According to nonprofit consultant Double the Donation, almost 65% of U.S. companies offer matching gift programs to help boost their employees’ charitable giving power. Sadly, billions of dollars in corporate matching gift funds go unclaimed every year. If your not-for-profit isn’t actively pursuing these gifts, you may be leaving them on the table.
Most matching programs are managed by HR departments, which provide employees with matching gift forms. Typically, the employer sends the completed forms, along with the matched donations, to the charity the employee has chosen. Dollar-for-dollar matching is most common among participating businesses, but some companies offer more, others less. Many employers match donations to any nonprofit, but some are more restrictive.
To encourage increased matching gifts, draw up a list of employers in your area that offer matching. Typically, you can find this information in annual reports, on company websites or by calling companies’ HR, PR or community relations departments. If a company operates a foundation, its matching program may run through that entity.
Once you have a comprehensive and accurate list, post it on your website’s donation page. Also, use the list to reach out to existing donors you know work for those companies. All of your nonprofit’s solicitations should encourage supporters to check with their employers about the availability of matching.
Solution for unclaimed gifts
If, despite your nonprofit’s best efforts, matching gifts only occasionally trickle in, consider creating your own matching pool. Ask board members and major supporters to match donations during a certain time period, for certain populations or for a minimum donation amount. For instance, your board might match all donations from new contributors in February or a major donor might commit to match gifts made at your annual gala.
Also, keep in mind that some charitable foundations will match gifts to jump-start a fundraising effort or major campaign. Such an arrangement might be easier to set up than securing a large employer to donate to your organization.
Easy ways to encourage donors
Classy, a cloud fundraising company, has found that fundraising campaigns that leverage matching gifts raise three to five times more money than those that don’t. Encouraging donors to take advantage of such matches doesn’t have to mean a lot more time and effort on your part. You might, for example, use short social media posts to remind donors. For more ideas on bolstering donations and funding, contact Cordia. Our nonprofit accounting experts can help you achieve best practices, increase productivity, reduce costs and improve internal controls.