by Ken Nopar, VP-Senior Philanthropic Advisor, AEF

Many companies match their employees’ contributions to charities each year. This is beneficial for the companies, their employees, and especially the charities that their employees support. If the firms provide a 1:1 match, a $1000 donation becomes $2000, though many firms place certain limits on their matching programs.

Matching Gifts

AEF donors may be unaware that their employers will match grants from their AEF donor advised fund accounts. In the last few months of the year, some AEF donors rush to make grants so they can turn in the grant letters from AEF to their HR department so the companies can match the grants. Unfortunately, companies are busy and the grants process often takes longer at the end of the year, so some AEF donors’ grants are not able to be matched in the calendar year. As a result, the donor may not maximize the allowed match amount and their year-end grants count towards the allowance for the following year.

Because there are now 1,000,000 donor advised fund accounts in the country, most companies are aware that some of their executives and other employees have established DAF accounts, and they have updated their matching policies to allow for DAF matching. While a few companies match donations from their employees to their DAF accounts, these are not common. Most now match their employees’ grants from the DAF sponsors though these policies can vary widely. One employer matches up to $1500 in employee contributions but will match up to $10,000 if their employee is on the board of a non-profit organization. Another firm offers a matching program of up to $10,000 for principals and $2500 for other employees.

Some retired donors participate in matching programs by recommending grants on behalf of their children or grandchildren who have matching policies that allow this at their workplaces. We encourage donors to first check matching policies instead of assuming that companies will provide a match for them or their heirs.

Donors may wish to state in a message to the grantee on the grant recommendation form that their company will provide a matching grant. When donors want to recommend grants that will be matched by their companies, we strongly encourage them to make the grant recommendations earlier in the year so their favorite charities can receive both these grants and the matching grants. Charities need funding throughout the year, and this will ensure that donors do not run up against year-end deadlines.