Why Companies Have Matching Gift Programs: A Complete Guide
More and more companies are offering corporate matching gift programs in order to prioritize corporate social responsibility or CSR. Through these initiatives, businesses agree to match employee donations to a wide range of nonprofits. And with the matches, companies and their teams are able to double, or sometimes even triple, the initial donation impact.
As a company, it’s important to consider the impact that implementing a CSR program can have on your image, your employees, and your contributions to society. If you haven’t already established such a program, hopefully these reasons can drive you in that direction.
And as a nonprofit, understanding the purpose and benefits behind these programs should allow your team to better utilize the offerings and set your organization up for ultimate corporate fundraising success.
There are many reasons for companies to offer a matching gift program. These include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Reason #1: Matching Gifts Creates a Positive Company Brand
- Reason #2: Matching Gifts Encourages Employees to Give
- Reason #3: Matching Gifts Reduces Employee Turnover
- Reason #4: Matching GiftsDemocratizes the Giving Process
- Reason #5: Matching GiftsIncreases Employee Engagement
- Reason #6: Matching Gifts Attracts Talent
- Reason #7: Matching Gifts Provides Tax Benefits
- Bonus: Resources for Creating Matching Gift Programs
In this article, we’ll address each of these key motivators for companies matching employee donations. Plus, we’ll share countless resources for employers looking to implement the matching programs today.
Keep in mind that as a nonprofit professional, it’s your job to get the word out about these programs to your donors to maximize usage. If you’re looking for a way to increase your matching gift revenue, consider investing in matching gift software! We’ll cover more about how to make the most of corporate matching gift programs—and how 360MatchPro by Double the Donation can help—below.
Reason #1: Matching Gifts Creates a Positive Company Brand
What is the biggest misconception people have about branding? Brands are logos, and logos are brands. However, the way people perceive a company and its products goes much deeper than a simple graphic.
Instead, your brand is influenced by previous interactions, advertising, and what people have read, know, and assume about the company. And a business’s philanthropic efforts can play a significant role!
For example, many consumers’ buying decisions are heavily influenced by the ways a company brands itself as a leader in philanthropy. In fact, research reports that over 77% of consumers are particularly motivated to purchase from companies that aim to make the world a better place. In other words, people feel good doing business with charitable-focused businesses, which makes them want to continue supporting the companies’ efforts.
We often mention companies like Google for their robust spirit of philanthropy. Consumers trust Google because it has a reputation for doing good, including its generous matching gift and volunteer grant programs. In the business world, trust means everything.
Reason #2: Matching Gifts Encourages Employees to Give
Oftentimes, businesses want to support the community that supports them. That way, their local consumer base will take pride in advocating for them. By creating well-designed programs, companies convey their desire to give back to the community.
Charitable employees are drawn to businesses that offer these programs (71% of employees state that it’s very important to work at a company that partakes in philanthropy), creating a well-rounded and generous work environment. Even if employees don’t already donate time and money to nonprofits, they’ll become much more aware of these opportunities.
In addition, a giving program that increases employees’ potential impact may also be the push an individual needs to donate or volunteer. Doubling, and even sometimes tripling, their employees’ contributions makes it much more appealing to donate and volunteer with local nonprofits. In fact, 84% of donors say they’re more likely to donate if a match is offered.
Generous employees also look good for overall company branding. Microsoft, for instance, can boast that its employees have raised over $1 billion dollars for charity since the inception of its giving program. While that can certainly be attributed to the employees involved, it also has a lot to do with the culture of generosity that the company has fostered.
Reason #3: Matching Gifts Reduces Employee Turnover
When your company is contributing to the greater social good through CSR, this can greatly reduce your employee turnover rate. Why? Employees are more socially aware in this day in age and want to contribute to causes they’re passionate about—especially on a global scale.
If your company offers employees the ability to make an even bigger difference through matching gifts and other forms of corporate philanthropy, they will be more likely to engage with your company and remain loyal. In fact, one study found that a company engaging in socially valuable efforts can reduce staff turnover by approximately 50%.
This means your employee turnover rate will decrease, helping you retain awesome employees who continue to bring value to your company.
