Corporate matching gifts occur when an individual makes a charitable contribution and the individual’s employer matches the employee’s gift by sending a contribution to the same nonprofit organization. Corporations will in some cases match an employee’s volunteer hours with a matching gift.
Even in today’s economy, corporate matching gifts are still alive and well. Some companies may have suspended them temporarily or cut-back; however, many companies have actually increased them. The matching funds enable the employee to dictate where the corporation will designate its charitable dollars. This takes the heat away from the corporation regarding the decision about its charitable giving. The corporation is also able to support those organizations in the community that are important to the corporation’s employees.
This stream of revenue is often overlooked by nonprofits. In order to have a successful matching gifts program, the nonprofit organization MUST make it part of their development plan with action steps and measurable goals. The goals might be to increase matching gifts by $2,000 or $5,000; a number that makes sense based upon the organization’s past history with matching gifts and the size of the organization’s database.
Nonprofits need to promote the matching gift program. A few ideas might include:
- An article in every newsletter
- A special email sent out to donors
- A special email to prospective donors letting them know that their employer might match their gift
- Include reminders in all appeals and acknowledgments
Whatever form of communication you select, and multiple forms are recommended, you need to explain to the donor how corporate matching gifts work – what they need to do and what you will do. This is often a process of educating the donor.
An organization also needs to research which companies in the community have a matching gifts program. If you are not sure, check out there web site or even better yet, call them. You might learn about other funding opportunities from that business; and establish a contact with the business. You may be very surprised at what is out there.