Three easy and inexpensive online marketing tips to promote matching gifts

As someone who is part of a nonprofit, you know how important receiving a matching gift is for your organization.  It’s like receiving two donations for the price of one! Matching gifts are one of the most effective fundraising strategies for increasing revenue and a great way to keep donors engaged with your organization.

You’ve secured a matching gift, now what? Marketing a matching gift doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. Here are three effective online tactics, outside of paid media (Facebook, Instagram, Google Ads, etc.), to utilize your matching gift to help drive revenue and build awareness without spending a lot of your budget or resources.

1. Email Campaign Marketing

Email marketing is one of the easiest methods to reach your donor base at a relatively low cost. When marketing your matching gift through email, consider some of the tactics below.

Pre-Launch Email

Create buzz and get people talking about your matching gift with a “pre-launch” email. We are seeing more organizations announcing matching gift campaigns to their donors to get them geared up for giving. In the email, include what the matching gift is, and the impact donors’ dollars will have on helping your organization advance forward.  Allow an opportunity for donors to add it to their calendars through Outlook, Google, Yahoo, etc., as an extra reminder.

Campaign Email Series

Now you have the message out about the match, keep the word spreading through a dedicated email series highlighting the match and donor’s impact (i.e., 2X the impact) to strengthen the case to give. People become more motivated to give to a match campaign versus a non-match if you properly communicate to them visually, how far their dollars will go due to the match. Spread the email series out to run during the life of the campaign with a higher volume of emails at the end to create more urgency as you get closer to the deadline.

Once you have a matching gift messaging strategy that works, you can take it a step further and pilot different match amounts (triple or even quadruple matches). We recently piloted the triple match approach for a client in an email appeal during Giving Tuesday. The pilot campaign was implemented in a follow-up email campaign where the double match went out early in the day on Giving Tuesday, with the triple match sent in the afternoon as a forward announcing the match has tripled. In this pilot test, the triple match brought in 50% more gross revenue and a 12% higher average gift than the standard double match to their donor database.

The findings from this pilot campaign created a perfect case for continuing to iterate the matching gift formula for this client and further test with the proper planning and environmental/external factors being considered.

2. Interruptive Marketing

You might find nothing more annoying than a pop up, like a light box or splash page, appearing when you visit a website. But as annoying as they may seem to you, they work extremely well with matching gift campaigns and are highly effective at driving donor conversions on the website.  For one of our clients, each time they run a light box during a matching gift campaign, it has generated at least 30% or more of their total online revenue raised, year-over-year. There are different placement and frequency strategies you can use. We have noticed, for one of our client’s, placing a light box or a splash page on all pages of their website, except for donation pages, is highly effective for them. You can always be more conservative and place them on the top highly-trafficked pages. Typically, when you have a month-long matching gift campaign, you’ll want to initially show to users one to two times per week when they enter your website. Then, during the final week, you can be more aggressive and play around with the interruptive creative/copy to increase urgency.

3. Donation Landing Page

The donor/prospect has shown their interest in your organization and has taken the next step by clicking through to your online donation form. Reinforce the donor’s decision of donating to your organization by creating a campaign-specific donation page and once again highlighting the matching gift. Use this as a last chance to reiterate where the donor’s money is going and how the dollars are being used. For example, “Your impact will go twice as far to accelerate breakthroughs in XYZ” or “Your gift will double to $XXX for providing XZY.”

Use these online marketing tips to expand how you market your matching gift and to help you find what works best for your donors when you secure a match. And, once you’ve mastered these online tactics, consider expanding to the paid digital media space.

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Lauren Endler