Charity Navigator reports that corporate giving programs account for approximately $4.8 billion in employee donations each year. When employees donate money, services, or products to nonprofits, corporations either match or support these donations, and commonly do so monetarily. Companies also match through time, expertise, equipment, and other means. That $4.8 billion is expected to grow in the coming years, as more companies recognize the value that workplace giving programs have on employee engagement.
Does your company donate to nonprofit organizations?
At Double the Donation, we’re constantly asked that question. The simple answer is that most companies, big or small, maintain a budget for charitable giving to nonprofits.
Giving may be conducted in many ways:
- Matching employee donations
- Community grants
- Individual volunteer grants
- Volunteer support / team volunteer grants
- Annual giving campaigns
- Matching gifts for fundraising events
Many companies claim to donate to nonprofits, but which do the best job of supporting these organizations?
Corporate Giving Programs that Support Nonprofit Organizations
One of the most common methods for companies to donate to nonprofit organizations is through employee matching gift programs. These are charitable donation programs through which companies match donations made by employees to nonprofits. It varies by company, but matching donations can double, triple, and even quadruple employee donations.
With 65% of Fortune 500 companies, as well as many smaller companies, offering these programs, matching gifts represent an important source of funding for nonprofits. Unfortunately, employee awareness of matching gifts is low at many companies, so make sure to research programs for major employers in your city.
Double the Donation’s service is based around helping nonprofits to raise money from the multitude of companies that provide these programs.
Bank of America
Bank of America is one of many financial services companies that matches employee donations to nonprofits. Every Bank of America employee is eligible to request up to $5,000 per year in matching gift funds to nearly any organization.
One of the nicer features of Bank of America’s matching gift program is that the company will match donations made to nonprofit organizations up until March 15th of the following year. That means Bank of America has plenty of time to make a last minute end of year appeal or start of year appeal to remind its donor base to submit match requests.
As you’d expect from a company whose slogan is “Don’t be Evil”, Google is very generous with its nonprofit donation programs, and its matching gift program is no exception. Google matches up to $12,000 in donations per employee each year.
One of the highlights of Google’s match program is that the company not only matches personal donations to nonprofit organizations, but also matches funds employees personally raise for charitable events that they actively participate in (ex. walks, marathons, bike rides, etc.).
Did you know GE was the first company to institute a matching gift program for employees? Since 1954, GE has been known as one of the top companies that donates to nonprofits.
While GE initially only matched employee donations to colleges and universities, the company has expanded its match program to include nearly all nonprofits.
Most large companies are eager to positively impact their communities and provide support to nonprofit organizations through community grant programs. Typically, these grants are restricted to organizations located in regions where the company has a physical presence. It’s a way for companies to support their locales by giving back to nonprofits that work to improve the lives of employees, customers, and entire communities.
Unlike matching gift programs, where employees initiate the grant requests, nonprofits must individually research and apply for community grants. This often involves applying electronically through a company grant-making portal where the nonprofit outlines how the funds will benefit the community.
Walmart’s community grant program begins on Feb. 1 and applications must be submitted by Dec. 31. Grant awards range from $250 – $2,500. Walmart has specific guidelines for both how to submit as well as for determining eligible and exempt organizations.
In 2013, Walmart donated $1.3 billion dollars worldwide (a number that includes but is not limited to community grants). This topped 2012’s giving total by $244 million.
Walmart also offers a volunteer grant program, where a minimum of 25 hours can earn a $250 donation to a nonprofit and a maximum of 50 hours can earn $500.
In 2013 the company launched the Amazon Smile program where when you or your nonprofit’s donors shop, Amazon gives. Through this program Amazon donates .5% of an individual’s total purchase to a charity of their choosing.
If your nonprofit has a website or newsletter, encourage all of your donors or supporters to designate your nonprofit as their preferred charity. While a single individual’s purchases may not amount to a huge sum, when you add up the donations that your nonprofit can receive from everyday purchases your supporters are already making with Amazon the amounts can quickly add up.
