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Atlanta Matching Gifts

7 Major Atlanta Companies with Matching Gift Programs

While Double the Donation works with nonprofit clients across the country, the fact that we’re headquartered in Atlanta means we have a special place in our hearts for Atlanta organizations.

We’re fortunate to work with many of the leading nonprofits in Atlanta to help them raise more money from employee matching gift and volunteer grant programs. For instance, the Georgia Aquarium, Georgia Conservancy, High Museum of Art, Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Piedmont Healthcare, Atlanta Jewish Federation,  and many others all utilize Double the Donation’s service to raise more money from employee giving programs.

Statistics on Atlanta Matching Gift Companies

From a nonprofit’s standpoint, being located in a city like Atlanta is ideal for raising money from employee matching gift and volunteer grant programs. The city is home to many of the largest employers in the world, some of whom offer employee matching gift and volunteer grant programs. Here are a few statistics on Atlanta based companies and their employee giving programs which may interest you:

  • Atlanta ranks fourth, just behind New York City, Houston, and Dallas in the number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered within city boundaries.
  • Six Fortune 100 companies call Atlanta home. This includes Coca-Cola, Home Depot, United Parcel Service (UPS), Delta Air Lines, AT&T Mobility, and Newell Rubbermaid.
  • 75% of Fortune 1000 companies have employees in the Atlanta market.
  • 65% of Fortune 500 companies match donations made by their employees.
  • 40% of Fortune 500 companies offer volunteer grants for employees

Click here for more statistics on employee matching gift and volunteer grant programs.

Companies in Atlanta, GA with Matching Gift Programs

With over 75% of the Fortune 1000 companies, many of whom match employee donations, having a presence in Atlanta, there’s probably room for your nonprofit to increase fundraising from employee matching gift and volunteer grant programs. A great place to start is by looking at the largest companies based in Atlanta.

Let’s take a look at a few of the employee giving programs at some of Atlanta’s leading employers.

Coca-Cola Matching Gift LogoCoca-Cola

Coca-Cola offers a very generous employee giving program. The company offers a 2:1 match which means all employee donations are effectively tripled. Coke applies few restrictions on their matching gift program and is willing to match donations to nearly all nonprofits.

Another aspect of Coca-Cola’s program worth mentioning is that the company does a great job of promoting the programs to Coke employees. You can read more about this in one of our previous articles which covers employee matching gift participation rates at various companies across the nation.

Click here for additional details on Coke’s matching gift program.

Home Depot Matching Gift ProgramHome Depot

As one of the iconic companies based in Atlanta, Home Depot is also a generous supporter of nonprofits in the city. Similar to Coke, the company applies few restrictions on their employee matching gift program and matches donations dollar for dollar.

The company has an easy to use electronic matching gift submission process which means your donors can submit matching gift requests in a matter of minutes. If you’re interested in learning more about the typical process a donor goes through to submit a matching gift request electronically, click here to view screenshots of Home Depot’s electronic submission process.

Click here for additional details on Home Depot’s matching gift program.

IBM Matching Gift and Volunteer Grant ProgramIBM

IBM matches donations made by both employees and retirees as well as provides grants for volunteering. The matching gift ratio varies depending upon whether it’s an employee or retiree making the donation, as well as whether the nonprofits chooses to receive cash or equipment. For instance:

  • If an IBM employee makes a donation, the nonprofit can choose to receive a 1:1 cash match or a 2:1 equipment match.
  • If an IBM retiree makes a donation, the nonprofit can choose to receive either a .5:1 cash match or a 1:1 equipment match.

The company also offers a significant grant for employees and retirees who volunteer with an organization. The specific amount varies from $1,000 – $3,500 depending upon whether the organization elects to receive a cash or technology grant. Additionally, IBM offers even greater team volunteer grants when groups of IBMers volunteer together.

Click here for additional details on IBM’s matching gift program.

Delta Matching GiftsDelta Air Lines

Delta matches donations made by employees, retirees, and Board of Directors to a wide range of educational institutions including:

  • Pre-K schools
  • K-12 public and private schools
  • Colleges and universities
  • Post-graduate programs

Delta matches up to $5,000 annually per an eligible individual at a dollar for dollar rate. This is up from a 50% match on up to $2,000 annually just a few years ago.

Click here for additional details on Delta Air Lines’ matching gift program.

ATT Matching Gift LogoAT&T

AT&T is the largest provider of mobile and fixed telephone systems in the United States. As of 2016, it is the seventh largest company in the U.S. by total revenue.

While AT&T doesn’t offer a “matching gift program” the company supports the organizations which employees are passionate about through its Cause Cards program.

Cause Cards are grants from the AT&T Foundation given to eligible charities recommended by employees. All employees that participate in the annual Employee Giving Campaign will be eligible to receive a Cause Card.

Eligible nonprofits include:

  • Educational institutions (K-12 and higher education)
  • Arts & cultural organizations
  • Environmental organizations
  • Civic and community organizations
  • Health and human service organizations
  • And many other 501(c)3 organizations

Employee pledges will be eligible for a Cause Card on a sliding scale based on a percentage of total giving. These Cause Cards are expected to range from $25 – $250. Employees will be notified of the value of the Cause Card and the deadline by which they need to redeem it by making a recommendation for an AT&T Foundation grant to an eligible 501(c)(3) charity of their choice.

Click here for additional details on AT&T’s matching gift program.

United Parcel Service (UPS)UPS Matching Gift Program

We get more questions from our nonprofit clients asking us about UPS’s matching gift program than any other company. Unfortunately this confusion arises from the fact that UPS is still listed on the majority of the random lists of matching gift companies found on various websites.

We can assure you that as of 11/17/12, UPS does not offer an employee matching gift program. Our team recently reached out to the UPS Foundation for confirmation and received the following response:

The UPS Foundation formerly offered a gift matching program for educational and cultural organizations.  However, on February 20, 2009, UPS’s Board of Trustees approved the action to suspend the Gift Matching Program due to the economic climate.   At this time, there are no current plans to restart the program.

