Donation Match Programs for Charitable Giving: How It Works and How To Set One Up
Donation matching is a form of corporate giving that effectively doubles employees' contributions to causes that matter to them. The premise is simple: When an employee makes a financial donation to a charity, the company contributes a matching amount, effectively doubling the donation amount.
What Are the Benefits of Donation Matching?
The benefit of match programs for nonprofits and charities is obvious — they get double the donations for the amount of fundraising work they do. But there are also benefits for the employees and for the company. For corporations, donation matching is an effective, efficient way of engaging in corporate philanthropy. The company can establish guidelines for the type of organizations it will support but otherwise allow their giving to be led by employees. This type of employee-centered giving:
- Engages workers
- Makes them feel more empowered
- Improves employee morale
- Increases employee loyalty and "team spirit"
In addition, there are benefits for the wider community, as noted in a recent research paper on corporate giving: Because employees are often closer to the community, they have a deeper view of organizations that are doing the most effective and beneficial work within that community. Finally, donation matching is an easy, structured way for a corporation to engage in corporate social responsibility (CSR). Match programs allow companies to build relationships with local organizations that are important to their employees, reaping the goodwill benefit that goes along with supporting good works in the community.
How Traditional Donation Match Programs Work
While there are slight variations, most traditional donation matching programs follow these basic steps:
- The employee makes a donation to an eligible organization (more on that later).
- They fill out a form, either on paper or electronically, that includes the details of their donation and requests that the company match their donation.
- The company reviews the request.
- If the request is approved, the company sends a check for a matching amount.
As you can see, this involves a lot of work — and control — on the part of the employer and their HR office. It also creates a number of barriers to giving:
- Employees can only donate to organizations chosen by the employer.
- They must fill out forms and submit them. Each year, as much as $7 billion in matching donation funds go unused, largely because employees forget to ask for the match.
- Charities must wait for the second part of the donation, which also effectively doubles their bookkeeping burden.
- Finally, some employees choose not to submit their donations for a match because they don't want to reveal the causes they support to their employers.
Groundswell Has Reimagined Donation Matching
Groundswell has totally reimagined the way that donation matching programs work. In the Groundswell model, employees have complete control over their own giving and the causes they support. Plus, the charitable organization gets the full amount of the donation all at once, and the HR department is freed up to focus on supporting staff in other important ways.
Here's how donation matching works the Groundswell way:
- Groundswell creates a Donor Advised Fund for each employee.
- The company can include tax-free contributions to the employee's DAF as part of their total compensation package.
- The employee can allocate a portion of their pay to their DAF, with rules-based matching opportunities for the company.
- Employees distribute the funds in their DAF to the causes that matter to them, when and how they see fit.
- Charities receive the funds when and how the employee decides to make donations.
- Employees can track their funds, make investments, and access all the tools they need to receive the most benefit from their philanthropy.
That's it. By removing the friction from the process, Groundswell empowers employees to give more to the causes they truly care about in a way that provides maximum benefit for themselves, their employers and the causes they support.
How To Start a Donation Matching Program
These are the key steps for starting a donation matching program at your company.
- Identify your purpose and set reasonable goals. This step is often overlooked but is vital to creating a program that aligns with your company's overall CSR strategy.
- Set a budget for your corporate giving.
- Define the guidelines for your program.
- Establish the process for submitting, approving and distributing matching gifts.
- Publicize the program to employees, charities and the community.
Typical Donation Match GuidelinesA traditional donation match program requires a lot of groundwork in advance of deploying. Groundswell simplifies the entire process, and our team will be there to help you establish sensible rules for eligibility and donation funding.
Managing It All
Managing a matching gift program can be time-consuming for the HR office, but there are ways to make it easier and more transparent for both HR and the employees. Our mobile-first app puts all the information and tools for donor-advised giving into the hands of each employee, allowing them to manage and track the benefits of their giving. Reach out to our team to learn how Groundswell can help you build and deploy an effective, engaging donation match program for your company.
Unlocking Philanthropy: A Ready-to-Use Corporate Giving Policy for Modern Businesses
Sample Corporate Giving Policy You Can Use Today
In today’s socially conscious environment, more companies than ever are recognizing the value of corporate philanthropy. Not only can a robust giving policy boost a brand’s image and reputation, but it can also play a pivotal role in community development and global betterment. If your company is considering the establishment of a formal corporate giving policy or refining its existing strategy, this sample policy might be the perfect starting point for you.
