If you’ve graduated college, chances are, your alma mater has contacted you asking for a donation at some point. Perhaps this happened even before you graduated. Statistics show that many alumni actually do donate to their colleges and universities. Luckily, many of these generous gifts can be matched by alumni’s employers.
Most matching gift programs began with only matching to colleges and universities. Since then, many companies have expanded their programs to include most other nonprofit organizations. However, there still remains a large contingent of companies that only match to higher education, excluding K-12 educational organizations and schools.
If your higher education institution has a strong donor base, check out these major companies that offer matching gifts to their employees:
- Allstate Insurance
- ConAgra Foods, Inc.
- eBay, Inc.
- Matching Gift Database: Higher Ed Examples
Almost all the companies you’ve read about in our previous posts (such as Bank of America, GE, Coca-Cola, Home Depot) will match gifts to colleges or universities, too. However, for this post, we decided to put together a list of some companies with lesser-known matching gift programs. Oftentimes, when a company only matches to higher education colleges and universities, their program flies under the radar.
Allstate has an employee matching gift program completely devoted to higher education. Through the Good Hands Matching Grant Program, Allstate matches donations made to higher education institutions at a 1:1 rate. In other words, employee donations can potentially be doubled.
The company will match a range of donations from $25 to $5,000. Individuals who are eligible include employees, agency owners, personal financial representatives, and retirees.
Plus, Allstate also offers volunteer grants for employees who’d rather donate their time than money. Through the Hands in the Community Grants Program, employees and agency owners who volunteer more than 16 hours in a calendar year are eligible for volunteer grants.
The volunteer grant amount depends on employee position. While regular employees are eligible for $500 volunteer grants, agency owners are eligible for $1,000 volunteer grants.
ConAgra Foods, Inc.
ConAgra will match gifts made to higher education between $25 and $1,000. Both full-time and part-time employees are eligible. However, retirees are not eligible. They also donate to other educational organizations, such as nutrition education programs.
To submit a request, employees either fill out a paper form or an electronic form. Unlike most companies, employees aren’t restricted to just one type of form. However, they do have to submit the matching gift request within 90 days of the initial donation. After that point, the company will no longer match the donation.
The popular online auction site, eBay, will match employee donations made between $25 and $2,500 per year. The company increased the maximum from $500 just a few years ago, which is a substantial jump!
While full-time and part-time employees are eligible for the program, retired employees are not. In addition to matching gifts to education, eBay will also match gifts to most other nonprofit organizations. Unlike some companies, employees are urged to submit matching gift requests as soon as possible, because there’s a company-wide annual limit.
As part of its corporate philanthropy initiative, eBay also offers volunteer grants. Grant amounts are tier-based, depending on the number of volunteer hours employees finish:
- 8-24 hours = a $100 grant
- 25-49 hours = a $250 grant
- 50+ hours = a $500 grant
Be on the lookout for this popular employer when developing your corporate giving strategy.
Sherwin-Williams offers a matching gift program where the company matches up to $3,000 in donations to a wide variety of nonprofits. This includes higher education institutions. The company’s matching gift program is open to both current employees as well as retirees.
The company matches at a 1.5:1 ratio. For instance, if a match-eligible individual donates $100 to your school, your institution will receive a $150 match, totaling to $350.
In case that’s not impressive enough, Sherwin-Williams also has a great volunteer grant program. After an employee volunteers 50 hours, Sherwin-Williams provides the eligible organization or school with $200. Each employee can request up to three separate grants each year, totaling to $600.
ExxonMobil is very well-known for its corporate philanthropy, specifically for its efforts toward educational institutions. The company offers two matching gift programs, the Arts and Cultural Matching Gift Program and the Educational Matching Gift Program.
Through the Educational Matching Gift Program, ExxonMobil will match donations to higher education institutions, including U.S. colleges and universities. They’ll provide up to $22,500 in matching gift funds per year. However, for cultural organizations, the company only matches up to $2,000.
