Giving circles are a wonderful way to donate money and lots of people are doing it. In fact, nationwide, there are about 800 giving circles donating over $100 million each year. If you’ve been thinking about joining a giving circle, here are 9 reasons why you should!
You’ll Make A Bigger Impact on the Non-Profit
In a giving circle, you pool your donation with the donation of lots of other people. As a result, the donation will be much larger than what you could do or wanted to do alone. A larger donation to a non-profit means that they will have more money to do their important work.
You’ll Make a Bigger Impact on the Problem
Most giving circles incorporate education into their giving circle activities. If your giving circle is interested in helping women and children out of poverty, it’s not uncommon for the members to spend some time reading, listening to an expert, or hearing from members in that community, so that they can learn how to direct their donation dollars towards programs that will actually make an impact on the problem and not inadvertently waste their donation on a program that sounds nice but doesn’t help fix anything or, even worse, undermines the success of the very people you wanted to help.
You’ll Choose a Better Non-Profit
Not all non-profits are created equal. Some are doing amazing work, maximizing every dollar spent, and making a huge impact on the problem. Others struggle with organizational efficiency, have high operating costs, paying large salaries for fund raisers and CEO’s, and, in a few circumstances, can be committing fraud and embezzlement.
Most giving circles evaluate a non-profit prior to donating in order to catch red flags. I personally call all our non-profits to speak with a founder or executive. It’s amazing what you can discover about their passion and their organization from a phone call.
You’ll Have Permission to Say No to Other Requested Donations
How many requests do you get for a donation? I’d say I have 3 emails every day, one or 2 that arrive in snail mail every week, one or two Facebook friends running a marathon a month, and mountains of requests during the holidays. But I know that I donate through my giving circle, because I can be confident that my donation is making the biggest impact possible on the causes that I care about, so I can politely decline. What a relief!
You’ll Get Peace of Mind that You’re Giving Back
Before I joined a giving circle, I would really want to donate money. But I was busy, and I never could find the time to make the donations that I wanted. I would always have a little voice in the back of my head reminding me of my guilt and that I needed to give back more! But now, I know exactly how and how much I’m giving. I feel good about it, and that little voice in my head has nothing to say!
You Won’t Have To Worry About the End of Year Donation Rush
December is the largest month for donations, that means non-profits send out massive amounts of requests for donations. If you’re like me, I would know that I needed to donate this year, so I would flip through the catalogs, read the requests, and make the difficult choices about where and how much I could donate. It’s kind of like putting my expenses together for my tax returns. Sure, I could do a little every month, and then it’s nice and easy. But instead I sit down in March and spend hours going through my paperwork.
A giving circle can be your annual giving plan. You know how much you’ll be donating. You’ll know that the non-profits will be well chosen. And if you want to give more at the end of the year, then you can choose to browse those catalogs or you can choose to send more to a non-profit your giving circle has chosen in the past. An end of year donation is your choice to pursue or not at your pleasure!
You’ll Enjoy Donating More
I speak with people all across the country about their giving circle and they all tell me the same thing: a giving circle is a profoundly rewarding way to donate money. It’s more fun, because you’re sharing the experience with other people like you who care about the same cause that you care about. The relationships and friendships created in a giving circle are a big reason why many people across the country continue to participate in giving circles year after year.
Plus, when you’re involved with your donation dollars by researching, voting, and following up on the impact your dollars have made, you experience a whole other level of satisfaction. When you invest some of your time and energy in your donation, you’re not just donating money. You’re donating a part of yourself. When you hear back how that donation helped, it’s as if you physically helped that person. I can’t explain it better than that, so you’ll have to trust me– at least enough to try it yourself and see if it’s true for you, too.
You’ll Donate More
When I waited until the end of the year to choose where to donate, invariably I had less to donate than I would have liked. The end of the year happens right after Christmas after all! So, I would look at my budget and squeeze in what I felt I could do and maybe a little more, because I felt I should. With a giving circle, donating is part of my monthly budget just like my other monthly expenses. Setting it up to be a little at a time means that overall, I’ll give more money than I would have done at the end of the year, but it feels like less!
You’ll Discover New Non-Profits
There are an estimated 1.5 million non-profits in the US. How many can you think of right now? 10? 20? Maybe 50? It’s easy to get in a rut and only see the same few organizations, but there are lots of great organizations doing great work, and in a giving circle, you’ll be exposed to many non-profits you would otherwise never hear about. It’s fun and exciting to learn about these organizations!