At Double the Donation, we receive a wide range of inquiries from organizations seeking to maximize their matching gift revenue by proactively pursuing matches for all qualifying donations. One question that comes up on occasion has to do with matching gifts-in-kind—and whether in-kind donations are eligible to be matched through corporate matching gift programs.
Unfortunately, the short answer is that no, gifts-in-kind are generally not eligible for company matches. But let’s dive deeper into the subject by exploring some of the most commonly asked questions along with hearing from real companies’ matching gift guidelines.
In this guide, we’ll cover the following:
- FAQ from Nonprofits and Donors on Matching Gifts-in-Kind
- What Popular Matching Gift Companies Say About In-Kind Gifts
FAQ from Nonprofits and Donors on Matching Gifts-in-Kind
Understanding matching gifts and in-kind donations can be tricky. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions from nonprofits like yours (and sometimes even their donors!).
What are in-kind donations?
In-kind donations—or gifts-in-kind—are typically considered any type of non-monetary contribution to a nonprofit cause. While many donors provide cash (or check, credit card, bank transfer, etc.) that allows the organization to purchase goods and services required to keep their mission running, in-kind donations are offerings of the goods and services themselves.
One of the most common examples of gifts-in-kind is that of a canned food drive for a local food bank or pantry. People within a community are asked to provide donations of non-perishable food items which will then be distributed to the organization’s beneficiaries, as opposed to providing funds that the organization uses to make food purchases themselves.
Other types of in-kind donations you might see include vehicle donations, clothing drives, fundraising event prizes (such as auction items), technology and office equipment, free rentals (such as meeting spaces), or volunteer hours of specialized skills (such as graphic design, tax consulting, etc.).
Are gifts-in-kind eligible to be matched through matching gift programs?
This is a frequently asked question regarding gifts-in-kind—by both the donors contributing the in-kind donations and the nonprofits receiving them. Here are a few examples of inquiries you might see:
From a donor —
“I work for a company with a matching gift program and want to donate food and supplies to a nonprofit to assist with a recent natural disaster. Do most companies match these in-kind donations?”
From a nonprofit —
“We’re reviewing our list of donors from the past few months and noticed that some individuals who made in-kind donations work for companies with matching gift programs. Are these donations eligible to be matched?”
If you’re looking for a quick explanation, you can assume the answer is, unfortunately, that in-kind donations are not typically eligible for corporate matches.
The longer answer is that because each company develops its own unique set of matching gift program guidelines, it can be difficult to provide a blanket answer for questions like these. However, we’ll explore a few businesses’ eligibility criteria below to get a better sense of the relationship between matching gifts and in-kind donations.
Another thing to keep an eye out for when it comes to in-kind donations of time and services (rather than goods and products) is volunteer grants!
Similar to matching gifts, volunteer grants are workplace giving programs offered by companies where they agree to financially support the nonprofits their employees are involved with. Though not all volunteer work is considered an in-kind donation (it typically must be an individual volunteering their “specialized skills”), supporters who work for companies with volunteer grants may want to look into these offerings as well.
How do you determine whether a gift-in-kind is match-eligible?
The easiest way to find out if any nonprofit donation is matchable is by utilizing a company database such as Double the Donation. This is true for gifts-in-kind as well as your traditional monetary contributions.
With this tool in hand, all you (or your donors) need to do is begin a quick search of the company’s name—the database widget will even autocomplete search inquiries and account for spelling errors, name variations, and subsidiaries—and the specific matching gift guidelines will be available in seconds.
If a donor’s employer is listed in the database, it should include a document or online portal where users can go to find out more information about program eligibility. This is likely where the information about in-kind match qualifications is housed, which will provide you with your answer.
What Popular Matching Gift Companies Say About In-Kind Gifts
Thousands of companies offer corporate matching gift programs where they agree to financially match donations made by their employees. Employees and nonprofits want to know whether gifts-in-kind are matching gift eligible, but it can be difficult to determine as it varies from company to company.
But let’s hear from some real companies! Here are excerpts from a few companies with matching gift programs and what they say about in-kind matching in their program guidelines!
Google is well known for offering a variety of employee giving programs. With matching gifts on personal donations, a fundraising match, and a dollars for doers program, Google supports organizations that employees are passionate about in a number of ways.
In terms of matching gifts-in-kind, here’s what Google’s program guidelines have to say:
“Your gift must be in the form of check, credit card, or marketable securities with a quoted market value. Gifts of securities will be matched with cash. The value of the stock will be calculated using the price at the close of the market on the day of the transfer of the security. We don’t match any other forms of personal or real property, including in-kind gifts.
Google does offer a volunteer grant program where they contribute $10 for each hour an employee volunteers with a charitable organization.”
