Employer "match funding"
There are many ways of asking parents and supporters of your PTA to contribute to the association. The most common is by giving time and money to the many fundraising events and activities run by your association. However, with more and more parents having less and less time PTAs are looking at other ways to raise funds.
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. For example, a parent, who works for a company that offers matched giving, volunteers to work on the refreshment stall at the PTA summer fair. The profit made by the stall is £100. The parent's employer will then match this amount with a further £100.
Some organisations will match fund on a pound for pound basis, while 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.
Alternatively, a parent may opt to make a cash donation to the PTA, which again could be matched by their organisation.
Benefits of matched giving
For the company
● Staff morale is boosted by having their efforts supported by the company
● The company can support more than one charity/voluntary group
● The usual benefits of charitable donations being written off against taxable profits apply
● Positive PR opportunities
● Encourages a growing sense of social responsibility Matched giving should not increase the administrative burden that applies to ordinary donations
● Can encourage a feel-good factor among employees about the organisation they work for
● Enhances corporate image and reputation
For the PTA
Your association will have the obvious benefit of receiving up to double the amount it would have, without any additional effort involved. There is also the possibility that, once a company has got to know your PTA through its employee(s), they may choose to continue to support the association in other ways, additional to the original matched giving scheme, such as through sponsorship, gifts in kind (for raffles, auctions) or a general donation. It may also encourage other parents to approach their employers and thus expand the network of corporate sponsors for your association. For the individual Parents benefit by seeing their contributions being increased through the support of their employer. There is also the opportunity of getting their colleagues involved through the same scheme. Types of matched giving Organisations may match fund in a variety of ways the most common being:
● Time donated by their staff for voluntary work
● A donation made to the charity
● The matching of funds raised from a sponsored event such as a marathon
● The matching of funds raised through a specific activity e.g. staffing a stall at a PTA fete Companies may also be happy to consider gifts in kind such as donating equipment or services like in-house printing. If the gift is appropriate to the association, this can actually be far more valuable than a cash donation.
Setting up a matched giving scheme
Most employers expect their employee to talk to them in the first instance. This has the advantage of the employer being approached by someone they know with the additional assurance that this is something their employee wants; not something being imposed on them.
If the company has a community relations or CSR manager, this will be the person to approach initially. In smaller companies where such a post does not exist, it is preferable to go to the immediate line manager to ascertain the most appropriate person to speak to.
Before making the approach to the company, it is important to think through exactly how much the parent wishes to give, in terms of a straight donation, how much you want the company to contribute and if and how you will be encouraging other colleagues to join in. Make sure that parents approaching their own organisations, know all the facts about matched giving and can give examples of other companies operating such schemes (see below) and, importantly, know the advantages and disadvantages of the scheme to the company.
It is important to 'sell' the value of supporting the PTA. Explain why the PTA needs funds and what you do for your school community. The parent may feel more comfortable taking along a PTA committee member, for support and to give more information about why giving to the PTA is a good idea. Once the company has agreed to a match give, ask them to put their pledge in writing to the PTA. While there is no standard form for making this commitment, it is useful for everyone to have the pledge confirmed, including details of any agreed limit. Ensure that the PTA writes a formal letter of thank you in response. When a company has agreed to such a scheme, you might like to ask the parent to speak to his/her colleagues about supporting the PTA in this way too. Put together a simple flyer that explains the scheme, the work of the PTA and how their regular donations will help.
Perhaps you could have an informal chat with colleagues in the staff room. In a larger organisation, an article in the in-house newsletter, staff intranet or perhaps a lunch-time meeting with a presentation by someone from the PTA could be useful backed up with posters on noticeboards.
If there are companies which are already supporting your PTA, it may be useful to set up a meeting with them to see if matched giving is something they would be interested in suggesting to their staff. For other companies, the best way forward is through their employees, so think about all the individuals who support or are connected with your association in some way and suggest that they approach their employers. For those you know well a chat may be sufficient, for others a letter explaining the scheme and why you want their support may be more appropriate. Around two-thirds of us give money to charity each month. This is a significant amount and when you consider that the contribution could potentially be doubled for all those who are employed, there is great deal to be gained from suggesting matched giving. While many companies are anxious to be seen to be supporting their local communities, few smaller companies operate matched giving schemes. This may simply be because no-one has asked them.
Companies offering matched giving schemes
As matched giving is an informal scheme, there are no definitive lists of companies which are willing to take part. However, a quick internet search will 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 you can approach. You may find that there are one or two large organisations that employ many parents with children at local schools, so if you find a company that is willing to match fund make sure you let everyone know. Some larger companies have publicly announced their matched giving schemes. For example Barclays match fund up to £1000 per employee per year. To get things started you need to ask your employer if they operate or are interested in running a matched giving scheme. Once the company has agreed to a match give, they will probably ask you 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.
The more you can do to raise the awareness of matched giving the more successful the response is likely to be. Let your peer group know that this facility to donate exists. Reassure them that it is not complicated. If your PTA has a regular PTA newsletter or website, promote the details of matched giving. Before you embark on any sort of promotion, make sure you have the permission of the company involved. Depending on the economic climate the number of companies that are willing to match give will invariably go up and down. Use your parent community to explore the option of company matched giving to help your PTA maximise its fundraising potential.
Ensure you gain maximum benefit
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. For example, if a volunteer has previously helped 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. Matched giving is 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.