This month, we will discover which organizations will be considered for our group donation, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to share how we nominate organizations and why we do it this way.
Nationwide, more than 800 giving circles donate more than $100 million every year, and through my work at Giving Circles Help, I’ve spoken with quite a few of them. I’ve discovered that there are two basic ways in which giving circles decide which organizations they will consider for funding.
Non-Profits Nominate Themselves
A giving circle issues a Request for Proposal (RFP) that asks non-profits to complete an application process to request funds. The RFP can be an elaborate document that requires the non-profit to detail the project, describe how the funds will be used, and provide extensive financial information in order to be considered. Or the RFP can be very simple. I’ve seen some that are only one page long.
This is an outside/in model. A non-profit outside the giving circle nominates itself by following the required procedures and is then considered by the members of the giving circle.
Members Nominate Non-Profits
This is an internal model. A member inside the circle nominates a non-profit following the required procedures and then the non-profit is considered by the members of the giving circle.
The Benefits of the Internal Model
Each model has different benefits. We’ve chosen to have members nominate organizations for three reasons.
I happen to big a fan of the idea that the giving circle is a community of people directing our donation dollars. Since that’s the case, it seems fitting that we create the list of potential non-profits.
Our members are spread out throughout the United States and our giving circles support issues that are national and/or global in nature. It’s quite difficult to create an RFP that can get the attention of such a broad community of non-profits without becoming entirely overwhelmed with the number of applicants.
When a member nominates a non-profit, they are more emotionally involved with that donation. They are sharing with the other giving circle members something that is important and interesting to them, and we get to know them better as an individual.
Plus, our members are diverse in terms of both geography and life experience, and we get to discover all kinds of organizations we otherwise would never have learned about. For example, the People With Compassion for Pets giving circle has considered a No Kill Animal Shelter in Detroit, a donkey rescue organization in Colorado, and a non-profit providing emergency dog food in New Jersey. It’s an exciting and interesting process for all of us!
Nominating an organization is easy, and all nominations are thoroughly vetted by the Donations Committee, so that we can be confident we are donating to legitimate non-profits making a huge impact on our cause.