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Corporate Matching of Employees'
by Tony Poderis
A number of resources provide listings of companies having gift programs that match contributions made by their employees to non-profit organizations. According to the grantor's guidelines, such matching funds could be general in nature for support of almost any type of accredited non-profit favored by an employee, or a company might limit its matching funds, say, to education. Often, a company has a maximum limit to funds it donates in this way to a given nonprofit organization during a single year. Through your research from libraries and on the Internet, such commercially available lists and those harvested by nonprofit associations, such as CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education), can be reviewed for possible value to your organization.
Look Only, or Mainly, to Companies Operating in Your Area of Service
You will need to be selective and temper your expectations when consulting listings of companies matching the gifts of their employees. These general and geographically-wide lists of companies with matching gifts programs may be of very limited use to community organizations. What counts most is that any companies that match gifts of employees who make contributions to non-profit organizations must have some facility or operation in the geographic area served by the non-profit. Thus, it would do no good to present to your donors a list of companies that have no business interests or employees in your area. No business in the area---no employees---no matching gifts.
So, let's narrow the search for those companies which have matching programs, and which operate in your area.
The Best Ways to Attract Corporate Matching Funds
Let's review a typical checklist of activity when it comes to working a matching gifts program. Which of these tactics have you followed? Which could you initiate?:
Other Essentials - Handling Pledges
Naturally, you will need to have cash gifts in hand to prove to the companies that the gifts were paid. Pledges will not count until they are paid. Then, the companies will process their matching gifts and send checks to your organization.
All gift return envelopes mailed to donors for renewed gifts and those mailed to new prospects should ask the receiver to check with his or her employer in the way described above. In time, as you learn of matching companies which have employees in your service area making gifts to you, print those corporations' names on the back side of your gift return envelope (the underside of a long sealing flap) to urge that the receiver see if his or her company is listed.
How to Recognize the Employer's and the Employee's Gifts to Your Organization
Here is what I believe to be an important practice regarding how to handle and recognize the gifts companies give to non-profits to match their employees' gifts. If the cash match is indeed what a corporation matches to an employee's gift to a charity as cited below, we suggest the procedure which follows.
M/M John Smith donated (and paid) $500 to our organization. With our acknowledgment of that gift in hand, they submitted the proper matching form to Mrs. Smith's employer, who in turn, sent us another $500.
We simply believed that this gesture (partial "paper credit") was appropriate and thoughtful, and you can be sure it was always appreciated by our donors during the twenty years I followed this procedure at my organization, and when I still enthusiastically recommend the practice to other non-profit organizations and consultants.
The corporation's $500 gift was publicly recognized as well in the Annual Report. Additionally, if the company gave a separate gift to our annual fund, gave money to a sponsorship, or gave to a special fund-raising event, we simply combined all of that money with any matching funds for the total we listed for public credit. Again, the public "paper credit" was simply a good donor relations exercise. The "double booking" here as paper credit was of no consequence to our finance department's audit. The actual transactions, of course, were handled as required by accounting standards in our in-house financial operation and with the Auditor.
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About the Author: Tony Poderis was for 20 years to 1993 Director of Development for The Cleveland Orchestra and its Summer Home, Blossom Music Center. He was responsible for Cleveland's largest annual institutional fund-raising campaign. Since 1993, Tony has been a fund-raising consultant serving all non-profit institutions' needs to develop and to maximize their potential to raise Annual, Endowment, Capital, and Sponsorship & Underwriting funds.
Tony's experiences have won him a wide audience. At many hundreds of seminars and workshops in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Mexico over the course of his 30 years in fund-raising, he has addressed every facet of raising contributed income for social service, medical, educational, religious, and cultural institutions. He is a fund-raising Speaker/Specialist consultant to the United States Information Agency and the Mexican Government.
Tony is the author of a 115 page book on fund-raising published by FundAmerica Press titled "It's a Great Day to Fund-Raise!" In this publication, he has condensed his nearly three decades of fund-raising experience to provide a concise step-by-step guide to help all volunteers and professionals be as successful as possible as they carry out their fund-raising responsibilities for their respective non-profit institutions.
Visit his web site at http://www.raise-funds.com for more information about his book and lots of other great fundraising advice.