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How to Create and Manage an Effective Matching Donation Program

Joel Pollick
Posted by  Joel Pollick on Sep 13, 2021
Considering building a matching donation program? Learn how to create and manage one to be effective, engaging, and impactful.

6 minute read

Every day, more and more companies are launching social impact programs - 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.
Creating a successful matching donation program can be implemented in 2 different ways: internally or externally.
Internally aka do-it-yourself (11 steps)
  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: 
    1. unrestricted (donations to any charities are eligible) 
    2. restricted (donations only to specific charities are eligible)
      Note: unrestricted saves time on the front-end; restricted on the back-end.
  3. Research charities -OR- crowdsource charities from employees.
  4. Verify the 501c3 nonprofit 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.
  5. Contact charities to form a partnership.
  6. Create internal marketing/educational materials to launch your program with employees.
  7. Provide employees a system to process the donations -OR- have employees donate to the charity individually, then submit donation receipts to your team.
  8. Track and manage all employee donation receipts (online and offline) to accurately account and share the team’s progress.
  9. Execute the company's matching donations (either match one-by-one as employees donate -OR- match in a few large gifts once all employees donate).
  10. Collect company match donation receipts to ensure the totals equal the employee totals.
  11. Update the tracking spreadsheet to reflect how each donation changes the employee donor’s matching donation budget. (i.e. Jamie has a $300 budget and submitted a $100 donation, so the admin needs to update the spreadsheet to show that Jamie only has $200 left - AND do everything over again for all the other donations Jamie submits).
That set of steps can be daunting. On top of those steps, there isn’t an easy way to know (or show) the donations’ impact (see appendix). That's why most companies choose to implement matching donation programs externally.
Externally with Percent Pledge (1 step)
  1. Partner with social impact experts, like Percent Pledge, to simply customize your matching and watch your company’s positive impact increase.
Comparing the two; internal or external implementation
Internal matching donation programs take a lot of time and resources. These sucky manual processes inevitably create conflicts - we’ve heard countless times: “Engagement is lower than we’d like. We don’t do a lot of internal marketing because higher engagement just adds tons of work to our plates, which are already full.” Something as pro-social and culture-positive as matching donations should not have any disincentives in the system. 
External matching donation programs, like Percent Pledge, make it easy to automate your social impact programs. On top of saving you time and money, our program provides you and your employees with 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.
Want to learn more about implementing a matching program via Percent Pledge? Request a demo here.
These are the extra steps involved in measuring and marketing the impact of an internal 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 agreed to appendix step 1 as 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 concise way that makes sense and tells a cohesive story about the impact your company helped 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 internal and external stakeholders via various channels (email, social media, slack, etc.).
  7. Repeat appendix steps 1-6 each month or quarter 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.

Want to learn more about implementing a matching donation program? Request a demo here.