John Deere offers a matching gift program for employees where each employee is able to request matching funds on up to $1,000 of personal contributions each year. John Deere matches donations to nearly all 501(c)(3) organizations.
In terms of matching gifts-in-kind, here’s what John Deere’s program guidelines have to say:
“To qualify for a program match, employee gifts must:
- Be paid before a match is paid – pledges do not qualify.
- Be paid in cash, by check or credit card.
- Qualify as a deductible charitable contribution by the U. S. Internal Revenue Service.
- Be personal contributions by employees only – funds cannot be collected from others and pooled for program match purposes.
John Deere also offers a generous volunteer grant program, where eligible employees may request grants worth $25 for each hour they volunteer with an organization—up to $1,000 per year!”
Did you know that General Electric was the first company to institute a matching gift program? Yes it’s true. Back in 1954, General Electric created the Corporate Alumni Program to support its employees in their personal philanthropy and charitable giving. Since then, it has become a model for countless other employee matching gift programs.
In terms of matching gifts-in-kind, here’s what General Electric’s program guidelines have to say:
“Gifts may be made via cash, check, credit card or stock. Gifts may also be made by current payment from an entity such as a personal foundation or donor advised fund if that entity has been funded solely by the eligible GE participant (note that gifts made to such an entity cannot be matched). The GE Foundation will not match real estate, in-kind, or non-monetary contributions (e.g. services, materials, supplies, etc.).“
Beam Inc. matches donations from employees to a wide range of organizations, including educational institutions (K-12 and higher education alike), arts and cultural organizations, and youth-based nonprofit causes.
In terms of matching gifts-in-kind, here’s what Beam Inc.’s program guidelines have to say:
“Examples of donations that are not eligible for a matching gift are those involving:
- Dues, payments, subscriptions, and contributions which accrue significant personal benefits to the donor (e.g., gifts, which cover the cost of services, tuition, fees, subscriptions, tickets, or other considerations).
- In-kind donations.“
Alvaria offers both an employee matching gift program as well as a volunteer grant program. Through its matching gift program, Alvaria matches up to $1,000 annually per employee per year. Additionally, through its Dollars for Doers program, the company provides $10 per every hour an employee volunteers (max $250 annually).
In terms of matching gifts-in-kind, here’s what Alvaria’s program guidelines have to say:
“What gifts are ineligible?
- Gifts that result in a benefit to the employee. Examples include dues, subscriptions, fees, loan repayments, bequests, insurance premiums, tuition, tickets, and dinners.
- Gifts or payments for primarily political or religious purposes, unless specified for a community outreach program, such as a soup kitchen or homeless shelter.
- In-kind gifts or gifts of real estate.
- And a number of other common restrictions.
Alvaria will provide $10 per hour in volunteer grants up to $250 per employee per year”
State Farm Insurance offers a generous employee matching gift program where they agree to match up to $4,500 in individual donations per year. And all sorts of employees—including current full-time, part-time, and retired team members alike—are eligible to participate.
In terms of matching gifts-in-kind, here’s what State Farm’s program guidelines have to say:
“Ineligible Donations/Contributions and Designations –
- Contributions that are directed toward event tickets, dinners, gala, entry fees, and raffles.
- Dues to organizations, groups, or clubs.
- Magazine or newsletter subscriptions.
- Payments for books, loans, or student fees.
- Tuition payments or other contributions that reduce or eliminate tuition.
- Unpaid, pledged contributions.
- In-kind donations and gifts made in lieu of a pledge.
- Insurance premiums other than life insurance.
State Farm offers a volunteer grant program (known as State Farm’s Good Neighbor Grant Program) which entitles an employee to request a $500 grant on behalf of a nonprofit organization they volunteered 40 hours of time with”
Each type of donation offers organizations like yours the opportunity to better pursue their mission and make their mark on the world. Unfortunately, most in-kind donations are not going to be eligible for corporate matches through donors’ employers. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have successful matching gift strategies alongside your in-kind fundraising efforts!
Learn more about matching gifts and the opportunities they bring nonprofit fundraisers with other Double the Donation resources:
- Nonprofit Stock Donations and Matching Gifts | What to Know. Stock donations are one of the most common types of in-kind donations for a lot of organizations. Check out this in-depth guide for nonprofits accepting gifts of securities and looking to make the most of matching gifts.
- Corporate Giving and Matching Gift Statistics [Updated 2022]. Though many in-kind donations are not likely to result in a matching gift, matching gifts are more common than you might think! Explore these impressive matching gift statistics to better understand the opportunity at hand.
- Corporate Matching Gift Programs: The Definitive Guide for Growing Your Revenue. This Double the Donation guide dives deep into corporate matching gift programs, how these offerings benefit organizations like yours, and what you can do to increase funding through the strategy.