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Giving Circles, Explained

Thinking about starting your own Giving Circle but still have questions? We’ve got your back! Read on for answers to the FAQs in our inbox. Feel free to email us at gcteam@statesproject.org if you need more information.


What Exactly is a Giving Circle?

Your Giving Circle could be you, your friends, and your family. Or the coworkers you grab lunch with, your former roommates or the members of your book club. Simply put, a Giving Circle is a group of people you know who want to work together to create real change and improve lives.
Each Giving Circle co-leaders (that’s you and the friends you engage!) bring together the people they know to do this work.

What Does a Giving Circle Do?

Giving Circles pool contributions to help shift or defend the balance of power in key state legislatures. Our team identifies game-changing candidates in majority-making districts where your collective donations can have the biggest impact. With our support, your Circle begins to raise dollars to help build or hold majority power that improves lives in the states. Together, once you reach 25% of your goal, your Giving Circle can choose a state from our list and the dollars that your Circle raises funds evidence-based campaign strategies.

What is The States Project?

Think of all the issues that matter to you and your loved ones. Accessible and affordable healthcare, including abortion access. Quality public education. The freedom to vote. The States Project helps people understand how state legislatures impact their daily lives. The States Project brings together people — in the form of Giving Circles — to build a healthy, sustainable future by strengthening legislative campaigns and winning governing majorities that will improve lives in the states.

Why Should I Give My Time (and Money) to The States Project and its Giving Circles?

We know you want to invest your time and money in a cause that will yield real results and create the positive change you want to see. Here’s how working with The States Project in state legislatures is both impactful and effective:

  1. We’re extremely selective about which states we work in, how much we spend in those states, and how we spend it. Our work has been proven to increase the share of votes our candidates get, and in close races, every vote counts. In a tight race, less than 100 votes can mean the difference between a win or loss.
  2. State legislative races cost a fraction of the most competitive congressional races. That means it’s often cheaper to shift power in an entire state chamber than to flip a single competitive congressional seat. For example, In 2018, The States Project was the second largest donor in the successful effort to build a new majority in the Maine State Senate with just $175,000. Contrast that with an unsuccessful $70 million bid to unseat U.S. Senator Susan Collins two years later in the same state.
  3. The power of states is real. We’ve all seen how state lawmakers draw congressional districts, enact voting laws, and will even determine what reproductive healthcare will look like for millions across this country. Our Giving Circles help to elect gamechanging candidates at the state level whose goals — funded schools, clean water, the protection of civil rights — improve lives. It’s that simple.

What Does a Giving Circle Leader Do?

A Giving Circle Leader is someone who is tired of complaining about politics and looking for a tangible path to action. They organize their friends into teams to raise dollars to build governing power for state lawmakers who will work to improve lives.

Leaders need to be ready to do three things:

  1. Ask people to contribute towards their vision of our country. (We help you get there, we promise!)
  2. Ask for help with running the Giving Circle — drafting and sending emails, organizing events and meetings, keeping members focused and activated.
  3. Learn about why state legislatures are the foundations of democracy, and how their work as a Giving Circle Leader makes a difference.

If you become a Giving Circle Leader with The States Project, we have trainings, tools and an entire team to support you along your journey.

Are you ready to join our community of changemakers and make an impact on our country?

You, yes you, can do this.