Start an Employee Donation Matching Program

An employee donation matching program is a scheme whereby the employee's company matches the donations made to a charity by the employee. It's a great way to motivate employees, build a two-way sense of loyalty, and help out a charity at the same time. Here are some ways to get such a program started in your workplace.


  1. Talk to your employees first. It is important to get them on board from the start, and to allow them to contribute the workplace policy on how donations from employees will be matched.
    • Find out from your employees how they perceive the donation matching program
    • Ask them what special ideas they have for tailoring the program to their workplace
    • Find out anything else that your employees feel is important about having such a program in their workplace.
  2. Check out companies that are well known for having employee donation programs. Major companies with the programs in place are probably worth checking out online to see how they run their programs. Some well-known examples include 3M, American Express, Boeing, Cingular, Citicorp, The GAP, Gates Foundation, General Mills, Google, Kimberly Clark, Levi Strauss, Macy's, Microsoft, Nintendo, Starbucks, and many others. Do an online search to find the companies with these programs, then check out their websites for specific information on how they implement the program. It's probably a good idea to select companies whose ethos and interests match with your own company's.
  3. Form your company's employee donation matching program. As part of forming the policy for your corporation, consider the following issues:
    • Whether there are limits to the donation matching
    • Whether there are limits to the amount of employees who can participate, or whether there will be seasonal, etc., rotations
    • What forms of verification you will need in place from your employees
    • Will it form part of the payroll deduction, or what other method will work best
    • Whether or not you will limit the types of charities the employees can claim for
    • The need to meet statutory and regulatory requirements.
  4. Create the administrative elements required to put the program into place. You will need:
    • A policy with guidelines and/or rules as outlined in the prior step
    • A dedicated person or people to administer the program
    • Instructions on how to apply for the program within your company, including dates, deadlines, expectations of receipt proofs, etc.
    • Forms for employees to fill out.
  5. Consider limiting the charities. While this might feel a little constraining for your employees, it has a number of benefits:
    • You can certain that the charities are reputable
    • Your company can check the taxation deduction applicability of chosen charities
    • You can make the most of linkages with chosen charities in marketing products, such as your website. You will generally be able to use the charity's logo and explain who your company is supporting through the employee donation matching program. That's a big marketing coup, a socially conscious good choice, and something that employees can feel proud about.
  6. Check out special events and days as well. You might consider sponsoring staff to participate in special days, months, or events that seek to raise awareness and funds for specific issues such as cancer, environmental pollution, childhood welfare and safety, etc. Again, your company can make use of such events in marketing products as well as raising goodwill through participating.


  • Many companies use a payroll deduction program for employee donation matching schemes. This is fairly simple to administer, easily traceable, and provides a method that be useful for meeting taxation and statutory requirements.
  • It's a good idea to get your company lawyers and accountants in on the process of developing a good program.
  • Consider whether your company will match in-kind gifts, either with similar/same in-kind gifts, or financial resources to the same extent. This can be especially important when it comes to disaster relief and such items as tents, blankets, medications, food, etc., are in high demand.
  • Consider what parameters your company will expect from charities it supports - such as developing a baseline of why your company helps charities and working from there to craft minimum requirements that charities wanting to participate in your program must meet.

Things You'll Need

  • Internet for research
  • Company accountant and lawyer
  • Printer for creating forms, policies, etc.
  • Marketing team to make the most of the linkages, social goodwill, connections