How to Communicate (with) Your Match

So, you finally found your perfect match (if you missed our earlier posts in the matching gift series – you can find more here), and are ready to tell the world – or at least your closest donor friends.

So how do you share this matching gift information to your audience in a meaningful, and motivating way that drives response and meets your goals?

Keep it simple.  The important thing about a match is a) that you have one, and b) the donors gift goes further.  Phrases like this are easy and quick to understand:

 

  • Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar
  • Your gift will make twice the impact
  • Your gift will be doubled

 

Often as fundraisers we get a little too caught up in the “inside baseball” of matching gifts – especially when we try to get too creative with the multipliers.  Stick to the principle that a donor’s gift will go further to support a mission they care about advancing.

HINT: If your donor must do this to figure out how much their match is worth. It’s probably too complicated.

Using worlds like double, triple, quadruple are great descriptors for messaging and are easy to understand to the donor.  But remember, keep the verbiage simple – the more complex we get, the more we risk losing/confusing the donor vs. illustrating how awesome the match is.  For example, if you find yourself brainstorming on how to multiply out your match at the dollar level because it’s more complex than a 2 for 1 – you’ve probably gone too far and are going to cause confusion that could pollute the powerful message.

 

Here are some other things to consider as you develop your winning matching gift messaging.

  • Test, test and test. Repeat. With such pillar campaigns, testing specific elements used to convey, illustrate or represent the match are critical to the longevity and ultimate success of your campaign.  Consider, for example, testing match preview language on the outer envelope of your direct mail package.  Some sectors may find more vague teasers (not illustrating the match) better at driving response because the full ask isn’t given away before recipients are inside the package.
  • All words are not created equal. While these changes may seem small, we’ve seen leading with verbiage like “matching gift offer” or “challenge match” erode performance, while leading with content like “double your impact” or “twice the impact” (excluding the word “match”) increase performance.  As with the bullet above, the key here is continued testing to determine the best formula for success for your program.
  • Past responders to matching gifts are good bets for inclusion. Sometimes we get mired down in program definitions, seasonality practices, and other “rules” that can negatively impact the ability to raise the most amount of revenue for a campaign.  It’s always a good idea to take a step back and ensure that you are casting an appropriately wide net, and including all the audiences that you can, who have the highest likelihood of responding.
  • And one more time – just because we believe it is such a vital point. Test, test and test some more.  We often spend time talking about what the “right” match amount is – and in our experience, as long as the match feels attainable to the donor (i.e., that their gift will help fund the value of the match), the actual amount of the match doesn’t much matter. HOWEVER, this may differ for your organization, so testing match amount, multiplier language, how long its available etc. are valuable variables for consideration.  A word of caution, though – because matching gifts typically generate strong response and revenue, keep testing quantities relatively small (only large enough to generate statistically significant results) to mitigate unnecessary revenue risk.

 

Over the past several blog posts we have shared several of our key thoughts around how to launch your winning matching gift strategy.  But wait – there’s more.  In our 4th and final blog post (for now) on this subject, we will talk about special considerations around matching gifts in “Knowing When Your Match Isn’t Right for You.”

 

MINDset direct is a full-service direct marketing firm specializing in non-profit fundraising. Our work is fueled by collaboration, innovation and the strong relationships we have with our clients. Together, we are working to make the world a better place. Learn more at mindsetdirect.com.

 

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Candice Briddell

Candice Briddell, Managing Partner and Co-Owner, has worked within the fundraising and marketing industry for nearly twenty years and has been a part of the MINDset team for over a decade. Prior to that, she was integral in the retention marketing program at AOL.