Corporate philanthropy is a tricky topic for most nonprofit professionals, because there are so many guidelines and restrictions that come with them. However, that does not mean your nonprofit should give up on developing a corporate giving strategy.
Oftentimes, both potential donors and nonprofits run into the issue of non-personal donations. From the donor perspective, some employers don’t offer matching gift donations. Because of this, they may consider giving their money to a friend whose employer does offer matching gifts to donate for them.
From the nonprofit perspective, some donors work at companies with fewer matching gift limits, so they wonder if they can funnel donations through these individuals to make sure all donations are matched.
To fully understand situations pertaining to non-personal donations, let’s look into a few key questions:
- Are non-personal donations eligible for matching gift programs?
- Why shouldn’t donors give non-personal donations?
- How can a matching gift database identify other revenue opportunities?
1. Are Non-Personal Donations Eligible for Matching Gift Programs?
Nonprofits often have a strong desire to maximize donations from matching gift programs, and rightfully so! However, we strongly recommend that donors only take advantage of their own employers’ match programs.
Typically, company guidelines specifically state something like the following: “Gifts must be personal contributions paid either in cash or securities.” Oftentimes, matching gift programs are designed for personal contributions from employees only.
Thus, from a corporate standpoint, passing donations through a supporter who works for a matching gift company is at least frowned upon. The actual reprimands for doing this aren’t always clear, but the next section goes into a few possible consequences.
Hopefully, the nonprofit community recognizes that corporate philanthropy programs are intended to democratize the corporate giving process. In other words, companies want their employees to direct how the giving budget gets spent. Businesses want to give to causes that employees care about, not employees’ friends. These programs are completely optional, so hopefully, everyone utilizes them in the spirit for which they were designed.
2. Why Shouldn’t Donors Give Non-Personal Donations?
In addition to going against the spirit of corporate philanthropy, there are a few other reasons to avoid matching gift requests for non-personal donations. For more context, let’s go into a few of those reasons.
Whenever a matching gift request is submitted, the employee has to sign the form, indicating that the donation adheres to the company’s guidelines. Additionally, whenever a nonprofit verifies a donation, the nonprofit confirming the donation is also signing that it agrees the donation meets the company’s guidelines.
In other words, if someone donates a friend’s money and claims that it’s theirs, that’s a non-personal donation. Therefore, it goes against most company guidelines. By signing the form, both the nonprofit and the donor are agreeing that it adheres to the guidelines, which is not the case.
While we certainly aren’t legal experts, there’s a strong chance that both the employee and the nonprofit would be committing fraud by submitting or verifying match requests for non-personal donations. Doing so could put the employee’s job at risk while also jeopardizing the nonprofit’s eligibility for future matches and grants.
By submitting a matching gift request for a non-personal donation, there are certainly tax implications. For instance, who gets to claim the charitable tax deduction on the original donation? Should it be the individual who gave his money to a friend to donate, or the friend who donated the money and submitted the match request?
Even if you don’t get into legal trouble for submitting a matching gift request, you’ll certainly run into issues when tax season comes around.
3. How Can a Matching Gift Database Identify Other Revenue Opportunities?
While it may not be wise to submit a matching gift request for non-personal donations, you can pinpoint other corporate philanthropy opportunities. This is done with a matching gift database like Double the Donation.
By adding Double the Donation’s services to your tech toolkit, your nonprofit won’t miss out on important revenue opportunities. For instance, the tool:
- Enables donors to search over 20,000 companies.
- Can be embedded across your online fundraising channels.
- Provides users with all available info on companies (e.g. forms, guidelines, etc.).
- And more!
Larger organizations may benefit more from 360MatchPro by Double the Donation. This tool automatically identifies match-eligible donors, follows up with them, drives matches to completion, and even puts an automated match plan in place!
Plus, with either tool, your donors, who thought they couldn’t receive matching gifts, might turn out to be eligible!
Think your nonprofit can benefit from Double the Donation?
We always encourage organizations to stick to the spirit of the match programs. In other words, these programs are designed for personal donations, so employees should use them for personal donations. This answer might not be what most individuals and nonprofits want to hear, but it’s best to steer clear of these situations.
Even if your nonprofit doesn’t have many matching gift opportunities, using a database can enhance your corporate fundraising strategy. Plus, there might be more match opportunities than you thought!