Matched Giving appears to be a well kept secret. Did you know there are hundreds of organisations throughout the UK, that offer their employees the chance to boost their individual fundraising efforts by 'matching' the money they raise for their chosen charity? Here's a quick guide to getting started.
Q: What is matched giving?
A: Matched giving or matched funding is a simple way of maximising the fundraising efforts of your individual PTA volunteers. It is an informal albeit corporate arrangement between a company and their employee. Not all companies offer matched funding but those that do will pledge a sum of money relating to the amount their employee has raised for or donated to the charity of their choice. Some organisations will match fund on a £ for £ basis, others will stipulate what they are prepared to give. It is likely that an upper limit will be applied along with certain criteria such as the recipient organisation being a registered charity. Some companies will also pledge time and resources instead of money, so enabling their employees to support a cause during their working week, or offering a tangible service such as the opportunity to print posters, programmes, newsletters and so on.
Q: Which organisations will support our PTA?
A: There is no definitive list but it is safe to say that it is usually large organisations that will have established match funding programmes in place. Having said this, a match funding scheme can be adopted by any company no matter how big or small. Barclays for example offer their employees the opportunity to match funds they raise for their chosen charity up to £750 per year and this is available for three activities a year! In 2010 with matched funding Barclays employees raised a staggering £18 million pounds for charities of their choice. And Aviva, in response to feedback from their staff has introduced a '£Plus' matching scheme. This gives Aviva employees the chance to raise funds for any registered charity in which they are interested and to receive matched funds from Aviva in support.
Q: How do we get started?
A: To get things started you need to harness the support of your parents by asking them to ask their employers if they operate or are interested in running a matched giving scheme. Ask Mums and Dads to make the approach to their boss in the first instance. You may find that there are one or two large organisations that employ many of your Mums and Dads, so if you find a company that is willing to match fund through a parent, make sure you let everyone know! A quick internet search will also give you a list of organisations that have been known to match fund, so this may be a good way to identify employers in your local area that your parents can approach. Once the company has agreed to a match give, they will probably ask their employee to complete a request form. If this is not the case, ask the company to put their pledge in writing to the PTA. Ensure that your association formally acknowledges the contribution made by the company and their employees.
Q: How can we raise awareness?
A:Promote, promote, promote! The more you can do to spread the word about the benefits of matched funding amongst your parents the better. Make sure you tell everyone that this way to fundraise exists! Explain that its not complicated and will cost the individual nothing extra other than some time to talk to their employer!
Q: What can we do to ensure maximum benefit?
A: Once you've identified PTA volunteers that can tap into matched funding via their employers you need to ensure that you use this opportunity wisely! So for example, if there is a mum or dad that has volunteered to help at the summer fair, and their company is match funding the money they help to raise, make sure you put them on the most lucrative stall! It's a great way to build a rapport with local businesses; if they are prepared to support their employee, they may be willing to go a bit further and support your association in other ways by providing raffle / auction prizes for example.
We've produced a more detailed PTA Info sheet company matched giving. PTA-UK also provides guidance on how to become a registered charity.
Cath Garel, former PTA Committee member, Fetcham Village Infant School and currently part of the Therfield School Trust told PTA-UK: "I work for ExxonMobil (brand names Esso and Mobil) and they run a Volunteer Involvement Programme for employees. So, for every 20 hours volunteering I do, either as a governor or being involved in PTA activities, my employer matches my time with a donation of £250 to the school. The PTA then benefits from my time and the financial donation. And I can claim up to four times a year! The same scheme also provides matched funding up to £250 for monies raised at an event such as a sponsored run. In 2010 grants amounting to over £200,000 were awarded to schools, charities and community groups as a result of ExxonMobil employee volunteering".