Equifax Matching Gift Programs

Equifax

Equifax matches employee donations up to $5,000 per year to nearly all 501(c)(3) organizations. While the company provided us with a copy of the paper form which employees use to submit the matching gift request, we always encourage employees to check the company intranet to ensure it’s the most up-to-date version.

Click here for additional details on Equifax’s matching gift program.

Additional Atlanta Matching Gift Companies

Hundreds of other major employers in the Atlanta area match employee donations. At the very least, we encourage your organization to share the above seven companies with everyone in your fundraising, development, and membership teams. Making sure they’re at least familiar with these large companies which will double donations made by employees can help your organization raise more money from matching gift programs.

Want to learn more? Take a tour of Double the Donation’s matching gift service.

 

Next steps:
Your organization should consider taking it a step further by providing donors and volunteers with detailed information on their company / their spouse’s employer. If you raise awareness and make it more convenient for them to submit matching gift and volunteer grant requests, you’ll see an increase in fundraising from these sources.

Take a tour of Double the Donation’s matching gift service to see if we can help your organization raise more money from these programs.

Bottom line on Matching Gift Companies in Atlanta:

Atlanta is home to many of the nation’s leading companies which will match employee donations. Make sure everyone in your organization at least has a basic familiarity with major employers in your area which double donations.

Corporate Philanthropy Employee Engagement

Using Corporate Philanthropy to Increase Employee Engagement

An engaged and satisfied workforce can undoubtedly turn a good company into a great one. According to a recent Gallup Poll, only 30% of the workforce is actively engaged.

The key to keeping your employees happy certainly includes a solid benefits package and free cookies in the kitchen every once in a while, but ensuring a sense of shared philanthropic values between the corporation and employee is also a huge piece of the puzzle.

Learn more about why employee engagement is vital to your company.

Here’s how to use corporate philanthropy to increase employee engagement and satisfaction.

Offer Employee Giving Programs

Over 60% of Fortune 500 companies offer a matching gift program that will match an employee’s donation to an eligible nonprofit organization.

Matching gift programs tend to double an employee’s donation, but sometimes they can triple or even quadruple the initial gift.

Matching gift programs increase employee engagement by showing them that your company not only encourages giving but partakes in it as well. Matching gift programs can also instill a sense of working pride in an employee.

Encourage Volunteerism

Many corporations arrange group volunteer opportunities around the holiday season, but why stop there? A point of pride for many employees is knowing that they work for a company that shares the same sense of philanthropy.

Some companies even offer paid time off once per month to allow their employees to volunteer at a nonprofit organization of their choice. This not only has the benefit of donating time to a charity, but it also allows the employee a sense of participation and satisfaction.

Check out the importance of using corporate giving programs to boost employee engagement.

Volunteer Grants

To encourage volunteerism, many companies also offer volunteer grants, which are monetary donations to a nonprofit organization that vary in size depending on the number of volunteer hours.

Volunteer grant programs not only show your employees your dedication to charitable volunteering, but they also demonstrate your commitment to encouraging more than just the standard holiday volunteer programs.

Group Volunteering

What better way to encourage employee engagement than a volunteer event where everyone gets together? Group volunteering not only allows employees to work together and give back to the community, but it also lets them interact with one another in settings that they don’t usually find themselves in.

Helping employees form stronger bonds is important to keeping them happy and engaged.

Learn more about ways to increase employee engagement.

Engage the Millennials

Millennials between the ages of 18 and 30 are flooding the workforce looking for ways to share their innovative ideas and technological savviness. Unfortunately for many companies, these employees tend stay for a couple of years and then leave, looking for something more challenging or worth their time.

Millennials view work differently than older generations. Older employees are looking for salary and benefits, while millennials are looking for meaningful and flexible work.

Corporations must find ways to keep millennials engaged in the company. Yes, this means decent salaries and a flexible work environment, but this also means allowing their voices to be heard in various ways.

Companies that offer philanthropic programs and the opportunity to give back to the community, and especially programs that allow input and feedback from employees, are going to be more successful in keeping the millennial employees engaged and satisfied.

Read more about how nonprofits can engage millennials.

By incorporating corporate giving and volunteer programs and engaging millennial workers, companies can help increase employee engagement and increase productivity.

Learn more best practices to help boost employee engagement.

Matching Gift Acknowledgement

Increase Employee Engagement With Corporate Giving

The importance of employee engagement, which is defined as the emotional and functional commitment an employee has to his or her organization, cannot be overstated. Companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%!

Engaged employees are also happier, stay with companies longer, and are more philanthropically minded.

Check out more reasons why employee engagement is important.

While the benefits are clear, employee engagement is a struggle for most companies, with over 71% of employees reporting that they are not fully engaged.

How can you use corporate giving programs to increase your employees’ engagement?

Three Key Drivers of Employee Engagement

It’s said that employees don’t leave companies, they leave people, and it’s true. Many of the reasons employees claim they aren’t engaged in their company have to do with people.

Three drivers of employee engagement include:

  1. Employees’ relationships with their direct managers: 80% of employees who were dissatisfied with their direct manager were disengaged.
  2. Employees’ belief in senior leadership: 70% of employees who lack confidence in the abilities of senior leadership are not fully engaged.
  3. Employees’ pride in working for the company: 54% of employees who were proud of their company’s contributions to society are engaged.

How Can Companies Increase Employee Engagement?

Although Dale Carnegie highlights five great tips for employee engagement, we’ve added a few ideas which our research has shown enhances employee engagement:

  1. Senior leadership must articulate a clear vision to all employees. Without a clear goal, employees will not know what they’re working toward.
  2. Employees should be encouraged to openly communicate and influence the company’s vision with their input.
  3. Direct managers should foster healthy relationships with their employees.
  4. Senior leadership should continuously demonstrate that employees have an impact on their work environment.
  5. Managers should show employees that they are valued as true contributors, giving them a sense of empowerment.
  6. Managers should organize and encourage team volunteerism in communities as a way of giving back and encouraging social interaction outside the office.
  7. Companies should give back to local nonprofits. Corporate giving programs, like matching gift programs and volunteer grants, are a great way for corporations to support organizations that employees care about.

