the amount of donations that you are already receiving with just a little effort on your institution’s part?

That’s the exact benefit of corporate matching gift programs. Some businesses and companies have programs in place that allow their employees to double or sometimes even triple their donations to eligible nonprofit organizations and institutions. All the employee has to do is submit the matching gift request paperwork to the company’s HR department within a certain time frame after a donation is made.

1. Matching Gift Programs Increase the Chances that Alumni will Donate

Many alumni feel a distinct disconnection from their alma maters because the only time they hear from them is when they’re looking for donations. Additionally, recently-graduated alumni are reluctant to donate to their former universities since they recently poured in so much money via tuition.

However, alumni will be more likely to donate even small amounts if they know that their employers will match their donations.

When you market matching gifts to your university’s alumni across your communications, you can increase your chances that your alumni will donate at least a small donation and that they will have that donation matched by their employers.

When you ask donors to look into matching gift programs, you not only potentially double their donations, but you also establish a connection without asking them to open up their own wallets a second time.

2. Matching Gift Programs are Appealing to Millennial Donors

Many young alumni who are finding their way in the corporate world want to know that the companies they work for care about the things that they feel passionately about. Companies demonstrate that care and dedication to corporate social responsibility by offering matching gift programs.

Your university can take advantage of the charitable mindset of many recently-graduated alumni and market matching gift programs to them. Because many young alumni are just starting out, they don’t have a whole lot of money to spare. Between paying rent and buying their new corporate wardrobes, the budget they have for charitable donations is small.

However, letting young alumni know about matching gifts can be a great way to encourage them to give what they can and then double it! There are many ways to engage millennial donors, but matching gifts can be a great way to show them that they can make their single donation go twice as far.

When it comes to fundraising, it isn’t always about big gifts anyway. Sometimes, the little donations go the farthest.

3. Fundraising Events and Matching Gifts Raise More Money and Engage Alumni

Alumni don’t just have to see each other at reunions every ten years or so. Your university can plan fundraising events that bring alumni closer and raise money for your institution.

How do matching gifts fit into fundraisers? Depending on the type of event, alumni’s employers may match donations that employees contribute and raise during a fundraiser.

For instance, if the members of the class of 1988 participate in a walkathon or other event hosted by their alma mater, their employers may match the money they raise through donations and sponsorships.

Hosting fundraisers can be a great way for your alumni to get together and reminisce, but you can also boost your fundraising efforts by adding a matching gift component to the event.

4. Use Prospect Research to Find Matching Gift Eligible Alumni

Prospect research is a tool that nonprofits and institutions can use to find out more about their donors. Prospect research reveals basic information like names and addresses as well as complex data like past giving histories and business affiliations.

Your university can use prospect research to discover many things about your alumni, but you can also find out who their employers are which can help you determine which alumni are matching gift eligible.

Having this information on hand can help you determine how to best market matching gifts to your alumni. If you know which of your alumni already works for companies that match donations to educational institutions, then you can help keep them informed about making their donation go further in emails and other communications.

Whether you’re promoting matching gifts to your alumni through online fundraising, fun events, or at reunions, your university can benefit from encouraging former students to look into doubling their donations.

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