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Last updated January 19, 2022

How To Create a Donation Matching Campaign in your Company

Donation matching is a powerful resource for engaging employees and a must in any CSR program. In fact, 84% of people surveyed said they’re more likely to donate if a match is offered and one in three donors said they’d give more if a match was offered. 

Businesses are key players when it comes to donation matching, with 11% of total corporate cash contributions to nonprofits being made through matching gift programs. It’s an easy way to support nonprofits and incentivize employees to give and give more.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this guide:

  • Types of donation matching campaigns
  • Steps to create a donation matching campaign
  • Best practices for launching a donation matching campaign
  • Donation matching FAQs

Types of donation matching campaigns

There are multiple ways in which organizations can organize their matching campaigns, the most popular of which is generally employee donations matching. However, there are a number of options to explore when it comes to implementing a donation matching program in the workplace.

Employee donation matching

This is the most widely known approach to corporate donation matching, and it consists in encouraging employees to give back by matching their donations as a company. Put simply, when they donate, you donate.

Organizations can decide the match ratio they’d like to employ. This determines how much a company donates when an employee donates. Let’s say an employee donates $100 to their chosen nonprofit. Here’s how much corporations would also donate using different matching ratios:

  • 1:1 ratio: $100
  • 2:1 ratio: $200
  • 3:1 ratio: $300

This basically means that whatever is donated will be doubled, tripled, quadrupled, or more by the organization before it reaches the non-profit. This means a bigger contribution per donation, and encourages employees to donate more knowing that their initial donation will be amplified.

Organizations typically set their own minimum and maximum donation per employee. This means that only donations that fall within the terms are eligible to be matched. For example, the limitations on an employee matching program could look like:

“Donations greater than $20 and less than $10,000 will be matched by the organization, with a match limit of $20,000 per employee.”

In this case, a donation of $10 wouldn’t be matched. Nor would a donation of $12,000. Each individual organization can decide on its own matching limits, but it’s essential to be clear to avoid any confusion or bad press.


Corporate donation matching

Corporate donation matching involves asking an organization to match donations. Whereas in the previous section donation matching involved the employer and the employees, this section focuses on how fundraisers and nonprofits can benefit from corporate CSR grants. There’s a number of ways fundraisers go about this, and it’s a very effective way of increasing the success of a fundraising campaign.

Many organizations already have employee giving programs in place, through which they provide fundraising grants. When a company has these processes in place, there will usually be an online form to register interest. However, smaller businesses may not have these processes in place or the funds to consistently offer grants.

In both of these cases, it’s essential to make a case for why the cause deserves their support. For bigger organizations, this may be submitted via an online form. With smaller businesses, it may be discussed on a call or via email. An organization then needs to decide on a match ratio and the maximum dollar amount that it can offer.

Companies are often interested in supporting their local communities, and donation matching is a simple way for them to do this. It earns them a positive brand reputation and encourages new talent to join their organization.

Donation matching challenges

This type of donation matching involves a fundraising campaign that works towards a predetermined goal over a set amount of time. The time limit on these matching challenges is what makes them so effective—people feel more inclined to act upon seeing the fundraising activity.

Donation matching challenges involve getting a major donor—whether it’s an organization or individual—to agree to match donations if a target is hit. If donations don’t reach that target, then there’s no donation matching.

So, say your organization agrees to match donations if a fundraising activity hits $40,000 over the span of a week. However, despite their best efforts, fundraisers are only able to raise $39,000. In this scenario, the target wouldn’t have been hit and the donation would remain at $39,000.

Now, let’s say the fundraising team raises $41,000. In this case, the goal has been hit so your organization matches with a $40,000 donation and brings the total to $81,000. The opportunity to increase the donation so substantially motivates donors to act fast so as to ensure their donation goes towards the larger fundraising goal. If the target is hit prematurely, it’s common for donors to increase their donation match to encourage further donations.

Peer matching donation programs

Peer matching is another great way to amplify the impact of donations made by employees–people are 50% more likely to give if asked by a peer. This grassroots approach to donation matching is a strong addition to any CSR program.

When an employee decides to give to a cause they’re passionate about, they create a giving opportunity for their peers to also donate. Their coworkers can then support the initiative by donating to the match pool. 

The impact of this approach is maximised when there’s also an employee donation matching program in place alongside the peer matching opportunity–donations are matched by peers and the organization. In fact, 97% more employees donate during 2x match offers, making this combination of opportunities all the more impactful.

Peer matching is a great way to empower and unite employees over causes they care about. It’s an effective addition to your CSR program that puts the power to give in your employees hands.

Overall, all types of donation matching create a positive impact for the nonprofits they support; they’re just tailored to how your culture and workforce best respond to them.

Hopefully, you’ve got a good idea of the different types of campaigns you can choose from. Now it’s time to look into creating your matching donation campaign in-house.


Steps for creating a donation matching campaign

With the right tools and processes in place, employee matching gift programs are a lot easier than you may think. From the logistical setup to tracking your matching donations, let’s explore those all-important five steps.

1. Create your fundraiser

A fundraiser is different from a non-profit. How? Your fundraiser is your concept and cause; it’s what gets people rallied in the first place and encourages them to donate. Every employee matching gift program begins with finding a cause your employees are passionate about.