Learn more about how you can increase employee engagement.

Check out this info graphic about employee engagement, created by Dale Carnegie Training

Corporate CSR Benefits from Engaged Employees

How Companies can use Corporate Philanthropy to Increase Employee Engagement

Companies can help keep employees satisfied in any number of ways. But did you know that companies can boost employee engagement and help the community at the same time?

  1. Offer employee giving programs. Nearly two thirds of Fortune 500 companies offer a matching gift program that makes employees’ charitable contributions go twice as far. Matching gift programs help engage employees by showing them that the company not only encourages donating but takes part in it as well. Employees can feel proud knowing that their employer gives back.
  2. Encourage volunteerism. Whether a company offers paid time off for employees to volunteer or encourages employees to team up to participate in fundraising events, employee engagement can skyrocket when volunteerism is part of a company’s philanthropic culture. Allowing employees to band together to better the community helps them feel like the company supports them and will boost their dedication.
  3. Offer volunteer grants. Volunteer grants are donations that companies make to nonprofits after an employee has volunteered for a certain amount of time. Volunteer grants demonstrate a company’s commitment to helping worthy causes and instills a shared sense of philanthropy amongst employees, boosting engagement and satisfaction.

Why Corporate Giving Programs are a Win-Win for Everyone

Benefits of incorporating giving programs like matching gifts, volunteer grants, and volunteerism include:

  • Employees get to experience an enjoyable and rewarding team-building event
  • The corporation gets to give back to the community
  • The corporation’s reputation in the community is enhanced through positive press coverage and other channels
  • The nonprofits receive volunteer support and/or additional funding

While there is a multitude of ways to increase employee engagement, utilizing corporate giving programs can be one of the most beneficial for employees, companies, and nonprofits alike.

Learn more about using corporate philanthropy to increase employee engagement.

 

companies doing corporate philanthropy right

The Top 6 Corporate Philanthropy Infographics

There’s a good news / bad news situation regarding data on corporate philanthropy.

The good news:

The bad(ish) news:

  • Sometimes you’ll come across so much data that you won’t know which way is up and which way is down, which data is accurate, which less so, which is relevant, which less so. You get the idea.

Well, we’re here to solve that corporate philanthropy conundrum.

Below you’ll find the top 6 corporate philanthropy infographics.

We’ve done the work of sifting through the many in order to highlight an elite few. So without further ado, here they are in no particular order.

Infographic #1: Giving in Numbers Brief

CECP giving in numbers brief

Put together by the CECP, in conjunction with The Conference Board, the Giving in Numbers Brief takes a comprehensive look at trends and statistics in corporate giving. The infographic is filled with data culled from the survey responses of 271 multi-billion dollar companies.

Here are a few highlights:

  • 9 out of 10 companies offered a matching gift program
  • an average of 30% of employees volunteer
  • 29% of corporate giving went to education related causes — a combined percentage from K-12 and higher education

Infographic #2: Top 10 Corporations That Gave Cash to Charity

Corporate Giving in Cash to Charities

Here at Double the Donation, we thought we’d throw our hat into the ring with an infographic of our own. As its title suggests, this graphic focuses on the ten corporations that gave the most cash to charity in the year the graphic was produced.

Walmart leads the pack with $311.6 million in cash donations. And not too far off the lead, in tenth, was Target with a still very generous $148.5 million. A breakdown of leaders in the philanthropic giving community is a good way to be introduced to the possibilities of these programs and programs like them.

If you’re interested in matching gift programs specifically, check out the top corporate programs. 

Either way you slice it, if you’re looking into corporate giving, whether you’re an employee, nonprofit, or company, it is useful to get a sense for the power players in the world of corporate giving.

To see analysis of corporations numbered 2 – 9, you can follow this link.

Infographic #3: BP’s Fabric of America

BP Fabric of America Fund

This infographic is a great example of a corporation taking the initiative to outline and highlight its own efforts. Through its Fabric of America Fund, BP will donate $300 to the charity of an employee’s choice.

Learn more about BP’s employee giving programs.

Infographic #4: Meaningful Match-Making by Benevity

Meaningful Match-Making by Benevity

This infographic focuses on how corporations can use matching gift programs to increase employee engagement. It offers tons of valuable and insightful advice.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Five tips for increased employee engagement in matching gift programs
    1. Inclusivity — providing matching gifts for donations to a large range of nonprofits
    2. Letting external matches occur — accounting for and honoring donations made outside of your company’s matching gift program
    3. Expediency — make the matches as quickly as possible in order to demonstrate your commitment and dedication to your employees’ nonprofits of interest
    4. Share-ability — give employees the chance to share the news of their recent gifts and matched gifts
    5. Clarity — let your employees know exactly what the eligibility requirements are for your program
  • Match broadly to appeal to the inclusivity tip, but provide greater incentives for certain causes or nonprofits that your company is specifically interested and invested in helping.

 

Infographic #5: Corporate Citizenship — A Necessary Investment for Success

Current State of Corporate Citizenship

Boston College’s Center for Corporate Citizenship created a helpful infographic regarding the current state of corporate citizenship. The infographic revealed a general upward trend in business investment in corporate citizenship and a rising understanding of the necessity of these programs.

Specifically, the infographic zeroes in on the benefits of corporate citizenship, which it separates into three categories:

  • contributing to company success
  • returning value to shareholders
  • meriting additional investment

Corporate citizenship initiatives, which usually include employee volunteering programs and corporate philanthropic giving as components, are implemented with the idea of businesses serving the communities in which they thrive in, generating a mutually beneficial situation between the company and stakeholders.

Corporate citizenship is a diverse topic to handle. Discover why it’s so important!

Infographic #6: State of Developing Good

International Corporate Giving Infographic

YourCause created this infographic on the state of developing global good as a way of summarizing key international corporate giving statistics.

A couple stats that jump out at us include:

  • 80% of adults around the world agree they can make the world a better place with their actions —
  • 85% of companies in the US have a formal domestic corporate giving program in place vs. only 45% with a formal international program.

