Workplace giving programs often offer employer matches for donations up to a maximum amount. The programs are increasingly popular as vehicles for employee engagement, with 65% of Fortune 500 companies offering donation matches. Studies have shown that people are more likely to donate to a cause when a match will make that gift feel more impactful.
However, the median participation rate for matching gift programs is less than 10%, and more than two thirds of those who participate do not utilize their full available match. This means that an estimated $6 billion dollars in potential matching funds goes unclaimed by employees each year. How could we raise the salience of these programs for employees to increase their use?
Loss-framing messaging could be implemented as a simple email or incorporated into a donor’s profile page on a workplace platform. In either format, the key insight is to frame the total available match as an expiring benefit that will be lost if not used by the end of the year. We advocate displaying the messaging in both text and graphical format, and pairing the messaging with direct donation links to either recommended or favorite charities. The combination of loss-framing messaging and a clear call to action that removes frictions would maximize the likelihood of donation from engaged employees.
While we believe a loss-framing approach to workplace match programs would potentially improve conversion throughout the year, it would be most crucial around December, when 30% of all US donations are made and donors are primed for giving.