There over 1 million charities in the United States. Which one should you give your hard earned money? The sad truth is that not all non-profits are created equal. Some are great, and some… well, they’re not so great.

There’s this one with New York Time best seller Greg Mortenson. Instead of building schools, his charity spent $4.9 million advertising his books, $4 million buying copies of his book to give to schools and libraries, paid inappropriate speaking fees to Mortenson and had paid for charter flights for family vacations, clothing and Internet downloads. Plus, the schools he did build are vacant and shabby.

Or this one where a pet charity only spent $500k of the $14 million it raised on the pets.

Oh, and check out this CNN segment where Charity Watch gave D and F ratings to 2/3rd of the charities they evaluated.

It’s too bad that there are people who will take advantage of your generosity. It’s also possible that they’re good people who just don’t know how to run a charity or how to help people help themselves. The end result is the same… Your hard earned money is wasted. Your donation didn’t make the world a better place..

Are You Donating Alone?

  • Do you feel like your donation is too small to make a difference?
  • Do you wonder what happens to your donation after you make it?
  • Are you too busy to research a charity before you donate? Do you wonder how to choose a good charity anyway? What do you look for and where do you look for it?

You are not alone!!

I used to feel the same way. Throughout my life, I have donated to help animals, the environment, the homeless, the poor, the Food Bank, the Red Cross and more. You name it, and I’ve probably sent them money. Like many others in today’s economy, the few dollars I had left at the end of the month for philanthropy weren’t making a significant difference for the causes I cared most about– until I discovered the power of giving circles.

Your donations will make a difference, IF…

It goes to the right charities. But your donation can be wasted on…

  • Programs that don’t work.
  • Charities that struggle with organizational efficiency
  • Charities that have high operating costs.
  • Charities who pay large salaries for fund raisers and CEO’s
  • Charities who embezzle your donation or commit fraud.

But how are you supposed to have to the time, energy, and knowledge to figure out who is who?

How It Works

Giving Circle Example_07JUL15_WEB

A Virtual Giving Circle is simple. We pool our small donations ($25/month) with the donations of other people who care who also care about the same cause. We become your donation team. You and other members suggest charities for us to consider, our donation committee researches those charities, and then you vote on which charity you think is going to make the biggest difference. The charity who gets the most votes receives our group donation. For more information about how we work, review the Frequently Asked Questions.

With a donation team, you can know that you’re giving to the right charity, that your donation is going to be used in the right way and that it will make a big difference!

Wait, $25/month… I don’t know if I can do that!

Let me introduce you to the Build the Giving Muscle program.

Sometimes, it’s not easy to start at $25/month. So, we created the “Build the Giving Muscle” program. The first month, your credit or debit card is charged $1, then the next month, it’s $5. The next is $10, then $15, then $20, and then, finally it’s $25. So, in six months, you work up to $25/month.

Most people find that their budget naturally works it way around donating $25/month when they work up to it slowly. In just six months you’ll find that supporting your favorite cause is so easy you won’t even have to think about where to find the money.

The drawback to donating less than $25 is that you won’t get to nominate charities for us to consider or vote on which charity we donate to until you’ve reached the $25/month level.

Choose Your Cause

Member Testimonial

Christine Forster, Founding Member

I am passionate about animals. I only wish I had even more time to give to shelters, rescue groups, and those who fight for animal rights…. but my time is limited.By donating monthly as a group, I have an opportunity to give the causes we believe in a HUGE gift. One that I could not afford to give on my own.

What Will Your Donation Do?

Together, we support great charities across the country.

The Pets Giving Circle helped Detroit set up their first No Kill Animal Rescue. We’ve made donations to support animal shelters after local disasters like hurricanes, floods, and fires. We’ve spayed and neutered feral cats, freed dogs from puppy mills, and helped senior dogs live out their lives with grace and dignity. You can find out more about the charities we’ve supported here.