Both represent tremendous opportunities for companies to further their global impact.

These six infographics should more than whet your appetite for data, statistics, and analysis regarding corporate philanthropy. These were all put together with a lot of thought, care, and research. We hope you find the information invaluable to your quest for a greater understanding of corporate giving.

Challenge Grants

The Ultimate Guide to Challenge Grants

Have you ever made a deal with someone that you would do something in the present in return for a future reward upon accomplishment?

Kids and parents have arrangements like this all the time. Clean your room and you can have thirty extra minutes of television time tonight. Watch your sister this weekend and we’ll pay for your concert tickets next month. The agreements typically follow a similar trend. The recipient must first complete a task that is in some way a form of self-improvement (i.e. a neater living situation or quality time with a sibling) and then he or she gains the preset reward that exceeds self-improvement. It is a bettering, incentive driven method of deal making.

What if I told you those agreements have a relative in the philanthropic community? Well, they do. They are called challenge grants.

What are challenge grants?

Challenge grants are usually given by corporations, foundations, trusts, or government agencies. They are mostly granted to nonprofits and higher education institutions.

In many ways, they are as they sound, grants with a challenge built in to the structure.

Challenge grants are funds given by a grant making party to a nonprofit organization or educational institution following the successful fulfillment of a predetermined list of requirements.

Let’s unpack the challenge grant definition.

Grant makers agree to give the selected grantee a set amount of funds upon completion of a preassigned task, known in this case as the challenge. These challenges are not easy feats. They involve considerable effort and work on the part of the nonprofit or educational institution.

The challenge can have one or many components. For example, there could be a set requirement that an organization bring in x number of new members.

The biggest factor is almost always a fiscal one. The challenge grant boils down to how much a nonprofit needs to raise in order to receive a grant of x dollars in funds.

Learn more about the definition of challenge grants.

What are challenge grant ratios and amounts?

Previously in this blog, we’ve discussed ratios for matching gifts. With employee matching gift programs, an employer determines a set ratio for how they will match employee contributions to eligible nonprofits. For instance, if a donor works for a company with a matching gift program that honors a 2:1 match ratio and that donor gives your nonprofit a $100 dollar donation and submits the appropriate paperwork, the employer will give $200 on top of the initial $100.

Challenge grants also have match ratios, but they tend to operate slightly in different ways. With a challenge grant match that is set at 2:1, the grantee puts in the two and the grant maker puts in the one. So, if a challenge grant is for $20,000 at a 2:1 ratio, the grantee has to raise $40,000 in order to receive the $20,000 from the grant maker.

Sample Four Year Challenge Grant
(Grant maker providing $1 for every $2 an organization raises)

Challenge Grants

Challenge grant ratios and amounts vary and it’s common to see challenge grants with ratios such as:

  • 1:2 (Grant maker will provide $2 for every $1 an organization raises)
  • 1:1 (Grant maker will provide $1 for every $1 an organization raises)
  • 3:1 (Grant maker will provide $1 for every $3 an organization raises)

How do challenge grants benefit nonprofits?

From a pragmatic standpoint, donations are donations are donations. All fundraising has its challenges and adversities. With challenge grants those specific circumstances can actually be addressed at the beginning of the process. They remove some of the unpredictability associated with campaigns. The grants especially compliment capital campaigns.

Challenge grants can do a lot for nonprofits and educational institutions. The grants can:

  • infuse campaigns with reinvigorated energy
  • help guide fundraising strategies
  • lead organizations to up their data tracking methods and systems
  • bring in new donors and prospects
  • increase funds raised from current donors
  • fold former supporters back into the donor pool
  • and more

Benefits are going to range from situation to situation and all the potential positive outcomes are too diverse and numerous to list. Those six points, however, should give you a sense of the ways in which seeking and receiving a challenge grant can be a boon for your nonprofit.

When considering challenge grants, it is important to also think through the big picture ramifications and how the relationship between grantee and grant maker can be mutually beneficial.

After the successful granting of funds through a challenge grant, both parties can expect:

  • the grantee to see a boost in awareness from the public endorsement by the grant maker
  • the grantee to find a way to publicly honor the grant maker
  • the grant maker to see a boost in their image from the public charitable contribution

Since grant makers can be corporations, foundations, trusts, or government agencies, the reasoning behind giving this particular type of donation cannot be pinned down in one concise sentence. What can be said is that there are clearly benefits for the grant maker as well as the grantee.

There will always be multiple factors at play for why, for instance, one corporation decides to pursue any type of corporate giving, challenge grants included. Just understand, that if your staff can understand the major factors at play in drawing these grant makers to challenge grants, your staff can better cater their grant proposals to appeal to those in charge in order to increase the likelihood of your proposal’s acceptance.

How can you get started seeking challenge grants?

In order to successfully plan a challenge grant, a nonprofit or educational institution needs to look forward and gauge future organizational actions and needs. Consider what your nonprofit wants to accomplish six months to a year from now. Then backtrack to understand what you will need to get to that point.

During the process, ask:

  • What fundraising events will I want to actively promote my challenge grant efforts in conjunction with? Your answer here needs to take into account the grant maker’s timeline for evaluating and deciding whether or not to go forward with your organization’s application. If the application process is four months and you want to use the challenge grant in three months, your timing will not work out.
  • What is the makeup of my donor pool (and prospects too)? First, it never hurts to get to know your donors better. Second, you’ll want to be strategic in designing the way you seek your challenge grant around what your donors and prospects would be most receptive to.
  • What are my fundraising standbys? Fundraising is a broad field, and most nonprofits take a customized and tailored approach. One nonprofit might favor events. A university or college might prefer phonathons. Flesh out your list of common fundraising methods and consider how challenge grants could accompany those efforts.

With a solid understanding of your answers to those questions, you’re ready to start planning. Your plan will draw from your answers to create the ideal circumstances for acquiring funds for a challenge grant.

Once your challenge grant proposal is approved, you’ll begin the work of reaching your set dollar amount. With the umbrella goal of fundraising to meet the match, you can use that as the incentive to encourage contributions.

