Double your donations…with Matching Gifts!
by Randi Corey, Hydrocephalus Association Director of Special Events
Thanks to many of you the Hydrocephalus Association had a significant increase in matching gifts for the 2010 WALKs – a great trend that we would like to sustain! Matching gifts…you may have heard the term before but may not be entirely sure what it means. Here’s a quick lesson in matching gifts:
Many corporations have initiated a matching gifts policy to encourage and support their employee’s charitable giving. Many major, national employers have such policies and will “match” an employee’s donation to charity (usually on a $1 to $1 basis) – meaning if an employee makes a donation of $25 to a qualifying charitable organization the company will also make a donation of $25 to the same charity.
Thus, the employee’s $25 donation becomes $50 for the organization. Some companies have restrictions and criteria for matching gifts – they may match donations only to certain areas of giving (education, arts, health care) or the employee’s donation may need to meet a minimum threshold before the gift will be matched (e.g., the company will only match donations of $25 or more.)
How do you know if your employer is a matching gift company? The quickest way to find out is to contact the company’s human resources office – matching gifts are usually handled by that department. (The Human Resources staff will also give you instructions on the procedures to apply for the matching funds.)
To give you a quick overview of the process: if a company matches charitable contributions, the employee contacts the HR department and requests a matching gift form. (This may be hard copy or electronic depending upon the company.) The employee completes the “Employee” section of the form with their name, department, employee number, etc. as well as the name and address of the organization to which they are making the contribution. After the employee completes his/her section of the form, the matching gift form is presented to the charity, with the contribution. The charity then completes its section of the matching gift form, verifying that the employee did make a donation and the amount of that donation. The charity then sends the matching gift form to the company (depending upon the company’s procedures a photocopy of the check may be attached.) The company then sends the charity a check for the amount of the matching gift. Most corporations issue matching gift checks quarterly and the check may cover multiple matching gifts. It’s a quick and simple way to “double your donation!”
Attention Walkers! So, how can a walker take advantage of matching gifts? Good question! Even if a walker does not work for a matching gift company, you’d be surprised at how many of your sponsors might
For example: if a walker receives a donation of $30 from her friend Suzy, and Suzy works for Microsoft (a matching gift company), Suzy’s contribution will be matched by Microsoft. The walker may count the additional $30 matching gift toward his/her total and prize eligibility.
(Note: walkers may only count matching gifts toward their total if the matching gift form is submitted to HA (electronically or in hard copy) by emailing the completed matching gift form or turning in the completed hard copy form the day of the WALK with the check of the donation being matched. If HA does not receive the matching gift form, completed by the employee, then it has no way to apply for the matching gift and it cannot count toward a walker’s total. If you have any questions about this please don’t hesitate to contact the HA national office.)
A partial list of matching gift companies and corporations is available from the HA national office and is contained in the Family Teams packet. Check that list to find out if any of your WALK sponsors work for one of these companies. Always ask your sponsors if their employer matches charitable gifts. If they aren’t sure ask them to contact their HR office to find out.
Whenever making a contribution please don’t forget to use “matching gifts” to double your donation!
P.S. One more thought – some companies not only will match donations to charity they will make a donation to charities for which its employees volunteer. For example: one company will make a $250 contribution to a qualifying charity when one of its employees volunteers 100 hours of service over six months. Please check with your HR department to find out if your employer has a similar policy!