If matching gift programs were second graders on a playground, they might sound something like this:
“My matching gift ratio is higher than yours!”
“Who cares! My company matches bigger gifts than yours.”
“My company had the first matching gift program.”
“First is the worst! It’s all about matching fundraising pledges.”
Those kids could bicker for days and not come to a conclusion about what makes the best matching gift program. Truthfully, all matching gift programs are equally great. Corporate giving supports employees’ passions and gives more to nonprofits, which helps a lot of people. The differences between the programs define them, but do not make any one program better than the others.
However, several matching gift programs offer creative incentives to get more employees involved. Businesses want employees to get involved in their communities, and matching gift programs help to accomplish that. Corporate giving helps companies to help out, too. Companies want to donate, and matching gift programs allow employees to choose where the donations go.
There’s a host of creative ways that businesses get their employees more involved in charitable giving. The ideas differ, but they all do the same great job of helping more nonprofits to raise more money.
Aetna allows employees to earn up to eight additional hours of paid time off — equal to an extra day off from work — when employees give at the company’s designated ‘Sponsor Level’. The sponsor level is a percentage of an employees total salary that varies according to different salary levels. This enables all employees to earn the additional time off without having to sacrifice too much.
Aetna also matches donations to eligible nonprofits at a 1:1 ratio.
Each year, BP gives employees $300 to donate to the nonprofits of their choosing. That’s it. No strings attached. BP is committed to helping local communities, and they let employees feel more involved by letting them choose where the money goes.
The BP Fabric of America Program gives employees two options:
- Donate $300 to a single eligible nonprofit.
- Give two $150 gifts to separate eligible nonprofits.
BP also runs a matching gift program that matches up to $5,000 worth of donations per employee at a 1:1 ratio.
Some companies, such as CVS, want to prioritize certain forms of giving. CVS incentivizes their employees to raise money for events by offering to match the donations raised by employees up to $1,000.
The minimum donation to receive a matching gift is $250. This allows CVS to ensure that employees truly care about the events they choose to give to and that there are enough funds to match the gifts of all philanthropic employees.
Never fear! An Expedia policy change is here!
Expedia now matches donations to eligible nonprofits across the globe. Donations are matched at a 1:1 ratio, and employees can request matches on as much as $5,000 worth of charitable gifts per year.
In 1954, General Electric started the first matching gift program. Since then, the company has donated over $1 billion in matching gifts. GE is a matching gift leader for being first, and for staying at the top of the pack for all this time.
Through the GE matching gift program:
- Employees may request matching gifts up to $25,000 per year
- GE matches at a 1:1 ratio
GE’s 60 years of matching gift history and generous matching gift limits are astonishing and put the company in it’s own category.
But it’s important to remember that all matching gift programs are unique matching gift programs. Not only do match ratios and donation amounts vary by the employer, but not every company offers corporate giving. It’s a true privilege for employees to be able to request matching gifts in order to raise more money for the causes they care about. It may sound more exciting to be able to earn paid time off or to give technology products through a matching gift program, but it’s also unique to be able to request matching gifts at all and help nonprofits more than the employees of other companies.
- Personal financial match — Employees make personal contributions to eligible nonprofits, and Great-West matches those donations up to $5,000.
- Fundraising match — Employees can raise money for nonprofits through fundraisers, such as charity walks and runs, and Great-West will match those donations up to $1,500.
By giving employees multiple ways to give, Great-West helps to encourage more community involvement. The matching gifts offer the incentive of employees knowing that their involvement will deliver double the positive impact.
Employing more than 317,000 people, Hewlett-Packard is a leader in the information technology sector. They’re also a leader in the matching gift world, especially through their product donation match program.
HP offers an Employee Product Giving Program, which allows employees to give HP products instead of money. Employees pay 25% of the product’s list price, and HP pays the remaining 75%. HP will match up to $15,000 worth of products per employee.
For monetary donations, Hewlett-Packard matches at a 1:1 ratio and up to $1,000 annually per employee.
Since 2007, HP has donated over $48 million through monetary and product donations. $25 million worth of that is from product donations alone, which goes to show that employees value being able to give more tangible solutions, and the product giving option likely gets more employees involved in HP’s matching gift program.
