How much time do you give yourself before a fundraiser to plan?
Would you start planning a wrapping paper fundraiser the day before it is set to begin? No. Last minute efforts are rarely as successful as carefully planned ones.
We all know how much preparation goes into successful fundraising efforts, so why not start your year-end strategizing now and actually get to rest a little during the holiday season this time around.
When you’re going through your checklist of year-end fundraising ideas, are matching gifts on the list? They need to be.
To best pair year-end fundraising and matching gifts, start with the two strategies detailed below.
Matching Gifts Strategy 1: Promote Based on Deadlines
The end of the year is the perfect time to make a matching gift push because most matching gift deadlines are right around the new year.
Generally, a considerable amount of matching gift deadlines are set for:
- the end of the calendar year
- the end of the calendar year plus a few extra months
For year-end matching gift marketing, take advantage of the immediacy of social media.
I have previously done a walk through on this site for promoting matching gifts using social media. The game doesn’t change too much for year-end appeals, but you need to take the deadline urgency into account with your posts.
With Twitter you have limited space and a relatively high chance of disappearing into the abyss of your followers’ various Twitter feeds. Your tweet has to serve as a reminder while also conveying the positive impact a quick matching gift request can have.
To avoid fading into the background, schedule a series of tweets to automatically go out. With the 140 characters in a tweet, you’ll find that year-end matching gift reminders will all look relatively similar.
Let’s look at an example from Atlanta Animal Rescue Friends:
As you can see, AARF was aiming to convince those making year-end donations to also submit matching gift requests. The language of the tweet is clear and concise and includes a call-to-action and a link to follow through with.
If the organization wanted to market matching gifts to those who had already contributed, they could easily have altered their tweet copy to say, “Did you make a donation to AARF this year? Check to see if your company will double your donation! [link]”
When timing out your tweets, alternate between targeting supporters new to donating at year’s end and those who contributed earlier.
After the textual limitations of Twitter, you’ll be relieved at the freedom Facebook posts can grant you. You certainly don’t want to go crazy with length, it is the internet after all, but you can get some more details into the action and use Facebook as a way to promote year-end giving.
For instance, do you notice anything familiar about the DRI Foundation post below?
If you look at the sample post below, there isn’t much more physical writing than in AARF’s tweet, but the post has the added advantage of an eye-catching image.
The image here acts actually doubles as a link and call-to-action as well. A graphic like that can be lucrative and versatile.
If you want to take your year-end matching gift social media posting to the next level, work the holidays into your post. You have a diverse pool of supporters, so make sure that you are respectful of the various holidays honored around year’s end and have fun with seasonal themes and cutesy gimmicks.
Matching Gifts Strategy 2: Send out Thanks in the Spirit of the Holidays
Even though the end of the year is deadline season for matching gifts, it is a time of gratitude and thanks for most. Fundraisers should remember that.
The close of the year is the ideal time to send out additional acknowledgements to donors who have contributed matching gifts. Donor acknowledgement is an art form in and of itself. Matching gift thank yous have their own special category.
With matching gift submissions, donors surpass their already generous donations. Those actions warrant genuine and heartfelt thank yous.
You can send out acknowledgment postcards, emails, posts on social media, or some combination thereof. With most public thank yous, a la social media, you may even be able to convince other donors to submit matching gift requests.
Although this sample post below by Halos of Hope isn’t year-end specific, you can follow a similar format to thank a matching gift donor while enticing others.
Ensure that you’re keeping track of all of your matching gifts in your CRM so that you have the data available to thank all necessary parties involved in the process.
Between your deadline reminders and your acknowledgments, your matching gift game will be in tip top shape come year’s end. Before you know it, it’ll be time to start over again.
Planning your matching gift year-end fundraising
Planning for matching gift year-end fundraising gives you the time to take additional steps you might not have been able to in the past.
A couple ideas include:
- Send a targeted matching gift email or direct message to anyone who previously submitted a matching gift to your organization.
- Perform a prospect screening to reveal major gift prospects and see who you can seek matching gifts from. A $4,000 donation is amazing. An $8,000 donation is phenomenal.
- Calculate and show the impact that matching gifts have had on your organization in the past.
We all know how much matching gifts can help nonprofits reach fundraising goals, so use the year-end timing to boost your funding.
‘Tis the season to multiply your donations.