Using Phonathon to
Positively Influence
Matching Gift Programs
Tips and Strategies for Increasing Results
Mike Brucek
Director of Services & Lead Consultant
Fundraising Management Division
Would You Turn Down Free Money?
• Failure to maximize
matching gift potential is
leaving money on the
• Callers, management, and
administrative personnel
all influence results
• Just a 1% increase in
matching gifts is equal to
thousands of dollars for
most programs.
What Does a 5% Increase Mean To You?
$1 Million
Industry Averages for
Matching Gifts in Phonathon
• Averages are affected by:
• 132 Institutions in FY13
Predominant employer in region
Types of degrees offered
Donor education
Student callers
Scripting and training
– $8.4 million matching pledged
– 9.8% of pledged dollars were
recorded as having a matching
gift opportunity.
– 55,698 total pledges were
recorded as having a matching
gift opportunity
– 7.4% of all pledges were
recorded as having a matching
gift opportunity.
Average Pledge Comparison
The Significance of Matching Dollars – FY13
Average pledge
increases by
$9.61 when
matching dollars
are included.
Avg. Specified Pledge
(no matching)
** Stats courtesy of RuffaloCODY
Avg. Total Pledge
(with matching)
Phonathon Matching Gift Percentage - Fiscal Year 2013
Public vs. Private Institutions- Higher Education
% of Specified Dollars Matched
Average Pledge With Matching
** Stats courtesy of RuffaloCODY on-campus phonathons
Matching Gifts by Program Size
Higher Education Institutions – FY13
Program Size By Completed Calls
Matching Pledge %
Matching Dollar %
** Stats courtesy of RuffaloCODY on-campus phonathons
The Corporate Perspective
What’s in it for them?
• Recruiting new employees
• Reinforces value of high quality
education with employees
• Helps local colleges and
universities; community
• Employee retention
• Shows corporate America in
positive light
• Tax and financial considerations
for business
What’s In It For the Prospect?
• Too much of a hassle
– Communicate the importance
– Explain this while the prospect is on the phone
• Fear reprisal for asking company to
– Economy, job loss makes people nervous about
taking advantage of benefit
• Not educated about process
– Doesn’t understand what matching benefit is and
how it works
• Believes institution will take care of it
– Callers need to explain what prospect’s
responsibility is in terms of sending it back
Train Callers to Understand the Process
• Callers should be able to fully explain the
steps to prospect
– General process
– College/University’s role in processing
– Credit recognized/given by school
• Devote a full page in your training manual to
matching gifts
– Cover how to distinguish company rules, including
minimum and maximum amounts, retiree or spouse
matches, match ratios, etc.
• Invite your matching gift administrator to talk
with your callers
– Helps show the seriousness of matching gifts
– Explaining internal process makes it clearer to student
Use a Consistent Pledge Close
• Teach callers to ask for
matching dollars on every gift
– Make no assumptions, even if
they have updated business
– Spouses can be a source of
matching gifts
– Use at proper time, consistently
in the closing process
Example of Pledge Close
Thank you very much for your commitment of $_____.
Will that be on your MasterCard, VISA, American Express, or Discover?
(Be very assumptive with this ask)
If they object to using credit card:
The reason we are asking all alumni to place their gift on a credit card this evening is that it saves the
University postage and administrative costs. That means giving on credit card actually makes your gift even
more valuable to the school. Can we put that on your MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover card
this evening?
(If No): We will send you a pledge card in the mail. Can you have that gift back within 30 days?
Is your mailing address still ________? (If no, capture new address)
Are you still employed at __________? (If no, or employer field is blank, capture employer)
Do you know if you or your spouse work for a company that would match your gift? I can look that up for
you since this can double or even triple the impact of your gift!
Be sure to explain the process to prospect.
Thank you again for your commitment of $_____. I enjoyed speaking with you and we appreciate your
Proper Scripting for Matching Gift Ask
• Do you or your spouse work for a matching gift company?
