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Research Proves Corporate Match-Funding Can Encourage Donors To Give More To Charity

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has joined forces with Charities Trust & The Big Give for a major report into corporate giving in the UK.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has joined forces with Charities Trust & The Big Give for a major report into corporate giving in the UK.

The research report, entitled “A Great Match”, analysed data from 138,000 charitable donations and found more people are likely to donate to charity and give more money if they know their donation will be match-funded.

Match-funding is when an employer, the government or philanthropic body matches a charitable donation – usually pound for pound.

Researchers found donors gave 2.5 times more to charity on average when match-funded. The average value of a matched donation was £333 compared with only £132 for those which were un-matched.

The report was jointly funded by RBS, Charities Trust and The Big Give, an online matching facilitators for charitable appeals which was founded by the entrepreneur Sir Alec Reed CBE.

Thom Kenrick, RBS Head of Community Programmes, said:

At RBS we are always looking for ways to help our customers and employees to donate to the causes that matter to them.  We know that making giving easy is the most important factor and our experience shows that something as simple as boosting a colleague’s fundraising can make an enormous difference.

Linda Minnis, chief executive of Charities Trust, which manages charitable donations for some of the UK’s largest businesses including RBS, said:

In the corporate world, we are seeing a growth in the number of businesses offering their employees match-funding for payroll giving, fundraising or volunteering.

While we know that some of the budgets available to encourage employee engagement are hugely generous, we also know that actual take up can be poor.

If more employers offered matching and more employees took advantage of matching, the impact on the whole sector – for charities and good causes – would be that much greater.

Alex Day, Director of the Big Give, said:

In a time where fundraising is under increasing scrutiny, it is vital for funders and charities to work together to find innovative ways to encourage donations from the public.

The research shows that match funding is a fantastic way to not just incentivise donations but to truly create a situation where the sum is greater than the parts.

Our flagship match funding campaign, The Christmas Challenge, has raised £71m since 2008 by bringing funders, charities and donors together through match funding and we look forward to working with more partners to facilitate online match funding in future.

Dr Catherine Walker, who wrote the report, said:

With a more demanding younger generation coming into both the workforce and the charitable giving arena there are greater expectations of the ways in which engaging with charities should be made easier.

Companies and charities are expected to encourage and reward charitable engagement, and matching could play a pivotal role in this.

It may seem like a ‘no brainer’ that if you offer to double a donation, then more people will give and maybe give more. However, previous research has been inconclusive. This is the best UK proof yet.

The report identified a growth in the number of leading companies in the UK, which are now offering match-funding to their employees, who donate money via payroll giving schemes or through fundraising activities.

The report also predicted a growth in cause-related marketing, such as Innocent Smoothies donating 25p to Age UK for every bottle sold with a knitted hat.

However, it warned the UK market was much more cynical when compared to the rest of the world with only 14% believing their cause-related purchases made a significant impact compared to 29% globally.

The research analysed 138,000 donations made through The Big Give online giving portal, surveyed 1,215 Big Give donors, who made gifts in 2015 along with interviews with 17 companies, trusts, foundations, charities and experts involved in match-funding in the UK.

To download a copy of the report, visit

CASE STUDY 1 – RBS and #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back.

In 2015, RBS announced it would donate up to half a million pounds to UK charities, which its employees supported through the bank’s payroll giving scheme.

The scheme, which is managed by Charities Trust, allows employees to donate directly from their pre-tax pay to a charity of their choice.

The #GivingTuesday campaign saw the bank donate £100 to its official charity partner, Sport Relief, in addition to a £150 donation for the chosen charity of any employees who signed up to the scheme or increased their current payroll giving donation.

The campaign resulted in an extra £12,972 donated to charity by RBS employees every month.

Thom Kenrick, RBS Head of Community Programmes, said:

In 2014, we were the very first UK bank to join the #GivingTuesday movement.

We loved taking part in #GivingTuesday so much that we did it again in 2015, giving us another chance to encourage our customers, staff and followers to join a global movement to bring about change.

CASE STUDY 2 – The Big Give Christmas Challenge

The Big Give Christmas Challenge, which was founded by the entrepreneur Sir Alec Reed CBE, has raised over £71million for over 2,500 charities since it launched in 2008.

It is the UK’s biggest, annual online match-funding campaign and offers supporters the chance to have their donations doubled. The match-funding is provided by The Big Give’s network of philanthropists and also by the participating charities’ own major donors.

The 2015 The Christmas Challenge supported 258 charities, raising over £7.2m. The Big Give processed 10,450 donations throughout the ten-day campaign, at a peak of 391 donations per minute when the match-funding was initially released.

“It cannot be overstated the amazing job that the Big Give does in providing that spark for a stunning few days of fundraising over Christmas. Our supporters relish the challenge of helping us hit our fundraising target, all the time knowing that they are doubling the impact of the work that can be done to help some of the most troubled families in our local communities.” Gazala Alvi, Fundraiser and Finance Officer from West London Action for Children who raised £39,000 in the Christmas Challenge 2015.

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