Pillars of a Strong Corporate Giving Policy
Corporate giving programs range from employer donation matching programs to full blown corporate social responsibility programs with grantmaking and volunteerism. Many companies find somewhere in the middle that aligns with their size, budget, geographic presence and most importantly company values and commitment to diversity and inclusion. But what truly makes a corporate giving policy stand out? Let’s delve into the key features, from donation matching to the strategic use of platforms like Groundswell.
1. Donation Matching: Doubling the Impact
One of the most effective tools in a giving policy is donation matching. This is where companies match employee donations to eligible non-profits, effectively doubling the contribution. Such programs not only amplify the impact but also motivate employees to participate, knowing their chosen cause will receive twice the support.
2. Charitable Stipends: Encouraging Employee Choice
Charitable stipends are allowances given to employees to donate to a non-profit of their choice. This not only encourages a culture of giving but also empowers employees to support causes they’re passionate about. The stipends can be a fixed amount annually or can vary based on the employee’s role or tenure.
3. Dollars for Doers: Volunteering Translated to Contributions
“Dollars for Doers” programs convert volunteer hours into monetary donations. When employees volunteer their time for a cause, the company makes a donation equivalent to the hours spent. This fosters a culture of hands-on involvement and ensures that both time and money are being donated to valuable initiatives.
4. Corporate Grants: Sowing Seeds for Bigger Change
Beyond individual employee contributions, companies can set aside a dedicated fund for corporate grants. These grants can be given to non-profits, research initiatives, or community projects that align with the company’s CSR objectives. Such grants can lead to substantial, long-term changes and foster strong partnerships with community leaders and organizations.
Why Choose Groundswell for Your Giving Initiatives?
Incorporating these elements into a giving policy requires streamlined management, transparency, and ease of execution. This is where platforms like Groundswell come into the picture.
Groundswell offers an efficient and affordable solution for companies aiming to elevate their philanthropic endeavors. Here’s why it’s the ideal choice:
- User-Friendly Interface: Groundswell’s platform is designed for both companies and employees, ensuring smooth navigation and straightforward donation processes.
- Versatility: Whether it’s donation matching, handling charitable stipends, or managing corporate grants, Groundswell offers solutions tailored to each company’s unique needs.
- Cost-Effective: Groundswell provides a comprehensive suite of tools at competitive prices, ensuring that more of your money goes towards the cause rather than platform fees.
- Transparency: Track donations, monitor employee involvement, and generate detailed reports to measure the impact—all in one place.
An effective corporate giving policy is a blend of structure, employee engagement, and impactful contributions. By incorporating elements like donation matching, charitable stipends, “Dollars for Doers,” and corporate grants, businesses can create a ripple effect of positive change. And with platforms like Groundswell, executing these initiatives becomes not just feasible but also highly efficient and cost-effective.
5 Tips to Boost Engagement & Impact on Giving Tuesday
Leverage GivingTuesday to boost generosity
Every November, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving is known as GivingTuesday, which often serves as the unofficial start of end-of-year giving campaigns. This comes on the heels of holiday shopping deals on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. It is a worldwide phenomenon, inspiring millions to lean into the end-of-year holiday spirit with generosity and compassion. For many charities, GivingTuesday has become their biggest day for donations – and can help resource their ability to have an even greater impact in the year ahead.
For companies, GivingTuesday and the end-of-year giving season offers an opportunity to double down on their commitment to social responsibility, strengthen relationships with employees, and boost their impact in the community and broader world.
At Groundswell, we partner with companies all across the country to design and launch GivingTuesday campaigns – leveraging our easy-to-use platform that makes it easy for employees to participate and send donations to the causes and charities that they care most about. Below are some best practices to boost engagement and inspire generosity during the giving season.
1. Make Giving Easy:
A lot of giving platforms out there make it incredibly hard to donate. Some don’t have all 1.5 million IRS-approved charities listed. Others require employees to navigate through a web of intranet or sharepoint sites to find the giving program landing page. And others require that HR is notified of any donations an employee wants to make. At Groundswell – we are committed to removing all of the friction, and ensuring that employees can find charities easily, through a platform that is accessible from the palm of their hand, so they can give whenever they want to.
2. Launch a GivingTuesday Match Campaign:
Through Groundswell you can customize and launch a special GivingTuesday match campaign in a matter of minutes. Simply pick the nonprofits to include in the special campaign, select the start and end-date for the campaign, and then determine the match – 2x, 3x – along with any overall budget limits, then you’re done!
3. Boost engagement by involving ERGs:
Share nonprofit recommendations from Employee Resource Groups to provide inspiration around causes and nonprofits that matter to your employees. You can feature these nonprofits on dedicated ERG Corporate Spotlights and Campaigns that will be visible to all employees on their Groundswell dashboard.
