Match Loss
Creative messaging and visual feedback that motivates employees to take advantage of available workplace matching funds.
Donor Journey
Inspiration
Becoming motivated to engage wih a cause
Donor Outcome
Generosity
Increasing how much is given
Creative messaging and visual feedback that motivates employees to take advantage of available workplace matching funds.
Donor Journey
Inspiration
Becoming motivated to engage wih a cause
Donor Outcome
Generosity
Increasing how much is given
Challenge

Workplace giving programs often offer employer matches for donations up to a maximum amount. The programs are increasingly popular as vehicles for employee engagement, with 65% of Fortune 500 companies offering donation matches. Studies have shown that people are more likely to donate to a cause when a match will make that gift feel more impactful.

However, the median participation rate for matching gift programs is less than 10%, and more than two thirds of those who participate do not utilize their full available match. This means that an estimated $6 billion dollars in potential matching funds goes unclaimed by employees each year. How could we raise the salience of these programs for employees to increase their use?

Research
A natural field experiment using direct mail solicitations showed that a matching grant increased the participation rate and average donation amount, regardless of the ratio of the match.
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Solution
Research has demonstrated that people feel losses more acutely than gain—a pattern known as loss aversion. Furthermore, there is evidence that merely reframing a decision in terms of potential loss rather than gain can affect decision-making, even for people who are aware of this effect. Using loss-framing messaging in workplace matches might help increase the participation rate by describing the match as a benefit that would be lost rather than an available reward.
Research
A natural field experiment involving registration for an economics conference found evidence of a framing effect among junior economists.
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Design

Loss-framing messaging could be implemented as a simple email or incorporated into a donor’s profile page on a workplace platform. In either format, the key insight is to frame the total available match as an expiring benefit that will be lost if not used by the end of the year. We advocate displaying the messaging in both text and graphical format, and pairing the messaging with direct donation links to either recommended or favorite charities. The combination of loss-framing messaging and a clear call to action that removes frictions would maximize the likelihood of donation from engaged employees.

While we believe a loss-framing approach to workplace match programs would potentially improve conversion throughout the year, it would be most crucial around December, when 30% of all US donations are made and donors are primed for giving.

Research
A field experiment designed to test messaging around workplace new-hire credits found that framing the credit as an expiring benefit led to a 9% increase in conversion.
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Creative Commons License
Match Loss by Better Giving Studio is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.BetterGivingStudio.com/product-idea/match-loss/.
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