The Coca-Cola Company
Coca-Cola provides community grants year-round and sets no dollar limitations. The community grant program is run through The Coca-Cola Foundation, and it’s a common practice for companies to operate charitable efforts through such separate but affiliated entities.
In 2012, Coke donated $25 million to local community initiatives. Their focuses include healthy living, water stewardship, education, recycling, and disaster relief.
In terms of matching gifts, Coca-Cola offers 2:1 matching donations on gifts ranging from $25 to $20,000.
State Farm’s charitable efforts focus on safety and education. They have grant partnerships with groups such as Habitat for Humanity, Youth Services America, and Teach for America. Community grant requests generally run from the beginning of September until the end of October.
State Farm’s giving extends to both matching gift and volunteer grant programs. A single volunteer can earn $500 for a nonprofit by working the minimum 40 hours, and employee donations between $25 and $3,000 will be matched at a 1:1 ratio.
NOTE: Don’t forget to grab our free Five Day Matching Gift Email Course at the end of this post.
Another common way that companies donate to nonprofits is through volunteer grant programs. These are corporate giving programs through which grants are given to nonprofits to recognize their employees’ community service. ‘Dollars for Doers’ programs can be a great source of incremental fundraising for nonprofits, such as Big Brother / Big Sister organizations, Girl Scout or Boy Scout Councils, or any other group with a large number of volunteers. Volunteer grants are earned by meeting certain time criteria, such as 10 hours of volunteer work to earn a monetary contribution.
Whether your organization has many or few regular volunteers, you want to promote volunteer grants. Companies provide an incentive for employees to volunteer by offering grants to the nonprofits that employees devote their time to. Volunteer grant programs are not as prevalent as employee matching gift programs, but over 40% of Fortune 500 companies, and many smaller companies, offer some sort of volunteer grant program. While most organizations receive substantially more funding from employee matching gift programs, volunteer grants can still be a valuable source of funding for nonprofits.
The Walt Disney Corporation
Disney VoluntEARS encourages employees to volunteer in their communities and rewards these efforts with grants of up to $1,000 to the eligible nonprofit of their choice. The grant amount varies according to total time volunteered:
- 10-24 hours = $100
- 25-49 hours = $250
- 50-74 hours = $500
- 75+ hours = $1,000
Disney also offers $2,500 grants through their ‘VoluntEARS of the Year’ awards, which recognize exceptional individual volunteers.
Like most major oil and gas companies, Chevron provides millions of dollars through its employee giving programs.
Through Chevron’s Grants for Good Volunteer Grant Program, the company provides funding to nonprofits where employees and retirees volunteer on a regular basis. There are two tiers for individuals who volunteer regularly:
- 20 volunteer hours = $500 grants
- 40 volunteer hours = $1,000 grants
And don’t forget about Chevron’s matching gift program!
Not only is Starbucks well known for its conservation and environmental efforts, but it also offers multiple ways for employees to designate donations to nonprofits of their choosing. One such way is through its Partner Match Program for US and Canadian employees. Like Disney and Chevron, Starbucks has multiple tiers of volunteer grants:
- 25-49 volunteer hours = $250
- 50-74 volunteer hours = $500
- 75-100 volunteer hours = $750
- 100+ volunteer hours = $1,000
Team building and community service are at the heart of team volunteer grants. When groups of employees volunteer together they can earn significant amounts for their respective nonprofits. This is a great way for companies to get their employees involved in their communities while providing both hands-on and monetary support.
Reach out to your donors who work at companies that offer team volunteer grants in order to see if these people are interested in organizing an employee volunteer outing. This can both expand the number of individuals engaged with your organization and provide grants to support your organization’s mission.
Best Buy’s employees are some of the most active volunteers in the country. In the 2013 fiscal year, 10,000 employees volunteered for over 100,000 hours, which resulted in about $2.5 million dollars being donated to nonprofits through the company’s volunteer grant programs. Groups of Best Buy employees who volunteer together can earn grants for the respective nonprofit.
When groups of two or more Best Buy Mobile employees collectively provide volunteer services to a nonprofit organization, they can earn up to $500 annually for a nonprofit. When groups of five or more employees at all other Best Buy locations volunteer together, they can earn $1,000 awards for the nonprofit.
