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Automate Your Employee Matching Gifts Program For The 21st Century

Posted by Stacey Hellas on Aug 24, 2018 2:17:22 PM
 Photo by Kat Yukawa

Of all corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, employee matching gifts is an impactful one. Not only do these programs engage staff in a meaningful way but give employees and employers the opportunity to multiply their positive impact on society. In this blog, we’ll be covering the basics of corporate matching gifts, and how to encourage participation from your team.

CSR programs are key for employee engagement and retention

It’s 2018, and employee giving programs are extremely important to today’s socially-conscious workforce. People are eager to actively participate in programs, rather than the traditional donation and volunteerism of the past. CSR is also a key driver in the recruitment and retention of employees. A Cone Communications study states that 74% of people say their job is more fulfilling when their employer offers opportunities to make a positive impact, and 70% are more loyal to companies that participate in philanthropic endeavors. In fact, as Generation Z starts looking to begin their careers, 87% of them feel it’s important to work for a company that gives back to the community.

Providing multiple opportunities for employees to participate in CSR programs, such as matching gifts, Dollars for Doers and hands-on volunteering, offers them the opportunity to enact positive change in their communities in ways that are meaningful to them; “More than seven-in-10 not only want to know what their company is doing, but are also willing to roll up their sleeves to further their company’s positive impacts.”


 Photo by Simon Maage Photo by Simon Maage


87% of employees feel it’s important to work for a company that gives back to the community.


A brief history lesson on Matching Gifts

The first matching gift program was developed in the US in 1954. One large organization wanted to support the charitable donations made by their staff by providing a dollar for dollar match for every donation they made. Today, 84% of respondents to a matching gifts charitable giving survey said they were more likely to donate if matching was offered, and 61% said the key reason they donate to charities is because their company matches their donations.

As of 2016, 9 out of 10 companies offered at least 1 matching gift program, and 7 out of 10 companies offer at least 2 programs in their CSR efforts. The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) Giving in Numbers 2017 report also states that a median of 12.5% of total cash contributions by corporations comes from matching gift programs.


 Photo by Annie Spratt Photo by Annie Spratt


Matching gift programs let everybody win

As defined by Insperity, an organization that helps companies with HR and administrative assistance  A matching gift program is “an admirable way to increase employee engagement and donations while multiplying the positive impact on your community, and elevating your company’s reputation. As employees donate to their favorite charities, your company can match their contributions creating a win-win-win.”

Additionally, The Association of Corporate Citizenship Professionals (ACCP) report that 97% of organizations provide 1:1 matches and 3% provide 2:1 matches. That means the majority of these programs meet each dollar donated by an employee with a dollar from the company, while some will match each employee dollar with 2 of their own.


 Photo by Dayne Topkin Photo by Dayne Topkin


How to create your employee matching gift program

Your matching gift program is like any other corporate giving initiative; you set the parameters for how it will operate. Before deciding on what your matching gifts program looks like, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is our match equation?

    • Based on your annual budget, you’ll need to decide what your matching gift amount will be. You’ll also need to decide how often you will match employee gifts (monthly, quarterly, etc.), and set eligibility requirements such as the minimum and/or maximum for each team member. You may opt to only match donations over $20, or set a matching limit of $1,000 per year, per employee.

  • What types of organizations will we support?

    • Based on your company mission, you may want to offer matching gifts for only health-related charities or childhood development. If you don’t have particular nonprofits in mind or aren’t sure if an organization an employee is requesting a matching gift for meets your values and/or is a legitimate nonprofit, it’s a good idea to check websites such as GuideStar and Charity Navigator to confirm charitable status.

  • Who is eligible?

 Photo by Mathieu Turle Photo by Mathieu Turle


Managing your matching gifts program is easier in the cloud

SmartSimple makes any employee giving program easy to manage through our configurable, cloud-based platform. SmartSimple is tailored to meet your unique requirements and will integrate with any enterprise software. While our employee giving platform is designed to operate independent of any other software, it integrates seamlessly if you’re already using our grants management, or any other, SmartSimple solution.

As one of our clients, Gina DiMaggio, Program Officer for The Pohlad Foundation, says; “The system saves us a considerable amount of time managing our employee matching gift program. With the old paper system, we spent an unbelievable amount of time mailing documents to non-profits and processing what was returned. Now, it takes a fraction of the time to respond to requests. Plus, it’s a much easier system for our employees to use, with nowhere near the number of steps that used to be involved.”

The only solution that grows with you

The SmartSimple solution is future ready and will change and grow with your needs. SmartSimple’s platform streamlines the administration of your matching gifts and other employee giving initiatives with rich, powerful functionality:

  • Program admins control access to your system via personalized portals for everyone on your team and relevant external stakeholders and reviewers

  • Employees can easily recommend corporate giving investments, submit gifts for corporate matching, and keep track of all their philanthropic activities directly from their personal portals

  • Integrations with government trusted third-party databases means charitable background checks can be done quickly and accurately

  • SmartSimple also integrates with your existing enterprise applications, including finance, HR, CRM, and ERPs, and includes the option for electronic signatures

  • Every aspect of your system is tracked, and can, therefore, be reported on, using a wide array of reporting styles that use real-time data

  • As a global solution, we support unlimited multi-language and multi-currency support, uniting employees no matter where in the world they are

If you’re ready to take your employee giving programs to the next level, contact us today to request a demo of our platform.

Topics: SmartSimplee, Volunteer Management, Employee Giving, Corporate Giving, Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, Employee Matching, Philanthropy