Employ a wide range of approaches to meet your financial requirement, like:

  • including information on your challenge grant within your various communications
  • encouraging your board to participate
  • targeting certain donor segments
  • and much more

You’ll be pleased with how well your donors and prospects respond when they know what their contributions can turn into with the help of your challenge grant.

Learn more about seeking challenge grants.

What’s the difference between challenge grants and corporate matching gifts?

Although they can both fall under the larger category of corporate giving and use some of the same structures, once you understand them both, they are easy to differentiate.

Unfortunately, as if to add to any potential confusion, challenge grants can sometimes be referred to as matching grants, not to be mixed up with employee matching gift grants.

On a basic level, matching gifts are mostly in the hands of the donor and challenge grants are mostly in the hands of the nonprofit. Both have a donation match element but the surrounding circumstances are vastly different.

Employee Matching Gifts:
Employee matching gift programs are corporate philanthropy programs where companies match donations made by their employees to nonprofits employees choose to support. There are five basic steps:

  1. A supporter makes a donation
  2. A supporter realizes his company has an employee matching gift program
  3. A supporter submits a matching gift request
  4. The company confirms the details with the nonprofit
  5. The company submits a donation according to whatever their program guidelines allocate

Learn more about matching gift programs.

Challenge Grants:
In the instance of a challenge grant, a nonprofit makes an arrangement with some funding entity (which may or may not be a corporation) to receive a certain set dollar amount upon completion of a preset challenge, like raising x amount of dollars.

A direct comparison of the two processes alleviates confusion.

The general confusion stems from their seeming similarities. Both rely on a nonprofit, a donor to that nonprofit, and a third party entity to work together in order to be successful. Both function off of preset match ratios. And both can essentially provide bonus funds for the nonprofits the donations are going towards.

The great thing about the two is that a nonprofit can pursue both and doubly benefit.

With the two matching avenues at play, an organization can acquire a donation due to the added impetus of their challenge grant, receive a matching gift from that donor’s employer, fulfill the match challenge requirements thanks in part to those funds, and earn the agreed upon grant.

Fundraising is an all hands on deck endeavor that truly thrives when nonprofits approach it from a creative and multi-step approach.

challenge grants definition

What Are Challenge Grants

Challenge grants can massively boost a recipient nonprofit campaign’s final fundraising numbers. Challenge grants are less about reaching a fundraising goal and more about surpassing one. They are largely beneficial for nonprofits and educational institutions.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know much of our content is focused on the matching gift and volunteer grants side of corporate giving. Challenge grants can fall within corporate giving as well, although they aren’t exclusively part of corporate giving.

Due to the cross-over with corporate giving, we’ve decided to focus some attention on these valuable grants, and there’s no better place to start than with a definition.

Challenge Grants Definition

Challenge grants are funds given by a grant making party to a nonprofit organization or educational institution following the successful fulfillment of a predetermined list of requirements.

That’s the basic definition, but to better explain the meaning behind it and the grants as a whole, the definition can be divided into three subcategories, or, more accurately, sub-questions:

  1. How do they work?
  2. What organizations serve to benefit from challenge grants?
  3. Why pursue a challenge grant?

Let’s begin with “how they work” to deepen your understanding of the fundraising opportunity.

How Do They Work?

Essentially, a nonprofit enters into an agreement. Per this agreement, the nonprofit works to raise a set number of funds. Once the fundraising campaign crosses that dollar amount threshold, the second party to the agreement grants the nonprofit funds of a previously specified amount.

Think about the process in terms of a volcano. The agreement is the volcano and the funds raised are the lava. Prior to an eruption, the lava builds inside the volcano. That process, pushing just to the edge of eruption, is all the work a nonprofit does to get to that funding threshold. Once the lava reaches a certain level, or the funds hit that set number, the volcano erupts. The volcanic eruption is equivalent to the point at which the grant maker grants the promised funds. From there the lava flows freely and over time (a long time) an island forms — a high revenue fundraising campaign turned quarter turned year.

Challenge grants are typically given out by foundations, trusts, corporations, or government agencies.

The preassigned funding threshold is not a lowball number, but rather a lofty goal that nonprofits have to reach in order to secure the grant.

The challenge can have multiple components. As part of the arrangement a grantee may have to increase its membership to a certain number or sell a specified amount of campaign t-shirts. The terms of challenge grants will vary from nonprofit to nonprofit and from grant maker to grant maker according to individual situations.

The grants function according to match ratios, just like employee matching gifts do. For example, with a challenge grant match that is set at 2:1, the grantee is responsible for the 2 and the grant maker is responsible for the 1. Given that, if a challenge grant is for $30,000, the grantee must bring in $60,000 in donations before receiving the grant maker’s $30,000.

Per the grant making organization’s stipulations, different applicants could be eligible for different ratios. For instance, the National Endowment for the Humanities’ most recent challenge grant program stipulations stated that recipients had to honor a 3:1 ratio, with the exception of a select few types of universities and colleges that could follow a 2:1 ratio.

Grants with high dollar amounts can even be set up to be earned and distributed in segments over a set period of time. Consider a $100,000 grant to be achieved over three years. In year one the grantee raises $50,000 and is matched for $25,000. In year two the grantee again raises $50,000 and is matched for $25,000. Finally, in year three the grantee raises $100,000 and is matched for $50,000.

Sample Four Year Challenge Grant
(Grant maker providing $1 for every $2 an organization raises)

Challenge Grants

Challenge grant ratios and amounts vary and it’s common to see challenge grants with ratios such as:

  • 1:2 (Grant maker will provide $2 for every $1 an organization raises)
  • 1:1 (Grant maker will provide $1 for every $1 an organization raises)
  • 3:1 (Grant maker will provide $1 for every $3 an organization raises)

What Organizations Serve to Benefit from Challenge Grants?

Some challenge grants are aimed at a specific subset of the nonprofit sector, while others are more universally open to all nonprofit organizations.