As one of the largest employers in the country, it isn’t surprising that the company is one of the largest corporate contributors to nonprofits. Since 2000, Verizon has provided grants to over 54,000 nonprofits. Additionally, Verizon employees have volunteered over 6.8 million hours.
A unique aspect of Verizon’s corporate giving program is its team fundraising match for employees who collectively participate in an organized fundraising event. The Team Fundraising Program is open to teams of ten or more Verizon employees who participate in cause-related walk, run, or bike events. Verizon will match up to $1,000 in funds raised per team member and up to $10,000 per team event.
All of this is on top of Verizon’s regular volunteer grant and matching gift programs.
A minimum of five employees from one Kohl’s location must volunteer for no less than three consecutive hours in a single day to receive a $500 Associates in Action grant. The program stresses helping youth ages birth to 18.
Since the inception of Kohl’s team volunteer grant program in 2001, they’ve donated $79 million thanks to 834,000 associate volunteers.
While many companies recognize that employee engagement is positively impacted by offering year-round workplace giving, there are still companies that focus a significant portion of their charitable efforts on a seasonal annual giving campaign. Typically, these campaigns occur from October to November and represent an annual opportunity for your nonprofit to engage employees at these companies.
During Teradata’s open enrollment period for benefits, the company promotes Teradata’s Annual Employee Giving Campaign. During this campaign, the company encourages employees to give back to nonprofit organizations of their choosing. The company will setup reoccurring payroll deductions and match employee donations, but only during this specific period of time.
It’s important to note that, while most companies with matching gift programs match donations made by employees at any time, it’s fairly common to see companies only offer to setup charitable payroll deductions during a set time of the year.
Microsoft facilitates year-round employee philanthropy, but they make an annual push in the month of October. Each year, October gets filled with more than 300 charitable activities, including a 5k and an online auction. Even when companies donate year-round, they might follow Microsoft’s example and select a period of time to make a substantial philanthropic push. Be aware of when major companies make their charitable pushes, as your nonprofit stands to benefit.
Furthermore, Microsoft is well known within the corporate giving world for having some of the most generous employee grant programs. In fact, over the years, Microsoft has donated more than $1 billion through its employee donation programs. Microsoft’s grant of $25 per hour exceeds the average volunteer grant of $8-$15 per hour. All employees are eligible for both the volunteer grant as well as the matching gift program.
At Liberty Global, if an employee goes out and raises money from friends and family for a fundraising event, such as a walk, run, or bike ride, the company will match the donation dollar for dollar through its IN Givers program. In 2013, IN Givers matched $138,000 worth of employee fundraising dollars.
Liberty Global’s major IN Giving campaign is employee fundraising for the Movember Foundation. Over 400 employees gave chair massages, hosted bake sales, organized sports tournaments, and raised $75,000 in a variety of creative ways for this month-long campaign that supports men’s health research. Liberty Global matched the donation to total a gift of $150,000.
The company also offers both matching gift and volunteer grant options as part of the IN Givers program.
Similar to matching gifts, companies allow employees to raise money from friends and family for walks, runs, bike rides, and similar charitable events. The money is then matched by the employer.
Boeing offers a comprehensive giving program that includes matching gifts from fundraising walks. Highlights of Boeing’s corporate giving program include:
- $100 grants per fundraising walk, run, etc.
- $250 grants for every 25 hours volunteered
- Up to 6K in matching funds annually
State Street Corporation
CollectMore is State Street’s matching gift program for fundraising. Through CollectMore, State Street will match their employees’ fulfilled pledges up to $5,000 annually.
CollectMore is part of a three-pronged program for financial giving, which also includes GiveMore, their matching gift program, and DoMore, their volunteer grant program. State Street is focused on philanthropy on a global level, as evidenced by their popular Global Giving campaign.
British Petroleum (BP)
By revenue, BP, a London-based oil and gas company, is the fifth largest company in the world, and they share their wealth accordingly. BP will match donations raised through fundraising up to $5,000 per employee per year. Their matching gift program and volunteer grant maximums are also $5,000.