Like many readers, I work for a large corporate company that thankfully offers a nice array of benefits. I pay size-ably for these each paycheck but, based on my past experiences with medical costs for Lauren and me, I am grateful to have had the coverage when we needed it. That’s what insurance is about – spreading risk over numbers and time. Lots of health insurance issues to debate now…

Anyway, I wanted to share with you 3 employee benefits that few people know about, or take advantage of, that their employer may offer them. It is worth taking a moment to see if your employer offers these, especially now that we are at year end and you may benefit from the tax deductions of giving.

The first is a “Matching Gift” program whereby if you donate a check to a qualified charity, (there are some guidelines), your employer may match it $ for $ with a “matching gift”. Often there are limits to the amount per donation and even the overall amount that they will match per employee per year. It typically requires a paper form of theirs to complete.

The next is an “Employee Volunteer Grant” whereby if you volunteer for a qualified charity for so many hours per year, your employer may offer a grant for your hours of service to the org. OR, they may allow you some time off, with pay, to perform some community service.

Another tool for charitable giving is the automatic deduction from your paycheck for United Way. You name the amount that will be deducted from your pay. You can even request a special form when enrolling to designate your contributions to your favorite charities (if they qualify). United Way has a huge list of recognized charities that you can donate directly too including local CYO’s and such. It is such an easy way to support the non-profits that you care about.

I was very familiar with Matching Gift and United Way and always did this over the years whether it was for LBBC, The Arc, Special Olympics, etc. But, I stumbled upon the Employee Grant simply by chance one day and was pleasantly surprised to learn that my volunteerism would be worth $500 to the charity of my choice! Since learning about this benefit, I am now diligent about applying for it each year.
Living Beyond Breast Cancer Donation
For 2013, as per the photo, last week, I handed over the $500 check to the staff at LBBC – Living Beyond Breast Cancer www.lbbc.org

I encourage you to take a look now at what your employer may offer you as a tool to help your favorite charity(ies). Inquire with your benefits or HR dept. It is timely to do this now, as we approach year end and the charities need to meet their fundraising goals.

Happy Holidays!