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Last updated March 10, 2022

A Guide to Creating a Donation And Gift Matching Program

Corporate matching gift programs and donation matching have become increasingly popular over the years as more businesses are conscious about giving back.

If you’ve been looking at creating a donation and gift matching program, then look no further. This guide explains the ins and outs of donation and gift matching programs and how to create the best corporate giving programs for your business.

What is donation matching?

Donation matching is a type of donation where a business will match employee donations, enabling the employee’s contribution to have more of an impact. Donation matching is typically referring to financial donations.

For nonprofits, it’s a great initiative because every little contribution can add towards more revenue and the ability to help more people.

What are matching gifts?

Matching gifts are typically a pillar of corporate philanthropy programs. The employer matches the gift donation made by their employee. This is typically a physical donation, for example, an employee could donate a certain amount of meals and the employer will do the same.  

To maximize the employee’s donation potential, the employee will make a request for a matching gift from the employer. The employer will then make their own donation and should report back to the employee on what they’ve achieved together.

As an organization, corporate giving programs like this can encourage more employees to get involved as donors, whether it’s in-kind (gift) donations or monetary donations.

How does donor matching work?

So, how does donor matching work? Well, there are different types of corporate giving programs, and each one can make up the corporate matching gift program you’re aiming for. Let’s explore how matching schemes work depending on the donation type.

Employee In-kind matching donations

In-kind donations, often called gifting donations, are physical donations. They’re a good way for full-time employees to become donors if they cannot provide cash donations. 

Instead, they can contribute material items like clothes, toys, and food. Both small and large nonprofits need these items, rather than just money alone. In this case, the business will match whatever the employee has, if they can’t physically match it, then they can match the in-kind donation with its financial value. 

This way the nonprofit get the best of both worlds and the employee can bring value to causes they care about. 

Employee financial matching donations

Employee matching can help double the donation (or more) that employees provide. There are usually maximum amounts involved when it comes to financial matching. 

This depends on what the business is both willing and able to give. Not all businesses have large funds to draw money from, what’s important is we’re all doing our best. Some businesses match donations 1:1. However, some match 1:2, or even 1:3, which is incredible.

Operationally, this financial donation can be made via a tool like Alaya, or it can be organized by your finance team. 

Employee and team grants

Employee and team grants are rewards that you’d typically give to employees directly. Instead, they can choose to offer their rewards as a gift to nonprofits.

Many corporate matching programs will include this one, and it’s a great way to challenge your teams against each other. Taking advantage of employee’s competitive sides can help bring in more money for those nonprofit organizations who need it.

donation matching


Team grants are also great for those problem areas that you might be experiencing in team-building or strengthening company culture. It’s good to make more of a grandeur announcement for these types of donations as they inspire 

Why is donation matching important?

Donation matching is important in many ways. Corporate matching gift programs can benefit the company, its employees, and all those organizations that receive donations. However, it doesn’t stop there, let’s explore a few more benefits of matching programs. 

Employer branding and reputation

Corporate matching gift programs can do wonders for your branding as a business. When people see you giving back to charitable causes, it can set an example for your employees to follow suit—and those within your industry too.

This is something that can be particularly important for those businesses who’ve not established a presence yet within their niche, want to build a great reputation, and want to lead with purpose.

Research shows that purpose-driven brands motivate people to trust, work for, and be loyal to them. Trust comes hand-in-hand with purpose and is important to your customers and employees alike. When corporate match systems are in place, they can help showcase your purpose-driven brand and build trust along the way.

Top tip: It’s also useful in attracting top talent to your business when hiring employees—and retaining them!

Improves company culture, employee retention, and engagement

The progress you make when it comes to your company culture is important. Most employees want to be part of a business that has a positive reputation. 

Having matching gift programs can show the business cares for matters beyond the organization itself.

Employee retention is often an issue for businesses, so it’s useful to find ways to engage your staff. A matching gift program can provide employees with purpose and, as such, it can contribute actively to their wellbeing and engagement within the workplace.

Helps fulfill your environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria

For any business, an opportunity that brings investment is one worth putting the effort in to achieve. While creating a matching gift program is predominantly beneficial for the organization getting the donation, it can also be great for a business in delivering long-term profits.

The more your company is willing to deliver value to customers, your employees, and the outside community, the more heads they turn, and many of those belong to investors. 

Otherwise referred to as sustainable investing, or responsible investing, ESG criteria help investors evaluate a company’s potential social impact and financial benefit because of it. 

It provides a positive impact

Any company that provides gifting to nonprofit organizations, regardless of whether it’s a small contribution or a big one, will help better the planet. 

Just one company can make a long-lasting impact for generations to come by helping just one or two nonprofits.

Tax benefits

With corporate giving, there are tax-deductible benefits for both employee donors and the employer. This means that you can claim back some of your spendings by holding onto any receipts you’ve had throughout the year revolving around donations and other corporate giving activities. 

While this might not be the main reason why you’d give money to nonprofits, it can certainly help win buy-in from those that are financed-focussed within the company.

Top corporate matching gift programs

When it comes to some of the top matching gift companies, it can be useful to take inspiration for use in your own programs. There are many businesses out there that provide gift matching and do more for organizations in need.

Here are a few examples of matching programs worth looking at and perhaps taking guidance from when creating your program.

