Your Guide to Matching Gifts for Nonprofits

Last updated: September 2, 2020

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When it comes to fundraising, there are many ways to get the donations your nonprofit needs. Events like online auctions and galas are exciting and great ways to engage your audience, but at the end of the day, it’s all about raising awareness for a great cause far and wide—and raising funds in the process.  

If you’re looking for a way to maximize the gifts your organization is receiving, consider matching gifts. Our team at iWave is here to show you all the ways matching gifts can assist your nonprofit as well as how fundraising software can simplify the entire process.

What Are Matching Gifts?

In 1954, the GE Foundation created a giving program in which they matched the donations of their employees. Since then, other organizations have jumped on board, offering similar matching programs to their employees and certain retirees.

A matching gift is a type of corporate giving program that essentially doubles an employee’s gift to an eligible nonprofit organization. Since this brings in more revenue for a nonprofit, clearly this type of gift giving can really benefit your organization and enable reaching your goals.

How Much Do Companies Give?

Matching gifts differ by company, but typically, most organizations match on a 1:1 ratio. However, some companies can even go as high as a 4:1 matching ratio. Some organizations may even offer a different ratio to different employees with executive members getting a higher ratio. Therefore, you would want to reach out to those employees to encourage them to support your cause.

Most matching gifts are made in the $25-$50 range, but some companies offer matches up to $10,000. This means smaller gifts are now doubled, helping propel your cause forward more quickly. 

Matching Gift Benefits

There are many benefits to matching gifts. Obviously, the major perk is that it maximizes your revenue and helps you get double the amount of donations you would have previously. Matching gifts are also a great way to tailor your outreach. By knowing which donors are eligible for matching gifts, you’ll be able to segment your donor base and feel confident you’re reaching out to the right people to support your cause.

Matching gifts are also a huge benefit for the donors themselves as well. Knowing their gift will be doubled can help encourage greater support and make a supporter feel like they’ve done extra good for their community. It also helps to build a stronger relationship with their employer knowing they care for the community as well.

Top Matching Gift Companies

Wondering which companies offer matching gifts for their companies? The following are some of the top organizations:

  1. Google: Matches donations from $50 to $6,000 on a 1:1 ratio. They also have separate matching gift donation programs for disaster relief funds at a 1:1 ratio as well.
  2. Chevron: Matches gifts to a range of nonprofit organizations at a 1:1 ration. Current employees have donations matched from $25 to $10,000 matched while donations from retirees are matched from $25 to $3,000.
  3. American Express: Matches current employee’s donations from $25 to $8,000 at a 1:1 ratio. If employees serve on their nonprofit board, it’ll be matched at a 2:1 ratio.
  4. General Electric: Matches current employees, retirees, and surviving spouses of eligible retirees’ gifts at a 1:1 ratio. Eligible donations are matched from $25 to $25,000 as long as they are made to a United States or United Kingdom nonprofit.

Of course, there are many other companies that offer matching gifts for employee donations. Make sure you do your research into what programs are in place at various companies. Then locate the best employees within that company to ask to support your cause.

How to Promote Matching Gifts: Tools

Now that you understand how matching donations work, you’re ready to start getting the message out there. The following are some of the best ways to reach your target audience:

Donation Process

During the donation process, donor engagement is at its highest, making it the ideal time to promote matching gifts. Place information about matching gifts right on your donation form, helping you potentially double the gift right away. You should also place matching gift information on your website and on any brochures and educational materials you produce.


Your website is one of your most important resources because it provides interested donors with all the information about your cause. Make sure you have a separate “Ways to Support Us” page so that interested parties can visit and learn how to get involved. In addition to information about volunteering and a link to online donations, have information about matching gifts as well.

Social Media

One of the main ways people interact these days is through social media. It’s a great way to spread awareness, so keeping your pages updated is important, too. Have links to your “Ways to Support Us” page as well as occasional posts about matching gift programs. Think about creating a visually attractive visual with the information instead of a text post.


By sending out emails to potential donors, you can quickly reach a wide audience and inform them about matching gift opportunities. Consider sending these emails to employees at companies that offer matching gifts, ensuring you tailor your email to the environment of the company itself.

The Submission Process

When an employee makes a gift offer there’s a certain process it must go through to get the matching benefits. While each process is unique, the standard steps include:

  1. Donor Makes a Contribution

Of course, the first step in the donation process is to make a donation! This can be done by filling out an online or print form and mailing it in. If you install a matching gift search tool on your online donation form, an employee can easily find if their company participates in this program. 

  1. Donor Submits the Matching Gift Request

A donor can view the guidelines for matching gifts through your donation page or by visiting their own company’s website. This page will lay out the specifics of the donation ratio.

  1. Company Reviews the Donation and Determines Eligibility

The employer will then review the donor’s request to verify it meets all the corporate guidelines and that the nonprofit meets their eligibility requirements. Eligibility is unique to each company, so it’s a good idea to check the guidelines before reaching out to potential donors.

