If you’re not asking your donors whether their employer offers matching gifts, you may be leaving thousands of dollars on the table. About 65 percent of all Fortune 500 companies and many smaller companies match their employees’ gifts to nonprofits, but many of these programs have unclaimed funds at the end of each year because employees don’t report their donations to eligible nonprofits. In fact, GreatNonprofits.org estimates that as much as $10 billion in workplace matching funds are unclaimed each year. Here are the general steps to start taking advantage of corporate matching funds programs:
- Learn about the employee matching gifts programs offered by the major employers in your area. Check the “About” section of the company’s web site, and look for links to corporate giving, corporate responsibility, social responsibility, citizenship, etc. If a site-wide search is available, try “matching donations” or “matching gifts.”
- Ask for the necessary information on your donation forms! For example, if you’re using the integrated checkout donation request to ask for a donation with every purchase, add fields on the form to identify donors whose companies match gifts (as well as a link that opens in a separate browser window to a list of companies offering matching gifts).
- Most matching gift programs require the donor to submit an online or paper form to their employer documenting the donation, and require the nonprofit recipient to register and request the funds. Find out the gift policies of the major employers in your area, and make sure that you have all the information you need to make it easy for your donors to follow through with the matching gift.
- Remember to follow up! When you write your thank-you letter, mention how much you and your organization appreciate their participation in their employer matching gifts program. Because you researched how to obtain funds from major employers in the area, you can provide the donor with all the information they need (such as additional receipts, paper forms or links to onine forms, and instructions for submitting to their employer) to follow through on the matched gift. Because following through on an employer match can require additional effort, be sure to thank the donor for their time and explain how the match increases their gift’s impact.
Tracking matching funds does require additional time and effort, but failing to take advantage of employer programs literally leaves money on the table.