The Poverty Busters Giving Circle has helped fund wells, schools, and health care. We’ve trained police officers to identify and prosecute sex trafficking, provided at-risk students with education and job training, and supported young women and former child soldiers in becoming valued members of their community. You can find out more about the charities we’ve supported here.

The Veterans Giving Circle has provided financial assistance to active duty members and veterans struggling to pay for bills, pet care, and children’s after-school activities. We’ve helped fund programs that reconnect veterans with other veterans, that help them find their next mission, that provide housing, or that deliver mental health care. You can find out more about the charities we’ve supported here.

Where we donate to next will be up to you. Members nominate the charities. Members research the charities thoroughly. Members vote on their favorite charities. Together, we know that our small donations are making a really big difference.

Choose Your Cause

Member Testimonial

Gail Banta, Member
Gail Banta, Member

I joined the the poverty busters giving group because we have been incredibly blessed throughout my life with enough food to eat, the ability to work and earn enough to raise our two children, education them and see them blossom into wonderful caring adults. I would like to help in even a small way others to have the opportunity to succeed as well.

10 Reasons To Donate to Charity Through a Giving Circle

1. You Make A Bigger Impact on the Charity

We pool our small donation with the donations of lots of other people. As a result, our donation will be much larger than what we could do or wanted to do alone. A larger donation means that the charity has more money to do their important work.

2. You Make a Bigger Impact on the Problem

We incorporate education into our giving circle activities, so that our donation committee can research organizations and the programs they’re implementing for efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability. We work hard for our money and we want our money to work hard, too!

3. You Choose a Better Charity

Not all charities are created equal. Some are doing amazing work, maximizing every dollar spent, and making a huge impact on the problem. Others struggle with organizational efficiency, have high operating costs, paying large salaries for fund raisers and CEO’s, and, in a few circumstances, committing fraud and embezzlement.

4. You Save Time

You can give as much or as little time to this as you want. You might decide to be on the donation committee or not. You’re just one person with a busy schedule, but when lots of people come together to support the same cause, you leverage the time of all our members. You can always feel great about how you donate while you focus on your work, your family, and your friends.

5. You Have Permission to Say No to Other Donation Requests

How many requests do you get for a donation? I’d say I have 3 emails every day, one or 2 that arrive in snail mail every week, one or two Facebook friends running a marathon a month, and mountains of requests during the holidays. But I know that I donate through my giving circle, because I can be confident that my donation is making the biggest impact possible on the causes that I care about, so I can politely decline. What a relief!

6. You Get Peace of Mind that You’re Giving Back

Before I joined a giving circle, I would really want to donate money. But I was busy, and I never could find the time to make the donations that I wanted. I would always have a little voice in the back of my head reminding me of my guilt and that I needed to give back more! But now, I know exactly how and how much I’m giving. I feel good about it, and that little voice in my head has nothing to say!

7. You Won’t Have To Worry About the End of Year Donation Rush

December is the largest month for donations, that means charities send out massive amounts of requests for donations. If you’re like me, I would know that I needed to donate this year, so I would flip through the catalogs, read the requests, and make the difficult choices about where and how much I could donate. It’s kind of like putting my expenses together for my tax returns. Sure, I could do a little every month, and then it’s nice and easy. But instead I sit down in March and spend hours going through my paperwork.

A giving circle can be your annual charitable donation plan. You know how much you’ll be donating. You’ll know that the charities will be well chosen. And if you want to give more at the end of the year, then you can choose to browse those catalogs or to send more to a charity we’ve chosen in the past. An end of year charitable donation is your choice to pursue or not at your pleasure!

8. You Enjoy Donating More

I speak with people all across the country about their giving circles and they all tell me the same thing: a giving circle is a profoundly rewarding way to donate money. It’s more fun, because you’re sharing the experience with other people like you who care about the same cause that you care about. The relationships and friendships created in a giving circle are a big reason why many people across the country continue to participate in giving circles year after year.

