Boeing, GE Donation-Matching Programs Energize Talent Recruiting

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By Genevieve Douglas

Boeing is lifting its charitable gift-matching program for employees to a higher level--$10,000--likely giving itself a boost in the talent war in the process. Besides the satisfaction of doing good, corporations that match financial donations--and some also match volunteer hours—appear to gain a competitive edge in recruiting, especially of millennials.

GE was first on the scene of employee donation-matching, which it began in the ‘50s. By 2017, 65 percent of Fortune 500 companies offered gift-matching programs, according to statistics from Double the Donation. The company provides technology and tools to nonprofits looking to increase revenue through matching gifts, according to its website. Some employers even more than double employee donations.

Gift matching programs are “very attractive” to young people entering the work world, John Blazey, vice president of global engagement at the Boeing Co., told Bloomberg Law Feb. 13. Such programs are a key part of recruiting and retaining quality talent in today’s very competitive marketplace, he said.

Gift-matching programs can help communicate corporate cultures and values. One example: device, drug and consumer goods giant Johnson & Johnson.

“At Johnson & Johnson, supporting the communities in which we live and work is an integral aspect of our core values,” a spokesperson told Bloomberg Law via email Feb. 15. “The Matching Gifts Program is one important way that we energize and enable our employees to give back, building healthy communities around the world and fostering a culture of caring within the company.”

Top Match Up, Employees Outside U.S. Included

Boeing is using part of the $100 million in tax relief it will get from the new tax law to enhance its “Dollars for Doers” program, which rewards employees who give their time and resources to local communities.

“We believe the benefits of the tax bill allow us to give back to our employees who then can give back to the communities where they live and work,” Blazey said.

The revision increases gift-match levels from donations of $6,000 to $10,000. It also reduces the number of hours required to get a company match from 25 to 10, matched at $10 per hour in 10-hour increments. The program now also allows non-U.S. and subsidiary employees to participate, creating a greater pool of charitable giving.

The Boeing Charitable Trust gave a combined $181million to charitable causes in 2017—$34 million of which came from Boeing employees alone. The employees also donated more than 400,000 volunteer hours to nonprofit organizations across the globe, Blazey said.

Innovative Employer Programs

With its revamped program, Boeing joins a field of other corporations that America’s Charities lists as having top gift-matching programs. Also in the group are General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, ExxonMobil, Apple, and others.

America’s Charities is a nonprofit that inspires employees and organizations to support causes they care about, according to its website.

General Electric created the first employee gift matching program in 1954. It has kept its program unique by giving employees a long deadline to apply for matching dollars. This allows workers with busy lives enough time to determine whether their charitable donation is eligible to receive a match.

Johnson & Johnson and PepsiCo both will match gifts at a 2-to-1 ratio, essentially tripling donations made by workers. For employees at PepsiCo to qualify for that higher matching ratio, the donor must also volunteer with the eligible organization.

At Apple, employees have no minimum amount they’re required to donate in order to get the matching funds, giving workers with limited resources the opportunity to give back.

ExxonMobil has been innovative by offering workers two different matching programs, allowing them to maximize the impact of their donations to educational institutions as well as arts and cultural organizations, according to America’s Charities.

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