General Electric

The concept of corporate matching gift programs was something that General Electric created all the way back in 1954.  Not only do they provide matching funds to its current employees, but it also does the same for its retirees.

In terms of their guidelines for matching money, there’s a maximum of up to $5,000 available each year for participants. The GE Foundation is one of the best in gift matching for its employees, both old and new. It gave $16.8 million in matching gifts for 2020 alone.


Great corporate matching gift program idea with apple

Apple is the world’s largest technology company by revenue and since January 2021, the most valuable. Since its inception in 2011, it’s raised a staggering $600 million and helped 34,000 organizations worldwide, from cultural organizations to religious organizations and more.

The donation process allows Apple employees to give two donations by matching what the employee gives as well as offering plenty of grants and volunteer opportunities.

Johnson & Johnson

J&J is an American multinational corporation that was founded back in 1886. They help develop medical devices as well as pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods. More notably, you may recognize them as being one of the vaccine providers for COVID-19.

Johnson & Johnson donates $2 for every $1 with a maximum matched contribution of $20,000. It also does the same for retirees by offering $1 for every $1. For retirees, it’s a maximum contribution of $10,000.

J&J has managed to help many of those in need, and it’s no surprise as it has one of the highest participation rates when it comes to employee contributions.



The employee matching & Dollars for Doers program at ADM, also known as ADM Cares, raised a staggering $8.5 million in 2020 for education sectors, food security, sustainable agriculture, and more. 

The 1:1 employee matching program, alongside other volunteering initiatives, “highlight[s] [employees’] personal contributions and multiply their social investments.” It’s a great example of how far you can take your donation and gift matching strategy. 

There are many matching gift program options out there. These are just a handful leading the way when it comes to top organizations for employee contributions. 

Where to find nonprofits to donate to?

There are many nonprofit organizations out there to become donors for. A good place to start is through Alaya’s global nonprofit network.

With different types of nonprofits, it’s a good way to help a variety of causes and to offer plenty of options for your employees to choose from. The nonprofit organizations you can expect to find on this global network are:

  • WWF
  • MacMillan Cancer Support
  • Girl Up
  • Crisis
  • United Purpose
  • Medair

There are over 1.5M nonprofits to choose from that can appeal to all companies looking for their causes. These include nonprofits that focus on nature, fighting for human rights, and seeking medical solutions for illnesses lacking resources and funding.

The more nonprofits you help and the types of nonprofits you engage with, the more your employees will likely want to help out with gift-giving and volunteering.

How to start a matching gifts program?

To create an effective donation matching program with Alaya, there are a few steps worth following that will make it easier. It’s always worthwhile using a matching gift software or platform to maximize the impacts you can have for these nonprofits.

Step 1: Find a nonprofit or create a fundraiser

Firstly, consider what nonprofit you’d like to support, whether it’s just one or multiple. It’s good to find ones that align with your values as a company. Plus, ask your employees what causes they are passionate about.

Alternatively, you may want to create a fundraiser to help with the main goal of raising so much for a charitable cause. This is a great way to promote your matching gift program to the entirety of your workforce.

Step 2: Encourage employees to donate

Next, you’ll want to encourage your staff to donate as and when they can. Remember not everyone can make cash donations, so cater to those that can give back in other ways.

In order to incentivize your employees, make sure the causes you are supporting are what they would be willing to give to. Listen to your employees when it comes to their preferences too. 

You can also reward those employees who contribute heavily to donations over the course of the month or year.

Step 3: Match donations to show your support

Matching donations can be important to show your support. Regardless of how much you’re able to match, simply going out of your way as an organization to support your employees and become donors, can be impactful.

It’s worth allocating a suitable budget to allow every employee to double or add to the donations that they give. 

So, think about how much you can realistically afford to donate so you can remain accountable for your employees’ actions. 

Step 4: Track the impact of your donations

Finally, it’s important to monitor the effectiveness of all the donation matches you provide for your employees and how it impacts the causes supported. 

Be sure to take a look at the matching donations you’ve made and how they’re benefiting the causes themselves, your employee engagement, and ultimately your company.

Everything can be tracked, and when it comes to donor data, it can help find areas of your donation program that need improvement or where there’s potential for more.

Alaya: The Corporate Giving Software

The platform to make donation matching easy

Alaya is the platform that can make matched donations more successful. It’s an employee giving and volunteering platform enabling more employees and businesses to do good at work.

Its main features include field and online volunteering, purpose challenges to inspire employees to give more, and opportunities for donation and fundraising.

It can also provide tracking and reporting to provide more information on the company’s influence on these causes and the wider demographic. Alaya’s trusted by over 100 companies globally who rely on the platform to make donation matching and giving easier.

It can be difficult to create and manage a donation matching program while also focusing on other business responsibilities. Alaya is a software that can help manage the processes whilst measuring the impact that each donation process has on its recipients.

When you need assistance creating your donation matching program, why not try out this free demo. Our experts can help talk about getting the most out of this platform to maximize your corporate giving potential. 

Donation Matching FAQs

What is donation matching?

Donation matching is a type of donation where a business will match the employee donations, enabling the employee’s contribution to have more of an impact.

What are matching gifts?

Matching gifts are a pillar of corporate philanthropy programs where the employer matches the gift donation made by their employee.