Using Phonathon to Positively Influence Matching Gift Programs
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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?.

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Mike brucek director of services lead consultant fundraising management division

Using Phonathon to Positively Influence Matching Gift ProgramsTips and Strategies for Increasing Results

Mike Brucek

Director of Services & Lead Consultant

Fundraising Management Division

Would you turn down free money
Would You Turn Down Free Money? Programs

  • Failure to maximize matching gift potential is leaving money on the table

  • Callers, management, and administrative personnel all influence results

  • Just a 1% increase in matching gifts is equal to thousands of dollars for most programs.

Industry averages for matching gifts in phonathon
Industry Averages for ProgramsMatching Gifts in Phonathon

  • 132 Institutions in FY13

    • $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.

  • Averages are affected by:

    • Institution

    • Predominant employer in region

    • Types of degrees offered

    • Donor education

    • Student callers

    • Scripting and training

Average pledge comparison the significance of matching dollars fy13
Average Pledge Comparison ProgramsThe Significance of Matching Dollars – FY13

Average pledge increases by $9.61 when matching dollars are included.

** Stats courtesy of RuffaloCODY

Phonathon matching gift percentage fiscal year 2013 public vs private institutions higher education
Phonathon Matching Gift Percentage - Fiscal Year 2013 ProgramsPublic vs. Private Institutions- Higher Education

** Stats courtesy of RuffaloCODY on-campus phonathons

Matching gifts by program size higher education institutions fy13
Matching Gifts by Program Size ProgramsHigher Education Institutions – FY13

** Stats courtesy of RuffaloCODY on-campus phonathons

The corporate perspective what s in it for them
The Corporate Perspective ProgramsWhat’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
What’s In It For the Prospect? Programs

  • Too much of a hassle

    • Communicate the importance

    • Explain this while the prospect is on the phone

  • Fear reprisal for asking company to contribute

    • 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
Train Callers to Understand the Process Programs

  • 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
Use a Consistent Pledge Close Programs

  • Teach callers to ask for matching dollars on every gift

    • Make no assumptions, even if they have updated business info

    • Spouses can be a source of matching gifts

    • Use at proper time, consistently in the closing process

Example of pledge close
Example of Pledge Close Programs


  • 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 support!

Proper scripting for matching gift ask
Proper Scripting for Matching Gift Ask Programs


  • 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
Coaching Callers for Improved ProgramsMatching 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
Matching Gift Buck Slips Programs

  • Use in pledge acknowledgements and reminders

  • Low cost and easy to include

  • Flexible in design. Use color, text, and size/shape to tailor the piece to your needs

E mail reminders to fulfill matching gifts
E-Mail Reminders to Fulfill Matching Gifts Programs

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 gifts.

  • Text or visual appearance can be easily altered for future adjustments

Verifying employer information during the call
Verifying Employer Information During The Call Programs

  • Phrase correctly for maximum effectiveness

    • 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 name

    • 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
Five Concrete Things You Can Do Programs

  • 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 semester.

    • Hold student callers accountable for their matching gift results (especially those that call your donors!).

Five concrete things you can do1
Five Concrete Things You Can Do Programs

  • 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 do2
Five Concrete Things You Can Do Programs

  • Use follow-up materials to support the information shared during the call.

    • Include a buck slip in all pledge acknowledgement mailings and receipts.

    • Deliver the actual matching gift form to the prospect whenever possible.

    • 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 do3
Five Concrete Things You Can Do Programs

  • Keep an updated copy of matching gift forms and links

    • Pre-fill the forms with your information to make it easier for the prospect.

    • HEPcan 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 do4
Five Concrete Things You Can Do Programs

  • 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

Questions? Programs

Feel free to contact me

with questions or requests.

Mike Brucek


Director of Services & Lead Consultant

Fundraising Management Division

(217) 512-9118