How to Launch a Giving Circle for Your ERG or Workplace

May 15, 2023

Finding authentic ways to deepen purpose and connection within teams and workplaces can be challenging, yet we know this is important for fostering more engaged teams with less turnover and greater productivity.

Connection and belonging are critical to employee happiness and productivity, leading to a 56% increase in productivity and 50% reduction in turnover. While companies have recognized that social impact is a powerful tool to achieve this, with 79% of employees preferring to work for socially responsible companies, existing employee giving and matching programs are falling short. They have an average engagement rate of 9% and leave billions of corporate matching dollars on the table every year.

Giving Circles are a tangible way to tap into this shared goal of doing good by driving measurable social impact through a fun team-building experience.

In a recent Grapevine event, experts in Employee Resource Group (ERG) leadership and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), Alyssa Dver and Cheyenne Cameron-Pruitt, discussed the benefits of Giving Circles within the workplace. How can your ERG or workplace easily start a Giving Circle? Click here to view the entire event or read the following steps to get started.

How to launch a Giving Circle for your ERG or workplace

1.Approach your ERG or team lead

Start by talking to a few stakeholders about the idea and begin gathering their feedback. Be sure to articulate in your own words why Giving Circles resonate with you and the ways you think this model could benefit your workplace. Here are some ideas:

  • DEI work can be hard to measure and Giving Circles are a tangible way to demonstrate measurable impact
  • Collective decision-making fosters a sense of purpose, belonging and connection among employees
  • Giving Circles facilitate tax-deductible donations to be passed on to nonprofits and also cover event expenses for members to connect and collaborate around their giving
  • Companies are always seeking ways to be externally recognized for their work and these types of initiatives broaden eligibility
  • Giving Circles allow responsiveness when there’s an issue or crisis people care about
  • Giving Circles empower employees to utilize company matching in a more coordinated and effective way

2. Define your purpose

Take stock of the feedback you gathered and start defining the purpose of your Giving Circle. The important thing is that the Giving Circle is focused on what matters most to the members of the circle, whether that’s supporting the broader community that your ERG is built around (e.g. women, Latinas, AAPI, etc), DEI causes, cancer research, or social justice. Check out our Resource Library for support and ideas.

When you’re ready, you can launch your Giving Circles in minutes here and include all the details on your group’s defined purpose.

3. Get executive buy-in

Now that you’ve defined the purpose of your Giving Circle, find your executive champions who can advocate for you at the leadership level and spread the word around the organization. This will help legitimize the Giving Circle to other employees and also give you invaluable internal support.

4. Communicate about your Giving Circle

Communicating about your Giving Circle is key to recruiting new members and also educating your organization about the initiative. There are just a few simple things to keep in mind.

Communicate, communicate, communicate! You cannot over-communicate here, as people are busy and lose sight of things all the time. Keep in mind you’re providing them with a valuable opportunity, so make sure you’re sharing it frequently and across all your internal channels like slack, email, fliers, in-person chats/ events so that they’re sure to see it at least once if not a few times.

Make sure it’s in your voice. At the core of Giving Circles is the element of collective giving whereby everyone’s donation is amplified by the power of the group. This means individuals donate into a shared pool and then collaboratively select the nonprofit beneficiary. Employees may feel sensitive if they think the corporate office is asking them to donate to a cause or organization, so a peer-to-peer invitation is best.

Get the timing and framing right. Be cognisant of the current climate at your company and the world at large. Consider any layoffs, budget announcements or global factors that might affect whether and how you ask for donations. Consider how challenges like these and others could help you communicate the case for why this group is needed now more than ever.

Standardize some language for your members. Equip people with some simple language they can use to communicate about the Giving Circle internally. This will also empower them to recruit new members.

5. Communicate with your Giving Circle

Now that your Giving Circle is in place, remember to communicate and create engagement with your members. Make sure to utilize all the simple communication features on Grapevine to easily spark fun and engaging communications within your Giving Circle page on the platform. You can also bring that communication into other channels where your members are already active. .

Find your communication channels. Consider starting a dedicated Slack channel or something similar with your members.

Host regular events. Consider monthly or quarterly events for your Giving Circle to deepen connections and a sense of purpose. If you run an event to facilitate your Giving Circle connection and decision-making, you can be reimbursed for the expense from the pooled donations. Get some ideas here.

Consider adding leadership positions. As your Giving Circle grows and becomes more established, you may want to consider some defined leadership roles like:

  • Membership + Recruitment Lead
  • Events lead
  • Co-chairs

6. Be flexible

Let yourself be flexible with your vision of the group. If there are some people who are interested in giving back, but to a different cause, maybe suggest that the group give to their cause the following month, or give to their cause right away and table your cause for another time. Remember Giving Circles are communities and that means learning from and incorporating the voices of community members into the plan.


Giving Circles offer a unique opportunity for teams and ERGs to deepen their sense of community and connection. By pooling resources and supporting a shared cause, individuals can make a meaningful and measurable impact in their communities. The benefits are clear: Giving Circles promote a culture of giving and social responsibility, which can have a positive impact on employee engagement and retention.

If you’re thinking about implementing a Giving Circle for your ERG, just do it! Find a cause that your ERG or workplace group cares about and get started.

Ready to join a Giving Circle or start one of your own? Click below to get started on Grapevine today!