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All Matching Donation Programs are Good, But DIY Matching Donation Programs Really Suck to Manage!

Joel Pollick
Posted by  Joel Pollick on Feb 11, 2021
Considering building a matching donation program? Read this before you start.

3 minute read

So far, 2021 is the Revolution for Good; every day, more and more companies are launching social impact programs - and specifically matching donation programs. Some proactively; some reactively, in response to surging calls for action from today’s socially-conscious employee.

Whatever the reason, all matching donations are good; good for company culture, good for employee engagement and retention, and most importantly, good for the causes and communities your employees care about most.

With that said, manual or Do-It-Yourself (DIY) matching donation programs really suck to manage! So, read this before you start a manual matching donation program - or share it with your friend whose company is currently running a manual matching donation program!

These are the steps involved in managing a manual/DIY matching donation program:
  1. Set your “per employee” matching donation budget.
    Note: we recommend setting this value at $300, so employees are incentivized to donate up to the new charitable tax incentive established by The CARES Act.
  2. Decide whether your program will be unrestricted (donations to any charities are eligible) or restricted (donations only to specific charities are eligible).
    Note: unrestricted saves time on the front-end; restricted on the back-end.
  3. Build a form for employees to submit donation receipts, a spreadsheet to track everything, and automation (e.g. Zapier) that connects the two to decrease some of your manual work.
  4. Create internal marketing/educational materials to launch your program with employees.
  5. Collect MANY different types of donation receipts as employees donate (online and offline).
  6. Spotcheck that each receipt vs. form submissions to ensure the correct amount + charity.
  7. Verify the 501c3 non-profit status of each donation recipient via this public IRS tool.
    Note: many companies put this work on the employee because IT IS A LOT, but we strongly recommend against this - it depresses engagement, and you surely want less friction for employees to leverage this hugely pro-social benefit.
  8. Execute each matching donation from the company.
  9. Collect each matching donation receipt from the recipient charity.
  10. Update the tracking spreadsheet to reflect how each donation changes the employee donor’s matching donation budget (e.g. Jamie has a $500 budget and submitted a $100 donation, so the admin needs to update the spreadsheet to show that Jamie only has $400 left - AND do everything over again for all the other donations Jamie submits).
As stated above, those set of steps sucks to manage! And if that’s not enough, even after you do all this work, you still have no way to know (or show) the impact of your donations! (see appendix)

These sucky manual processes inevitably create conflicts - we’ve heard countless times:
“Engagement is lower than we’d like, but we don’t do tons more internal marketing because higher engagement just adds tons of work to our plates - which are already full.”...OR...”Yes, it’s a crazy cumbersome process, but participation isn’t high, so it’s not a big problem, and we have no huge need to get help with it/use a tool like yours.”
Something as pro-social and culture-positive as matching donations should not have any disincentives in the system. That’s why Percent Pledge makes it easy to automate your matching donation programs AND provide you personalized monthly impact reports so that you can know (and show) the positive impact your employees are making on the causes they care about most.

Appendix: These are the extra steps involved in measuring and marketing the impact of a manual/DIY matching donation program:
  1. Ask recipient charities for stats + stories on how they put your money to work growing their missions.
  2. Follow-up with the charities that said ‘Yes’ to appendix step 1 because charities are short-staffed.
  3. Compile the stats + stories you receive from the charities.
  4. Organize that information into commonly designed templates so that different information from different charities can be shared in a succinct way that makes sense and tells a cohesive story about the impact your company helped to create.
  5. Create comprehensive impact reports with all the stats + stories using the commonly designed templates (that you found or created).
  6. Share your impact reports with both internal and external stakeholders via various channels (email, social media, slack, etc.).
  7. Repeat appendix steps 1-6 each month or quarter if you want to provide more frequent impact transparency.
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Joel Pollick

Written by Joel Pollick

Founder & CEO @ Percent Pledge. Expert in workplace giving, volunteering, and employee engagement for fast-growing companies.

Interested in helping your team support their favorite causes and serve their local communities?