How to double your donations with no extra effort

80,000 Hours is all about making a difference in an effective way and one of the most effective things you can do is donate to a cost effective charity. There has been some talk of matching donations and how it might not always increase how much money is ultimately donated. But there is a type of matching that can be very powerful.

Some companies offer large matching contributions and sometimes offer more than a dollar per every dollar donated. Some companies also offer grant money for volunteer hours or matching donations for participating in walks/runs/events for charity, and also match gifts made by retirees and/or spouses. If you’re pursuing an Earning to Give career, then a good matching scheme could be even more important than what industry you enter. In many cases it’s probably easier to find an employer who matches than to earn a much bigger salary.

How can you find out which companies do matching?

Luckily there is a large and extensive list of hundreds of companies for both the US and the UK (in fact 65% of Fortune 500 companies offer matching gift programs). Additionally, many companies not on this list can be searched or will offer matching donations if asked.

What are the best matching schemes out there?

Some of the best matching schemes include large companies such as:

  1. Microsoft matches $12,000
  2. General Electric matches $50,000
  3. Johnson and Johnson match up to $10,000 at a 1:2 ratio
  4. Craigslist matches up to 10% of your salary at a 1:3 ratio
  5. Soros fund management matches up to $300,000 at a 1:3 ratio

How might this change your career?

Bill has decided to take an earning to give career in finance. He is debating between Goldman Sachs and their competitors. After learning that Goldman Sachs has a large matching donation system, he chooses to work there and ends up donating an extra $20,000 to his favorite charity.

Jane works a government job with summers off. She routinely donates $5,000-$10,000 to her charity. But after learning about matching donations she realizes that she could get a part time summer job at The Gap and they will match her donations, increasing her donations by $10,000. And she will earn a little extra money. Not bad for a part time summer job.

Tom is a student and wants to get a job for a little spending money. He does not have a strong preference as to what minimum wage job to get but he does donate around $1,000 a year to charity. He checks out what jobs offer matching donations and finds a large list of jobs he could easily apply for, ranging from Dell to Kraft, to even Mcdonald’s, Pizza Hut and Verizon.

In summary, corporate matching could be a great way to increase your impact, so search if your current work matches, and keep it in mind when selecting a place to work in the future!

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