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Start a Women’s Giving Circle

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The Basic Steps

How to Set Up a Giving Circle

Step 1: Determine if you want to join an existing giving circle or develop a giving circle of your own

The Giving Circle Network lists more than 250 giving circles that give largely to local communities or consider starting a giving circle of your own.

Step 2: Determine the cause(s) and establish your mission

Since giving circles are democratically arranged, they provide donors with an equal voice in deciding where their contributions go. Think about the causes that stir your passion, and then chat with community organizers with direct experience for ideas on how the giving circle can make a positive change.

Start simply with a single charity or designate a general category, such as faith-based charities, inner city youth, seniors or the poor and needy. Most small giving circles find worthy causes on their own; some larger giving circles invite charities to apply for contributions. See the Women's Giving Circles Tip Sheet on Questions to Ask Charities Before Donating, which may help you select a viable charity.

Step 3: Find members and create work groups

Select a group of your friends, co-workers, neighbors or family members who may share a common interest, explain the concept of a giving circle, and invite them to attend a first meeting to see if they’d like to participate. Set a date to host the meeting, so you can set up the circle’s structure.

The group may be as informal or as organized as everyone likes; remember that everyone has an equal voice. And make sure there is time for socializing, too! Giving circles are a fun way to meet new women as well as spending time with old friends.

Considerations might include:

  • The kinds of charities the circle would like to support
  • The financial and time commitments everyone is willing to make
  • Meeting guidelines and schedule
  • Group roles (leader, scribe, event organizer, liaison with charity, treasurer, etc.)
  • Name of the giving circle

Step 4: Manage the money

The simplest way to manage the funds is for each member to write a personal check to the selected charity. Then you can present the set of checks together so the charity can track where the support came from.

Step 5: Evaluate the impact

Set milestones for your short-term and long-term goals on a regular basis. It is motivating to see exactly how your contributions can make a difference – in your community at large, and in the lives of individuals. Learn more at



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