Corporate social responsibility is when a company takes action to do good in their community. In recent years corporate social responsibility has become an important part of employee retention programs. It has grown to be an important way to engage employees in the workplace. Many companies offer matching gifts and/or volunteer grant programs.
“That's something we've seen in recent years with kind of the great reshuffling and people moving jobs and kind of establishing themselves in their company is that it can be a really powerful employee retention strategy and employee engagement strategy.”
Want to learn more about matching gifts? Check out this in-depth blog!
Volunteer grants are when a company donates money to a nonprofit where their employee is volunteering. This encourages employees to be active in their communities. Often times these programs have a minimum amount of time volunteered before the company will offer a grant. Each company decides how they’d like to run their volunteer grant program, so there isn’t a set standard.
At the base level, a matching gift program is when a company matches the charitable giving of their employees. Employees are able to make a donation to their favorite nonprofit, and then the company matches the donation at a set ratio.
The company is going to say on top of that “Hey, we recognize that you're being philanthropic in your day to day life. We want to be philanthropic as a company, so we're going to go ahead and match this donation.”
Matching gifts are a great way for donors to stretch the impact of their donation and engage with both their employer and your nonprofit. Instead of reaching back into their own wallet, Donors are simply connecting where they are already giving to their day-to-day work. Matching gifts increase a donor’s own impact and are good for the nonprofit. They also keep employees more engaged with their company and help the company look good in the media. So, matching gifts are a win-win for everyone
Matching gift programs are not standard across the board. Because rules are set by each company, it is hard to know what a company’s guidelines are. This can be a major roadblock for many smaller nonprofits, but here are some general things to consider.
Usually, a company will set a minimum donation amount. If the gift falls below that amount, the company will not match it. Companies most commonly set the minimum donation at $25, but it can range from $1-100.
Maximum matching gifts have a much larger range. Many maximum limits fall between $1,000-$15,000. Although, there are plenty of matches that fall outside of that range.
Many companies offer a 1:1 for matching gifts. This means that for every dollar donated, the company will match that number exactly. You’ve doubled your donation! While this is the most common rate, it can vary from 0.5:1 all the way up to 5:1.
Rates can also be based on an employee’s employment status. A company may offer a higher ratio for a full-time employee, but they offer a lower one for those who are part-time or retired.
A fairly standard deadline for matching gifts is about a year after the donation was made. But again, that depends on each company. That means that often your donors can submit their receipt and still double their donation even months later.
Payment schedules are often set by the company or vendor that a company is using. It is very common for companies to set up a quarterly schedule, but this isn’t always the case. Some smaller companies manage their own matching gifts program, and the gift disbursement comes as soon as the matching gift request is approved. Other companies have a less formal process and let employees make the donation themselves with a company card.
Corporate Matching Gifts may sound complicated, but it doesn’t have to be!
Big nonprofits may have a person who focuses on corporate philanthropy, but that isn’t necessary. You can still take advantage of these programs!
It can be tricky to figure out what each company requires, but there are resources available to help. Double the Donation keeps track of all the different company guidelines, so you don't have to spend time researching on your own.
“We are constantly keeping [our database] updated. We have an entire dedicated database team to make sure that we have the most up to date information as it relates to minimums, maximums, deadlines, who to contact if something seems wrong, all of these kind of pieces to make sure that's applicable as possible throughout the year.”
If you’re part of a smaller nonprofit, registering with corporate responsibility vendors is a great first step. These vendors confirm that your nonprofit is a registered 501(c)(3) and have your address and EIN in order, so you are able to receive funds as soon as they start coming in.
These vendors include:
A big challenge to corporate matching gifts is donor awareness. While companies offer these programs to keep employees engaged, they often aren’t talked about outside of the HR office. It’s a matter of connecting donors to these programs. Donors are excited about matching gifts programs. It’s motivating to know that your $50 donation can be turned into $100!
“It's really just a matter of connecting the donor to their best next steps...What we are hoping to do at Double the Donation is to really make it as easy as possible for a donor: 1) to be aware of a matching gift program and know their eligibility, and then 2) be able to take those next steps and actually facilitate getting a matching gift request submitted.”
Raising awareness can be as simple as a tagline in your emails that asks donors to see if their gift can be matched. You can also set up an email campaign so that you are following up in a timely manner after a donor gives a donation.
“I think something that is another great tip for someone who's looking to get started with matching gift programs in general is just to start asking donors where they work. It can be an optional field...built in directly to your donation form.”
It’s really a matter of asking your donors where they work. You might not be ready to follow up on matching gifts right now. But you can gather the data now so that you’re ready in the future!
When you’re ready use that information to reach back out to your donors and further build that relationship. Thank them for their donation. Tell them the impact. Then thank them for telling you where they work and let them know about available matching gifts programs. Ask them to take the next steps to get that donation matched.
Set up an automatic confirmation page or email that offers this information right after a donation is received.
Go back and check on donations that were made throughout the year. Typically, deadlines for matching gift programs are timed around a calendar year. There's a good chance that a lot of your donations are still eligible for a matching gift. Let the donor know that it's as simple as them finding their receipt in their email and submitting that matching gift request. It's another great way to reach back out to donors who you may have been looking for the right messaging when it's not quite time to ask for a donation again.
“And we see that once donors make that matching gift request, they're more inclined to make it a second time. So once you've introduced that process and shown how easy it really can be, once you've connected those dots, you're able to facilitate further double donations down the line.”
The Double the Donation blog and resource page has a lot of great information about starting a matching gift program. They have information from the basics to getting really specific on how to build corporate sponsorships out of a successful matching gift program. Whether you are just getting started or pretty advanced, they have a lot of great information!
Matching gifts are a great way for companies to join in philanthropy and encourage their employees to do the same. By offering matching gifts and volunteer grant programs, companies increase employee engagement and make a positive impact in their communities.
For nonprofits, matching gifts increase donations and help grow their mission. While there are no universal standards for these programs, resources like Double the Donation can help nonprofits stay up to date on each company’s guidelines. With increased awareness of matching gifts, both companies and nonprofits can benefit from these win-win programs.
Double the Donation helps nonprofits and schools find companies that will match the donations they receive and provide grants for volunteer work. Over 10 years ago, their founder learned too late that his own donations could have been matched by his employer, so he started Double the Donation. Through 360 MatchPro nonprofits automatically connect donors to their employer’s matching gifts and volunteer grant programs.