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Nonprofit Leadership Traits

Matching Gift Participation Rates

Has your organization ever taken a look at which companies are consistently providing matching gift donations to your organization?

If you have, you may notice that a disproportionate number of matching gifts come from a select few companies.

Survey Results | Participation Varies Widely by Company:

The Chronicle of Philanthropy released a report entitled “How America’s Biggest Companies Give” which was compiled from their Corporate Giving Survey.

In this survey, America’s largest companies provided employee participation rates for their matching gift programs. The below table breaks down employee participation rates for many large employers.*

Employee Matching Gift Participation Rates

matching-gift-participation-rates

Key Insights on Matching Gift Participation Rates:

Insight #1: 65% of Microsoft employees request a match from the company compared to less than 15% for Xerox, Dell, and Verizon. This is a direct result of Microsoft being one of the best at communicating matching gift information to employees.

Insight #2: Pfizer leads companies in the pharmaceutical industry with over 30% of employees participating in the company’s matching gift program.

Insight #3: Matching gift programs are widely utilized by employees in the financial services sector. American Express leads the pack with 70% of employees requesting the company match at least one charitable donation.

Insight #4: Based on this sample of companies, the consumer goods sector has the lowest employee participation rates. Of the companies that provided data, Johnson & Johnson leads the sector with 25% of employees having one or more donations matched by the company.

 

Impact on your Organization’s Matching Gift Revenue: Home Depot vs. Coca-Cola:

For instance, both Home Depot (~13K Atlanta employees) and Coca-Cola (~5K Atlanta employees) are headquartered in Atlanta and offer similar matching gift programs.

One would expect Atlanta based nonprofit organizations to receive a significant number of matching gift donations from each of these companies. Unfortunately that doesn’t appear to be the case. The majority of nonprofits we’ve spoken to self-report far more matching donations from Coca-Cola compared to Home Depot each year. **

 

So what causes this discrepancy?

Organizations typically explain this phenomenon by talking about the number of employees each company has in the area. While it’s true that a company with a major presence in a city is more likely to provide a larger number of matching gifts, there’s an even more important factor.

How well a company internally promotes matching gifts dictates how likely an employee is to know about the program and submit matching gift requests.

We know it doesn’t take a genius to come up with the above statement, but it’s true. So many employees at companies with matching gift programs have no idea their employer offers a program. If an employee / donor lacks knowledge of their company program, there’s no way they’ll submit a matching gift request.

 

Closing the Gap:

Although your organization can’t change how widely companies promote matching gifts to their entire employee base, you can greatly influence the percentage of your donors who submit matching gift requests.

If you raise awareness and make it easy for your donors / their spouses to submit matching gifts, you can increase matching revenue.

We recommend nonprofits promote matching gifts in three locations:

  1. In the donation process
  2. Across your website
  3. In your communications

If you effectively promote employee matching gifts to your donors, you can overcome low participation rates.

Data Sources:
*Based upon a publicly available survey of companies which was conducted by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
**Based on our conversations with membership and development managers at select Atlanta organizations.