Here's why billions of charitable giving dollars go unused every year

Here’s why billions of charitable giving dollars go unused every year

As Giving Tuesday nears, greater than 18 million folks in America work for firms with charitable-donation matching packages, but as a lot as $7 billion in donations from these firms go unused every year. 

One of the most important causes for that is easy: Folks do not know their employer has one of these packages.

I do know. I used to be one of these folks till only in the near past.

The excellent news, nevertheless, is {that a} single e-mail modified that and might do the identical for you, simply in time for what’s historically one of the most important giving days of the year.

My story

In late August, I began a web-based fundraiser for the American Most cancers Society, utilizing GoFundMe. I did it in honor of what would’ve been my late father’s seventy fifth birthday. He died in October 2020 after a multiyear battle with most cancers, and I could not suppose of a greater approach to honor him than to boost funds to assist wipe most cancers off the face of the earth.

As soon as the fundraiser web page was stay, I started reaching out to of us: first household after which pals, colleagues, social media connections and even my employer, LendingTree. I wasn’t shy about it.  

I vaguely remembered listening to one thing throughout my three years with the corporate about LendingTree matching staff’ charitable donations, however I wasn’t sure, so I despatched an e-mail to a colleague.

Later that day, I received a response: Sure, the corporate matches as much as $1,500 in money donations or volunteer hours per worker, per year.

That was an eye-opener for me.

It made me wish to discover out extra about these packages and share what folks wanted to find out about them. In any case, if I did not find out about my firm’s coverage, it appeared probably that most individuals did not find out about their firm’s coverage both, which means that heaps of cash was being left on the desk. That’s completely the case.

Charitable donation matching packages are in all places

Numerous firms have donation-matching packages. The thought reportedly dates to 1954, when Normal Electrical created the primary matching donations program. Right this moment, these packages are widespread.

In keeping with DoubleTheDonation, which works with firms to assist maximize their packages, 65% of Fortune 500 firms supply matching-donation packages – from Disney to Apple to American Specific — and greater than 18 million folks work for firms of all sizes which have these packages. 

Corporations akin to DoubleTheDonation or BrightFunds supply instruments to assist firms streamline the donation course of for workers, whether or not you are trying to create your personal fundraiser, arrange a recurring donation or request a match for a current donation you have made.

Nevertheless, many staff by no means take benefit of these packages. In keeping with DoubleTheDonation, whereas $2 billion to $3 billion is donated by matching packages yearly, wherever from $4 billion to $7 billion in matching donation funds goes unclaimed every year.

That may be a staggering quantity of cash being left on the desk. An extra $7 billion within the palms of charities across the nation might have a seismic influence. It might change the world for the higher in incalculable methods.

Elevating consciousness is vital

However how can we alter it? How do you unleash these billions of dollars?

Job No. 1 is to extend consciousness:

  • Ask if your organization has a donation-matching program. In the event that they do, be taught extra about it and take benefit of it. If they do not, ask why after which ask them to think about beginning one.
  • Then inform your folks, household and coworkers to do the identical factor.

The extra individuals who find out about these packages, the extra they are going to be utilized. The extra they’re utilized, the more cash will into the palms of charities. And the more cash charities have, the extra good they’ll do.

And in the end, that is what it is all about.

Getting probably the most out of your organization’s donation matching program

Whereas it is nice to be enthusiastic about serving to a worthy charity, there are some vital issues to know earlier than you donate. As with every monetary transaction, dashing right into a donation with out doing all your homework can result in remorse.

Listed here are just a few suggestions for utilizing your organization’s donation matching program:

  • Do not forget to truly ask for the match: Everybody has a to-do listing a mile lengthy, so it’s essential that you simply take steps to make sure that you place in a request for an organization match. If you happen to donate by a donation program’s on-line instrument, it would probably be simple — simply be sure to point that you really want your organization to match your donation, and whether it is eligible, the match request shall be submitted once you make the preliminary donation. If you happen to make the donation by different strategies, your finest transfer is to request the match out of your firm as quickly as you full the donation. If that is not potential, think about placing a reminder in your calendar, set for just a few days after the donation date.
  • Do not forget that it isn’t simply concerning the cash: Money donations are all the time nice however volunteering your time may be simply as vital. Many firms will donate a set quantity, say, $25 per volunteer hour, so be sure you ask your organization about its coverage. It is an effective way to present in case your price range is stretched too skinny for a money donation.
  • Perceive the maximums: Matching packages, whereas beneficiant, have limits. Earlier than you donate, ensure you perceive what these limits are. For instance, LendingTree will match as much as $1,500 per worker per calendar year, which incorporates each money donations and donations primarily based on volunteer hours. Some firms reportedly will even match $10,000 or extra per year, per worker. Many of these  on-line donation instruments will observe for you simply how a lot you have donated and had matched in a given year — although it’s in all probability a good suggestion to trace that your self, individually, as nicely. In fact, there’s nothing that claims you will need to restrict your donations to what your organization will match.
  •  No have to “give until it hurts”: Simply because your organization will match donations as much as a certain quantity every year, doesn’t suggest it’s important to give the utmost quantity. In case your money donations start to trigger you actual monetary hardship, it’s time to reassess. As noble as it could be to donate, wrecking your personal funds to take action is just not advisable. Study your price range to see how a lot in funds you’ve got obtainable for donations and proceed from there. And once more, keep in mind that volunteer time may be every bit as worthwhile as that money.
  • Give to a number of organizations should you choose: These donation packages are versatile. When you’ve got a number of causes about which you might be passionate, divvy up your donations amongst them. The net instruments that almost all donation packages have sometimes permit you to simply search charities all through the world — which means that your choices are probably wider and extra different than you may think. And all these organizations shall be grateful to you in your contribution.
  •  Perceive the professionals and cons of donating with a bank card: On-line instruments make it really easy to donate with a debit or bank card. That is a beautiful factor for these deserving charities, however it isn’t with out value. Earlier than you donate, take a look at the charges related together with your donation. Know that should you donate $100 with a bank card, solely $98 or probably much less shall be given to the charity — whereas should you write the charity a test or pay in money, the entire $100 will go to the group. Nevertheless, some on-line donation instruments might provide the choice to cowl the fee of that transaction, which can result in that $50 donation in the end setting you again $52.50 or one thing comparable.
  •  Unfold the phrase: Odds are that many of your coworkers do not know your organization will match donations, so inform them. Do not be pushy, and do not be judgmental in the event that they determine not to participate. Merely letting them find out about what these donation-matching packages supply may be sufficient of a delicate nudge to make a distinction.

Matt Schulz is Chief Credit score Analyst at LendingTree.

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