9. You Donate More (But It Feels Like Less)

When I waited until the end of the year to choose where to donate, invariably I had less to donate than I would have liked. The end of the year happens right after Christmas after all! So, I would look at my budget and squeeze in what I felt I could do and maybe a little more, because I felt I should. With a giving circle, charitable giving is part of my monthly budget just like my other monthly expenses. Setting it up to be a little at a time means that overall, I’ll give more money than I would have done at the end of the year, but it feels like less!

10. You Discover New Charities

There are over 1 million charities in the US. How many can you think of right now? 10? 20? Maybe 50? It’s easy to get in a rut and only see the same few charities, but there are lots of great charities doing great work, and you’ll discover ones across the country that you would otherwise never hear about. It’s fun and exciting to learn about these charities!

Bonus Reason! You’ve planned for emergency donations.

We set aside a small portion of our donations into an Emergency Relief Fund. When a natural or man-made disaster occurs, any member can request those funds to help relieve the immediate suffering of people impacted by that disaster. Now, you don’t have to watch a disaster on T.V. and wish you could help. You can actually do something about it!

Choose Your Cause

Tanya Bealmer
Tanya Bealmer, Member

Member Testimonial

I joined the People With Compassion for Pets Giving Circle because giving has always been a very important part of my life, but the choices are so overwhelming that sometimes my action turned to inaction due to my inability to make a decision on who/where to donate. Not only does a giving circle ease some of the decision making pressure, it provides me an opportunity to learn about new programs and allows me to compound my giving with others so that a greater impact is realized up front.


Worry Free Guarantee

No If’s, And’s, Or Buts. I Want You To Love Your Giving Circle!

What if?? Whatever your what if, there’s no need to worry about joining. There is NO joining fee, and if in the first 30 days, you decide you don’t like your giving circle for any reason, I’ll refund your donation. Easy Peasy!

After 30 days, I’ve probably already donated your donation to a great charity, so I won’t be able to refund your donation. But you can cancel at any time, and any future donations will be immediately cancelled.

You can read more FAQ’s or contact me if you have any questions before you join.

Are You Ready To Make Small Donations That Make A Big Impact?

This where the expert marketers tell me to tell you that it’s now or never. You know, it’s the whole, “Sign up now and get a second set of Ginsu knives!” strategy. But you and I both know that you don’t have to start donating today. You could go your whole life just hoping your donation are making a difference. You could go your whole life without giving money to great charities doing great work. But is that really what you want?

Here’s what I know… Donating is an act of love. It’s your desire to make an impact on the world, your hope that you’ll leave this planet a little better than you arrived, your need to give more than you’ve taken. And it’s good for you!

  • Donating reminds you that even as bad as things are, there are others who have it worse than you.
  • Donating reminds you that you can do SOMETHING. You are not just a passive victim of circumstance. You have POWER to impact the world.
  • Donating reminds you that you are not alone and that you are connected to everyone and everything on this planet.
  • Donating reminds you that you have more than you think and helps you be grateful for how much I have.
  • Donating is good for your soul!

I also know that a donation starts with your heart, but a GOOD donations happen when you use your head. And our giving circle helps you do that! Your donation committee researches charities nominated by you and our other members, and then sends you the report. Then you vote on which charity you think is going to make the biggest difference.

Don’t donate alone! Become a part of our donation team and start making small donations that make a BIG difference!

Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer
Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer, Founding Member

Member Testimonial

I joined the People With Compassion for Pets giving circle because I’ve always wanted to be able to somehow help charitable organizations that work with animals, but I never felt my little donations would make any difference. In the past, I’ve volunteered a little, and given food, but this was an opportunity to make an even bigger impact.



People With Compassion For Pets Giving Circle

People With Compassion for Pets Logo
The People With Compassion for Pets giving circle supports charities that are eliminating the abuse and neglect of domestic and working animals AND/OR enriching the lives of people through animal partnerships.

We all love animals and our pets have been important members of our lives. Our heart breaks when we see a picture of a cat whose been abused. We get angry when we see animals, who need and trust us to take care of them, neglected. We’re inspired when a relationship with an animal changes someone’s world.

