Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to live in West Seattle to join this giving circle?
One of the goals for this group is to create community in the neighborhoods where we live, so we ask that members live in West Seattle, White Center or Burien. We like this model because it helps make our growing city feel a little bit cozier. Of course, we won't turn anyone away. If you want to join us for meetings in West Seattle, you are welcome!
How do I contribute financially? Do I need to pay with a check?
Ideally, we’d like to present a nonprofit with one donation (made up of several gifts). We’ve partnered with The Giving Group to enable each member to create a credit card profile and have the $100 (plus a 3% fee) automatically withdrawn after each quarterly meeting. The Giving Group then pools these funds and cuts one check to the nonprofit (easier for the nonprofit, while enabling each of our members’ gifts to remain anonymous - the donation comes directly from Impact | West Seattle.) If you’d like to pay with a check, you bring a blank check to the meeting.
What if I can’t make a meeting?
It’s ok to miss a meeting! You can send your vote by proxy with another member and mail your check. However, because part of the mission of this giving circle is to build community with fellow philanthropists, if you find you will miss more than 1 of the 4 meetings in a year, we ask that you reconsider your participation.
What if I work for a nonprofit that I want to nominate?
You can absolutely nominate a nonprofit that you work for. If you are one of the 3 nonprofits chosen to present to the membership, we ask that you divulge this information. In addition, the presentations should be made from the perspective of donors and supporters of an organization, not as a pitch from a development professional or executive director.
How are the quarterly categories selected?
At our final membership meeting in October of each year, the group decides which 4 categories they would like to address. To do this, we ask members to write an issue they’re passionate about, that affects the Seattle region, on poster boards placed around the room. Then all members place their top 2 votes on the issues they’d like to see the group discuss. From those votes, we’ll have our 4 categories for the following year.
What do you consider social, environmental and economic issues? What kinds of nonprofits does this collective fund?
Social, environmental and economic issues are part of a systems framework that acknowledges the connectedness of our community’s issues. These three elements create a platform under which all issues fall - and rather than see them as siloed, we recognize that they support and affect each other. For example, homelessness is not just about housing; it highlights our need for mental health services, for job creation and economic security, for domestic violence support, to name a few. When we address social, environmental and economic issues we are attempting to support and sustain a healthy and vibrant community. Essentially, we will fund anything chosen by the membership that 1. falls within a quarterly category, 2. is not political or religious in nature, 3. is in good 501c3 standing, 4. benefits and supports the people who live in the city of Seattle. Please see Eligibility Guidelines for more information.
How are the nonprofits who receive donations selected?
Once all nonprofit nominations are submitted, and leadership has reviewed them for nonprofit status and eligibility, they will be put into the proverbial hat and randomly drawn (on FB Live). Three organizations will be selected for the whole membership to vote on at our quarterly meeting, and the nonprofit receiving the most votes will receive the donation.
Will I be added to each nonprofits mailing list?
When the group donation is given to a nonprofit we make it clear that the gift should be recognized as a donation from Impact | West Seattle, and that our members do not wish to be added to a mailing list. We will ask the nonprofit to come to the next quarters meeting, as a follow up to our gift, to provide additional information about their work. At this point, they are welcome to collect contact information from members who would like to stay in touch with the organization’s mission.
If my nonprofit isn’t selected, can I nominate them again?
Absolutely! You can continue to nominate a nonprofit as many times as you’d like, as long as they fit within the quarterly category selected by the membership.
I identify as a woman. Can I join?
We are a female identifying and non-binary/agender group and welcome you joining us.
I’m a man, and I really like what your group is doing. Can I join?
We are primarily a giving circle by and for women philanthropists. But if you are interested in the work we’re doing, you are welcome to join us.
I’m not able to make a quarterly $100 donation but would like to be a part of this giving circle. Could I participate with a smaller financial contribution?
Our goal is to annually provide four nonprofits with unsolicited gifts of $10,000 each. To reach this goal we will need 100 women giving $100 each quarter. Having said that, we believe in inclusive organizations and the power of using our collaborative as a force for change. If you are unable to participate with a $100 quarterly gift, please reach out to us so we can find a way for you to be a part of this community effort.
What if I can’t present for the nonprofit organization I submitted? (Or what if I just really, really don’t want to get in front of the group to present?)
Ideally, we want everyone to have a chance to present to the group, because hearing from each other about what we’re passionate about is an important element of building a strong community. However, we recognize that this isn’t going to work for everyone and we don’t want that to be the barrier to your participation. If you are unable to make the meeting, or if you aren’t comfortable presenting in front of the group, you can have someone in your proxy (not affiliated with the nonprofit in any capacity) present the organization to the membership.