Reason #4: Matching Gifts Democratizes the Giving Process
You may be wondering why companies don’t just donate their entire giving budget to a few select charities. And some do—but this often limits the overall benefits offered by strategic corporate giving participation.
For one, matching employee donations can forgo difficult screening processes for charities. Companies don’t want to donate money to charities that are inefficient or otherwise have a bad name. Matching employee donations puts the research responsibilities on the employee rather than the company.
It also avoids debates about which nonprofits should receive funds by democratizing the process. In other words, the employees have a say in how their company spends its giving budget.
In short, matching gifts is a simpler way of enacting corporate donations, allowing corporate giving revenue to be more evenly distributed to a wider range of nonprofit recipients. When an employee shows their employer which causes they care about, companies know how to allocate their giving budget.
Reason #5: Matching Gifts Increases Employee Engagement
Employees who are engaged with their company feel a stronger connection to their employer’s values, mission, and vision. In fact, more than 54% of employees who are proud of their company’s contributions to society report being fully engaged in their job, compared to an industry average of only 15%. This means companies that encourage employee giving and volunteerism are more likely to keep their employees engaged and give back to the community at the same time.
For example, matching gift programs show employees that the company not only encourages charitable giving but is committed to making the donations go further, as well. In addition, companies that offer paid time off for employees to volunteer or participate in fundraising events also boost engagement. Employees get to experience an enjoyable and rewarding team-building event, and the company enhances its reputation in the public eye.
Reason #6: Matching Gifts Attracts Talent
Companies that offer CSR programs, especially matching gifts and volunteer grants, are more likely to attract top talent. This is because a large portion of the workforce, namely Millennials, want their companies to offer them a sense of purpose and pride. More and more job seekers are looking into a company’s CSR efforts prior to accepting a position.
To demonstrate this idea, previously cited corporate giving research indicates that 77% of employees reported a sense of purpose as part of the reason they selected their current employer, while nearly 2/3 of Gen Z and Millenial employees won’t take a job at a company with poor CSR practices.
Offering CSR programs—especially those with a global reach—gives companies the ability to attract this group of talented employees and keep them as part of their company for the long term.
Reason #7: Matching Gifts Provides Tax Benefits
Companies participating in corporate philanthropy also see significant impacts in terms of tax benefits—and matching gift programs allow employers to reap even greater benefits.
According to the IRS, corporations are typically eligible to request up to 10% of their annual revenue in tax deductions from charitable giving. However, one of the major exceptions to the 10% rule is matching gifts. Companies matching employee donations that go above and beyond 10% of their yearly income can continue to deduct matches from their overall taxable dollars.
As the company reduces its taxable income, they decrease the amount of money it’ll pay in taxes for the year—thus providing additional funds that can be reinvested into its business, social impact efforts, and more.
Bonus: Resources for Creating Matching Gift Programs
If your company—or a corporate partner—is looking to implement a new matching gift program or grow an existing philanthropic effort, check out these resources below to help jumpstart planning!
For Companies Launching New Matching Gift Programs
Looking to create a brand new matching gift program? Start educating your team with the below resources:
- Matching Gift Basics: While this article is geared toward nonprofits, it includes a solid overview of different aspects of matching gift programs. Dive in with the basics of matching gift program guidelines, examples, best practices, and more.
- How to Start a Matching Gift Program. Follow this step-by-step guide to walk through the process of launching a corporate matching gift program—from setting your budget to promoting your new initiative to team members.
- Matching Gift Policy Template. When you roll out a matching gift program, it’s important to create and communicate guidelines for employee participation. The easiest way to do so is by drafting a matching gift policy document, and we’ve created an easy template to help you do so.
For Companies Creating Volunteer Grant Programs
Volunteer grant programs can offer many of the same benefits for companies that matching employee donations do. Want to encourage volunteerism within your company? Here are some great resources to jumpstart your efforts:
- Volunteer Grant Basics: While this article is also written for a nonprofit audience, it provides readers with a comprehensive overview of corporate volunteer grant programs. For companies looking to roll out these initiatives, this can be an excellent place to begin.
