How does the matching gift search process work with the auto-complete?

This article explains the auto-complete approach Double the Donation took when designing the matching gift search tool.

There are two approaches to designing a matching gift search tool:


Option #1:

Have a three-step process where:

  1. An individual types in a company name
  2. A list of all parent companies, brands, subsidiaries, and alternate spelling variations is retrieved (all of which lead to the same company result)
  3. The individual selects one to view more detailed results

Option #2: 

A two-step process with smart autocomplete where:

  • An autocomplete searches through parent companies, subsidiaries, brands, and spelling variations when an individual starts typing in their company name
  • The individual selects a single entry

Initially Double the Donation used Option #1 but has moved to Option #2 because of the more accurate and user-friendly results approach #2 provides.


For example, the first method requires a database to include every possible variation of a company name in hopes of minimizing the number of times a donor works at a matching gift company but can't find their employer because they typed in a different spelling variation. 


Let's picture the scenario where someone works for "Home Depot Corporate":


In search approach #1: If the database of matching gift companies doesn't specifically include the words "Home Depot Corporate" then the user will get a "No Results Found" message and the nonprofit will miss out on donations.


In search approach #2: The user will start typing H..O...M...E... ...D...E... and then they're going to be presented with the "The Home Depot" entry and select that result.


Over the years we found that the autocomplete based on parent companies, subsidiaries, and spelling variations is essential to ensuring donors find their employer.


The other option is for a matching gift database to consist of a ton of spelling variations in hopes of minimizing the percentage of times donors are match-eligible but don't find their company. This ultimately confuses donors as they're presented with 5, 10, or 100 results all leading to the same company's matching gift program.


After thorough testing, we switched our search from Option #1 to Option #2 to maximize the revenue that nonprofits see from incorporating our matching gift tools across their fundraising.