Building Community through Collective Giving

Jul 24, 2023
Seattle Women in Business for Good

Networking as entrepreneurs and business professionals is a two-way street: it can help you grow in your career, and also enable you to share lessons learned, support and mentor others earlier in their professional journey. But life gets in the way, and it's hard to build and nurture your network — almost half of those surveyed can't keep up with staying in touch with their network for different reasons. Most people want to interact more with their connections, but there’s not enough time to reach out, comment, and stay updated on their network’s career moves.

What if you combine your passion for social causes with your networking skills to increase your impact?

In the last 20 years, small donors have decreased on average, while donations from wealthy donors to nonprofit organizations have increased. This imbalance can hurt small nonprofits with important causes, such as the ones in your community that you care about, since they often don't have the resources to market themselves to ultra wealthy donors who often live outside of their immediate communities.

Nearly 30% of U.S. nonprofits have an annual budget of $100,000 or less, so every dollar counts. Giving Circles provide an excellent opportunity for everyday donors from diverse backgrounds, like you, to contribute to small-budget local nonprofits where your dollars go further, and where you can build and easily engage your professional network in the process.

How to build and bring your network into your Giving Circle

By combining their resources and contributing to community initiatives, Giving Circle members pool their resources and donate to the nonprofits that champion the issues they care about most. But how can you leverage Giving Circle participation to meaningfully enhance your professional networking? Create your Giving Circle and then tap into these pools of potential members with an invitation to join you in this endeavor - you’ll be thrilled at the number of new connections you’ll make, all of whom will be grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with you through this rewarding model.

Gather other people from LinkedIn groups

Did you know that most LinkedIn users are members of 10 or more groups? By joining more Linkedin groups, you increase your visibility and can search for others. Engage with fellow members who share your interests by inviting them to join your Giving Circle and meet other like-minded professionals.

Tap into the Chamber of Commerce's events

The Chambers of Commerce host events for networking and relationship-building. Attend and connect with others who share your professional interests. Bring informational materials or business cards to share with potential members to showcase your Giving Circle's mission, commitment, and impact.

Join local business association groups

Boost your Giving Circle's mission by joining local business associations or industry-specific groups. As a member, you can network with professionals like you who may be more inclined to back your cause. These organizations can also connect you with small nonprofits in your area that could partner with your Giving Circle.

Engage with Giving Circle members

It's important to stay engaged after recruiting professionals who share your cause into your Giving Circle. Organizing events and activities for your Giving Circle can nurture your relationships, increase funding, and create a sense of belonging. Here are five easy ways to keep your Giving Circle engaged.

Quarterly volunteer opportunities. Reach out to the nonprofit your Giving Circle is funding to offer your time. Your Circle can lend a hand by volunteering, arranging fundraising events, or offering pro bono services. Collaborating with these organizations benefits the community and provides a chance to network with professionals in the nonprofit field.

By building relationships with nonprofit leaders, you may also discover new opportunities for professional growth and partnerships, such as Advisory Council and Board seats.

Host happy hour networking events. If some members of your Giving Circle reside in your city, take advantage of the proximity by meeting up in person for happy hour. It doesn't have to last more than an hour after work, but it will allow your Circle to build deeper connections through a fun outing, and provide an easy way for members to invite potential new members to meet the group and learn more about how they can join the Giving Circle

Your Circle can determine the frequency (monthly, quarterly, or otherwise) and vote on a different location to try out each time to keep things interesting. Encourage everyone to invite someone new, like a colleague or a friend. Begin the gathering with a brief 5-minute introduction and an ice breaker, then allow everyone to mingle.

Seek mentor opportunities with local business colleges. In your Giving Circle, there may be members with a lot of experience in their professional field who are willing to give back. They could provide mentorship to Junior members of the Giving Circle who may benefit from their experience. You can also encourage members to bring in young professionals into the Giving Circle for long-term mentoring.

You might even consider inviting an expert to speak at one of your Circle's gatherings and provide members with valuable career advice. These guest speakers can introduce you to their network and help your Circle navigate the professional world more effectively.

Leverage social media platforms. Consider establishing a social media page for your Giving Circle to increase your visibility, raise awareness about your Giving Circle, and attract potential members and donors. Regularly post updates about your initiatives, grants, impact stories, and information about upcoming events. Engage with other professionals in your field by joining relevant online communities and Facebook and LinkedIn groups, to share more about your Circle's mission. This will help you expand your network and attract new supporters to your cause.

Attend conferences as a group. The virtual conferencing market is thriving, providing ample opportunities to connect with business leaders around the globe. Consider attending virtual conferences as a group and share upcoming events each quarter. This is an excellent way to expand your professional network, listen to industry experts, and potentially recruit new members or establish valuable partnerships for your Circle.

Start connecting the dots

Networking is all about creating opportunities to connect with others and build strong relationships that benefit you and those around you. You can establish lasting connections by leveraging your Giving Circle for professional networking while positively impacting your community.