• Many companies match charitable contributions and I would like to
check to see if you (“or your spouse” when applicable) are eligible. May I
have the name of your employer?
Small changes in verbiage alter the meaning of the question and often lead to
confusion. Confusion and complexity are two big reasons why prospects
mistakenly tell callers their companies do not match!
Coaching Callers for Improved
Matching Gifts
• Listen specifically for
matching gift ask.
• Tape or record calls to
refine techniques.
• Listen to multiple
presentations to assure
consistency in delivery.
• Callers should be coached
nightly and documented
about once every 10
hours of calling.
Matching Gift Buck Slips
• Use in pledge
acknowledgements and
• Low cost and easy to include
• Flexible in design. Use color,
text, and size/shape to tailor
the piece to your needs
Matching Gift Buck Slips
E-Mail Reminders to Fulfill Matching Gifts
Thank you, John, for your commitment to the XYZ Fund!
Your gift will help current students – like the Phonathon caller you spoke with – archive their
academic and career goals. Ongoing private support from alumni and friends like you allows the XYZ Fund to continue offering an outstanding education and
student experience, as well as maintain its stature as a great public university.
Your pledge summary appears below.
Please make your gift online or by mail with the pledge card you will receive in the mail within the
next few days.
Remember to check with your human resources department and our online matching gift database to see if your employer matches gifts. Many employers
also match gifts made by spouses or retired employees. Your matching form can be mailed to the address below
Thank you, again, for your support if the XYZ Fund!
• Any e-mails sent to acknowledge, remind, or thank constituents for
pledges can (and should) easily include information on matching gifts.
• Links to online databases direct donors to your website and provide
the opportunity to verify their employer’s participation in matching
• Text or visual appearance can be easily altered for future adjustments
Verifying Employer Information
During The Call
• Phrase correctly for maximum
– Stated too bluntly and many
prospects refuse to update
• Use early in the call as part of
demographic update process
– Helps justify the reason for the
phone call
• Ask for job title along with company
– Phone number is bonus
“The University likes to hear
what alumni are doing with
their degrees….
Are you still working at…?
Would you mind sharing your
title and employer name?
Five Concrete Things You Can Do
1. Train your callers in the art of properly asking
for a matching gift and why it is important.
– Start early. This should be reinforced as a priority in
new-hire training.
– Conduct refresher trainings throughout the
– Hold student callers accountable for their matching
gift results (especially those that call your donors!).
Five Concrete Things You Can Do
2. Pre-Screen Your File to Determine who is
Matching Gift Eligible
– It is very likely that 10% of your file works for
employers who have matching gift programs. Find
out who they are!
– HEP’s Employer Find & Automatch
– Assign some of your best callers to call matching gift
eligible donors. The 2013 VSE study of 650 colleges
shows the average matching gift to be $865.00
Five Concrete Things You Can Do
3. Use follow-up materials to support the
information shared during the call.
– Include a buck slip in all pledge acknowledgement mailings and
– Deliver the actual matching gift form to the prospect whenever
– Include links to matching gift resources in all follow up emails.
– Consider a matching gift fulfillment effort at the year’s end for
those that haven’t fulfilled their matching commitment.
Five Concrete Things You Can Do
4. Keep an updated copy of matching gift forms and
– Pre-fill the forms with your information to make it easier
for the prospect.
– HEP can provide the list of matching gift forms in various
formats, like Excel.
– RuffaloCODY calling software merges with the HEP
database so the most current information is always
available to the student fundraisers.
Five Concrete Things You Can Do
5. Know the details of the matching gift programs
for all companies that participate,
– The RuffaloCODY CAMPUSCALL software merges with
the HEP database so the most current information is
always available to the student fundraisers.
– HEP’s Gift Plus
– E-Match Donor Link
– Dead Lines
What Does a 5% Increase Mean To You?
$1 Million
Feel free to contact me
with questions or requests.
Mike Brucek
Director of Services & Lead Consultant
Fundraising Management Division
(217) 512-9118
[email protected]