Matching Gifts 101: What Is a Donation Match?

Matching Gifts 101: What Is a Donation Match?
Matching Gifts 101: What Is a Donation Match?
July 15, 2021
Employee Giving

How to multiply your employee engagement and social impact

Matching gifts are a great way for organizations to connect their impact to their employees' desire to make a difference. It is a form of philanthropy where a company matches employee donations by a certain ratio. GE created the concept in 1954 when it began providing 1:1 matching donations for its employees’ contributions.i Today nearly 9 in 10 companies provide matching gifts, and for good reason.ii It not only multiplies the impact of employee donations, it increases employee engagement, loyalty and retention.

Expand your employees' impact

Build a culture of giving and grow your impact with a matching gifts program. Bright Funds makes it easy to amplify your employee's contribution to the causes they care about most from a single, flexible platform. With automatic matching rules and budget limits, you’ll have more time to focus on engaging and empowering your employees to make a difference.

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Matching gifts trends and benefits

Matching donation programs enable companies to support their employees and communities while building a positive brand reputation. Recent trends include:

  • Nearly 6 in 10 employees say that it is very important or imperative that their employer offer matching donations.iii (America’s Charities)
  • 84% of employees said they’d be more likely to donate if a match is offered and one in three say they would give a larger gift if matching is applied.iii (America’s Charities)
  • The most common matching ratio was 1:1 (90%), followed by a 2:1 match (5%).ii (CECP 2020)
  • The most common matching caps for large companies were $5,000 - $9,999 (26%) and $1,000 - $1,900 (23%).ii (CECP 2020)

How matching gifts work

A company will typically match an employee’s contribution dollar for dollar up to a predefined limit as noted above. In the absence of an automated system, the basic steps are:

  1. Your employee contributes to a nonprofit and submits a matching donation request.
  2. You review the request to determine if it meets eligibility requirements.
  3. If eligible, you issue a check to the nonprofit.

You’ll also need to track the requests and donations to make sure you honor match limits and that the checks get cashed by the nonprofits - it can be quite an administrative burden!

Automating your matching gifts

Leveraging an automated employee giving platform like Bright Funds makes it easy to streamline your donation matching program. Instead of tracking employee donations through emails and spreadsheets, you can set up matching rules in a single click from the admin dashboard. When your employees log in, they will see their annual matching limit on their dashboard. Until they hit the matching limit for the year, any donations they make on Bright Funds will automatically generate matching gifts. This is how it works:

  1. Your employee uses Bright Funds to select a vetted nonprofit and makes a donation.
  2. If an employee donates directly to a nonprofit, they can upload a receipt to request a matching donation.
  3. The match request is automatically sent to you for payment.
  4. Bright Funds manages all the disbursements to the nonprofits (both the employee donations and the matching gifts, once they are sent).

Bright Funds makes it easy for you to support your employees in their giving across the globe from a single, flexible platform. It automatically enforces your matching rules and budgeting limits, while ensuring that your employees can only donate to vetted, eligible organizations. Even better, you no longer have to worry about managing disbursements to the nonprofits. That means you’ll have more time to focus on engaging your employees to participate and give back to the causes they care about.

Expanding your CSR program beyond matching gifts

Matching donations are a great way to engage employees in your philanthropic outreach and build a culture of giving. As you expand your corporate social responsibility program, you may want to create other ways for your employees to engage such as volunteering, credit grants, fundraising campaigns and more. 85% of the top matching gift companies also offer volunteer grant programs.iv Be sure that your workplace giving platform can scale with you to meet current and future needs.

Learn more about matching donations on Bright Funds.

For more guidance on how to determine your matching rules, read “How To Create an HR Policy for your Giving Program.”

i GE Foundation matching gifts program.
CECP, Strength in Solutions: Giving in Numbers Brief 2020.
America's Charities, Matching Gifts: The Definitive Guide for Employers.
Double the Donation: Matching Gift Statistics.