4. Surprise (and Delight) Employees With A Gift to Give:
Consider sending a surprise “gift to give” to reward those already participating in your giving program (and to incentivize others to enroll). These gifts might be used to further maximize impact through the existing campaign, or to donate to other nonprofits your employees care about. Groundswell’s custom gift feature allows companies to easily schedule and send gifts with little to no administrative burden.
5. Level up with Volunteer Matching:
Groundswell’s Volunteer Matching program – sometimes known as Dollars for Doers – recognizes that some employees may not have funds to contribute, but have time – and rewards them in the same way. It’s an inclusive approach that invites everyone to participate in GivingTuesday, even those who may not be able to donate their own funds.
12 Employee Benefits Survey Questions Modern Companies Should Ask
In today's business environment, having the right and highest performing talent is more critical than ever. With benefits packages playing a vital role in these decisions, how can companies truly gauge their effectiveness? By initiating regular employee benefits surveys.
Scroll down for a free survey template below.
Let's dive in to the importance of asking the following questions.
Is our workforce satisfied with the current employee benefits package?
Gaining insights from "how satisfied are you with our company’s benefits package?" can offer companies a quick pulse on the effectiveness of their benefits. A dip in satisfaction might signal a need for re-evaluation, especially if you're looking to maximize your budget.
How comprehensive are the employee benefits we offer?
Do employees feel that the organization covers a wide range of their needs? Asking, "do you feel our benefits package is comprehensive in its offering?" can shed light on any potential gaps in coverage.
Are we showing true commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion through our benefits?
Are the company's efforts in promoting DE&I resonating? This can be gauged by asking if the benefits genuinely support diversity and inclusion. If they aren't, here's an opportunity to collect ideas directly from your employees.
Read more about how to make sure your giving program is equitable and inclusive.
Do our benefits reflect our company culture and values?
The question, "do you feel our benefits package supports our cultural values?" will highlight any potential discrepancies in practicing what you're preaching.
Are we catering to the needs of a remote or multi-location workforce?
With remote work on the rise, is the company adapting its benefits accordingly? It's essential to find out if employees feel supported, regardless of their work setting.
Would employees recommend the company based on our benefits?
This is an easy one to skip, but it's a great question to ask. See how influential your benefits package is for employee referrals. Determining if employees would advocate for the company based on its benefits can be a key metric for recruitment.
How do specific benefit categories fare?
By querying satisfaction levels across various benefits – physical health, social impact, mental health, financial health, and fringe benefits – can companies discern which areas are thriving and which need enhancement?
What additional benefits do employees desire?
Is there a particular benefit that could make a difference in employee satisfaction and retention? Discovering this can be as straightforward as asking, "if you could choose one benefit not currently offered, what would it be?"
If your workforce desires a more meaningful benefit, see why decentralizing your corporate philanthropy strategy can achieve greater impact at scale.
How often should I send an employee survey about our benefits?
While every business has their own set of unique needs, conducing a quarterly employee survey at minimum can help you get a pulse check.
There will be some natural and unplanned peaks in valleys throughout the year that can drastically affect employee morale and company culture. By proactively seeking feedback through surveys, companies can foster a culture of continuous improvement, ensuring they remain at the forefront of employee satisfaction.
What are some affordable benefit options we can provide employees?
Corporate matching or giving programs can be a low-cost addition to your benefit offering that supports your employees’ unique passions and perspectives through charitable giving and boosts your company’s commitment to social impact. Groundswell offers a comprehensive solution with a simple implementation and nearly zero administration burden.
- How satisfied are you with our company’s benefits package?
- Do you feel our benefits package is comprehensive in its offering?
- Do you feel our benefits package supports our cultural values?
- Do you feel our benefits package supports our commitment to Diversity & Inclusion?
- Do you feel our benefits package supports our remote or multi-location workforce?
- How likely are you to recommend applying based on our benefits package?
- How satisfied are you with our physical health benefits (i.e. health care, sick leave, etc)?
- How satisfied are you with our social impact benefits (i.e. corporate matching, volunteering, etc)?
- How satisfied are you with our mental health benefits (i.e. vacation time, EAP, etc)?
- How satisfied are you with our financial health benefits? (i.e. retirement, student loan assistance, etc)
- How satisfied are you with our fringe benefits and perks? (i.e. fitness subsidies, stipends, etc)
- If you could choose one benefit not currently offered, what would it be?