Many large U.S. companies offer their employees a matching gift program which helps boost the impact of their employees’ charitable gifts. Double the Donation estimates that $2 to $3 billion is donated through matching gift programs every year. At the same time, between $4 and $7 billion in matching gift funds goes unclaimed annually. Is your not-for-profit doing everything it can to claim its share of this pool of corporate gifts?
Most matching programs are managed by HR departments, which provide employees with matching gift forms. Typically, the employer sends the completed forms, along with the matched donations, to the charity the employee has chosen. Dollar-for-dollar matching is most common among participating corporations, but some companies offer more, others less. Many employers match donations to any nonprofit, but some are more restrictive.
To encourage increased matching gifts to your organization, draw up a list of employers in your area that offer matching. Typically, you can find this information in annual reports, on company websites or by calling companies’ HR, PR or community relations departments. If the company operates a foundation, its matching program may run through that entity.
Once you have a comprehensive and accurate list, post it on your website’s donation page. Also, use the list to reach out to existing donors you know work for those companies. All of your nonprofit’s solicitations should encourage supporters to check with their employers about the availability of matching.
Making your own matches
If, despite your nonprofit’s best efforts, matching gifts only occasionally trickle in, consider creating your own matching pool. Ask board members and major supporters to match donations during a certain time period, for certain populations or for a minimum donation amount. For instance, your board might match all donations from new contributors in February or a major donor might commit to match gifts made at your annual gala.
Also keep in mind that some charitable foundations will match gifts to jump-start a fundraising effort or major campaign. Such an arrangement might be easier to set up than securing a large employer to donate to your organization.
Studies have found that people are more likely to donate — and donate larger amounts — to nonprofits if a matching gift is available. Make sure you have a plan to encourage this type of giving. Contact us if you would like to discuss further.