Double the Donation’s team regularly receives questions from churches, synagogues, ministries, and religious groups regarding whether they’re eligible for matching gift program. We strongly believe in only promoting our matching gift service to nonprofits which could benefit from it as an effective component of their overall church fundraising strategy, so hopefully this article provides the clarification that you’re looking for.
In fact, if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you were directed to the article by Double the Donation’s customer service team or from a search engine where you were looking for this exact information.
Standard Wording from Companies with Matching Gift Programs:
While every company’s matching gift guidelines is different, each company normally addresses the matching gift eligibility of religious based organizations. For instance:
American Express matches donations to most 501(c)(3) organizations. In fact, the company will even match select donations at a 2:1 ratio if an employee also serves on the nonprofit’s board or volunteers for over 50 hours in a year.
Here’s what American Express says about houses of worship in their matching gift guidelines:
Question: Are houses of worship eligible organizations?
Answer: No, gifts to houses of worship (churches, synagogues, etc.) will not be matched. However, the program will match a gift to an ongoing and independently-run program affiliated with a religious organization, if the gift is restricted to a nonsectarian project that provides needed social services to the community at large on a nondiscriminatory basis without any religious teaching, directive or requirements to receive services (e.g. a soup kitchen, a homeless shelter, a food bank, etc.).
Fun fact, in 1954 GE was the first company to offer an employee matching gift program. At the time GE only matched to higher education but has since expanded their matching to encompass most schools and nonprofits.
Here’s what GE’s guidelines have to say about whether churches, synagogues, mosques, and other houses of worship are eligible for matching gift funds.
Religious organizations (churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship), or other organizations primarily promoting religious purposes. Other faith-based community service organizations or schools may be considered eligible if their programs:
- are open to all individuals in the community regardless of religious belief;
- serve a secular purpose, such as food pantry, homeless shelter or education;
- do not require participation in prayer, worship or other religious activities as a condition of receiving service(s) offered; and
- do not use the individual donation or resulting match for religious purposes.
DirectTV has one of the most generous employee giving programs! The company matches employee donations up to $20,000 annually as well as provides a grant of $250 after an employee volunteers for 25 hours in a year. Like most companies, DirecTV provides a detailed match policy.
Here’s what DirecTV says about matches to religious organizations:
Gifts made to religious organizations (DIRECTV will match gifts to qualified institutions
affiliated with religious organizations, but will not match gifts made directly to religious
DirectTV will not contribute matching funds to churches and religious organizations which fulfill tithes, pledges or other church‐related financial commitments.
DirecTV will not contribute matching funds to institutions that restrict admission or aid due to race or religious beliefs.
The Pew Charitable Trusts
The Pew Charitiable Trusts program provides a 2:1 match on employee donations up to $10,000 annually (meaning a $20,000 match).
Here’s what The Pew Charitable Trusts says about matches to religious organizations:
Yes. Pew will match contributions made to religious organizations, such as houses of worship, schools, hospitals, shelters, etc., just as it would to any other qualifying organization
Chevron matches donations from employees and retirees as well as offers grants to nonprofits when employees and retirees volunteer.
Here’s what Chevron says about matching to faith based organizations:
Parts of churches and private schools. Chevron Humankind will provide matching funds and grants to
programs operated by faith-based organizations if those programs: (a) are open to all individuals in the
community regardless of religious belief; (b) serve a secular purpose, such as a food pantry or a
homeless shelter; and (c) do not require participants to join in religious worship as a condition of receiving
the services that the nonprofit offers.
Religious / Faith Based Organizations Providing Social Services are Matching Gift Eligible
In our previous article on standard elements outlined in corporate matching gift guidelines, we addressed some of the basic eligibility criteria for matching gift programs.
In general, companies match to either all 501(c)(3) nonprofits and schools or place certain restrictions on the types of organizations eligible.
When it comes to donations to churches, synagogues, temples, and other religious or faith based organizations, the general rule of thumb is that if an organization provides social services to the greater community or is a K-12 school, those donations are match eligible.
Should You Subscribe to Double the Donation’s Matching Gift Service?
While we love to grow our business, we only want to accept customers which can benefit from our service. Much of Double the Donation’s team left the for-profit world for an opportunity to better the world by helping nonprofits raise more money. The last thing we want to do is signup and charge nonprofits that won’t benefit from our service.
So how do you know if your organization can benefit from Double the Donation’s service? It’s important to remember many companies exclude religious organizations unless the match goes to support services in the broader community (ex. food banks, homeless shelters, schools, etc.)
The easiest way to determine whether our matching gift service would be beneficial is to look over your donation records. If you’ve received matching gifts from companies in the past, there’s a good chance your organization meets the general eligibility requirements.
Becoming more aware of the what corporations match gifts to religious organization will help you understand if promoting matching gifts would be beneficial to your organization.
Discover more matching gift and fundraising advice with our additional resources:
- Church Fundraising Ideas. Even if your church isn’t eligible for matching gifts, that’s okay! There are plenty of other fundraising ideas available, and we have a list that covers many events, activities, and strategies you can use to raise money.
- Corporate Matching Gift Programs. Need to go back to the basics? Our comprehensive guide will give you the rundown on corporate matching gifts.
- Top Matching Gift Companies. For a list of companies that offer fantastic matching gift programs, check out our list of top matching gift companies.
- Matching Gift Eligibility. Still have questions about your matching gift eligibility? We break down each type of organization to help you figure out the restrictions surrounding your matching gift eligibility.