The In’s, Out’s, and Where to Get Involved – Everything you need to know about Giving Circles
As I mentioned yesterday, one of the main three pillars I mentioned you need in order to find a purposeful life is connecting with a cause that is greater than yourself, or outside of you.
This sounds really great, but I oftentimes hear, and see from people, that they have a desire to get involved with something, but they just don’t know how or where to look. How are you supposed to find what sets your heart on fire and is the right cause, or causes, for you?
The best place to start is Giving Circles.
Before I dive in, I just want to express that this is by NO MEANS my idea! I’m just the messenger!
What is a Giving Circle?
Giving Circles are a movement that is happening globally amongst small and big communities who collectively believe that their gifts and impact can be much greater together, than individually. They believe in the power of generosity and want to move the needle for causes that are near and dear to them. There are prominent Jewish Network Giving Circles, circles for Women in Business, circles for the Latinx communities – you name it, there are people probably in that space who are forming these networks, or circles, to create change.
Each circle will have different guiding principles and membership qualifications, but simply put, a set amount of money is required to be involved (example: $300 annually), you pool your money with other like-minded people (so now you have $30,000), and your group votes to GRANT various causes and organizations with your funds.
Boom! Just like that, your $300 donation just grew to $30,000!
Most people would agree that a $30,000 gift can have a greater impact than a $300 gift, so pooling your resources together becomes super fun and impactful!
Why Would I Choose to Participate?
Well like I said, I believe we are all built for connection. Personally, motherhood is lonely enough, that doing something impactful in the community WITH FRIENDS sounds WAAAY better than having to trek out on my own, discover causes and non-profits that I want my money to go to, and then pursue that steadily by myself. Wouldn’t you rather vet these things with your people?? A Giving Circle not only allows you an excuse to gather with your people, or even meet other people who might be like you, but also to do good.
I believe the more that we get outside of ourselves, and use our money for good, the more JOY we find.
Giving + Your People = JOY
There’s a study I recently came across where some Social Psychologists gathered a group of college students. Half of the college students were each given a $20 bill, and told to go spend it freely however they wanted on themselves. The other half were told to use their $20 and spend it on someone else. Total freedom in the how – buy someone’s coffee, yourself a new pair of shoes, etc – just had to be within either the “for others” or “themselves” framework. When they reported back, the group that gave it away to meet someone else’s needs reported significantly higher levels of HAPPINESS than the group that spent it on themselves.
Not that surprising right?
GIVING gives you joy. We know this deep down in our bones, but those brilliant advertisers just convince us otherwise and we wind up feeling empty with the forever carrot of self-consumption. It’s counter-intuitive. We think that buying something for ourselves will increase our happiness, and it MAY momentarily, but in the long run – true joy comes from giving. So imagine then if you chose to do it with your friends?
Where Can I Find A Giving Circle To Get Involved in?
Okay, if I’ve convinced you even just a little bit or have at least peaked your curiosity, but you’re thinking “Where would I even find one of these circle things?” Don’t worry, I got you!
Chances are, there is a giving circle happening RIGHT in your very own region. Like I said, this is a movement that is happening in all varieties of people groups. And reports are showing that (shocker) the majority of these circles are compromised of women (shoutout to the one man who reads this blog…yes, there is a network of Giving Circles for you too 😉 )! Yes, other women just like you, who want to make an impact bigger than themselves.
In fact, I’m involved in two ongoing Giving Circles, and have had the opportunity to be a part of two others that are more “pop-up” giving circles (instead of ongoing) and the adventure has been immense.
I’m involved in a local chapter called 100 Women Who Care of the 100 Who Care Alliance, and they have specialized chapters all over the WORLD. And then I helped start one supporting an organization called Young Life that is near and dear to my heart.
The women who are in these giving circles, most of them local, are YOUR PEOPLE! These are your neighbors, who care about your kids, your schools, and your region’s challenges.
Don’t underestimate the power of connection when you gather with like-minded women. Like I said, there is likely a niche for everyone. Business women, women of the Jewish faith, Latinx women, people with passion for global initiatives, etc. This is not a Christian thing or a rich white girl thing – this is the new way for philanthropy, and personally, it is how I have rediscovered my purpose! Linking arms with your neighbor next to you, and saying, “Let’s do the damn thing.” Together.
Global Impact uses a platform called GrowFund, which has a more robust list of Giving Circles happening across the country that you can check out! And if you’re feeling extra inspired, here’s a list of steps you can take to start your own Giving Circle!
What Giving Circles Will Give You
Gathering together with other like-minded women, pooling your resources together, and choosing together where to move the needle and make an impact will enrich your life with so much purpose. That sounds so cliché, but I promise it’s true.
If you’re currently just going through the motions, in whatever season of life you’re in – motherhood, singlehood, marriage, friends, new city, etc – try a Giving Circle. This could be your ticket to feeling more purposeful in your everyday life! You could hear of an opportunity, cause, or non-profit that sets your heart on fire in ways you didn’t even know. You could meet a like-minded friend who brings such value and connection to your life! At minimum, you’re guaranteed to walk away feeling good knowing that you’ve chosen to do something really good with a little bit of your money.