Corporate Matching Programs are a Fundraising Tool all Arts Organizations Should be Aware of
August 07, 2012
Donors and supporters of arts organizations should be aware of the benefits of matching programs. It can be surprising how often your supporters aren’t aware of, or don’t take advantage of the corporate matching donation programs offered by their employer. This is a charitable giving program where the business matches donations made by employees (typically through a payroll deduction program) to eligible non-profit organizations.
These programs are widely in place in large businesses, and are easily established by smaller businesses. Some corporations establish a focus for corporate giving, but the majority only require that donations will be matched and paid to a non-profit organization registered with the Canada Revenue Agency. In addition to payroll deduction programs, some organizations also provide ‘volunteer grants’ – a fixed dollar donation to a non-profit organization where the employee is an active volunteer. These programs are often even less well known than corporate matching.
The benefits to the employee and the organization are simple and tangible:
- Additional funds are raised and matched which benefit the arts organization
- Employees who participate usually become repeat donors
- A matching program is often an incentive for the employee to increase their average donation
- Donations are easily completed through payroll deduction processes
- The donation amount is matched. Most organizations will match $1 for $1 up to a defined limit
For the business, the corporation benefits from recognition in their local community, there are tax benefits to the business for their matching contribution, and this is an excellent way to engage employees in developing the program, establishing guidelines and supporting volunteerism in the local community. It is a tool that supports employee morale and retention.
As an arts organization, your role is to know the businesses in your community who offer employee matching programs. Share that awareness with your donors, supporters and board members. Board members, who are business owners, may not currently offer an employee program - you can provide information and education on how to set one up and its benefits. Don’t overlook the value of annual volunteer grants by the corporation to/on behalf of employees who give their volunteer hours/time to support your arts mission. Consider approaching a business owner to ask if there is information they might require from your arts organization to help with employee awareness, or to help shape a matching program that might be more focused.