So you’ve found two, three or even five people interested in creating a giving circle with you, now what?
Now it’s time for you and your founding members to set up the rules. The rules help you and your founding members know what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and how you’re doing it. The rules focuses your efforts, helps avoid unanticipated scenarios, and reduces conflict when everyone knows how your circle operates.
The Giving Forum provides some excellent resources for starting a giving circle, and I highly recommend reviewing their site and printing out their materials. In addition, I’m posting the questions I worked from when starting my giving circles. You’ll found them at the end of this post.
I would suggest planning at least two founding meetings. At the first meeting, you’ll create some items that will need further research or development, so plan a couple weeks in between for members to work on the action items that arise from these meetings.
As you work through these questions and the materials you find at the Giving Forum, it’s very likely you’ll have questions about what is the best path for your giving circle to take.
First, I want you to relax. There isn’t one correct answer. Thousands of people all across the country are participating in giving circles with their own unique strategies. In time, you’ll discover what works best for your giving circle, and you’ll make changes.
Second, I highly recommend checking out the Interviews I’ve been posting. You’ll hear many different, interesting, and helpful strategies that other giving circles are using. Feel free to incorporate them into your giving circle.
Third, contact me if you have questions or want to brainstorm helpful ideas.
My Starting a Giving Circle Questions:
- What is our group’s vision/mission?
- What’s our name?
- How often do we meet?
- Where do we meet?
- If meeting occurs in person, what, if any, are refreshment arrangements?
- If meeting occurs virtually, what are meeting tools?
- How large do we want the group to be? Is there a meeting cap?
- What is our strategy for recruiting new members?
- What are our procedures for accepting new members to the group.
- How much will we donate every month?
- How will funds be held (options include at a bank, with a host, or not at all)?
- What is appropriate use of funds? (for ex, are expenses such as food allowable?)
- Who will have access to disbursing funds?
- What are procedures for disbursing funds?
- What are our criteria for eligible recipients (non-profits, for profits, individuals)?
- What are our procedures for nominating potential recipients?
- What are our procedures for determining the amount of potential donations?
- What are our procedures for discussing nominees?
- What are our procedures for voting on nominees?
- What are our procedures for breaking a tie?
- Will our circle have leadership? (president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary)
- What are our procedures for electing and replacing leadership?
- What is our strategy for keeping existing members engaged and enthusiastic?
- How do we determine the effectiveness and impact of our group?
- Do we need to consult with an accountant or attorney?
- Do we need to have By-Laws?