Increase donations with gift matching

Thursday, January 20, 2011 | 12:54 PM

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There are a variety of strategies for increasing online donations, and tapping into corporate gift matching is one that holds a lot of promise but is a little harder to get at since it requires extra work on the part of the donor and involves processes that can be hard to find or difficult to follow.

One Google Grantee, Direct Relief, has started using a new strategy to help their donors easily activate their employers’ gift matching programs at checkout. Basically, when a donor begins the checkout process, they are given the option to search for their employer from the database. If a match is found, that employer’s gift matching program details are shown for the information of the donor.

Once the donor completes the donation, the process for completing the gift match is shown so that they know what to do next in order to activate the matching funds.

The process is far simpler from a donor’s perspective, and Direct Relief has kindly offered to share their experience with you so that you might be able to try this strategy for potentially doubling up each donation that comes through your online doors, too.

Soup to nuts - what was the cost and time investment to get this up and running?
Direct Relief: We purchased this module from a company called HEP Development Services in Leesburg, VA. ( The cost was less than $10,000 to purchase the module, and we contracted for multiple years. The time to implement was a few weeks with a little bit of back and forth, as we decided exactly how and where to implement it on our site.

What's the process for purchasing the module and installing it?
Direct Relief: Once you let HEP know how you want to use the module, they advise on how much it will cost and then produce the necessary code and send you a link. I built a page to host introductory content and the search box, then when a user searches their company, the results populate on a HEP-hosted page. It took some basic coding ability to implement on our site. Also, we integrated it into our online donation form, which makes it really easy and convenient for donors to use.

What process did you use for building out the company donation match database?
Direct Relief: HEP maintains the company match database, and we provided names to them to see how many of our donors have the potential to have their companies match their gift.

How much have you seen donations from company matches go up since you installed it?
Direct Relief: None yet - it takes about three to six months for matching gifts to be disbursed from most companies (installed in November 2010). We think this could increase our matching gifts by about 20%, however.

On a scale of 1-10, how helpful has this tool been for increasing donations compared to other tools you've used?
Direct Relief: So far, we'd rank it an 8. Nothing's confirmed yet, but we're very hopeful that this will encourage donors to have their gift matched because it's so easy to use.

Anything you think new users should know about it or consider before getting started?
Direct Relief: Decide how and where you want to use this functionality on your site before you get started so you can communicate exactly what you're looking for to HEP. That streamlines the process.

If you have strategies for increasing online donations that you’d like to share or just want to talk shop with other Grantees and non-profits, visit our Discussion Forum and start a conversation today.