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At DonorSearch, we take our technical integration partners very seriously. We knew that we wanted to include a matching gift database in our platform, but we also knew that we had to be absolutely sure that we chose the right provider before creating an integration. Like every other product decision we’ve made, we wanted to invest time and energy into this process so that we could rest assured knowing we had chosen the best option for our 1,000+ clients plus other integration partners. Because most of the matching gift database providers offer part or all of their services online, we first compared the capabilities of the public resources, and then reached out to our favorite to learn more about their product and determine if they would be right for us. In the end, we decided that Double the Donation would be the best provider to meet our needs. To learn more about the qualities we evaluated during our decision, as well as what Double the Donation is and why we picked their database, read on!

What features did we consider when choosing the right matching gift database?

What features did we consider?

When deciding between the different matching gift databases, we took into account different attributes that would influence the conversion rate of donors. This included comprehensiveness of the database, how up-to-date the database was, how many forms the database included, what the search functionality was, and how easy it was to use the data.

Comprehensiveness.

One of the most important qualities of a matching gift database is its overall comprehensiveness. How many entries does a database have? There are three types of entries that a database must have:
  • Parent companies.
  • Subsidiaries.
  • Alternate spellings of companies and brands.
Subsidiaries and alternate spellings are important when considering how donors will interact with a search tool. Consider, for example, someone who works for Disney World. They need to be able to find their company’s matching gift policy no matter if they search for:
  • Disney World.
  • Walt Disney World.
  • The Walt Disney Corporation.
  • The Walt Disney World Resort.
If a donor can’t find their company, then the database has failed to do its job. We wanted to pick the database that would allow that to happen as infrequently as possible.

Currency and relevancy.

A database can’t just include companies and their matching gift programs: it has to be reflective of the companies’ most current policies. When we were choosing a matching gift database, we took into consideration which databases were most frequently updated. We took a handful of companies with generous matching gift programs and evaluated which had the most up-to-date forms, links, and contact information for matching gift programs. Matching gift databases use some of the following strategies to ensure that their information is up-to-date:
  • Autoscanning their database for dead links and invalid email addresses.
  • Testing email addresses and phone numbers.
  • Offering avenues for employers and employees to submit updates
It was important to us that the matching gift database that we chose used a variety of strategies to ensure that their database remains up-to-date and useful.

Number of forms.

In addition to being up-to-date, we evaluated how many individual forms the database had. When a database is able to direct a donor immediately to their form, the donor is more likely to submit their matching gift request! To determine which database included the most actionable information, we created the following procedure:
  1. Choose a sample of companies that represent the most matching gift dollars.
  2. Searched for each companies’ forms on different databases.
  3. Compared results for both number of forms as well as how recent the forms were.
This strategy allowed us to see how many forms a database included, as well as gave us another metric to evaluate how up-to-date a database was.

Search Functionality.

The search functionality of a database was important to us. There are two common types of search functionality among the different matching gift databases:
  1. One way is a three-step process. The donor types in the name of their company and hits enter. The database brings up a list of companies, subsidiaries, and alternate spellings. The donor then chooses an entry from the provided list and is taken to the relevant information.
  2. The second way is a two-step process. The donor types in the name of the company, and as they do so the database makes suggestions in real-time. The donor chooses the company from the suggested entries and they are taken to the relevant information.
We were more interested in a database that could provide the second search functionality, because it increases the percentage of donors able to find their company, as well as decreases the need for duplicate entries within the database.

Ease of Use for Data.

Finally, we evaluated the databases for ease of use. It’s important to us that the data is as understandable and actionable as possible, so we considered how the data is presented when deciding between databases. Some databases included information that would be valuable for nonprofit development officers or staffers conducting donor research as well as donors in their entries. While this information is valuable to some, it wasn’t to us. Because our matching gift database would be donor-facing, we prioritized a database that was designed to be donor-facing as well.

We chose Double the Donation to provide our matching gift database, but what is it?

What is Double the Donation?

The matching gift database that we chose, Double the Donation, was founded in 2010 for the express purpose of helping nonprofits maximize the amount of matching gift donations they were able to receive. They provide matching gift services for nonprofits of all sizes and missions, so we felt comfortable trusting them with the needs of our suite of clients and partners. Next, we’ll discuss what about Double the Donation convinced us that they were the right matching gift database provider to partner with.

Why did we choose Double the Donation as our matching gifts provider?

Why did we choose Double the Donation?

During our original investigation into the strengths and weaknesses of each matching gift provider, we were impressed with Double the Donation’s functionality and consistent high quality of data. We don’t take product purchases lightly—it was important to us that we choose the matching gift database that will support DonorSearch’s services to the highest degree. Double the Donation had the highest number of forms, as well as the most up-to-date information. It was also one of the most comprehensive databases, with over 20,000 entries spanning over 99% of available matching gift policies. We also liked that it used the two-step search functionality and offered results in a user-friendly, donor-facing interface. But before we decided to partner with Double the Donation, we knew that we had to talk directly to the team to ensure that the technical aspects of the database would be compatible with our own software. What specific technical characteristics did we need to know?
  • What APIs and partner integration capabilities would look like. An API, or application programming interface, is a building block that programmers use to build software that can integrate with other programs. Because of our dedication to our previous integrations, we needed to be sure that Double the Donation would integrate with our other partners.
  • How API calls were done. Any time a user calls a server while using an API, it counts as an API call. Whenever we invest in a new product, we need to ensure that the calling conventions of each partner or product can coordinate.
  • What reliability metrics were available. Reliability is one of the most important characteristics to consider when purchasing a new product. We needed to be sure that Double the Donation’s database would be trustworthy and reliable before we integrated it into our program.  
  • How Double the Donation would ensure system uptime. Uptime is a measure of reliability: it’s the opposite of downtime, and is measured by how long a system can run unattended without crashing or needing to be rebooted for updates. A program that needs to be constantly rebooted is not a reliable system. We needed to be sure that Double the Donation could guarantee uptime so that the database would be functional when our clients and partners needed it.
After doing research on our own and then several long conversations between our tech team here and the tech team at Double the Donation, we were convinced. We agreed on an integration and the rest, as they say, is history.
Double the Donation is one of our most valued partnerships, and thanks to them, more and more nonprofits are able to strengthen their matching gift strategies. For more information on our most trusted tools, as well as other interesting strategies, check out these additional resources:
Why We Chose Double the Donation’s Matching Gift Database