Employee Matching Gift Programs – What They Are and How They Work

How Your Nonprofit Can Benefit

Has your nonprofit looked at your most recent year’s annual report? If so, have you investigated where specifically the corporate giving dollars that your organization receives are actually coming from?

Each year, corporations donate about $15 billion to nonprofits across the United States, with much of that coming from matching gift programs. It’s a goal for many nonprofits to find ways to better

tap into corporate giving dollars.

We previously outlined 7 Types of Corporate Giving Programs, but now we’re going to dive deeper into employee matching gift programs, one of the primary forms of corporate giving.

What are Employee Matching Gift Programs?

Employee matching gift programs are corporate giving programs set up to allow employees to have a say in where the company allocates its corporate giving dollars.

The typical corporate matching gift is structured in a way that companies match donations made by their employees to eligible nonprofits. Most companies match at a 1:1 ratio, though some even triple or quadruple donations.

Typically companies with these programs match donations dollar for dollar — effectively doubling employee donations. It’s a win-win situation for everyone:

There are a variety of sample grant proposals, letters, and charts which nonprofits can use in their overall marketing materials. If you’re looking for additional matching gift marketing materials,

make sure to check out Double the Donation’s matching gift marketing resources.

Promoting matching gifts not only encourages an additional form of giving that’s often underused, but it also helps with donor retention and keeping donors coming back after the first gift.

These programs are one of the ways corporations empower employees to make an even greater impact at organizations which they’re passionate about. There’s no shortage of companies with strong matching gift programs so make sure your organization is tapping into this source of corporate giving.

How do Matching Gift Programs Work?

Using matching gift programs is actually fairly easy if donors know their company offers a matching gift program and if they know what to do. While the standard elements of matching gift forms may vary by company, the process for donors and nonprofits is normally very similar.

Donors / employees go through the following three-step process to submit matching gifts:

  1. Make a donation to a nonprofit of their choosing.
  2. Determine if their employer or their spouse’s employer offers a matching gift programs.
  3. Locate and submit the appropriate matching gift form.

From the nonprofit’s standpoint, there are also three steps:

  1. Communicate out matching gift information to donors.
  2. Receive the matching gift form which a donor fills out either using a paper form or electronically.
  3. Verify that the individual actually made the donation and submit the form back to the company.

How Nonprofits Can Benefit

Matching gifts represent a source of free money. Your organization is most likely already eligible for additional matching gifts due to the number of donors who work at companies with these programs, but don’t know how to submit these grant requests.

While it isn’t always easy to increase fundraising from employee giving programs, it’s definitely worth investing time into it. The actual matching gift donations from companies come with very few strings. If anything, they may require the funds go into your organization’s general fund, but that shouldn’t be a problem. Don’t let this source of funding go untapped.

Increasing Matching Gifts

For most types of fundraising, marketing is one of the most important things you can do. The same holds true for matching gifts. If you can get the word out to donors and ensure that your donors know how to actually submit the appropriate matching gift forms, you can raise more money.

Here are five great locations to promote matching gifts:

  1. On your “ways to give” page
  2. In thank you letters
  3. Across social media
  4. During the donation process
  5. In newsletter/blog articles

If you’re looking for additional suggestions, learn more about ways to improve fundraising from matching gift programs.

The bottom line is that for many organizations, matching gifts represent a significant source of fundraising, but there’s always room to improve. Spend a few minutes with your staff and evaluate your current matching gift efforts to find ways to improve fundraising from this source of corporate philanthropy.

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