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3 Reasons Donors Don’t Submit Matching Gift Requests

Many nonprofits are taking the time to evaluate their current operations and uncover areas with room for improvement. One pain point for a lot of these organizations is making the most of matching gifts.
In fact, Double the Donation studies show that more than $4 to $7 billion in matching gift revenue is left on the table each year by eligible donors. More than likely, some of those corporate dollars could be going to your mission. But why is this funding going unclaimed?
Here are three of the most common reasons why donors don’t submit matching gift requests:
– They don’t know they’re eligible.
– The process seems complicated.
– They forget to follow through.
When donors fail to request a match from their employer, your organization misses out on a ton of potential revenue that could be driving your mission forward significantly. That’s why in this guide, we’ll explore the top reasons why you’re not receiving matching gift funding along with tips and tricks to help your team overcome these obstacles. Let’s get started!

1. Donors don’t know they’re eligible.

The Problem

According to Double the Donation research, more than 18 million people a
re employed by companies with matching gift programs⁠—but 78% of them are unaware of these opportunities in place. If eligible donors are not informed of these giving programs, you’ll lose out on available revenue for your cause. 
After all, you can’t expect a donor to request a match from their employer if they haven’t been educated on corporate giving efforts in the first place, let alone instructed of their own eligibility!

How To Fix It

Knowing who your donors are, as well as what companies they’re employed by, is the first step to determine matching gift eligibility. You’ll also want to market matching gifts to supporters so they’re aware of the possibilities.
Consider the following ways to promote matching gift opportunities to your donors:
– Your online donation page or “ways to give” page
– Email marketing
– Direct mail postcards, inserts, or letters
– Social media posts
The best way to streamline the research process and effectively inform donors of their eligibility is by investing in a searchable company database that’s chock-full of information on matching gift programs. Then, encourage donors to research their employer by directing them to this online resource where they can determine if their gift can be matched.
This type of tool will typically incorporate the following information:
– Donation minimums and maximum
– Match ratios
– Eligible employees
– Eligible nonprofits
– Match request deadlines
Allowing donors to easily uncover this data for their employer is a critical part of driving match requests. The less research they have to do on their own, the better!


2. The process seems complicated.

The Problem

Some companies take a strategic approach to corporate giving by informing employees of available programs and simplifying the request process with online forms or an innovative workplace giving platform.
On the other hand, many businesses still require convoluted or otherwise complicated matching gift requests that deter eligible employees from participating.

How To Fix It

Simplify the matching gift process for your donors by providing individuals with all of the information they’ll need to submit a request. This might include:
– Direct links to their employer’s online matching gift request forms
– Instructions on how to access paper forms or an online CSR platform
– Contact information for someone in charge of the matching gift program
Again, the less effort donors have to put into the match process, the more likely they will be to complete their request. If you can spell out next steps and encourage supporters to take them, you’ll secure additional matches for your cause.


3. Donors forget to follow through.

The Problem

Sometimes donors have all the intentions to submit a match request to their employer, but when it comes to following through, they simply forget to complete the process. Perhaps they requested a match but failed to verify the initial donation with their employer or indicated that they’re likely eligible for a matching gift but never completed the application.
Regardless of the specific roadblock, donors forgetting to follow through with their match request will ultimately result in fewer corporate dollars for your organization.

How To Fix It

Consider sending personalized matching gift messages to donors following their initial gift. This might include information about that individual’s employer, direct them to a corporate giving database to learn more, or even provide suggested next steps to request a match. You’ll likely want to remind donors of matching gifts at the following opportunities:
– Before submitting their donation. Donors are most engaged with your organization while completing your online donation form, so it’s a good idea to promote matching gifts at this step in the process. Plus, research shows that donors are more likely to give⁠—and to give larger amounts⁠—if they know their donation will be matched by their employer!
– Following the donation submission. Right after the donor has submitted their gift, their level of engagement is still relatively high. Use your donation confirmation screen or follow-up email to remind donors, once again, how to get involved with their employer’s matching gift program. However, it’s a good idea to space this message out from your initial donation receipt to avoid donors disregarding the communication.
– A few days after the gift was made. Has it been a while since the donor’s initial gift and you haven’t heard about their status in the matching gift process? Don’t be afraid to follow up again! Send an additional email or direct mailing to remind recipients about the potential for matching gifts⁠—especially if you’ve determined that individual is likely eligible through their employer. 
If you want to take your follow-up strategies even further, partnering with a matching gift automation tool is an excellent way to do so. When you automate your matching gift outreach, you can ensure every donor receives a relevant message encouraging them to pursue a match, while saving your team time and resources to devote to your highest-value donors. 


Ensuring you have the tools you need to drive matches to completion is critical. While you and your donors are certainly able to request and secure a limited number of matching gifts on your own, corporate giving software can completely streamline and simplify the process from start to finish. This way, you can maximize the number of matches completed while improving donor engagement and raising more critical funding for your mission. Good luck!