So, you want to start a giving group? It's easier than you might think, and so impactful! Groups similar to yours have given $1M+ to local charities! Here are the easy to follow steps:
Define your group
Determine your group makeup and the target number of participants, as well as the minimum donation amount and frequency of meetings. For example, create a target of 100 women donating $100 each quarter. We find it’s helpful to establish core values from the beginning. For example:
Everyone donates regardless of the non-profit that was voted.
The meetings are efficient (i.e. 1-hour per quarter).
Keep processes as simple as possible.
Determine when and where
Identify a place to meet that can accommodate the size of your group. Choose an approximate start date. Quarterly payments (more on that later) will occur on this date in the first month of each quarter. So if you choose September 15th as your starting date, donations would be collected on September 15th, December 15th, March 15th, and June 15th of each year.
Determine how you will accept payments
Most groups find it easiest to collect payments automatically. The Giving Group is a non-profit set up specifically for this purpose. Members subscribe to quarterly donations with their credit cards for a 3% credit card processing fee. The funds are placed in an escrow account, for you (as the group administrator) to direct to the non-profits chosen by your group.
Some groups may also wish to support manual payments. This requires you to collect checks at each event, or ask members to contribute to the non-profit directly (which also requires that you follow up with the non-profit for record keeping purposes).
If you can’t come up with something catchy, memorable and/or unique (or that just sounds like too much work), feel free to use “The Giving Group [Insert your city, neighborhood, church, fraternity or other affiliation].”
If you have decided to use The Giving Group to process credit cards, you will have a web page and unique URL you can use to recruit members and to promote your group. This page can be referenced as a standalone url (https://giving.group/<your group name>) or integrated into a broader website. See https://thankyoumaam.org as an example.
Here are some recommendations from one of our earliest groups, Thank you Ma’am:
We initially identified 10 women who had good social networks and who were good at networking. Once they agreed to be involved, we asked them to each invite at least 10 women to join the group. We also posted the invitation on Facebook and as women signed up, they often shared it with their friends. It actually had a viral nature to it...people really responded to the idea.
Leading up to the event
We create an event on Facebook for each of our quarterly meetings.
Then, we send out an email for each of our meetings the month before to remind people and gauge participation.
The events themselves
Our quarterly meetings are for ONE HOUR ONLY (this is important).
People need not attend the meeting each time but when they sign up they are expected to donate each quarter.
We meet at 7pm on a weeknight. As people arrive, they are given one half of a raffle ticket and the other half goes in a hat. This is how we choose who pitches their non-profit AND how they vote.
At 7:30 we draw four tickets and the chosen ticket holders take a few minutes to pitch the non-profit they'd like to see get that quarter’s donations. The only criteria is that the organization be a non-profit.
Once the four pitches are complete (usually this is done by 7:45-7:50), voting begins.
We write the name of each organization up on the board in the order they were pitched with their corresponding number. We have four wooden boxes, each labeled 1, 2, 3 and 4; and each member places their ticket into the box with the number that corresponds to their vote.
At 8pm sharp, the votes are tallied and the winner is announced.
After the event
Participants who did not attend the meeting are notified by email.
We post the winner on our website and our Facebook page.
Please tell your members that if they have any matching funds through their employer, the match must go to the non-profit chosen and not to The Giving Group. We cannot track the matching funds to the non-profit chosen.
The Giving Group will email the group administrator(s) on your donation date, with the amount available and a link to specify the non-profits to send the funds to.
When you know the non-profit(s) to donate to, follow the link in the email. Enter the EIN (typically available from the nonprofits website) and click submit.
The first check for any funds available will be sent 7 days after the first donation date.
A second check will be sent 30 days after the donation date, for any additional funds from new signups, corrected credit cards, etc.
Been wanting to take on this project for a while and this is the year! I'm calling it “Thank You Ma’am!” I first heard about the idea from my awesome realtor friend, Heidi Hurst, who helped to start a group like this in her community (South Sound). Here's the gist: Find 100 awesome women to commit to meeting 4 times a year for one hour.
Each meeting they will commit to a $100 donation ($400 for the entire year). Each woman will bring the name of a non-profit they wish to support to the meeting. We will draw four non-profits and the women who submitted them will pitch their non-profit to the group. We will vote immediately and the winning non-profit will receive $10,000! $40,000 given in one year to four deserving non-profits. Added bonuses: Sisterhood & Community Awareness even for the non-profits that don't win the jackpot that quarter!
What I need from my people:
Ideas of venues- somewhere that will donate space for 100 women for 1 hour. Bonus if it's attached to a place to get food & drinks afterward for those that would like to mingle! & Let me know if YOU or any of the fabulous women you know want to be a part of this!
Let's do it!
Language Regarding The Giving Group
To get on board, simply visit https://giving.group/thankyoumaam. There, you’ll sign up for quarterly credit card processing. This not only makes things super easy (they collect the dollars and distribute them to the winning non-profits) but because they’re also a non-profit, it also allows you to donate anonymously to one charity and receive one tax form at the end of the year.