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Your Guide to Starting a (Virtual) Giving Circle

Make your donation even more impactful—and have fun while doing it.

Nowadays—particularly as the holiday season rapidly approaches—it’s easier than ever to make a donation and experience the joy of knowing you made a difference in someone’s world. Between tapping the “Donate” button on someone’s Instagram Story or participating in a friend’s birthday fundraiser via Facebook, technology has made giving to a charity easier than ever before.

The downside of this ease is that many lose out on being able to connect with people whose interests and passions are like yours; it’s not just about socializing, but about coming together as a group to make your donation more impactful. Giving circles are a way to make a charitable gift even more meaningful while also getting the chance to connect and bond with those who have similar philanthropic interests. It’s an elevated, charitable version of a book club— and can be safely done right from your own home.

What Is a Giving Circle (And Why Start One)?

A giving circle is a group of individuals who pool together money to donate to one or more charities. The benefit of starting, or joining, a giving circle is that the amount of money you donate together as a group will go much further than if you were to donate on your own. Plus, it gives you the motivation to continue to contribute to organizations you care about—like the Fulfillment Fund, which helps underprivileged students get the opportunity to go to college. 

How to Start a Giving Circle

Starting a giving circle is pretty simple. Here are a few steps to get you started:

  1. Gather a Group
    Start small—ask friends, family, and neighbors if they’re interested in joining. Be clear about your intentions and let members know what’s expected of them.

  2. Set Up a Structure
    Give yourselves a name, choose a team leader, and decide how often you want to aim to meet and distribute your donations. Ask members to come prepared to each meeting with ideas of which organizations they’d be interested in supporting and giving goals. While someday you may aspire to have meetings in real life, make your Giving Circle COVID-friendly by hosting over video chat. But don’t forget to make it fun! Start with icebreakers or set a theme each time you meet.

  3. Look for Advisement If You Want It
    While it’s perfectly okay to mail checks and submit your donation as a group, you may also decide to hold donations in a Donor Advised Fund or hand over legal responsibility to a fiscal sponsor. Just make sure you do your research (some sponsors charge administrative fees) before making a decision.

  4. Spread the word!

Circles never end, so continue to grow and expand your group by sharing your efforts with family, friends, and neighbors. Sharing on social media networks is a great way to start, but word of mouth always works, too.

Ready to start a Giving Circle? Consider making your circle’s donation to the Fulfillment Fund today.

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