It can feel daunting to start something that feels as new and as big as launching a Giving Circle.
What’s step one? What happens after I say YES? How do I ask friends to join me? Am I doing what a States Project Giving Circle “should” be doing?
We hear questions like these from Giving Circle Leaders all the time. That’s why we’ve broken down the process of launching a Giving Circle into six key milestones — to help you get started. The best part? We’re here to help you nail every milestone and ultimately create real, meaningful change that improves lives
1. Gather Your Leadership Team
We’re all busy and we have limited time, so we’ve worked to build a program where creating real political change can be both doable and inspiring — without becoming a part-time job. That’s why we recommend having three to ten leaders for your Circle. That friend you call to vent about the headlines? A potential great co-leader! Think about why starting a Giving Circle is so important to you, why you got involved, and why they should too, and then approach your people — individually or as a group — to join your leadership team.
2. Make it Official
This step is easy! Simply fill out this quick form (if you haven’t already!) to set up your Giving Circle page. Think of this as your home base — your Giving Circle page is the where you’ll send to folks interested in joining your Circle, where you’ll collect donations, and where you can share updates as your Circle grows!
3. Map Your Network
Who’s on your friend list? Each of your Circle’s co-leaders should answer this question at this milestone. List the people who could potentially join your Giving Circle — your friends, family, social media network — how much they might be able to give, and the best way to contact them. This critical step will help your leadership team prioritize who to contact first and help you map out a path to your fundraising goal.
4. Reach Out
What energizes you as a Giving Circle Leader? Why are you raising your hand to do this work? This is your story, and it is powerful. It’s time for you and your co-leaders to share your stories with the folks you identified when you mapped your network. It’s time to ask them to join you. Share a personal or current news story about why you do this work. Your outreach efforts may also help you identify more potential co-leaders. Remember, teamwork is critical in building and organizing your community.
5. Get Together
Mark a date on the calendar for a Zoom or in-person meeting and invite potential Giving Circle members. This doesn’t need to be an all-day event but a quick, focused half-hour gathering. Give folks a chance to meet each other, share an update about your progress, and ask them to make a meaningful contribution. After the meeting, follow up! Send notes to thank your donors, reminders to those who pledged donations, and ICYMIs (that’s in-case-you-missed-it’s!) to people who didn’t attend. If you picked your date, let us know! We can’t wait to hear how it goes.
6. Select Your Target State
We identify competitive state chambers and the closest districts where you and your Giving Circle can make the biggest difference. Once you hit 25% of your goal, you choose which of those states your funds will impact. Look at this as another opportunity to recruit new members to help reach your goal.
We’ve developed the tools and resources you’ll need to help you meet every one of these milestones. Once you start your Circle, our team will be in touch to share them. We’re here to give you ideas, get conversations started, and keep you and your team moving forward.
If you’re ready to make an impact in the states, we’re here to work with you.