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Frequently Asked Questions

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What is Growfund for Giving Circles? What is the history of Growfund? (General)

Growfund for Giving Circles is designed specifically to meet the unique needs of collective giving. Growfund for Giving Circles is a digital platform that enables you to manage all aspects of your giving circle, without high costs and administrative hassles. The platform provides tailored functionality for giving circle administrators to run their circle efficiently and effectively. Growfund for Giving Circles allows you to track member activity, make grants, generate custom reports, and house tax receipts all in one place. Growfund is a donor-advised fund that can be invested into the stock market for greater impact.

Growfund was founded in 2015 as the original no minimum donor advised fund, an innovation developed by our parent organization, Global Impact, in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Growfund is housed under the charitable umbrella of Global Impact, a registered 501(c)(3) organization that was founded in 1956 to participate in workplace giving.  More information on Global Impact, including our history and annual reports, can be found here.

Does my giving circle need to have a certain number of members to use Growfund for Giving Circles? (General)

No. Understanding that giving circles come in all sizes, the platform supports both small and large giving circles.

Is Growfund a nonprofit organization? (General)

Growfund is a no-minimum contribution platform, powered by Global Impact, a 501c3 non-profit organization. Global Impact is an international nonprofit committed to every day donors and growing philanthropy. For more than 60 years, Global Impact has been supporting organizations and donors with effective ways to give to causes, regions and crises throughout the world, ultimately generating more than $1.8 billion for some of the most vulnerable people across the globe.

Is there a difference between Growfund and Growfund for Giving Circles? (General)

Growfund for Giving Circles is designed specifically to meet the unique needs of collective giving. Growfund for Giving Circles is a platform used to pool together a group’s resources to make a greater impact in giving. Meanwhile, the Growfund platform is designed specifically for individuals who wish to invest and save money to be set aside and used later for strategic philanthropic giving. If you want to learn more about Growfund for Individuals, click here.

Does Growfund for Giving Circles invest our money? (General)

Growfund for Giving Circles is a charitable savings account with investment options. With Growfund, you’ll have the option to select from multiple investment options including ETF and ESG funds and a money market account. Your investment and savings allocations are up to your discretion. You can grant out funds at any time to the charity of your choice.

Are there multiple investment options available (Administrators)?

At this time, there are multiple investment options, and a money market account available. You may allocate whatever percentage (with a maximum of 100%) of your account balance into one or more of the following funds. Learn more about the investment options here.

Global Impact is committed to providing investment options that align with the values and interests of donors.

Strategic FSP Solutions (Environment, Social, Governance Investments)

These investments are screened to exclude the worst offenders such as coal, tobacco or firearms, while also targeting companies that are intent on generating positive environment, social, and governance impact..

  • FSP Growth Pool 86/14 Equity/Fixed Income Allocation
  • FSP Moderate Pool 60/40 Equity/Fixed Income Allocation
  • FSP Conservative Pool 33/67 Equity/Fixed Income Allocation

Strategic ETF Solutions

The strategic ETF solutions consist of a variety of discretionary portfolios constructed using exchange-traded funds.

  • Growth Pool 86/14 Equity/Fixed Income Allocation
  • Balanced Pool 60/40 Equity/Fixed Income Allocation
  • Conservative Pool 33/67 Equity/Fixed Income Allocation

The Money Market Pool is an interest bearing account which supports individuals that seek to only save their money.

  • Money Market Pool: an interest-bearing money market account. The money market is not invested into the stock market and does not fluctuate over time.

How do I set up my Growfund for Giving Circle account? (Administrators)

Setting up a Growfund account is simple.

  • Sign up by creating an Advisor account on Growfund for Giving Circles. As the person who created the giving circle account, will be designated the Primary Advisor (otherwise known as the account owner, or giving circle administrator).
  • Verify your account upon receipt of email notification.
  • Login to Growfund for Giving Circles on the home page and fill out the Start a Giving Circle form. In this form, you will  provide contact information for the primary advisor, joint advisors and secondary advisors, and other administrative details. You can have as many advisors as you would like. You will be able to include your mission, description, logo, and links to your social media and giving circle website. The form should take you less than 10 minutes to fill out.
  • Your tailored giving circle page should be live in 1-3 business days after you submit the form. Growfund Support will email you to let you know when your page is set up and send you the URL of the customized page.

Is there an exchange rate or am I able to make a contribution using a foreign currency? (General)

Unfortunately, at this time, we are not able to process donations that are made using foreign currency. All donations must be in USD.

