Employee Matching Gift Programs – An Untapped Source of Fundraising

Did you know that thousands of companies offer employee matching gift programs? In fact, over 65% of Fortune 500 companies offer matching gift programs to their employees!

What are employee matching gift programs?

Corporate matching gift programs are charitable giving programs created by corporations in which the company matches donations made by employees to eligible nonprofit organizations.

They started in 1954 when the GE Foundation created the Corporate Alumni Program, the first corporate gift-matching program. At the time, GE only matched to educational institutions, but today, the GE Foundation matches over $35 million annually to all 501(c)(3) organizations and accredited educational institutions (including K-12). (Source: GE’s Employee Giving Program)

Who offers the best matching gift programs?

All corporations which offer employee matching gift programs should be recognized for giving back to organizations which their employees are passionate about. That being said, a few companies stand out for offering generous limits, high matching ratios, easy to use online submission forms, and unique benefits. A few examples include:

  • Johnson & Johnson offers a 2:1 match for current employees and a 1:1 match for retirees.
  • Soros Management Fund offers a 3:1 matching ratio up to $300,000 annually per employee.
  • British Petroleum offers a 100% match on all funds raised by employees for nonprofit walks, runs, etc.
  • Microsoft donated $48 million in 2011 through the company’s matching gift program.

Click here for a list of additional companies that offer employee matching gift programs.

How can my organization increase fundraising from employee matching gift programs?

Taking advantage of existing employee matching gift programs is straightforward. It involves two steps: Raising awareness, and making it easy for donors.

Raising Awareness

Unfortunately, most individuals who aren’t involved in the nonprofit sector have either never heard of matching gift programs or have no idea whether their company offers the program. In these cases, the odds are slim that an employee will submit a matching gift form to their employer. Nonprofits should raise awareness by:

  • Explaining matching gift programs
  • Sharing how the organization can benefit from this untapped source of money
  • Providing donors with a list of companies that offer these programs

Raising awareness can be summed up by figuring out how to get donors to ask themselves, “Is there a chance my donation could be matched by my or my spouse’s company?”

Making It Easy

At the most basic level, nonprofits should ask donors to check with HR. If you really want to see an increase in matching gift donations, invest time to research employers who offer matching gift programs. Nonprofits should prevent donors and volunteers from getting hung up looking for information. Provide them with as much of the following as possible:

  • Up-to-date company policies
  • Printed forms or links to the online submission process
  • Contact information for the nonprofit’s. For example, the tax ID number, address, and a fundraising contact

Making it easy is all about helping donors complete the matching gift request, which can be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars per an additional donation. Reducing the burden on donors is one of the most effective ways to increase donations from these sources.

Employees / donors clearly want to help. They’re already passionate enough about your organization to donate out of pocket, so make it easy for them to submit matching gift requests and your nonprofit will see an increase in corporate donations.

Readers: What have you done to tap into funding from employee matching gift programs?

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