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 Giving 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 on which charities you would like to focus for your generous giving. You may wish to simply designate a general category, such as evangelism, inner city, youth, or poor and needy.

 Step 3 – 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 financial contributions, while another might research new giving opportunities.

 Step 4 – Develop Partnerships

Determine how you want to be involved with the organizations that you fund. Will you 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 5 – Give!

Give directly to charity, or use a tool such as a donor-advised fund or a Giving Fund (contact National Christian Foundation at A Giving Fund allows you to manage your Circle’s contributions online (recommend grants, review Fund balances, contribute assets, etc.)

 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.

If you have questions, call us at The Idlewild Foundation, 813-264-8713.

Reprinted with permission from National Christian Foundation, Copyright 2011