Encouraging employees to give back to their communities starts with companies establishing cultures of giving. Microsoft is a prime example of how to get the ball rolling with a corporate giving program.
Not only is Microsoft a leader in matching gifts, offering a 1:1 match on donations up to $15,000 per year for every employee, but they get new employees involved in their philanthropy from the start. New Microsoft hires are given $50 grants to give to the nonprofits of their choosing. It’s Microsoft’s way of showing their new hires that it’s important to give back, and that they should take advantage of one of the most generous matching gift programs.
Corporate donations from Microsoft’s employee giving program totaled $113 million in 2013. None of that would have been possible without a plethora of employees who had been giving since their very first days with the company.
Sometimes creating an awesome matching gift program isn’t about giving more money or finding creative ways to give, such as through product donations. Sometimes the best way to incentivize employee philanthropy is by forming a matching gift program that doesn’t just give back to nonprofits, but gives back to employees, too.
In addition to making awesome chocolate milk, Nestle tries to make employees happy through its Fair Share program, which is a paid time off program. Through Fair Share, employees donate a full day’s pay to a nonprofit, and Nestle rewards this generosity with two additional paid days off of work during the year of the donation. To make the deal as enticing as their world-class chocolate milk, Nestle matches the donations.
Paid time off programs vary by company. Some employers give one day off, some multiple, and the donation amounts necessary to earn time off differ. What all PTO programs have in common is that they do all the good that normal matching gift programs do for nonprofits, but they also do extra good for the employees who donate.
The company celebrates its loyal employees. After five years with RealNetworks, employees receive a $500 grant that can be given to any eligible nonprofit. It’s the company’s way of showing employees that their commitment matters, and that all the good they do for RealNetworks can be extended to the larger community.
Soros Fund Management
A New York City-based investment management firm, Soros Fund Management has consistently been one of the most profitable hedge funds. By offering a high matching gift ratio to employees, they don’t keep all that money for themselves.
Soros employs fewer than 500 people, but they have one of the most generous matching gift programs. They match 3:1 on all donations up to $100,000 annually per employee. They also match partner donations at a 2:1 ratio. Partner companies may request matching gifts on donations up to $300,000 per calendar year.
High match ratios work for Soros because they have relatively few employees in relation to their high profit margins. Many companies simply cannot offer such high match ratios, or maximum amounts to be matched, as they have far more employees and need to be able to match gifts for as many as possible. Still, Soros is an excellent example of how a company can support employees and give more back when it has the means to do so.
Many nonprofits host runs, walks, bike rides, and other fundraising events for which participants seek sponsors in order to raise money. The pledges add up into a sizable donation to the nonprofit, and several companies will match these fundraising donation matches.
One such company is State Street, the second oldest financial institution in the United States and an employer of over 30,000 people, which operates two matching gift programs. The first is called GiveMore, which is a normal matching gift program that matches employee donations one-to-one. All employees can request matches up to $5,000.
The second program is CollectMore, which is State Street’s matching gift program for fundraising donations. Employees can raise money from sponsors, donate the funds to a nonprofit, and State Street will match the gifts up to $5,000 per year per employee. If an employee requests a matching gift for a fundraising donation, then that matching gift counts against his or her $5,000 that can be matched through the GiveMore program. Between the two programs, employees may only donate up to $5,000.
Certain State Street employees can give more through matching gifts:
- Senior vice presidents can give $15,000
- Executive vice presidents can give $25,000
- Board of Directors, CEO, president, and vice chairs can give $35,000
However, the max for CollectMore donations is $5,000 for all employees, and any amount that is used of that $5,ooo counts towards the greater amounts that the above employees can give.
Plenty of companies offer matching gift programs, and it’s important for nonprofits to promote corporate giving to donors. One of the biggest reasons that nonprofits fail to raise money from matching gifts is due to a lack of awareness for corporate giving. Billions of dollars worth of potential matching gift funds go unclaimed each year. Don’t let your nonprofit add to that statistic. Learn how to increase fundraising from matching gifts today.