For nonprofit organizations, every dollar counts. Corporate employee matching gifts offer the opportunity to turn one dollar donated by a match-eligible employee into two, three, four, or even five dollars!
In this article, we’re going to explore exactly what to expect when working with matching gifts and how to make the most of this incredible fundraising opportunity.
What are corporate matching gift programs?
Employee matching gift programs are a type of corporate philanthropy set up to encourage employees to give back to their communities. These companies encourage community outreach by making donations to the same nonprofits that their employees have donated to.
These programs have become quite widespread, but many donors have not heard of them or aren’t aware of their own match-eligibility. $4-7 billion in matching gift revenue is left on the table each year, and we want to work with our donors to claim some of it.
The specifics of these programs vary from company to company, but the elements that shape these guidelines are always the same:
Match ratio: This defines what kind of donation the company will make in relation to the employee’s initial contribution. A 1:1 ratio indicates that the company will donate the exact same amount, doubling the contribution to the employee’s chosen nonprofit.
Minimum and maximum: The minimum refers to the amount an employee must donate to qualify for a matching gift. The maximum is the total amount that a company will donate in matching contributions per employee annually.
Employee status: Sometimes, the employee’s role at the company can affect the match that they qualify for. For example, Gap Inc. offers a $1,000 maximum to part-time employees and a $10,000 maximum to Senior VP’s.
Nonprofit eligibility: Some programs offer different matches based on the nonprofit being donated to. ExxonMobil offers a higher match for donations made to educational institutions than for donations made to cultural organizations.
Deadline: Every program identifies a deadline when the matching gift request must be submitted by the employee. This deadline can be either a firm date (December 31st is common) or a threshold based on the date of the initial donation (90 days after donation is made).
Thousands of companies offer matching gift programs. A few examples include:
Johnson & Johnson — Triples donations with a 2:1 match for current employees while also doubling donations (a 1:1 match) for retirees.
Bank of America — Matches donations 1:1 up to $5,000 annually per employee.
Home Depot — Matches donations 1:1 up to $3,000 annually per employee.
The impact of these programs can be substantial! Microsoft has been known to match over $48 million worth of employee donations to schools and 501(c)(3) nonprofits in a single year. Did you know that more than 18 million employees work for companies with matching gift programs? You might be one of them.
Want to help Project Augustine?
Increasing revenue with matching gifts isn’t too tricky, but we need our donors’ help. In the portion of 2020 we've held our 501(c)(3) status, we've received approximately $1,000 in matching gifts. We’ve set a goal of raising $20,000 from these matching programs in 2021. If we meet our goal, we’ll be able to better our food pantry program and establish a robust community garden and CSA program.
You can help us reach these goals by searching for your own match-eligibility. Immediately assess your eligibility and gain access to detailed information about your employer’s corporate giving program by searching our database of companies with matching gift programs: http://www.projectaugustine.org/matching-gifts
We’ll provide you with as much of the following as possible:
Up-to-date, company-specific program guidelines
Links to the online matching gift request forms or downloadable PDFs offered by your employer
Our contact information (Tax ID, address, fundraising contact), which you may need for your matching gift request
If your company isn’t listed, make sure to check with your company’s HR department. It’s possible that your employer offers matching gifts.
We wish we could submit the required form for you, but unfortunately the employee must submit the matching gift request to their employer directly. We appreciate you taking a few minutes to double your donation!