How to Set Up a Giving Circle

One of the recent trends in giving is the rise of “Giving Circles” —individuals who come together to pool their assets to make a difference with their giving.

Setting up a Giving Circle is easy, and you may be surprised how meaningful it is to give among friends. Here are six basic steps to help you get started:

Step 1 – Set Goals and Structure
Identify a group of your peers, colleagues, or family members who may share a common interest and invite them to get together. Your first meetings will focus on setting up the Circle’s structure such as giving guidelines, meeting schedule, and deciding a name.

It is up to your group to determine the contribution amount that each member should make. There are circles that require $500, $5,000, or more in annual commitments. It is important for the group to have complete consensus on the final amount.

Step 2 – Establish Your Mission

Your group needs to decide which charities you would like to focus on. You may also wish to simply designate a general category, such as evangelism, inner city, youth, or poor and needy.

Step 3 – Open a Giving Fund
Your group can open a Fund at SCCF by making a suggested tax-deductable contribution of $2,500 or more.

Step 4 – Create Work Groups
Once your focus is established, having members volunteer for particular tasks will build personal commitment in your Circle. For example, one work group could organize meetings and Circle events, another could manage the Fund online (recommend grants, review Fund balances, etc.), while another might research new giving opportunities.

Step 5 – Develop Partnerships

Determine how you want to be involved with the organizations that you fund. Will you also volunteer for
an organization that you have funded? Web development, program planning, and mentoring are some examples of ways your members might get involved.

Step 6 – Evaluate Your Impact
Take time to examine your short-term and long-term goals on a regular basis. This will help develop a sense of satisfaction and show how your contributions are making a difference.

Candid feedback from the organizations you have funded and partnered with will always be an important ingredient of this process.
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Original article by Pam Pugh, Copyright © 2008, The National Christian Foundation

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