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Sample matching gift letter tips to boost your retention

October 13, 2021
Two nonprofit professionals sit together at a desk with their laptops and a clipboard to write a matching gift letter together.

Matching gifts are valuable donations that often go underused by nonprofit organizations. To encourage your supporters to take advantage of this giving method and build long-term relationships with them, reach out to donors and encourage them to multiply their impact through their employer and thank those who do.

Let’s explore how to leverage matching gift letters to increase donor satisfaction and encourage future giving.

Types of matching gift letters

There are numerous types of matching gift letters that you can send to donors. Each has its own purpose and desired response from readers. These types include:

  • Acknowledgement emails. When supporters donate online, many of them expect immediate confirmation via email that their payment has been received. Right after you receive a matching gift, send donors an automated message with the donation receipt. 
  • Thank-you letters. Once your donor has received their acknowledgment notification, send a separate thank-you letter. Make every effort to personalize these letters. You can still use a template, but add as many personal touches as you can to show your appreciation and begin building a connection with donors. 
  • Year-end/seasonal appeals. Many supporters take the end of the year as an opportunity to donate to nonprofit organizations. Leverage this time to remind your donors about matching gifts. This can be an automated message over email or a physical insert in another deliverable. 
  • Campaign appeals. Consider launching an entire campaign to inform supporters about matching gifts. For this type of appeal, include your campaign goal, specific information about their matching gift’s impact, and a link to your database for your supporters to check if their employer matches donations. 

To maximize the chances a donor will respond to your appeals, work with your team to create versions of each type of matching gift letter that are aligned with your donors’ interests. That way, you'll capture your donors’ attention and keep matching gifts top of mind when it’s most important.

Matching gift letter essentials

While you should customize your nonprofit’s matching gift letters with your own messaging as much as possible, there are several fundamental elements that you should include. Let’s discuss how to strengthen a matching gift letter. 

Logistical matching gift letter tips

Your matching gift cadence should include multiple messages, requiring a solid communication plan and delivery system. 

Try these best practices for delivering your matching gift messages:

  • Send the letter quickly. Strive to send personalized thank-you notes within a week of receiving a donation. This ensures your donors feel appreciated and that their donation was acknowledged.
  • Use multiple mediums. When supporters give, you can include an optional question field on the donation form asking about their preferred mode of communication. That way, you have a sound means of segmenting your donors by delivery method.
  • Brand it to your organization.  Be sure to incorporate your nonprofit’s branding throughout your letter. This encompasses everything from your letterhead, logo, and slogan to your organization’s values and overall message. Consider including the signature of your president or development director to add a personal touch from your team. Also, use an email address that’s clearly from someone at your organization so that your donors know it’s a legitimate message from your nonprofit.

Ensuring your matching gift letters are distributed in a timely and orderly manner is crucial to delivering value to your supporters and making them feel acknowledged by your nonprofit.

Content-facing matching gift letter tips

Here are some fundamentals for crafting a high-quality matching gift letter that inspires more engagement with your organization:

  • Center the focus on the donor. Focus your message on the difference your donors can make by giving. This will make your matching gift letters feel genuine and center donors as a core part of your nonprofit.
  • Include specific impact metrics. Your nonprofit should have detailed financial records documenting how donations are used. Work with your team to determine the specific impact of each donation tier. For instance, if you’re representing a food bank, you could find out how much each meal costs and provide these impact metrics in your letter to show donors how many meals they’re providing to your constituents with their contribution.
  • Segment your donors. Segment your donors based on how much they give or how long they’ve been giving. Then, create messages likely to appeal to these groups by referencing their cumulative impact or time spent with your nonprofit. Tailoring your messaging adds another layer of personalization to your letter, which your donors will appreciate.

Ultimately, your letter should distinctly sound like you wrote it. Keeping a professional, optimistic, and straightforward tone in your writing is ideal for building trust with your donors and encouraging further involvement with your matching gift program.

Sample matching gift letter

Use this sample matching gift letter to inspire your writing process. 

Dear [donor’s name],

We are ecstatic that your donation of [donation amount] has been [doubled, tripled, etc.] through your employer’s matching gift program to a total of [matching gift donation amount]. This is an enormous step towards our fundraising goal of [fundraising goal], and we couldn’t have done it without you.

We can only achieve change with the help of our donors, and we’re incredibly grateful for your support.

All the hard work that our staff and volunteers have put in wouldn’t be half as successful without supporters like you. We’re trying to reach [financial or programming goal] and your donation helps us get there.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns about our programs or your donation. We hope to hear from you soon.

Thank you,

[organization’s/director’s name]

Matching gift letters: The bottom line

Matching gift acknowledgement letters can go a long way towards improving donor retention, especially when they’re sent out soon after a donation. To reach out to your donors in a timely manner and communicate with confidence, your nonprofit can benefit from using powerful fundraising software. The right software can keep track of your donations, contact information, and templates for matching gift letters. 

Before you develop your communications strategy, research which software solution would be best for you so your operations run as smoothly as possible and your donors get the thanks that they deserve.

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