While Double the Donation is focused on helping nonprofits increase fundraising from employee matching gift programs, we’re regularly contacted by corporations looking to institute matching gift programs.
Here are eight common questions from corporations looking to start a new employee matching gift program:
- What percentage of companies offer a corporate matching gift program?
- What’s the typical gift matching rate?
- How much does a matching gift program cost per employee?
- How do corporations benefit from matching gift and volunteer grant programs?
- How can we design a best-in-class corporate giving program?
- Should we use a matching gift or volunteer grant administrator?
- What are the main services provided by software vendors?
- Which companies use vendors vs. administer programs internally?
Ready to find out all the answers? Let’s dive in!
What percentage of companies offer a corporate matching gift program?
The percentage varies based on the sample you’re interested in. Specifically size of companies and what industries those companies are in play a big role in how prevelant matching gift programs are.
Large companies are far more likely than mom and pop businesses to offer comprehensive benefit programs and thus more likely to offer matching gift programs.
If you look at the Fortune 500 companies about 65% offer to match employee donations to a wide range of nonprofits (Source – Double the Donation’s Database). As you get into small companies the percentage goes down since sole proprietorships (technically companies) and 5-person companies rarely offer them.
The prevalence of matching gift programs also varies by industry. Companies with skilled labor forces (tech, pharmaceuticals, banks, etc.) are more likely to offer matching gift programs than industries with lower wage employees (restaurants, low-cost retailers, agricultural production, etc.)
What’s the typical gift matching rate? (Ex. $1:1 or $.5:1 or $3:1)?
By far the standard is a 1:1 match.
We asked Adam Weinger, Double the Donation’s President, this question and he said:
“The number I throw out casually when on the phone is 90% are 1:1 and then 10% are either greater or less than 1:1. This calculation can get a bit tricky since some companies have different match ratios for certain employee segments (retirees vs. current employees) or different segments of the nonprofit space which they match to (higher ed. vs. arts & cultural) based on their corporate philanthropy goals.”
How much does a matching gift program cost per employee?
That’s a tough one as there are a ton of variables.
The largest factor is the “maximum annual match per employee”. Whereas you can assume a standard match ratio of 1:1 the maximum amounts matched annually per employee are all over the board. Most companies fall into the $1,000 – $15,000 max per employee per year but it isn’t unusual to see maximums of $250, $500, $20,000, or $30,000.
Another factor is employee participation rates. Just because a company offers a matching gift program doesn’t mean its employees are aware of it.
Employee participation rates are also all over the board. A big factor in this is how well a company promotes employee matching gifts.
At some companies most employees are aware of the benefit (ex. Microsoft is a leader in sharing and promoting matching gift information to its employees) while employees at other companies have never heard of the programs.
A third factor is how much giving potential a company’s average employee has. For instance, think of a hedge fund vs. fast food chain.
Even if both companies have $50,000 maximums for all employees and have the same level of promotion to employees, the average charitable donation being matched is going to vary significantly.
How do corporations benefit from matching gift and volunteer grant programs?
We encourage you to read the following two different articles which our team previously wrote:
- The impact of matching gifts on employee engagement
- The importance of increasing employee engagement using corporate giving programs
But the short bullet point answer is there are all sorts of benefits including:
- Develop a reputation for giving back in communities which your corporation is based in
- Take a bottoms-up approach to corporate philanthropy by directing corporate giving dollars to the organizations which employees are passionate about
- Encourage employee philanthropy and volunteerism
- Increase employee morale and retention
- Receive tax incentives
How can we design a best-in-class corporate giving program?
We could write a novel on how to design a best-in-call corporate giving program but we think all organizations should start with four elements.
Employees are passionate about different causes. Allow them to select from any 501(c)(3) nonprofit or accredited educational institution or K-12 school. Typical categories that companies specify include:
- Higher education institutions
- K-12 schools
- Arts and cultural organizations
- Environmental groups
- Health and human service organization
- Civic and community based nonprofits
It’s important to remember that what’s important to you, the program administrator, isn’t necessarily the same causes that your company’s employees care about.
Types of giving programs:
Employees give back to communities in different ways. Some choose to donate monetarily while others may give their time. Offer a variety of employee giving programs including:
- Matching gifts
- Volunteer grants (also known as Dollars for Doers programs)
- Matching grants for participating in fundraising walks, rides, or runs
It is standard to offer corporate giving programs to full-time employees. But don’t forget to include part-time employees, retirees, and spouses as they’re some of the most active donors and volunteers and can really help raise your company’s reputation within your communities.
Click on the following companies for samples of how they’re leading their respective industries with best-in-class employee matching gift and overall employee giving programs:
Designing well thought out program guidelines isn’t enough. There must be a concentrated effort to promote the employee giving programs both internally to employees as well as externally to the communities your company is supporting.
Measuring your company’s internal success with promoting the matching gift programs and ensuring the process is user-friendly can be done by looking at your company’s employee participation rate on a regular basis. When you launch your corporate match program make sure you have a well designed outreach strategy planned for the entire company throughout the upcoming year.
Should we use a matching gift or volunteer grant program administrator?
Double the Donation is focused on helping nonprofits maximize donations received from existing matching gift and volunteer grant programs.
We don’t setup or manage corporate programs, but there are a number of companies out there that cater to corporations. 3rd party matching gift and volunteer grant program vendors include:
- AmeriGives (GivingPrograms)
- Bright Funds
- FrontStream (GivingStation)
- Consiva (JK Group)
What are the main services provided by software vendors? Does Double the Donation offer consulting services?
Each of the major vendors offers a suite of services. They’re designed to help new companies create employee matching gift programs as well as help existing companies improve and refine their matching gift program strategies and goals. These services help companies solve all technical and non-technical aspects of administering match programs including:
- Program design (What should the guidelines be?)
- Implementation of an online portal for employees to track volunteer hours and request matching gifts
- Up-to-date reporting
- Customer support for a company’s employees
- Verification of the nonprofit’s status
- Processing of grants
Yes, Double the Donation does offer consulting services to corporations.
Which companies use vendors vs. administer programs internally?
Historically the larger a company is, the more likely they are to use a vendor. For instance, most Fortune 100 companies use a vendor while mom and pop shops almost always manage their programs internally.
Over the past few years we’ve seen smaller companies increasingly choosing to go with one of the newer vendors who offer excellent cloud-based services for a reasonable price.
There’s a lot to discover about how matching gifts and volunteer grants can enhance your corporate giving program. Are you ready to learn more about this exciting subject?
Check out these helpful resources to get started:
- Mercy Corps Matching Gift Page. Want to see how philanthropies and other nonprofit organizations incorporate matching gifts into their fundraising model? Try out Mercy Corps’ employee matching gift page to get an idea of how your employees might discover their matching gift eligibility.
- Top 10 Volunteer Grant Companies for Savvy Nonprofits. Looking for a corporate blueprint of a successful volunteer grant program? Search no further! At 360MatchPro, we’ve got a list of the top 10 companies with volunteer grant programs in place that your business should emulate.