AFP Conference Roundup: Understanding, Engaging and Cultivating Women as Donors
Facilitate a core team meeting at your office. The core team should be made up of individuals with a passion for the cause and chemistry with one another, but also a bit of friction to keep the group challenged. Carpenter stressed that organizations be open and honest with women about what they want them to do and get involved with.
2. Form your vision
Determine the giving circle's big-picture purpose; mission; structure (e.g., board, bylaws); who it will look to for support; its financial goals; and techniques for growing the circle, e.g., personal relationships, events, volunteering, civic engagement. When you make a decision, Carpenter said, stick to it.
3. Build consensus
Decide what the giving circle will support, and don't make it too complicated, she warned. Develop criteria for what project you'll support, and have members make presentations on projects directly associated with the organization. Facilitate Q-and-A sessions, and then have members vote on the project.
When you launch the giving circle, do it with a splash. Leverage media to get an article in the area paper, and put an announcement of it in your newsletter. Recognize giving-circle leadership, and list the names of members. Develop a plan for oversight of the project, and train volunteers and staff to help with fundraising and membership.
5. Measure results
Measure success of the giving circle by the impact it has on people's lives. Measures to look at are: number of individuals served; number of dollars raised; and the number of members in the giving circle (engagement and retention).
Carpenter said the average time women stay in giving circles is about five to six years. The first year they're involved they might just sit on the sidelines, but over the next few years women tend to get more involved. She also said to be aware that as your giving circle increases in size, the all-around level of engagement might decrease.