Yes, Billions! In fact, anywhere from 5 to 10 billion is left unclaimed. That is a pretty startling amount.
Corporate matching funds are funds set aside by a corporation to match gifts made by the corporation’s employees to nonprofit organizations. If the funds are not claimed, they stay in the corporation’s bank account. Any given year billions of dollars that corporations have budgeted to give to charities does not get distributed.
What is the Problem?
The process looks like this:
1) The employee makes a charitable gift to a nonprofit.
2) The employee fills out a form provided by the employer (usually the HR department).
3) The corporation sends a check to the nonprofit that matches the charitable gift made by the employee.
The problem is the employee does not do the paperwork. They may not even know there is a corporate matching gift program, let alone paperwork to fill out.
There are solutions. The onus really falls on the nonprofit to continually educate its donors regarding what corporate matching gifts are, how they work, and what the employee needs to do. This educational process has to be addressed on a regular basis through the nonprofit’s newsletter and on the nonprofit website.
Before sending out an appeal, remind donors of the importance of corporate matching gifts and how they work. Then, put a PS at the close of the appeal with a short reminder.
At the end of an appeal or campaign, let donors know how much money was raised by corporate matching gifts and which corporations made contributions. This helps the donor see the impact of corporate matching gifts. They will also feel good when they see their employer on the list. It will help encourage other donors to participate the next time.
Because some corporations allow up to a year after the employee makes the gift to do the match, there is often adequate time to capture the matching gift.
Help from the Outside
There are companies that can help facilitate some of the process. Examples are HEPdata and Double the Donation. This is not an endorsement, but hopefully will help you do your research. Once you have a process in place, it will run smoothly. Like any program the difficulty is getting started. Occasionally you may need to tweak it, but first, you need to start a matching gift program at your organization.
Some corporations even match gifts made by retirees. Other corporations will match employee volunteer hours. The best place to start is to research major companies within your community. Sometimes the company may be a subsidiary of a much larger company. A little homework will make a big difference. The internet makes the process much easier.
Although a little old-fashioned, calling the company and asking if they have a matching gift program could open other giving opportunities such as a corporate grant or an event sponsorship. Having a conversation can be invaluable.
Pandemic, Recession, Inflation Oh My!
Even under dire circumstances, corporations continue to give corporate matching gifts. They have set aside this money to support those charities their employees believe are important. The corporation is supporting the values of its employees.
This also takes some heat off the corporation. Rather than determining where the corporation’s charitable dollars are being given, the corporation lets their employees guide that decision.
Corporate matching gifts are one method to secure corporate gifts. The next blog will discuss other corporate pockets of giving.