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.
- Alternate spellings of companies and brands.
- Disney World.
- Walt Disney World.
- The Walt Disney Corporation.
- The Walt Disney World Resort.
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
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:
- Choose a sample of companies that represent the most matching gift dollars.
- Searched for each companies’ forms on different databases.
- Compared results for both number of forms as well as how recent the forms were.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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?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.
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:
- 14 Online Giving Tools to Supercharge Your Fundraising. Strengthen your online fundraising strategy by checking out our favorite online tools for nonprofits.
- Top 10 Volunteer Grant Companies. You know about matching gifts, but is your nonprofit leveraging volunteer grants? Learn more about this corporate philanthropy goldmine with this guide from Double the Donation.
- 7 Healthcare Philanthropy Tips to Ensure Ethical Fundraising. Level up your fundraising strategy as well as keep your team on track with our 7 best tips for fundraising for healthcare-related missions.