For example, you’re more likely to engage employees and raise more money if the fundraiser is close to heart. So find your perfect fundraiser by aligning it with your company’s mission and values. 

There’s a high-chance your workforce carries the same values as your business, and in finding a fundraiser in line with business ethics, you’ll find one in line with your employees.

Another way of creating your fundraiser is by asking your employees what they want and care about. You can do this by sending out short surveys—like pulse surveys—that can quantify fundraiser interests, raise awareness of the upcoming project, and help you identify step number two: selecting the perfect nonprofit organizations.

2. Find a non-profit

Next up, it’s time for you to select the perfect non-profit—or non-profits—to give your matching gift campaign the best chance of success by finding major donors.

Note: If you’re using Alaya, the platform has 1.5million vetted non-profits across a wealth of different niches. The team is also on hand to help you find the perfect match in case you don’t have time to browse for one yourself.


It’s always a good idea to find more than one non-profit to support your fundraiser. Particularly as your goal is to raise funds for your overall cause and non-profits help you get there. 

A healthy selection to choose from will better engage employees in the initiative as they can make an impact on the non-profit that resonates with them best.

3. Distribute and share the campaign

This step largely depends on the matching campaign type you’re choosing to go for. A big question to ask is if this matching challenge is internal, external, or both. Is it solely for your employees? Or, are you opening it up to other business stakeholders like customers and investors? 

Deciding on the above requires you to consider your operational capabilities, as well as your business funds to see all donations through with a matching grant. It’s recommended you open your efforts up to customers, partners, and more to give your matching gift initiative the exposure it deserves.

However, some businesses simply may not be in the financial position to do this—unless you put a maximum donation matching limit to ensure you’re able to deliver. 

Make sure to clearly communicate the campaign whatever the limitation may be—you don’t want any confusion to lead to negative publicity for your organization.

4. Donate & Match donations

Next up comes the task of matching donor gifts. Matching funds doesn’t need to be a daunting task, if you’ve got the right tools in place. To be truly successful with this, and to avoid room for human error, it’s a good idea to automate as much of this as possible.

Note: If you’re using Alaya for this you can automate your matching grants process with the corporate giving software. With this, you can place campaign contribution limits from your company on how much you match, and set up automatic notifications to let your match donor know how much they’ve helped to raise.

It’s a whole lot easier to focus on the realization and impact of your campaign when you’ve not got to worry about the logistics behind it too. Employing donation matching software is the easiest option, especially when orchestrating a large scale campaign.

5. Track your impact

Lastly, if you want to keep matching gifts, retain employee engagement, and even encourage large donors via corporate sponsors then you’ll want to be tracking your impact. 

People need numbers when it comes to making cash or gift donations. It’s important that they see the effect of their in-person or online donation for them to continue to contribute toward your gift program.

Note: Employee engagement software can manage and showcase donations matched and so much more for all of your campaign stakeholders. For example, Alaya’s user-friendly display can showcase the positive initiatives your stakeholders are helping support the number of contributions, money raised, and more.


Tips to launch a donation matching campaign

We’ll close out this quick walk-through with a few best practices to keep in mind for running a smooth campaign. Whether you’re choosing to run a matching gift campaign or are running a cash fundraiser campaign, these best practices are a great place to start.

The more the merrier: If you can open the floor to more stakeholders, outside of your employees, then do so. It will help your employer branding, customer trust, and will ultimately raise more for the cause.

Minimize actions: People are notoriously busy. Make their process to donate as agile as possible. Minimize clicks, automate what you can, and watch those donations roll in quicker.

Tailor messaging: Segment and tailor your campaign messaging to better appeal to all of your stakeholders and what they hold close to heart. This will help ensure your campaign is reaching the people most invested in supporting it.

Relate it to your mission and values: Whether it’s employees, customers, investors, or other stakeholders, they’re all involved with your business because your mission and values relate to them. Tie your campaign to these and you’ll see a great engagement rate.

Find campaign champions: It can be hard to launch a new initiative entirely on your own. Find your campaign champions—internal influencers that are particularly passionate about the cause and can help rally support. 

Donation Matching FAQs

How do you promote donation matching campaigns?

Promoting this type of campaign is best with an omnichannel approach. Outline the communication channels you have for all stakeholders involved. Some of these channels could be: social media, email, Slack, SMS, direct mail.

Once you’ve outlined your channels, tailor your communication messaging for each. If you want to take this a step further, segment your audience and break down your fundraising initiative in a way that resonates with them best.

Whether running a matching gift campaign, sourcing a major donor, or trying to double the donation of stakeholders–tailor your communication to those you’re addressing.

How do you create a donation matching campaign?

A matching gift or donation campaign can be created in five simple steps:

• Create your fundraiser
• Find a non-profit—or more than one!
• Distribute and share your campaign
• Start matching and showcasing your matches
• Track and share your results
Follow the five steps in this article to seamlessly run a matching gift or donations campaign.

Is there a difference between matching gifts and donation matching?

Yes. A matching gift challenge and other types of matching gift campaigns tend to revolve around physical goods and their cash value. If an organization promises they are matching gift donations, they’ll either buy the physical gift quantity to match or meet it at its cash value.

On the other hand, donation matching typically revolves around financial donations only. A major donor agrees to match donations using a predetermined match ratio.