How should I inform my members about our Growfund for Giving Circle account, and make certain they know how to set up their contributions? (Administrators)

We find that administrators of giving circles inform members in a variety ways. Some will announce Growfund at a giving circle meeting, and others notify their membership via email. Regardless of how you inform your membership, the Growfund team is here to support giving circles. We suggest that you share the frequently asked questions for giving circle members. It should help members understand the benefits of using Growfund for Giving Circles and assist with the contribution (including recurring contributions) sign up process.

How do I make a grant, and when will a charity receive the donation? (Administrators)

  • Login
  • Navigate to the “Make A Grant” page
  • Use the GuideStar powered search module to find your grant recipient (Searching by the EIN is an efficient way to find charity)
  • Review the EIN and website to ensure it is the correct charity
  • Recommend the grant after selecting the grantee(s) and the donation amount(s)
  • After you recommend a grant, the Global Impact team will confirm the charity’s validity and distribute the check.

The grantee will receive a letter indicating the name of the giving circle who selected them as a recipient. Many giving circles also choose to alert the grantee that the check is on its way.

Is there a minimum grant amount? (Administrators)

Yes. Grants to your selected charities can be made for as little as $10.

How long does it take for a grant to be distributed? (Administrators)

Global Impact distributes grants to your selected charities within 5 – 7 business days of receiving the grant recommendation from the Growfund Administrator.

Do you accept e-checks from my checking account? (General)

Yes, we accept e-checks from all major banks. Please check the “online check” option on the contribution page for your giving circle.

Please note that online checks can take longer to process.  Funds must be settled before we can post to your account; in our experience some banks take 10+ business days to process online checks.

Can I pay my giving circle contribution in cash? (General)

Unfortunately, we do not accept cash because it is not trackable. Checks, e-checks, and credit cards are the forms of payment Global Impact accepts.

If the only way you can pay is through cash, please work with your giving circle administrator, so that they can write a check on your behalf after receiving the funds in cash.

What if I forget my password or login ID? (General)

When you first create your account, you will be asked to create secret questions; remembering and entering the correct answers to these secret questions will allow you to reset your password electronically to the same email you set up your account with.  Additionally, please ensure you are resetting your password through the correct portal you initially registered on (either Growfund for Giving Circles or Growfund for Individuals).

If you forgot your password, please click the “Forgot Password” hyperlink located on the correct Log-In page. After entering in your user ID, email, and auto-generated security code, press “Send Password Email” to receive a link to change your password. If you do not see an email in your inbox, please check your spam folder .If you do not receive the password reset link or you forgot your User ID, please email Growfund Support at [email protected] for further assistance.

To what entities does Growfund NOT support distributions? (Administrators)

For legal reasons, Growfund contributions cannot be distributed for the following purposes, including but not limited to:

  • An individual
  • The personal economic benefit of the Growfund Advisor, other Advisor(s) or a related party of either
  • Political contributions or legislative activities
  • Private foundations
  • Terrorists or their support networks

How do I know if Growfund will allow us to make a grant to the charity of our choice? (Administrators)

By using Growfund for Giving Circles, you will be able to seamlessly grant to nearly 1.8 million 501(c)(3) organization via GuideStar. Odds are that your favorite nonprofit organization is among them. If the charity of your choice is on GuideStar they are also on the Growfund platform.

My giving circle often donates to very small local charities, and we cannot find our selected charity on GuideStar? (Administrators)

If you are unable to find the charity of your choice on GuideStar, Global Impact and its partners provide vetting services for both domestic and international organizations. It takes 5-7 business days to vet a domestic organization.

The vetting of an international organization is a comprehensive process, which may take several weeks to complete. There is an additional charge for this service.

Once an organization has passed the vetting process, it will become eligible to receive donations from all Growfund Advisors. Please reach out to [email protected] for further information about vetting an organization.

Is it possible to change our investment allocation? (Administrators)

Yes, you change investment allocation by emailing [email protected].

Does Growfund for Giving Circles provide fiscal sponsorship? (Administrators)

As a 501c3 non-profit organization whose mission is to grow global philanthropy, Global Impact serves as a Fiscal Sponsor for a wide array of domestic and international entities. If you would like to learn more about how Global Impact can support your giving circle please email [email protected].

What is fiscal sponsorship and how can it benefit our giving circle? (Administrators)

Fiscal sponsorship is when non-profit organizations offer their legal and tax-exempt status to groups engaged in activities related to the sponsoring organization’s mission. For giving circles, this may include getting tax-deductible reimbursements for circle operations and/or to receive sponsorships funds.

With Global Impact’s commitment to support the every day donor, we now offer fiscal sponsorship to giving circles. Please contact Growfund Support for more information.

