Don’t Lose Your Cash to the Laundry: Matching Gift Programs
As a young adult just out of college, I sometimes catch myself being lazy when it comes to putting things in the right place, especially money. Whether a lucky $10 bill find or change from a coffee, I end up putting it in my back pocket and losing it to the laundry, simply because I didn’t take the time to make sure it got where it needed to.
Every year, nonprofit organizations miss out on $6 to $10 billion for the same reason I do, by someone not making sure their money is put in the right place. According to a study done by Double to Donation, over 18 million people in the United States work for companies with matching gift programs and 65% of Fortune 500 companies offer matching gift programs. However, the average participation rate of those employees is only 9%, meaning a lot of money isn’t getting put where it should be.
Employees are asking for opportunities to give back and corporations are following through by providing more incentivized programs. The existence of matching gift programs indicates that companies are willing to put corporate dollars into the hands of their employees and allow them to make decisions on how company money is spent. Matching gift programs also have the opportunity of fostering future relationships between nonprofit organizations and corporations, enhancing partnerships and developing the involvement of a nonprofit organization in workplace culture.
Since promoting corporate matching gift programs can be difficult with limited resources and staff, we pulled together a few tips for nonprofit organizations to optimize your gift fundraising and for corporations to maximize the impact their gifts make.
Optimize For Charities
- Collect Donor Data. First, find out where your donors work. Then you can collect information on their matching gift program. Does their employer offer matching gifts? Are your donors taking advantage of the program? How can you get more involved?
- Network in the Neighborhood. You don’t have to go looking at only big companies. Some of those small companies right down the street are looking to retain and attract top candidates, too! And they are doing it through matching gift programs. Reach out to local companies and schedule a lunch and learn so their employees can learn about a local nonprofit.
- Expand Your Horizons. Start creating a list of companies beyond just your local region that offers matching gift programs. Consider reaching out or marketing to them and educating employees on your cause. There are plenty of online services you can utilize to build your list.
Maximize for Corporations
- Communicate! Life gets crazy, your employees have a lot on their plates. It is easy for them to forget about all the great benefits they are offered. Post in the internal messaging boards, around the office, and through email about your matching gift program. The more they see it, the more they will talk about it!
- Give them a choice. According to a Giving Source study, 93% of corporations provide a group of charities or the option to donate to whichever charity the employee chooses during a workplace giving campaign, a 210% increase since 2000.
- Make it relevant. Consider the time of year or something going on in pop culture. Tie it in with the holidays or relate it to a theme to encourage participation. March is Women’s Month, so develop a matching gift campaign that demonstrates the importance of strong women, education for women, gender equality, etc. and include the option to donate to several charities that support women, women’s health and gender equality.
That we take the time to make sure our we put back things where they need to be. By engaging in matching gift programs, nonprofit organizations and the employees that give to them will reap the benefits.