I’m a big giver. Whenever a friend, family member or colleague is asking for support, I try my best to participate in some way. Typically, it’s through monetary donations, and I am happy to do it. It helps a cause that is close to someone, is tax deductible, and sometimes, companies match your donation, doubling your gift. However, in my experience, that last part wasn’t always the case.
One of my employers was huge on giving back. They were always touting corporate social responsibility and encouraging us to help and give back to others. One of the ways they did this was through corporate matching gifts. What are matching gifts you ask? They’re extensions of corporate philanthropy by which companies support employee’s charitable giving to a wide range of non-profits.
Every time my husband or I were asked to make a donation, I was pretty psyched that it would be doubled by my employer. It was free (and more!) money for so many well-deserving charities. There was definitely some extra leg work I had to do, like fill out some basic information and get a tax ID number for the cause I was supporting, but it was a small price to pay for free money in my opinion. It was only later that I found out my company wasn’t really matching any of my donations.
I did some investigating after a charity I was closely affiliated with told me they had no record of my company matched donations. I figured it must have been a mistake or maybe just slipped through the cracks, but sadly, it wasn’t. Turns out, every donation I made while on the company’s payroll was never matched. How could that have happened?
Well, apparently there was never really a formal process for matching donations at my company because, unfortunately, not a lot of people took advantage of the program, even though it was highly promoted. So while I kept submitting matches, no one was really doing anything about it. Thankfully, I had saved all the forms I filled out, was able to resubmit them, and the charities I donated to finally received my matching gifts.
If your company offers a matching gift program, take the extra steps to participate. It’s FREE money to support great causes and goes a long way. But, do your due diligence and make sure you receive documentation that your corporate matches were actually made. And if you’re company who matches gifts, first, kudos to you! More companies should be like you. Just ensure you have a streamlined process in place so everyone wins.