Home Donor Management A Guide to Donation Matching Programs

A Guide to Donation Matching Programs

by Bryan Halverson
Header graphic for guide to donation matching programs

A matching gift program can be a great way for a nonprofit organization to maximize individual donations and corporate giving. But what is donation matching? Donation matching programs refer to when an individual or corporation pledges to match donations that are given to an eligible nonprofit by other donors. They may match donations up to a certain percentage or sometimes even double the donations that are made.

This article will explore why corporate matching gifts are valuable, why companies match donations, and how companies partner with major donors to increase their donation amount.

Why Is Donation Matching Such an Effective Fundraising Strategy?

Matching gifts are a great way for corporations to give back. Employer matching gift programs, in which an employer matches the amount of money their employees have donated to the company’s favorite charity, were first popularized by GE in 1978.

These days, many companies offer donation matching opportunities that support public schools or other philanthropic efforts, such as hunger relief or disaster response.

Donation matching can be an effective fundraising strategy because it helps raise more money from donors. A nonprofit may want to talk to their major donors or local corporations about implementing a matching gift program for their organization if they find their donor base is not as supportive financially or has been declining in recent years.

Types of Corporate Matching Gift Programs

Companies can choose whether they want to match all gifts up to a certain amount (this is called “fixed-amount” matching) or every dollar donated (called “dollar-for-dollar” matching).

Fixed-Amount Matching

Fixed-amount matching gift programs are where a donor or company pledges to match donations up to a specific amount. While this may sound like a less generous move than matching every donation that comes in, that amount can often be quite large, and this type of gift matching still encourages more giving from each donor or employee.

Dollar-for-Dollar Matching

Dollar-for-dollar matches are more of a “gamble” since the company offers full donation matches regardless of the overall total cash donations the organization receives during a certain period of time. The amount the company ends up donating depends entirely on the overall amount the nonprofit is able to raise during that time period, so it’s a huge opportunity for nonprofits to make people aware of the company’s matching gift campaign.

Why Do Companies Offer Corporate Matching Gifts?

A large corporation has plenty of incentives to offer matching gifts to eligible nonprofits, such as:

  • Generating goodwill with its employees
  • Increasing employee pride and loyalty to their company
  • Attracting potential customers, clients, or other businesses
  • Showcasing the company’s commitment to corporate giving programs in general
  • Tax advantages

A matching gift program is an effective way for a business to show they care about not only making money but also doing good and using funds responsibly. It can be a good PR move too!

When word gets out on social media platforms, such as Facebook or Twitter, that people’s gifts will be matched, they are often more likely to donate because their dollars will go further to help the cause of the nonprofit organization. For the company offering the matching gifts, they are able to increase awareness of their brand, which means the matching gift opportunity allows companies to give back to the community while simultaneously increasing their customer base.

How Companies Can Start a Matching Gift Campaign

There are effective tried-and-true ways to run a corporate donation matching campaign. Companies can either match all gifts up to a certain amount or they can make a matching gift for every dollar donated by their employees (and sometimes their friends and family members) to double the donation.

To start a gift-matching campaign, the people in charge must first determine what the company’s matching amount will be. Once everything is set in motion, it’s a good idea to make a list of the company’s current employees and email them with information about the campaign so they can forward it to their friends or family members who may also be interested in taking advantage of the gift matching opportunity.

Rules and Regulations for Donation Matching Campaigns

To make sure you’re following applicable state laws and tax codes for your nonprofit’s fundraiser, you should first consult a tax attorney. A nonprofit organization should also be aware of some general rules and regulations.

The matching amount must not exceed what is legally permissible by state law, which varies from $25 to $100 or more per individual (depending on your location).

Some companies have limits on how often they will match gifts; this usually depends on whether or not other employees are eligible to receive corporate donation matches in addition to retirees and board members.

Tools to Increase and Manage Donations

While a donation matching program is an excellent way to increase cash donations, the ideal strategy is to create multiple resources that produce donations for your nonprofit.

To make it easier to manage these resources, Aplos has created a software solution that allows you to track donations, manage donors, provide easy and convenient giving options, and much more. It even has built-in tools to create and promote fundraising events, giving your nonprofit the ability to increase donations and raise more revenue while saving valuable time.

Learn why over 40k nonprofit organizations trust Aplos to grow and track their donations.

Free Recorded Webinar: Creating, Building, and Maintaining Corporate Partnerships

Corporate partnerships are important because they can help your organization become more visible. Get to know and understand your community to learn what businesses are headquartered there. Do some research to figure out what kinds of organizations they are giving to, and which corporations might be a good partnership fit. Then build relationships with them similarly to how you would with donor prospects. And don’t discount local businesses. They can often be just as powerful as large businesses.

During this webinar, you will learn:

  • How to find corporate partnerships
  • Ways to look beyond just sponsorships
  • Stories of successful corporate partnerships with nonprofits
  • Tips for creating long-term relationships with corporate partners

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