The four main benefactors behind the grants are:

  1. corporations
  2. government agencies
  3. trusts
  4. foundations

A foundation or a government agency might be more likely to limit its grants to a select type of nonprofit, simply based on the nature or the focus of the foundation or agency. A corporation with a broader corporate giving program will most likely be more flexible with its eligibility parameters.

Similar to matching gift eligibility guidelines, many challenge grant programs will accept applications from a variety of 501(c)(3) organizations and educational institutions, including:

  • arts and cultural organizations
  • community based social services
  • environmental organizations
  • healthcare based organizations
  • K-12 educational institutions
  • higher education institutions

Like with any organization seeking a grant, researching and zeroing on the ones best suited to help your nonprofit or educational institution is the best path to take.

Why Pursue a Challenge Grant?

Challenge grants provide a unique combination of incentive and encouragement to reach new fundraising peaks with the knowledge that an even bigger reward awaits your organization if you can meet those goals.

A nonprofit working towards a challenge grant can use the momentum and the impending additional contributions to:

  • fund new projects and programs
  • reinvigorate and grow their donor base
  • target a specific donor segment
  • and much more

Clearly defined goals are always welcome and recommended with fundraising. A challenge grant is a next level of goal setting. Challenge grants are ultimately cause and effect. Reach this first amazing goal and surpass it with the help of a grant maker. You’re fundraising towards an exact number, which donors will respect and be more inclined to help you reach than not.

Impress upon them that their donations go beyond the amount they physically contribute. A $100 dollar donation to a nonprofit with a challenge grant program is more than a $100 dollar donation.

The stakes are raised, and so too are the donations.

View our Ultimate Guide to Challenge Grants >

DTD-Walk-Bike-Run-header

Companies Match Employee Fundraising for Walk, Run, and Biking Events

matching-gifts-for-fundraising-walks-runs-cyclingDid you know many national and even international companies also offer what’s called a “fundraising match program”? This means that a company will match all of the funds raised by an employee for a fundraising activity, including walks, runs, and/or biking events.

Companies Matching Employee Fundraising Efforts for Walk, Run, and Bike Type of Events:

Intuit, Inc.intuit blue

Intuit is a software company that develops financial and tax preparation software. It has 8,500 employees and offers a comprehensive matching gift program to its employees.

Intuit’s matching gift program includes an individual match, in which the company will match an employee’s donation of up to $2,000 to a nonprofit organization or educational institution of his or her choosing. In addition, Intuit’s corporate giving programs include a fundraising match. Intuit matches all of the money personally raised by an employee for a fundraising event.

There is a combined $2,000 maximum match (for both individual and fundraising matches) per employee every year.

Learn more about Intuit’s matching gift program.

McAfee, Inc.mcafee-logo-100037339-large

McAfee, the world’s largest security technology company, is a computer security software organization located in California that was recently acquired by Intel.

McAfee offers both individual matches (at a 1:1 ratio), and fundraising matches (also at a 1:1 ratio).

There is a combined $1,000 company matching limit per employee.

Learn more about McAfee’s matching gift program.

British Petroleum (BP)matching-donations-bp

BP, the fifth-largest company in the world by revenue, is an international oil and gas company headquartered in London.  BP employs nearly 80,000 people across the world with a large presence in the United States.

BP’s employee grant programs include the traditional personal donation matches, as well as matches for money raised from employees’ friends and family members. BP will match a maximum of $5,000 per employee, per year.

Learn more about British Petroleum’s matching gift program.

State Street Corporationstate street

State Street is a financial services holding company that was founded back in 1792 in Boston. After many years of successful growth, the company now employs more than 30,000 people internationally.

State Street offers a matching gift program for employee donations called GiveMore, which matches at a 1:1 ratio. Within this program, annual matching limits are extremely generous but also vary by role:

  • Board of Directors, CEO, President and Vice Chairs can receive up to $35,000 in matching funds.
  • Executive Vice Presidents can receive up to $25,000.
  • Senior Vice Presidents can receive up to $15,000.
  • All other employees can receive up to $5,000 in matching funds.

State Street also offers a fundraising match program called CollectMore, where the company will match an employee’s fulfilled fundraising pledges. Limits in the CollectMore program are lower, but nonetheless, being able to have funds matched is an incredible benefit for employees participating in a fundraising walk, bike, or ride type of event.

Learn more about State Street’s matching gift program.

Penguin Random House:

Penguin Random House matches employee donations of up to $2,500 per employee per year to most 501(c)(3) nonprofits.

To sweeten their program even further, Penguin Random House has a Fundraising Match Program where the company will match up to $1,500 per employee (included in the $2,500 per employee annual maximum), per calendar year, for money raised personally by employees for fundraising events to qualifying nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.

Types of fundraising events include, but are not limited to, walk-a-thons, bike-a-thons, and 5K’s to name a few. Each fundraising request will be considered on a case by case basis.

Learn more about Penguin Random House’s matching gift program.

Matching Gift Acknowledgement

Retain Matching Gift Donors: The Cheat-Sheet (+Examples)

Nonprofits have all recognized the need to thank their donors for the kind support. But is your organization taking the time to thank individuals who submit matching gift requests? Matching gifts are often an overlooked area in fundraising in general, and in donor recognition especially.

Nonprofits thank their donors with the knowledge that a little recognition can go a long way when it comes time for donations the next year. The same applies for matching gifts. If you acknowledge a matching gift, you increase the likelihood of that donor submitting a matching gift in the future.

Acknowledge Your Matching Gift Donors

There are several strategies used to thank donors for their donations all designed around showing your donors that you appreciate their matching gifts.

Check out the following list of ways to acknowledge a matching gift request.

Acknowledgment Letters and Postcards

Many nonprofits use Thank You or Acknowledgment letters to recognize their donors when they make a donation. If the donor submitted the matching gift form at the same time as their donation simply modify the letter you were originally going to send to include a message about their matching gift.

If the matching gift form is submitted by the donor after the donation acknowledgment goes out you’ll want to additionally acknowledge the receipt of the matching gift form. Not only do donors want to know that the form is being processed but it’s an additional opportunity to create a experience without asking for another monetary donation.

