What are Matching Gifts?
Matching gifts are a type of corporate giving program that essentially double an employee’s initial donation to an eligible nonprofit organization.
The first matching gift program began in 1954. The GE Foundation created the Corporate Alumni Program that matched employee donations to schools and universities.
Since then, companies of all shapes and sizes have created matching gift programs to give back to nonprofits and encourage employee philanthropy.
This guide will take you through the basics of matching gifts and will show you how to get started with this extremely beneficial type of corporate giving.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Matching Gift Basics
Benefits of Matching Gifts
How much do companies give?
Top Matching Gift Companies
Google will match donations ranging from $50 to $6,000 at a 1:1 ratio.
They also have a separate matching gift fund for donations made to disaster relief funds (also at a 1:1 ratio for donations ranging from $50 to $6,000).
Current employees can have donations ranging from $25 to $10,000 matched at a 1:1 ratio while retiree donations from $25 to $3,000 are matched at the same ratio.
American Express will match current employees’ donations to most nonprofits at a 1:1 ratio.
Donations ranging from $25 to $8,000 are eligible to be matched. However, employees who serve on a nonprofit board can have their donations matched at a 2:1 ratio.
General Electric (GE) will match employee and retiree contributions (as well as donations made by surviving spouses of eligible GE retirees) at a 1:1 ratio.
Donations ranging from $25 to $25,000 are eligible to be matched as long as they were made to a U.S. or U.K. nonprofit.
Donations ranging from $25 to $15,000 are eligible to be matched. Employee donations are matched at a 1:1 ratio, while retiree donations are matched at a .50:1 ratio.
Other Types of Corporate Giving Programs
Getting Started with Matching Gifts
Promoting Matching Gifts
Donor engagement is at its highest during the donation process. A supporter is clearly willing to take time out of their day and money out of their pocket to support your organization.
This is the ideal time to promote matching gifts to your donors!
You can place matching gift information (or even a matching gift tool) directly on your donation form to encourage donors to look into potentially doubling their contribution right then and there.
It’s also a good idea to put a matching gift reminder on the confirmation page that appears directly after a donor submits a donation.
Your website is your nonprofit’s hub of information. Donors access your site and blog to learn more about current projects, volunteering opportunities, and different ways to give to your nonprofit.
Your website should give donors a window into the world of matching gifts!
If you have a “Ways to Give” page (and you should!), you can list matching gifts as one of the ways that donors can support your organization.
You can also create a dedicated page just about matching gifts.
You can also write about matching gifts on your nonprofit’s blog. Just make sure that you give donors plenty of matching gift information!
Many of your nonprofit’s donors are on one social media platform or another.
They’re tweeting, posting, liking, and pinning content and sharing it with their friends and family members.
Are you sharing matching gift content on these platforms, as well?
You should be!
Obviously, you shouldn’t be posting about matching gifts 24/7 (you’ll likely drive followers away with that strategy), but you can use social media to occasionally remind donors about matching gifts.
Make sure that you include a graphic (when applicable) and give donors a link out to more information about matching gifts.
Email is one of the most cost-effective communication tools out there.
You can easily get matching gift info to all or some of your donors and lead them to the appropriate forms, guidelines, and instructions.
All you have to do is mention matching gifts somewhere in your emails!
Just like you don’t want to constantly post about matching gifts on social media, your emails shouldn’t harp on matching gifts all the time.
Donors want to know about upcoming projects and events, too!
You should include matching gift information in your emails and link out to your dedicated matching gifts page as well.
Matching Gifts Submission Process
- Every company requires different amounts of information in order to accept a matching gift request.
- Most require proof that the donation was made (provided by the nonprofit) as well as proof of the nonprofit’s 501(c)(3) status (provided by the donor in the form of a tax ID number or EIN number).
- There are many variations on the matching gift submission process. For instance, some companies will only take electronic submissions while others accept paper forms.
- Information must be submitted by the nonprofit and the donor in a timely manner.
Matching Gift Tools
Prospect Research + Matching Gifts
Prospect research can help you in identifying your match-eligible donors.
Prospect screenings can reveal information such as past giving history, personal data, and employer information.
If you know that some of your donors work for companies with matching gift programs, you can more effectively target and segment your communications to those donors.
Matching Gift Metrics
1. Total Donations: In order to know how many matching gifts you’re receiving as part of the whole you have to know the total number of donations.
2. Match Eligible: You need to determine which donors are match eligible which can be determined if they indicated their employer or they used a company email address.
3. Submitted: Determine how many donors have submitted matching gift requests to their employer.
4. Verified: Your nonprofit needs to verify that it received the donation from the donor before your organization will be eligible to receive the matching gift.
5. Received: Track just how many matching gifts you received, the value of each of those gifts, which donors submitted those requests, and which companies the donations came from.