- Top Volunteer Grant Companies: Interested in what other companies are doing in terms of volunteer grant offerings? We highlight some of the top companies that provide generous grant initiatives. Find out what makes them stand out and implement those ideas in your own programs!
For Companies Implementing or Elevating Employee Giving Programs
Looking for some examples of how you can implement, promote, and organize your employee giving programs? Check out these resources:
- Matching Gift Software Vendors: The Comprehensive List: Whether you’re launching a new employee giving program or bringing an existing program to the next level, corporate giving software can help! Be sure to check out these leading vendors that have worked with countless companies to design their employee giving systems.
- Matching Gift Auto-Submission + CSR Platforms | What to Know. Amplify the impacts of your corporate matching program by enabling match auto-submission! Explore this guide to discover the benefits of streamlined employee participation and see how your company can get started with this new feature.
For Companies Looking to Be Inspired by Standout Programs
Want to research some of the best examples of employee giving programs? We’ve spotlighted these top companies with outstanding employee giving programs and an overview of their matching gifts policies.
Each employer has a unique component to its match programs that causes them to stand out among its peers. Get inspired by standout programs—maybe one day, your business will be among them!
- Walt Disney Corporation: Disney matches donations to most nonprofits at a 1:1 ratio with a generous maximum of $25,000.
- Microsoft: Microsoft matches up to $15,000 at a 1:1 ratio to most nonprofits, and the company also boasts some of the highest rates of employee matching gift participation.
- Merck & Co.: Merck & Co. matches up to $30,000 per employee per year at a 1:1 ratio to most nonprofits.
- Coca-Cola Company: Coca-Cola (or Coke) matches employee donations at a 2:1 ratio—essentially tripling the value of individual contributions up to $20,000 per year.
- Innovative Discovery: Innovative Discovery makes the matching gift process quick and easy for its employees to partake by enabling auto-submission by utilizing Selflessly’s innovative corporate giving software. Eligible individuals can now submit their corporate match requests straight from their favorite nonprofits’ websites!
- Checkr: Checkr has also established matching gift auto-submission functionality for employees through its CSR platform, Millie. Plus, the company offers no minimum donation amount for participation.
How Matching Gift Databases Help Nonprofits
Nonprofits benefit from matching gifts because they receive an additional donation for the work of soliciting one, allowing them to elevate their revenue potential with ease. However, many organizations continue to underutilize this fundraising opportunity.
That’s because, unfortunately, nonprofits often lack the time, resources, and staff needed to identify and follow up with matching gift opportunities on a manual basis. Luckily, that’s where a comprehensive matching gift database and automation solution like Double the Donation comes in handy.
Double the Donation offers the world’s leading matching gift database, holding data on more than 20,000 companies representing more than 26 million match-eligible individuals. Pulling from Double the Donation’s database, the automation platform, 360MatchPro, identifies match-eligible donors and reminds them to complete the match process through automated emails.
Here’s how it works:
- An individual donates to your nonprofit.
- 360MatchPro scans the information provided on the donation form (e.g., email domain, employer details, etc.) to determine the individual’s eligibility for a donation match.
- Based on the individual’s eligibility, the platform triggers customizable emails to them, outlining relevant next steps they can take to submit a match request.
Because the platform automatically identifies and encourages donors to pursue eligible opportunities, your organization will drive more matches to completion. This leaves your team more time to focus on top matching gift opportunities and serving your mission.
It’s important to understand the matching gift process and its impact, whether you work for a nonprofit or a corporation. As a company, you can boost your corporate image while supporting your communities and the greater good. As a nonprofit, you can bring in the extra funding you need to serve your mission with little to no added effort.
Looking for even more information about matching gifts? Check out the additional resources below:
- How CSR Impacts Businesses: A Guide For Corporations. Dive deeper into the benefits of overall social responsibility for companies with this research-filled guide.
- The Workplace Giving Guide for Corporate Changemakers. Workplace giving—which encompasses matching gifts and volunteer grants—is a key form of CSR. Learn more about how to drive impact from these programs here.
- Corporate Social Responsibility: The Definitive Guide. Find out more about why businesses implement giving programs with this guide on CSR.