How do I move funds to our fiscal sponsorship operating account? (Administrators)

Global Impact will send you a bank letter for the Global Impact Fiscal Sponsorship account. This bank letter contains all the information needed to initiate the transfer. Your giving circle will then provide that information to your current bank or a community foundation so that they can send the funds over.

What’s the process for submitting invoices to my fiscal sponsorship operating account? (Administrators)

Each quarter *one PDF invoice* must be sent to [email protected], along with all receipts, the point-of-contacts W-9 and ACH banking form. If you would like the reimbursed funds to be transferred into a bank account, you will need to fill out the ACH banking form as well.

When will our giving circle be reimbursed through our fiscal sponsorship operating account? (Administrators)

For reimbursement, all invoices will be paid within 2 – 3 weeks of submitting an invoice unless errors occur in the submission process. All giving circle payments will be made to the giving circle administrator, who will then disburse the payments to the various vendors. Delays may take place due to issues like missing receipts, lack of funds in your giving circle account, or a missing W-9 or ACH form.

How do I contribute to my giving circle via Growfund for Giving Circles, and am I able to set up a recurring contribution? (Members)

Your giving circle administrator will share a link to your Growfund for Giving Circle’s page, which includes a link to a contribution form. You’ll be able to select if you would like to make a one-time or recurring contribution. After your electronic contribution has been successfully processed, you will receive an email receipt from Global Impact.

What if my credit card expired before my next recurring payment? (Members)

If your credit card expires before your next recurring payment, your payment subscription will be cancelled following the final transaction that can be processed before the expiration date. At that time, you will receive a correspondence from Growfund Support alerting you of the subscriptions cancellation and prompting you to set up a new one with a different credit card.

If you know your credit card is about to expire, you can reach out to Growfund Support to change your credit card information.

I understand there is a credit card processing fee and a grant distribution fee that covers account maintenance. Can I cover the cost to ensure the giving circle fund receives 100% of the amount I intended to donate to charity? (Members)

Please check with your giving circle administrator on the preferred method for designating contributions.

How do I make a change to my recurring contribution? (Members)

If you would like to make any changes to your recurring contribution, including changing the credit card, amount of donation, timing of donation, or termination, please email [email protected] and request a cancellation of your current recurring donation. Do not share any credit card details via email.

After you receive email notification that the recurring contribution has been cancelled, please go to your giving circle’s contribution link to set up a new recurring contribution that meets your requirements.

I prefer to donate by a check, is that possible? (Members)

If you prefer to make a contribution by check, please make your check out to Global Impact writing your giving circle’s name on the memo line. Please include your return address with the payment. 

Mail your check to the following address:

Attn: Global Impact
1199 N. Fairfax Street, Suite 300
Alexandria, VA 22314

Can I make a grant from a DAF to Growfund? (Members)

Yes, you can make a grant from another DAF to Growfund. Simply ask your DAF or investment account to send you a check, and write the Giving Circle name in the purpose.  If you’d like to make a transfer, please get in touch with us at [email protected] for further details.

You can also fund your own Growfund with funds from another DAF, using the transferred funds to contribute to your own Growfund account.  This can be a very useful way of managing your own Growfund for strategic philanthropy to contribute to Giving Circles or other charities.

Am I able to make a contribution in honor or memory of a loved one? (Members)

Yes, when you make an online contribution, there are boxes to designate if the contribution is in honor or in memory of someone.

I am interested in also setting up a personal Growfund account. How do I sign up, and can I use my personal Growfund account to also donate to my giving circle? (Members)

Many giving circle members also use Growfund to manage all of their personal giving. Growfund helps everyday donors invest and donate strategically.

It is simple to set up a personal Growfund account just go Start a Fund on Growfund. When you are ready to make a donation with your funds, grants can be made to more than 1.8 million charities.  Further information on Growfund for Individuals can be found here.

You’ll also be able to donate directly to your giving circle by using the intra-account grant making feature on the platform.

What personal information does the recipient organization receive after I give a grant? (Members)

Unless an account holder asks to be anonymous, the charity will have access to their name and contact info.

When do I need to contact Growfund Support for help? (Members)

We hope our FAQs are comprehensive and provide you with immediate support. At this time, please contact Growfund Support if your credit card information has expired or changed and you have a recurring payment.
Also, if you are interested in learning more about Growfund, please contact Growfund Support.

How do I contact Growfund Support? (Members)

You can reach Growfund Support at [email protected]. We work hard to respond to all inquiries within 2 business days but appreciate your patience when there is a high volume of Growfund Support questions.

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