Yes, I’m ready to join the Pets Giving Circle and pool my $25/month donation with the other members of the circle, because I’m ready to make a bigger impact with my small donations.

Join People For Pets
I’m going to work up to full membership with the Build the Giving Muscle Program. I’ll start at $1 and then move up to $5 the following month. The next is $10, then $15, then $20, and finally $25.

Build the Giving Muscle for Pets

Photo of founding member Darlene Banta
Darlene Banta, Founding Member

Member Testimonial

I joined the Poverty Busters Giving Circle because the idea of empowering people to improve their lives sounded really appealing. Driving home from work I often see people begging along the exit ramps of the interstate and I never donate with the idea that I would much rather donate to an organization that enables people to improve their lives themselves. This giving circle allows me to do that. I love talking with this great group of people each month and making educated choices, collectively, about where to donate our money. Because of this change gang, I know that my money is going to an organization that will use the it judiciously towards ending poverty.


Poverty Busters Giving Circle

We Give People A Hand Up, Not A Hand OutPoverty Busters Giving Circle supports charities that are ending extreme poverty by empowering individuals and communities so they can make their own livelihoods and unleash their full human potential. We give people a hand up, not a hand out.

Why focus on poverty? We believe that all the big problems of this world won’t get fixed until people can stop worrying about what they’ll put on the table for dinner. How can one worry about taking care of the environment or protecting the rights of people in a neighboring community when all of one’s time and energy involves survival? Those are luxuries that one can think about when survival is taken care of.

Is it a human right to have access to clean drinking water? Is it a human right to have the dignity of taking care of yourself and your family? We believe so!

Yes, I’m ready to join the Pets Giving Circle and pool my $25/month donation with the other members of the circle, because I’m ready to make a bigger impact with my small donations.

Join Poverty Busters

I’m going to work up to full membership with the Build the Giving Muscle Program. I’ll start at $1 and then move up to $5 the following month. The next is $10, then $15, then $20, and finally $25.
Build the Giving Muscle for Poverty Busters

Linsey Sodam
Linsey Sodam, Founding Member

Member Testimonial

“My name is Linsey Sodam. I am the spouse of a Soldier, and I couldn’t be more proud of him. We are currently station at the Presidio of Monterey, but have been stationed all over the country and will be moving to Germany next fall. I love our life as a military family. I enjoy getting to live in new places and I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to meet so many amazing people.

For as long as I can remember, I have been volunteering and raising money for many different organizations. Ever since I became a military spouse over 5 years ago, I have spent a lot of time helping families of active duty soldiers. I feel it is important to help those in need, especially for causes that really hit home.

When I’m not volunteering, I can be found taking our two rescue dogs for a hike or out in the backyard tending to my garden and chickens.

I joined the Veterans Giving Circle because I want to help those who have sacrificed so much for this country. “


Veterans Giving Circle

A photo of the American FlagThe Veterans Giving Circle supports charities that serve those who have served our country, so that these brave men and women get the job training, housing placement, health care, and other services they need to be healthy and happy.

We all benefit from the freedoms and rights found in America, but only a few of us have put our lives on the line to defend it. In the line of duty, they experience all kinds of hardships ranging from being separated from their families for long periods of time to serious injury and death. Their sacrifices don’t stop there, and they suffer disproportionately high rates of suicide, unemployment, homelessness, and mental illness.

We believe that those who’ve served our country deserve better.

Yes, I’m ready to join the Veterans Giving Circle and pool my $25/month donation with the other members of the circle, because I’m ready to make a bigger impact with my small donations.

Join Veterans Giving Circle
I’m going to work up to full membership with the Build the Giving Muscle Program. I’ll start at $1 and then move up to $5 the following month. The next is $10, then $15, then $20, and finally $25.

Build the Giving Muscle for Veterans

I’m looking forward to welcoming you to your giving circle!


Sharon Lipinski

p.s. If not now, when? If not you, who? Choose your favorite cause and start making small donations that make a big difference, today!

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