Similar to acknowledgement letters, postcards are an effective way to say thanks to donors for submitting a matching gift and can be very cost effective. Here’s a sample matching gift postcard sent out after the matching gift check has actually been received by the organization (often many months after the match was initially submitted).

Sample Matching Gift Postcard sent by the University of Michigan (Front Side)

Matching Gift Postcard

 

Sample Matching Gift Postcard sent by the University of Michigan (Back Side)

Matching Gift Postcard Thank You

Email Recognition

If changing your pre-formatted donor letters is a hassle or you don’t have the funds to send a separate matching gift acknowledment, why not automate the whole process with a dedicated email for matching gift donors? It doesn’t have to be long or complicated. Just a few sentences thanking them for submitting a matching gift.

Sample Matching Gift Thank You Email Sent Out By NC State
Matching Gift Thank You Email

Be sure to highlight how important matching gifts are for the organization!

 

Newsletter Recognition Lists

If your organization sends out a regular newsletter consider creating a section where you list the overall financial impact of matching gifts which you’ve received in the last year.

Summary of Matching Gifts Received and the Impact on the Organization

If you want to take it a step further highlight the companies which provided matching gifts as well as the donors who took the time to initiate the matching gifts. This will publicly acknowledge your donors, while simultaneously increasing awareness of matching gifts among your other donors.

Recognizing Donors on Social Media

Does your organization have Twitter or Facebook accounts? Utilize your social media accounts to promote matching gifts by recognizing individuals by name who submit matching gift requests. Not only does this immediately acknowledge your matching gift donors, but it also alerts all your other followers about employee grant programs.

Sample Facebook Post From Halos of Hope Thanking a Donor for Submitting her Matching Gift

Matching Gift Thank You on Facebook

Save time, raise awareness, and increase donations – all with a single tweet or status update.

Microsoft Matching Gift Figures

Matching Gift Ratios and Amounts: How Much Will Companies Match?

You understand the basic concept of matching gifts. You know that in a matching gift program a company will match donations made by employees to a range of nonprofits.

That’s the general definition and a good start. However, in order to succeed in acquiring matched gifts you’ll need to understand the nitty-gritty of the program stipulations.

Well, here is the nitty-gritty!

The amount that a company will match is based on a combination of the matching gift ratios, maximums, and minimums.

Let’s break those three components down based on what we typically see in matching gift programs.

1. Match Ratio:

This is a lot easier to understand than it sounds.

Companies determine how much to match for employee donations based on a preset ratio. The majority of companies match donations at a 1:1 ratio, or dollar for dollar.

In the case of a 1:1 ratio, if an employee gives your nonprofit $100 and her employer agrees to match it, you’ll end up with $100 from the company for a total of $200. You’ve doubled your donation!

Although you can expect to see a lot of 1:1 ratios, they can range from .5:1 all the way up to 4:1. Ratios are typically standardized across all employee types, but sometimes a company will stipulate that, for example, part-time employees or retirees or executives will have different match ratios.

For instance:

 

2. Maximum Match:

Maximum matches have quite the range. You’ll see upper limits from $1,000-$15,000 on average, but there are plenty of matches that are outside that scope.

For instance:

 

3. Minimum Match:

Usually, a company will set a donation minimum, meaning that if a donor’s contribution falls below that set amount, the company will not match the gift.  Most commonly, that dollar amount is $25, but it can range from $1-$100.

For instance:

Combine all three of these factors and you’ll be ready to predict what your nonprofit will rake in from those lucrative matching gifts!

Matching Gift Acknowledgement

The 11 Must-Know Matching Gift Best Practices for Nonprofits

Have you ever been to a movie double feature?  They are great.  You get in the movie going mood, take the time out of your busy life to make it to the theater, buy your popcorn, sneak in your candy, splurge on a huge soda, and then settle in for two great films.  Oh, and most importantly, you’re only paying for one.

Matching gifts are fundraising double features; for the time and cost of acquiring one donation, you get twice the funding.

However, just like it takes a bit of extra planning and time management skills to get yourself to a double feature, it will take your team a bit of extra work to secure those matched gifts.

To ensure that your nonprofit maximizes its efforts, we’ve curated a list of the 11 most valuable matching gift best practices.

Follow these tips, lean back in your seat, and watch the credits roll.

#1: Study Up on Matching Gifts

Here’s the good news…if you want to learn about matching gifts you will have no issue doing so.

The topic of matching gifts isn’t some incredibly intimidating subject like organic chemistry.  Reaching an effective level of working knowledge is certainly possible.

Begin like you would with any subject by reading what you can.  Try to build a strong foundation of knowledge, so that when you implement your program you’ll be set to handle obstacles as they arise.

Having a keen sense of matching gifts and what goes into obtaining them will be crucial in planning your program and standardizing your processes.

Learning, for instance, the matching gift guidelines for the three biggest companies in your area would help your team target donors from those companies.  Chances are, some of your preexisting donors work at one of those three.  Play the odds when picking and choosing when to research specifically and when to stay general.

 

#2: Appoint a Matching Gift Coordinator

In a fantasy world with rainbows you could reach the end of and unicorns roaming through the streets, it might be realistic to have every member of your team fully apprised of your matching gift program.  But unless you have a team of one, that is not going to happen.

Your nonprofit will be better served by appointing one person as the matching gift coordinator than it would be by having your whole staff know just a few facts about matching gifts.  The coordinator is the expert, and the rest of your employees should know enough to field the questions that they can and pass along the rest.

The coordinator is the designated point-person for all matching gift queries and problems, as well as the staffer in charge of seeing the donations through until the end.

Your coordinator will be able to keep your various departments in the loop about what’s going on and need-to-know information.

All staff should be promoting matching gifts when relevant, but the gift coordinator will be the coach leading your team to victory.

What if you don’t have the funds or employee base to designate a matching gifts coordinator?  

Set aside some time and have a team do the research and put together matching gift materials including:

  • educational packets
  • letter templates
  • newsletter copy
  • answers to FAQs
  • fast facts

With these resources, and resources like them, any member of your team should be prepared to handle most matching gift occurrences and problems.

