Learn about the impact of matching gifts on employee engagement in this guide.

The Impact of Matching Gift Programs on Employee Engagement

With a whopping 85% of employees actively disengaged at the workplace, implementing intentional engagement programs is crucial for ensuring your company’s success. By implementing corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs into your company culture you can access benefits on multiple sides—workforce productivity, community impact, and customer satisfaction.

One of the top workplace giving program ideas is matching gifts. Starting a matching gift program boosts engagement by allowing you to invest in your employees’ passions. However, if you’re new to CSR or don’t know where to start with matching gifts, it can be difficult to know where to start. Don’t worry—this guide will provide you with everything you need to cultivate a more engaged and effective workforce by covering these topics:

Without further ado, let’s explore the valuable relationship between matching gift programs and employee engagement.Click here to learn more about how matching gift programs can boost employee engagement.

Matching Gift FAQs

Whether you’re a newcomer or a seasoned pro, you likely have some questions about the vast world of matching gifts. Let’s get you the answers you need before we move into our engagement strategies.

What are the key terms to know regarding matching gifts?

If you’re new to matching gifts, there are a lot of important terms that you might not be aware of. Here are some definitions to keep in mind:

  • A matching gift program is a corporate giving initiative that enables employees to get their donation to a nonprofit matched by their employer.
  • A match ratio is a company’s ratio of how much of an employee’s donation they’ll match. For example, most companies match $1 for each dollar contributed by the employee, but some even pledge $2 for each dollar given by the employee.
  • Matching gift program eligibility requirements are a company’s rules for which employees can leverage matching gifts and to what extent. For instance, some companies allow retirees and part-time employees to submit matching gift requests, where others only allow full-time employees to participate.
  • A maximum and minimum match amount are the upper and lower limits of an eligible matching gift. Most companies set the minimum amount around $25 and the maximum at several hundred dollars per year.
  • A CSR platform is a software solution that companies leverage to manage their matching gift programs. The best CSR platforms can integrate with matching gift processing software solutions like Double the Donation, which has auto-submission capabilities.

All of these terms (and a few more) will eventually be fully fleshed out in your corporate giving policy. If you’d like to more clarity on how other organizations define them, research companies that donate to nonprofits to get a more informed perspective on how you can tailor these ideas to your employee engagement goals.

What are the primary benefits of matching gift programs?

Matching gift programs offer a plethora of advantages for both companies and nonprofits alike. Besides feeling fulfilled after committing a good deed, companies who embrace matching gifts can boost:

  • Customer loyalty. Customers increasingly favor supporting companies who give back to their communities. In fact, corporate social responsibility can give your company an edge over competitors—70% of consumers want to know that the brands they support are socially responsible.
  • Brand reputation. With increased customer loyalty comes a stronger brand reputation. Not only will giving back to nonprofits boost customer retention but it can improve acquisition as well.
  • Employee productivity and loyalty. Employees want to feel supported in their professional and personal passions by their employer, and it shows in their job performance and loyalty. Matching gifts provide a perfect opportunity to invest in each employees’ interests, make a widespread impact on the community, and cultivate a more dedicated workforce.
  • Talent acquisition efforts. The same principles that boost employee productivity through corporate giving apply to talent acquisition. You can leverage your matching gift offerings to attract and acquire the talented applicants that your competitors want.
  • Tax breaks. Depending on where your company is based, you can get tax reductions from the IRS for your matching gift contributions.
  • Community relationships. A matching gift can open the door for your company to form valuable relationships with organizations in your community, especially with nonprofits. For instance, if you notice a high volume of donations going to one nonprofit, you might decide to officially sponsor them and reap even more benefits of corporate social responsibility.

That said, you can’t harness these benefits without putting a sincere effort towards making philanthropy a core value of your company. That means actively promoting your program to employees and iterating on it.

What can affect employee engagement with matching gift programs?

Numerous factors can impact a company’s employee matching gift engagement, such as:

  • Employee awareness. According to Double the Donation’s guide to matching gift statistics, 78% of donors are unaware if their company offers a matching gift program, and 1 in 3 donors indicate that they’d give more if a match was available. The more employees know about your program, the better participation metrics you’ll see.
  • Ease of submission. The easier it is to submit a matching gift request, the more employees will participate in your program. Leverage a platform that integrates with an auto-submission provider to keep the process straightforward.
  • Program guidelines. The stipulations that determine who can participate in the matching gift program and how they can get involved influences the participation rate.
  • Leadership support. Employees look to leadership to embody company culture and values. If there’s a lack of support or acknowledgment of matching gifts, employees might feel discouraged from participating.
  • Flexibility in gift types. Some employees might prefer giving all at once, but others might prefer to donate smaller gifts over time. Accommodating multiple giving preferences allows you to interest more employees in getting their gifts matched. After all, our corporate philanthropy trends research found that 39% of surveyed employees wish their companies would allow greater flexibility in when and how they can participate in workplace giving.
  • Quality of feedback mechanisms. Adapting your matching gift program over time is crucial for keeping it effective as your company changes. Leveraging comprehensive and accessible feedback mechanisms is how you can tailor your programs to be more suited to your employees’ preferences.

To gauge what influences your own company’s matching gift participation rate, survey your employees and ask what aspects are beneficial and where improvements can be made. These answers usually directly correlate with your program’s effectiveness and appeal to your employee community.

