Each year, $4-7 billion in matching gifts go unclaimed. This is a ton of money that nonprofits are missing out on that could go toward supporting their missions and allowing them to do the great work that they need to do to improve their communities and the world. Matching gifts, especially through corporate giving programs, are a great way for nonprofits to increase donations and allow employees to give to the causes that mean the most to them, while doubling that donation through an employer contribution.
So why are so many nonprofits missing out on so much money? We did some research and learned a little bit from an article by Forbes that explained why these donations are getting passed up.
- Nonprofits are missing the right documents: In order to be eligible for grants from a foundation, nonprofits need certain paperwork, like your 501(c)(3) status, budget information related to overhead, a mission statement, etc. If nonprofits can’t provide this paperwork, they lose out on the opportunity to receive the grant. Staying organized and having this information readily available (preferably in a digital format) will help you be prepared to submit it when necessary.
- Your overhead is too high: If organizations feel like they’re donating to your overhead instead of your cause, they won’t consider you for a matching gift. Many foundations will require you to submit overhead calculations, and if your overhead is too high, you may not be approved for the grant. According to Forbes, the top-rated nonprofits have an overhead between 10 percent and 12 percent. Have high overhead? Share your plans for reducing it with the organizations you’re hoping to receive grants from so they can see that you are making an effort.
- Paperwork isn’t missing, it just isn’t submitted on time: Your mission is important and should take priority, but matching gifts help you continue to support your mission, so it’s important that you put some time into that, too. Oftentimes, nonprofiteers get so wrapped up in their everyday duties that things like submitting the paperwork for a matching gifts program slips through the cracks and put on the to-do list for the next year.
- Nonprofit warning signs: If a foundation or corporation sees too many red flags associated with your nonprofit, you may not get approved for a grant. These red flags, or warning signs, can be things like a low rating on a website like Charity Navigator, affiliation with a political party that doesn’t align with your company values, disorganization, past (or present) poor publicity or bad press. If a foundation feels like partnering with your nonprofit could reflect badly on them, they may pass you up and move on to another organization.
- No way of tracking donations: If your organization is tracking gifts by hand or in a spreadsheet, you might find that there are opportunities that you are missing just through a lack of organization. If you don’t know which companies you have received matching gifts from before, if your donors are working for companies that have matching gifts programs or which companies you have reached out to before, it’s difficult to take advantage of these opportunities. A Nonprofit CRM can help you stay organized, track gifts and communications and allow you to look back at previously-entered information, like past matching gifts, so that you can continue to maintain those relationships, or form new ones.
- You’re not promoting it to your donors: Research found that only about 9 percent of donors take advantage of matching gifts. If you have donors who work for a corporation that is involved in a matching gifts program, it’s important to let them know and to let them know that they can nominate your nonprofit! If donors don’t know that their donation can be matched, they won’t think to ask their employers. Shoot them an email, blast it on social media or give them a call to give them a heads-up that your nonprofit can be the recipient of their corporate giving program.
Being part of a matching gift program is one of the most lucrative ways that a nonprofit can raise funds, so it’s important to prioritize it and make sure that you’re not missing out on opportunities to receive these types of gifts and grants. Here’s to no more missing matching gifts!