Plus, the company offers two volunteer grant programs. For its individual grant program, when an employee or retiree volunteers for 20 hours, ExxonMobil provides a volunteer grant of $500. Each individual can request up to four grants per year. For its team volunteer involvement program, ExxonMobil awards a $500 grant when a team of five or more eligible participants volunteer for a combined total of at least 20 hours. While employees are limited to $2,000 in grants per year, individual organizations are limited to $5,000.
Matching Gift Database: Higher Ed Examples
Now that you know of a few major companies that offer matching gifts to higher education institutions, let’s dive into a few ways you can incorporate it into your fundraising strategy. With a dedicated matching gift database, there are multiple ways to promote matching gifts to your institution’s donors.
By adding a matching gift database like Double the Donation to your tech toolkit, you boost your fundraising potential. Specifically, the tool allows donors to search their employers, provides them with forms and updated information, and much more.
Plus, you can embed the tool across all your online fundraising channels. For instance, easily add the tool on a dedicated matching gift page, your online donation form, or your Ways to Give page. Get creative!
As a higher education institution with a large donor base, you may benefit more from 360MatchPro by Double the Donation. This tool is a fully automated matching gift platform that identifies more match-eligible donors, automatically follows up with them, and even creates an automated match plan for you.
Let’s look at a few examples of how a matching gift database can help boost your college’s funds!
Dedicated Matching Gift Page
If alumni are looking for different ways to support their alma mater, well-designed matching gift pages can offer helpful information about multiplying their contributions. Typically, these pages mention that even if a donor’s own employer doesn’t match their contributions, their spouse’s employer might.
Also, consider giving alumni instructions on how to obtain a matching donation from their employer. If you’re subscribed to Double the Donation, embed the search tool and encourage donors to look for more in-depth information about their employers’ matching gift programs. Additionally, you may want to offer vital contact information in case donors have additional questions.
Check out this example of a dedicated matching gift page from Flagler College:
Donation forms are another great way to start the conversation about matching gifts. Plus, at this stage, users are already ready to give and will be more motivated to multiply their contributions without reaching back into their own pockets.
In addition to the other donation options on the page, consider offering donors the chance to look into their employers’ matching gift programs with a searchable database tool (like Double the Donation!).
Check out this example of Eckerd College’s donation form that promotes matching gifts:
Ways to Give Page
Many institutions have a Ways to Give page on their website. These typically include different donation methods (e.g. online with a credit card or through the mail). They’re also a great way to promote corporate matching gift programs!
Not only can you provide general information about matching gift programs, but you can also provide donors with Double the Donation’s search tool to learn more about their specific employer’s gift matching policies.
Check out this Ways to Give page from the University of Utah:
Most colleges and universities have large donor bases. Therefore, they’re probably overlooking a lot of revenue opportunities. Think your institution can benefit?
Matching gifts are a valuable resource, so ensure that your institution is taking advantage of all available revenue. In fact, the colleges and universities that have the most matching gift success incorporate matching gifts throughout their broader fundraising efforts. It won’t take much, but, as you can see from the corporate guidelines sampled above, a little goes a long way with matching gifts.
This list, while helpful, doesn’t come close to covering all matching gift opportunities. Rather, it’s a sampling of well-known companies with matching gift programs. While these major companies do offer generous matching gift programs for educational institutions, they aren’t the only companies that do. Make sure to stay up-to-date with your donors’ employers. That way, you can maximize your revenue potential!
Interested in learning more about corporate giving for colleges and universities? Check out these resources:
- Top Matching Gift Companies. For more matching gift companies (most of which donate to higher educational institutions), go over this list.
- 33 School Fundraising Ideas That Work (Year After Year!). Check out Snowball Fundraising’s creative list of school fundraising ideas. It has a dedicated section for colleges and universities!
- Marketing Matching Gifts. Learn how to promote matching gifts with our guide. You’ll ensure your school doesn’t miss out on revenue opportunities.