Tips for Maximizing Employee Engagement through Matching Gift Programs

Now that your initial questions are answered, you might be wondering how to launch your own matching gift program. Before we go over the details, let’s review the big-picture ways that you can increase engagement.

 A diagram showing the tips for maximizing employee engagement through matching gifts as described below.

  • Create a culture of giving and volunteerism. Whether you ask potential hires about their interest in social responsibility or offer paid time off for company volunteering, you should integrate giving back into your regular schedule. You’ll attract passionate advocates to join your team and cultivate a community that values your CSR efforts, making implementing a matching gift program simple.
  • Leverage technology and software solutions. As mentioned above, using employee-facing CSR platforms streamlines program management and participation. For instance, using a CSR platform that integrates with an auto-submission platform can cut at least half of the steps in a matching gift submission process.
  • Sharing the program’s impact with participants. As donors, your employees are entitled to information about your corporate giving activities and progress. Ensure you report on your matching gift program’s metrics, such as the number of participants and the total amount donated by the company, so your employees stay informed about your progress.

Your company needs to do more than simply start a matching gift program to get employees excited about getting involved. Implementing these large-scale atmospheric and program shifts will make it easier for your matching gift program to make a lasting impact.

How to Start an Employee Matching Gift Program

These simple steps can help you start your matching gift program on the right foot:

an infographic that demonstrates the steps for starting a matching gift program, as highlighted below.

Develop a corporate giving policy

Before you lay out your specific matching gift policies, you should create a framework for your overall approach to corporate social responsibility and giving. Ensure you cover the following aspects in your policy:

  • Goals of your program
  • Bundle options, such as making a higher match ratio available when the employee have volunteered a certain amount
  • Match ratio
  • Minimum and maximum match amounts
  • Eligibility requirements
  • Types of gifts accepted
  • Affinity causes that you contribute more to
  • Tax deductibility information
  • Submission deadlines
  • Contact information for the program administrator
  • Feedback devices

Record all of these stipulations in a visible location, such as the employee handbook or in your employee-facing CSR platform, so your staff has the most essential information at their fingertips. If you make changes to your policy, communicate them to your entire team to keep your program running smoothly.

Pick a CSR platform

If you haven’t already settled on a CSR platform that supports matching gifts, now is the time to research your options and pick the best fit. Keep these important considerations in mind while you choose your platform:

  • Cost
  • Matching gift auto-submission integration
  • Employee access
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Mobile accessibility
  • Success stories/good reviews
  • Scalability
  • User-friendliness
  • Supports matching gifts and any other corporate giving initiatives you decide to take on
  • Robust reporting capabilities

Once you’ve narrowed down your prospective providers based on these criteria, schedule demos, consultations, and any other meetings to help you make your decision. Also, remember to include all relevant parties in your research and trial processes, such as your software experts, company leadership, and CSR program chairs, so you get a diverse array of perspectives on the available options.

Communicate the program’s impact to employees

As previously mentioned, one of the biggest barriers to employee participation in matching gift programs is a lack of awareness. To achieve maximum visibility, you should:

  • Create a matching gifts information page. Many companies have shared drives or Intranet pages where employees can share internal information. Create an internal information hub for your matching gift program where you can post updates and answer questions.
  • Leverage multiple channels. Whether you’re spreading the word about your program via email or in person at your all-hands meeting, pick company-wide channels to inform your employees about your program.
  • Host recognition and appreciation events. Leveraging peer feedback is a great way to get employees interested in your new program. Ask employees who have had their gifts matched before to speak to the program’s effectiveness in spreading social good. You could also ask nonprofit representatives from causes related to your company’s focus to speak about how matched donations impact their missions.

Similar to your external marketing efforts, your program will only be as popular as your communications are effective. Use marketing tools such as powerful calls to action and branded images to make your communications stand out.

Celebrate successes and recognize employee participation

Once the matching gift requests start rolling in, you should take the time to thank those who made the program successful—your employees. Showing your heartfelt gratitude can help employees feel more engaged and inspired to renew their involvement going forward. Share your thanks by:

  • Sending appreciation eCards. Make your thank-you message more memorable than a passing comment in the hallway by leveraging custom employee appreciation eCards. Take it a step further by giving peers the ability to recognize each other for their charitable activity so everyone has a chance to support each other.
  • Awarding prizes to participants. Creating a competitive, yet fun gamified atmosphere with prizes on the line helps employees get more absorbed in your program and allows you to show your thanks. For instance, let’s say you’re running a matching gift day coinciding with Giving Tuesday. Consider offering all participants a small prize as a thank-you gift and award the top five donors with more valuable gifts.
  • Creating a yearly award. You might already have a yearly awards ceremony where high performers are recognized for their contributions to the company. You could add an award for “biggest community contributor” or “advocate of the year” to show thanks to the most influential participants.

A little recognition can go a long way in securing long-term support for your matching gift program. As long as your sincerity comes through, your employees will feel the love and keep giving!

Click here to read about real companies who have leveraged matching gifts in our essential guide.

Wrapping Up + Additional Resources

Now that you know how and why matching gift programs can influence your employee engagement, it’s time to launch your own efforts! By keeping your employees at the center of your strategy and leveraging the right technology, you can achieve remarkable results for your company, both internally and externally.

Click the banner to learn more about how auto-submission impacts matching gift program participation.