Most large U.S. employers have matching gift programs. Matching gifts are a corporate giving program that help nonprofits financially. These are designed to help employees make an impact through charitable giving. According to Double the Donation, between $2 and $3 billion are donated in this way each year. However, up to $7 billion dollars in matching funds are unclaimed every year.
Is your nonprofit doing its best to encourage matching gifts? Is it keeping accurate records for its next nonprofit audit?
Finding matching sources.
In most companies, these matching programs are managed by HR. Forms are distributed to employees, and then employers send these forms with matched donations to the designated charity. Usually, companies offer dollar-for-dollar matching, but some employers contribute at a different matching rate. Also, employers differ on which nonprofits are eligible for matching donations.
Encouraging participation in these programs is easy: First, find employers in your area who match employee contributions. Often, the best places to look are annual reports, company websites, and by asking HR, PR, and community relations. Companies that operate a foundation may run matching programs through the foundation.
After compiling a complete and accurate list of programs, you should post this on your company website. If you’re aware of current donors who work for these companies, let them know that the matching gifts are available. Lastly, make sure that all your nonprofit fundraising communications encourage people to ask about matching gift programs at work.
Build your own pool
If your nonprofit has tried hard to encourage participation in employer matching programs, but you’re still not getting many participants, then it’s time for a new approach. Consider building your own matching contribution pool to motivate contributors. For instance, you can ask major donors or Board members to match donations during a fundraising drive. This drive could target different populations or have a minimum threshold to receive matching, but it should be for a limited time. One way to do this is if someone promises to match all donations received during the annual black-tie event.
Finally, some charitable foundations will offer matching gifts at the beginning of a major campaign. Often, it’s easier to arrange for foundation matching than to convince a major employer to give a large donation.
Don’t give up
Several studies suggest that matching gifts encourage people to donate to nonprofits and to give larger amounts than they would otherwise. Therefore, you should always have a policy for encouraging matching gifts and keeping accurate records.
No matter why your organization needs an audit, at Ernst Wintter & Associates LLP we make it easier to prepare with our nonprofit audit checklist. When you call us, we’ll get to know your organization and help answer any questions you may have before an audit is performed.