 

#3: Raise Awareness

Once you have a solid understanding of matching gifts and an idea of how the process will work internally, it is time to spread the word.  People need to know about matching gifts before they can request them.

No need to be coy at this point, the goal is mass awareness.  Think like Paul Revere.  The British may not be coming, but matching gifts are.

Lucky for everyone, technology has drastically improved since Revere’s days, so nonprofits now have plenty of ways to promote matching gifts.

Put matching gifts on your ‘ways to give’ page, like Girls Scouts of Greater Atlanta did:

Matching Gifts Featured on Ways to Give

Create a dedicated matching gift page, like the ASPCA did:

Dedicated Matching Gift Page

Outline matching gifts in an email newsletter, like CMTA did:

Matching Gift Newsletter

These are just three of many, many options.  Get creative.

Matching gift promotion should span all of your communication platforms.  Diversify your marketing so that it can reach a diverse audience of donors.

Note

Become a Matching Gift Expert! Grab our Free Ultimate Guide to Matching Gifts.

 

#4: Collect Donor Employer Details When Appropriate

Part of your educational materials for donors will give them access to determine if their companies have matching gift programs, but if your staff is able to readily see the employer of any given donor in your database, they can then go the extra mile to obtain that donation.

A major gift donor who works for a company with a generous matching gift program can make a huge difference in a nonprofit’s annual budget.

You also don’t want to waste the time of your employees.

Knowing the companies donors work for will help you segment out matching gift prospects.

If you are promoting on, say, email, zeroing in on only the prospects with the most potential wouldn’t make sense.  What about a calling campaign, though? Staff won’t have time to call all donors and prospects.  That’s where employer info can make a world of difference.

 

#5: Strive for Easy Accessibility

For a donor, securing a matching gift is an easy process that has the misfortune of sounding complicated.  Brand it better.

Clear and concise language, with easy to understand directions will make your donors much more likely to seek out matching gifts.  Donors who have already been kind enough to donate should not have to follow-up with a bunch more work.

 You can:

  1. List the typical steps involved in the process on your dedicated page
  2. Insert a matching gift widget that can help the donor search for her company’s program
  3. Send out informational mailed materials
  4. Highlight key matching gift statistics
  5. Point out a few of the companies that commonly match gifts for your nonprofit and detail those programs

Ensure that your nonprofit is a one-stop shop for all things matching gift.

 

#6: Keep Records of the Matched Gifts through the Entire Process

This task will usually fall under the matching gift coordinator’s jurisdiction.

Essentially, you’ll want to know what requests have been made, when they are processed, and when they have been fulfilled.

Keeping accurate records will guarantee that no attempted matching gifts slip through the cracks.  There can be a lot of moving parts in the process among the donor, donor’s employer, and the nonprofit, and there will be some level of back-and-forth.

A clear trail of what has happened and what needs to happen will make interactions a lot easier and lot more efficient.

The more standardized and systematic the process you use is, the better the results will be.

 

#7: Thank Your Donors

Donors involved with matching gifts have gone the extra mile for your cause.  Your thank you should reflect that.

Just like matching gifts have doubled your donations, matching gift thank yous should be double as well.  Thank once for the initial donation and a second time when the matched gift goes through.

You might want to put together a special event to honor matching gift donors.  The goal is to show genuine gratitude towards what they’ve done to help, but something like a special event will also promote the program to those who are unaware of it.

If you don’t have the resources for an entire event, try publicly thanking those involved on social media.

Social media is a great place to promote matching gifts, but it is also a top outlet for acknowledgment.  A strategic Facebook post can kill two birds with one stone by thanking a matching gift donor while getting the idea of matching gifts into the heads of your Facebook community.

Find a way to demonstrate your gratitude and ensure that the donors feel appreciated.

 

#8: Cultivate Relationships with Donors’ Companies

You should also consider thanking your donors’ companies.  The donor has brought the company to you, so make sure you’re taking your open shots.

Matching gifts can provide a much desired introduction to major corporations with top-notch corporate giving.

When an employee asks her company to match her gift, by nature of the process the company will be exposed to your nonprofit.  If you want to foster a new relationship, your nonprofit is going to have to impress the company.

By having all of your matching gifts ducks in a row, your staff can focus on building those corporate relationships, instead of troubleshooting submission issues.

 

#9: Maintain Your Donor Records

A disorganized and dysfunctional donor database is really going to hold your fundraisers back when it comes to matching gifts.

With out of date information your staff has no chance of making a real go of acquiring matching gifts.

You could send out mailers with blanks for donors to fill-in any changes to their personal details.

Once the information is in your system, your next move is going to be making sure those who need it can find it. Having data stored in such a manner that only one senior team member can even find it does your organization no good.

 

#10: Perform a Prospect Screening

If you’re looking for donors with large capacities to donate and great matching gift programs, prospect screenings are going to be a big help.

A major insight prospect research can provide is the list of  business affiliations of potential donors, like where they work and where their spouses work.  If a donor’s spouse works for a major matching gift company, your donor will often qualify for those donations as well.

Matching gift participation rates can vary from 3% to 65% based on how much the individual companies promote their programs.  With the knowledge derived from prospect screening you’ll be able take a well-prepared approach to finding matching gift donors.

 

#11: Track and Review Your Progress

Students earn grades and receive progress reports.  Professional athletes watch game tape and practice all week long.  No one can get better without locating weaknesses and focusing on changing them.

This rule applies to matching gifts as well.  An established system designed with achievement assessment in mind is a valuable asset.

So that you can properly grade your program track:

  • the matching gift money raised in previous years
  • the matching gift money raised in the time following your program’s inception
  • your top matching gift employer
  • the costs and time it takes to acquire the gifts
  • the percentage of your total revenue that matching gifts account for

Simply advocating for matching gifts won’t be enough to run a successful program.  Tracking data and looking at results is the best way to know how your nonprofit is doing and what its areas of improvement are.

Corporate giving programs are out there for the taking.  Major corporations like GE and Microsoft have some of the best matching gift programs in the world.

Institute these matching gifts best practices and get ready for the second movie to start.