What are corporate matching gift programs?

Corporate matching gift programs are charitable giving programs set up by corporations in which the company matches donations made by employees to eligible nonprofit organizations. For example, if you work for Bank of America and donate $100 to Berea, Bank of America will double the donation by also writing a check for $100.

Thousands of companies offer matching gift programs. A few examples include:

•Johnson & Johnson – Triples donations with $2:$1 matches for current employees while also doubling donations for retirees.

•IBM – Matches donations $1:$1 up to $5,000 annually per employee or retiree.

•Home Depot – Matches donations $1:$1 up to $3,000 annually per employee.

The impact of these programs can be substantial! In 2011, Microsoft alone matched $48.9 million worth of employee donations to colleges, schools and 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Did you know that more than 15 million employees work for companies with matching gift programs?

How did corporate matching gifts get started?

According to the Council for Advancement & Support for Education, Philip Reed, chair of General Electric’s board of directors, introduced the first-ever matching gift program in 1954. It’s unlikely, however, that anyone could have predicted the impact his idea would have on the philanthropic landscape. In the program’s first year, the GE Foundation matched nearly $200,000 in employee gifts to higher education—a success by any measure. Since then, thousands of companies have contributed billions of dollars to education and other nonprofits via corporate matches.

Reed’s idea, groundbreaking at the time, stemmed from his desire to see GE employees support their alma maters. He believed his employees would be more likely to give to colleges and universities if the company matched their gifts and that such gifts ultimately would benefit the company because they would help create a better-educated work force. His idea is still working at Berea as we have had 10 matching gifts from GE in the last two years.

Over time, the matching gift concept evolved into a widespread practice that showcases companies’ efforts to be socially responsible, improves employee relations, promotes broad-based philanthropy, and makes giving flexible. Although matching gifts generally represent a small fraction of an institution’s overall gift income, they can add up to hundreds of thousands—or even millions—of dollars those institutions otherwise would not have received.

Does Berea accept corporate matching gifts?

Absolutely.  Increasing our fundraising from matching gifts can be easy and impactful—with your help. Last year we received 124 matching gifts which helped us raise an additional $93,925. Even though less than 1% of our friends completed matching gifts, their action helped complete the full scholarships of almost 40 worthy students. We know many of our supporters and alumni work for companies with matching gift programs and we’ve set a goal of raising $125,000 from these programs this year. If we meet our goal, we’ll be able to provide the full-tuition scholarship opportunity to more deserving students who would not otherwise have the chance to pursue their dream of obtaining a college education.

2014  Top 5 Corporate Matching Gifts

                 Gifts in Dollars                                                           Gifts by Number

1. ExxonMobil                            $24,9001.                    General Mills                        8

2. Procter & Gamble                  $10,3002.                    ExxonMobil                          6

3. General Mills                          $9,7003.                      Boeing Company                  5

4. Abbott Laboratories             $5,0754.                      Eli Lilly and Company          5

5. Norfolk Southern                  $3,6005.                      Pfizer                                      4

For a complete list of the companies that provided matching gifts to Berea in 2014, please visit http://magazine.berea.edu/article/corporate-matching-gifts/

Step One: Find out if your employer matches gifts.
Step 2: Fill out your employer’s form.
Step 3: Follow your employer’s instructions to submit the form.

Double the Donation

Did you know many companies match employee donations?

Would you like your gift to help Berea even more?

You can immediately assess your eligibility and gain access to detailed corporate giving information about your employer by searching our database of companies with matching gift programs at http://www.matchinggifts.com/berea/.

We provide you with as much of the following as possible:

•Up-to-date company policies

•Printed forms or links to the online submission process

•Our nonprofit’s contact information (Tax ID, address, fundraising contact)

It’s nearly impossible to identify every company with a matching program, so if your company isn’t listed on our website, make sure to check with your Human Resources department as there are additional companies who also offer matching grant programs. And some companies, such as IBM and Johnson & Johnson, even provide matching gifts for their retirees as well.

We wish we could submit the required form for everyone to make it as simple as possible, but unfortunately the employee must submit the request. We know you care about Berea’s students and would appreciate you taking five minutes to double the impact of your support.

Berea College magazine logo

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
We'd love to hear your thoughtsx