Donation Matching Programs Explained
A job today is much more than just a paycheque. People want to work for a company that stands for something and gives back to the community or the world in some way. For many companies, this can be found in a matching gift program, which can help the donor, a charitable cause, and the employer.
Gift matching programs are a type of corporate philanthropy that provides donors the opportunity to maximize the impact of their gift to the charitable cause of their choice. Gifts can range in size and the ratio at which the employer chooses to match can vary, but many companies will match an employee’s donation at a 1:1 ratio, typically starting at $25. Here’s how it works:
1. A donor makes a gift to the charitable organization of their choice.
2. The donor submits a request for a matching gift to their employer.
3. The employer reviews the request and the charitable organization to ensure eligibility.
4. The charitable organization confirms the employee’s donation.
5. If eligible, the employer matches the donor’s gift to the charitable organization at the ratio determined by the employer.
By following a few best practices, gift matching is a relatively straightforward way for donors to do more with their donation (in most cases by doubling its value), and the benefits are not limited to donors alone. Here are a few ways gift matching programs make the world a better place.
Boost employee engagement through giving
Socially conscious employers often attract higher calibre employees, and it’s in the employers’ best interest to keep these team members engaged. One way to do this is to support the charitable causes employees care about through gift matching.
Not only do employees feel good about their donation to a cause that is close to their hearts, but they can also feel good that their employer supports them too. This leads to better experiences for the employee in their role and a sense of pride to be part of a company that contributes to the social good. The result is a more satisfying workplace, higher employee retention, and happier workers.
A great example of corporate gift matching programs is from RBC (The Royal Bank of Canada), who will match employee donations from $100 to $5,000. A perk of RBC's matching gift program is that part-time employees and retirees are also eligible to participate and can have their donations matched at a dollar for dollar ratio.
More support where it’s needed
It may go without saying, but charitable organizations stand to gain the most from gift matching programs. Sure, not every donor has the benefit of working for a company with a matching gift program, and those that do won’t always have every single contribution matched. But non-profits and charitable organizations would be wise to promote corporate matching gifts to their supporters at every opportunity. Those who do end up submitting their donations for a company match can result in more financial support, which over time, adds up to more support where it’s needed the most.
Be a good corporate citizen
A company’s actions can go a long way to make a positive change in the community and in turn, impact how the community perceives that company.
When a business matches its employees’ donations, together it can have a greater social impact than if the employee donations alone. In addition to generating more funding, matching gifts can improve corporate reputation which can not only help business it also inspires other companies to follow suit.
More ways to match
Not all corporate gift matching involves a financial gift. Volunteer grant programs are corporate giving programs that reward employees who donate their efforts to a non-profit. Through volunteer grant programs, companies donate to non-profits based on the number of hours their employees volunteer there.
Another option is in-kind donations, such as contributions of products or services that a company gives at reduced or no cost to non-profits. These can sometimes also be considered for matching. In-kind donations can include equipment for a project, tax services, office space, or food and drinks for an event.
Fundraising matches, like matching gifts, provide non-profits with donations after an employee has donated time or effort to the non-profit. Examples include walkathons, runs, or bicycle events. The participant’s employer will match the money they raise through sponsorships or other donations.
When planning a philanthropic gift, it’s a good idea for donors to first discuss with their financial advisor. Gift Funds Canada can support this planning process with expertise about virtually every type of gift, offer professional advice and support, and answer questions for both donors and financial professionals.