Might your employer match your gifts dollar for dollar at no cost to you?
You may never know unless you ask.
When a company matches the gifts given by its employees as an extension of their own corporate philanthropy.
Matching gifts are designed to be the means by which companies support and encourage employee charitable giving. Companies receive the benefits of tax-deductible gifts while supporting the causes valued by their employees. One gift is always good. Two gifts are always better. Companies big and small match gifts. Most companies are not only generous about giving money, but they are eager to partner, sometimes publicly, with the interests and gifts of their employees.
Why are Matching Gifts Important?
This “free money” is a way to double your gift and guide the gifts of your employer.
Matching gifts are something that donors often overlook. It can serve as an introduction of LHI to your company, leadership and others. Corporate donations are likely to happen regardless, therefore it is a method for you to redirect giving towards a cause you believe in.
Why do Many Employees Overlook Matching Gifts?
The most common reason employees do not seek matching gifts from their employer is simply a lack of knowing what is available.
Some employees may feel that their company is too small or perhaps they may not participate if the donation is directed toward an organization with a faith-based mission. We encourage you to simply ask about what is available through your employer. The bottom line is that until employees inquire about what is available, millions of dollars will remain unmatched or directed toward other causes, not always aligned with the employees’ values or wishes.
What About the Fact that LHI is a Faith-Based Mission?
Corporations are often willing to give to a broad spectrum of organization types.
Living Hope International is a registered 501c3 organization and qualifies for a wide range of corporate matching gift programs. While our mission is certainly one that upholds Christian values, our work of rescuing at-risk children has a universal appeal.
Is Living Hope International Eligible?
Living Hope International qualifies under a wide range of criteria.
Approximately 2/3 of companies with matching gift programs match employee donations to nearly any 501c3 organization or educational institution.
The other 1/3 of companies match donations to specific types of organizations, such as:
- Educational institutions (K-12 included)
- Health and human services
- Civic and community organizations
What Ratios and Amounts are Matched?
These range by company but can be matched dollar-for-dollar in many cases.
Companies often have minimums and maximums to their matching gift programs. While minimum matches range from $1 – $100, maximums typically go from $1,000-$15,000.
The majority of companies match donations at a 1:1 ratio, although ratios can be set at anything from .5:1 ($.50 match on every dollar donated) to 4:1 ($4 match on every dollar donated). Regardless of the matching ratios or limits, there is much to be gained.
Which are the Top Matching Gift Companies?
65% of Fortune 500 companies match donations from employees.
Although corporations don’t always release specific figures, top contributors include Microsoft, GE, BP, GAP, Johnson & Johnson and others, resulting in 100s of millions of dollars in employee matching gifts. Millions of individuals work for companies that will match their donations.
What is the Submission Process?
The process will vary by company but is typically quite straightforward.
If LHI qualifies as a matching gift organization for your company, you will simply need to register us with your company program and your future gifts are verified and matched, resulting in the company making donations directly to LHI. Retroactive gifts from the same calendar year may also qualify depending on the policy of your employer.
When are the Submission Deadlines?
Different companies have different deadlines.
Awareness of these dates ensures that you don’t miss out on available money for your favorite organization. Many past gifts are still eligible to submit matching gift requests to employers.
Standard matching gift submission deadlines include:
- End of the calendar year.
- A set number of months after the date of the donation, most often 3-12 months.
- End of January, February or March in the year subsequent to when the donation was made.
What Other Options Might I Have?
Payroll deductions may be a great option for you.
A common way in which employees can contribute their portion of matching gifts is directly through payroll deductions. Even if this method of gifts is not matched by your employer it may have particular tax benefits for you, depending on how you report your annual charitable giving. Ask your employer about this option for making your matching tax-deductible gifts in this way.