Create a Family Giving Circle

Doing Good Newsletter


Giving Circles make for fun and effective philanthropy, whether you have $5 or $500 to give. The idea is that individuals pool funds, then decide as a group where to donate. By creating a Family Giving Circle, you can use this same concept to teach your children about charitable giving. They'll love having a big say in donation decisions and will learn firsthand about this crucial way of sharing.

-Jenny Friedman, Executive Director


Make a Difference.....

Here are tips for starting your Family Giving Circle.

  • Convene your first meeting. Decide how often you will meet (monthly, quarterly, etc.), how you will fund your kitty, and how donation decisions will be made. You might want to name your new "family foundation," too!
  • What causes does your family want to support? If your children are older, let them talk about their interests and passions. If your children are younger, be prepared to describe three organizations they should consider, each with a mission they can understand.
  • Decide whether all contributions will be made by consensus or whether each family member will have some funds to donate separately, as they wish.
  • Learn together about the issues and organizations. Peruse websites, read organizational literature and share children's books that provide understanding and perspective on the issues.
  • Consider supporting local organizations. Your dollars will make a greater impact with a smaller, grassroots agency, and you can establish a personal connection (take a tour, chat with staff, interact with the people they serve). You may end up going further with your chosen agency, like collecting wish list items, supporting their social media efforts, volunteering, or hosting a fundraiser.
  • Consider including grandparents (or grandchildren) in your Family Giving Circle. This can lead to invaluable conversations among the generations about what really matters to your family.

You can enlarge your circle even more by including a number of families. Often your dollars can have a greater impact when leveraged with others'. Research indicates that being in a Giving Circle also increases charitable donations, results in more strategic giving decisions, and makes everyone better informed about community needs.


Talk About It.....

If you want to get your children's (and your own) creativity flowing when it comes to charitable giving, contemplate answers to some big questions.

  • What are the different ways we can give to the people or causes that need our help?

  • Do you think we should give away some of our money to people who need it? Why or why not?

  • If you had $100 and had to give it away, who would you give it to?

  • If you could make the world better in one way, what would it be?

  • What's the best way to decide where we should donate our money?

  •  After we give away some of our money, how will we know if it made a difference?

  • Let your children know that they can become change agents in their community by thoughtfully contributing to causes they care about.

Learn About It.....

The Giving Book: Open the Door to a Lifetime of Giving, by Ellen Sabin, is an incredible tool to help early elementary school kids understand and set their own charity priorities. This book is one part journal, one part workbook, and one part cheerleader for the task of doing good. (Ages 4 and up)

The Giving Family: Raising Our Children to Help Others by Susan Crites Price outlines eight easy-to-implement steps to creating a more philanthropic family. She has a chapter on establishing a "dinner table foundation," similar to a Family Giving Circle, and provides helpful ideas for getting started.


"No one has ever gotten poor from giving."       
— Anne Frank, author