How to Maximize Employee Donation Match Programs

Posted by Ayanna Rutherford on 10.12.2020

man in black jacket and blue denim jeans standing beside brown wooden box trailer during daytime

Employee donation match programs can be an additional fundraising source for nonprofits. They can double the amount of revenue from one donor, increasing a $2,500 donation to $5,000. While many companies place restrictions on matching donations, encouraging your donors to participate in a matching program can be very beneficial for your organization.

Benefits go beyond donation dollars

In addition to bringing in extra dollars, match programs provide organizations with additional donors, volunteers, and access to corporate funding.

Corporate vetting helps with donor acquisition

Once you find a donor who wants to participate in their company’s match program it is important that you support them through the application process. When companies roll out a donation match program there is usually an application process where the organization is vetted. Corporations want to ensure that the receiving organization has the proper documentation (i.e., 501(c)3 status) and is aligned with the company’s culture.  

The vetting process will determine if the nonprofit is eligible to participate in their program. Program eligibility can be contingent on several factors. For example, a delivery company may match donations only for organizations that promote sustainability, and a restaurant group may only support nonprofits that address hunger.

Once an organization meets the criteria for the program, they are usually added to a list of participants. This list can be a great way to engage new donors. Employees of the company usually have access to the list which can serve as free marketing to potential donors who were not familiar with your organization but believe in your cause. This donor may feel more comfortable with giving to your organization because you have been vetted by their employer-opening up a new group of donors.

Improved volunteer pipeline

Employee match programs are also helpful for creating a volunteer pipeline. More and more companies are giving their employees time off to volunteer with organizations and several designate a day where teams go and give their time. Often the companies who are chosen for volunteer days are from the company’s match list. Employees and the company tend to send volunteers to organizations where they have an existing relationship.

Can convert to corporate dollars and long-term support

Matching donation programs can also open the door to corporate funding for your organization. Companies, especially large corporations, may sponsor fundraising events, campaigns, or specific programs. Organizations that have a relationship with the company through match programs are better position to receive funding because they are vetted, and the company’s employees have shown interest by donating and/or volunteering with the organization. If your organization receives a lot of support from a company’s employees through their match program, you could receive annual sponsorship.

How to get more of your donors to participate in the employee match programs?

It is important to ask when a donor makes their first contribution if their employer offers to match donations. This is a great question that can help your organization get your foot in the door at the new company or continue to build support with a company where you have a relationship. There are several ways to ask the donor about their employee match program including adding language to their donation receipt that says something like, “Want to increase your impact? Does your employer offer a donation match program? Ask them today!”.

Designate a fundraising campaign for employer donation match programs

Running a campaign to inspire your donors to participate in their employers’ match program, at least once a year, is a great way to remind your donors that their dollars could go further. Campaigns like this also serve as a reminder to donors who may have switched companies and need to enroll your organization in their new company’s program or if their company has launched a matching program since they started supporting your cause.

Photo Credit: Joel Muniz

Topics: Donor Relationships, Corporations, Match, Donations