  1. Nonprofit Verifies the Initial Donation Was Made

If the donation passes the company’s guidelines, the employer will then want confirmation that the donation was actually made. Most will also require proof of your organization’s nonprofit status so make sure you have your tax ID number or EIN number on hand.

  1. Receive a Check from the Company

If your nonprofit is determined to be eligible for the matching gift, you will then receive a check with the matching donation amount.

It’s important to keep in mind that every organization is different and there may be different information or a unique process you’ll need to follow to receive your matching gift. This must all be done in a timely manner so assign an organized member of your team to oversee corresponding with these companies.

How to Track Matching Gifts

If you campaign for matching gifts from a specific company, you may find an influx of donations coming into your organization. It’s important to stay organized, so you can accurately track your fundraising success. Some of the ways you may want to categorize your donations include:

  • Total Donations: Monitor the total number of donations you’ve received on either a monthly or quarterly basis depending on the volume of gifts coming in.
  • Match Eligible: Analyze how many of your donations were match eligible, so you can see how effective receiving matching gifts has been.
  • Submitted: You can also see how many matching gifts have been made by viewing your submission forms through your online donation form
  • Verified: In the same vein, you can look at how many companies have reached out to verify that their employee made a donation.

How to Find the Right Supporters

Interested in maximizing fundraising though matching gifts? If so, you need to make sure you’re reaching out to the right people. To start, you want to ask for donations from employees at companies that offer matching gift programs. From there, it’s important you’re asking for the right amount.

But, how is this done? It’s simple. You want to analyze the employees to see who has the ability to support your cause as well as who would be more likely to donate to your specific cause. For example, if you need to fund a new cancer wing at your hospital, consider looking for potential donors who have supported cancer research in the past.

Using Fundraising Software

If this seems like a lot of information to comb through, the good new is fundraising software can perform this hard work for you. By investing in a fundraising platform, you’ll have technology scanning this background information and providing you with a better idea of which employees may be the most significant donors.

Of course, with matching gifts, even smaller donations are impactful since they are doubled later on. However, uncovering the best possible significant donors can help you tailor your asks to them.

Fundraising software not only shows who to ask from, but how much to ask for as well. Instead of just asking everyone for the same gift amount, you can ask for specific donations based on the individual donor. This process ensures no money is left on the table, providing you with more funds to accomplish your goals.

How Matching Gifts Can Help Your Capital Campaign

If your organization is looking to build a new building or if your hospital needs to purchase the latest imaging equipment, you might launch a capital campaign. A capital campaign is unique since fundraising is divided into two parts: The private (quiet) and public phase. The good news is matching gifts can help you during both phases.

The Private Phase

The initial private phase of the capital campaign is when you’ll raise 50% to 70% of the funds you need to reach your goal. Since the majority of your gifts come from this phase, it’s crucial you’re fundraising the right way.

By using fundraising software, you can uncover potential donors who also work at companies with matching gift programs. This means you can feel confident your private phase of fundraising goes as smoothly as possible.

The Public Phase

In the public phase of a capital campaign, you’re filling in the gaps of the donations you need. For example, if you raised 70% of your total goal in the private phase, this is where you’ll raise the other 30% of gifts.

During this time, reach out to the general public and ask for smaller donations to achieve your goal. Since matching gifts essentially doubles a donation, reaching out to a company with a matching gift program means even smaller gifts become more impactful.

Other Corporate Giving Programs

In addition to matching gifts, there are other programs that companies have in place to help support your cause. The following are some of the most popular programs you should look out for. Keep in mind, every organization is different and can assist you in their own unique way.

  • Fundraising Matches

These are similar to matching gifts in that companies provide a contribution in a typical 1:1 ratio to their employees. The only difference is this type of gift is only given for a specific event like a fundraising walk or benefit gala.

  • In-Kind Donations

These are donations of products or services at a reduced or no cost. Types of in-kind donations include equipment, tax services, office space, or food and drink for a fundraising event.

  • Volunteer Grant Programs

This type of giving program is established to encourage volunteerism in the company’s employees since donations are based on the number of hours employees have volunteered there.

  • Team Volunteer Grants

Similar to volunteer grants, this type of donation encourages volunteer work within a company. Instead of individual volunteering, employees must volunteer as a team to receive a donation for the nonprofit.

See How our Fundraising Software Can Help Your Nonprofit Match Gifts

As noted before, fundraising software is an invaluable tool when it comes to uncovering the right donors for your cause. And that’s where iWave comes into play! We’re a next-generation platform built on billions of datapoints. Simply put, we can scan through a lot of information and provide you with a clear idea of which donors can best support your nonprofit.

But don’t just take our word for it. Contact us today to schedule a free demo or fundraising assessment. We’d love to show you how you can tailor our platform to your specific fundraising goals including capital campaigns and personalized events.

Written by Admin

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