Frequently Asked Questions
Starting a Growfund
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.
How much does it cost to use Growfund for Giving Circles? (Administrators)
As a nonprofit, Global Impact works to keep the costs as low as possible for Growfund. Growfund has a one percent (1%) distribution fee, which helps cover the operational costs of maintaining the platform. The 1% fee on the grant amount is assessed directly from your giving circle account after you make a grant. The account holder is responsible for making sure the account has enough funds to cover both the grant amount and 1% distribution fee. If you do not have enough funds in your account to cover the fee, Global Impact will be unable to distribute your funds to your selected grantee until they become available.
Are there any other fees? (Administrators)
Processing fees for contributions apply and vary depending on how your members submit their contributions. These fees are charged by payment providers and not by Growfund – see our updated pricing schedule here.
Contributions are assessed by payment providers; contributions made with a credit card are assessed a 3% processing fee. For e-check and ACH, there is a 1% bank fee, which will be capped at $250 per contribution. As of March 1 2021, we will no longer accept paper checks from Giving Circle contributors.
Individuals can make initial contributions to their Growfund Accounts by physical check. Contributions of physical checks less than $5,000 are assessed a $20 processing fee. Please make your check out to Global Impact, writing your account name on the memo line. Mail it to the following address:
1199 N. Fairfax Street, Suite 300
Alexandria, VA 22314
Giving circle members who give by credit card now have the option to check a box to cover transaction fees when making a contribution. This covers the credit card processing fee (3%) and the distribution fee (1%). Many giving circles ask members to check the box or add the fee to their contribution.
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)
- 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 payments. As of March 1 2021, e-checks and credit cards are the forms of payment Global Impact accepts from Giving Circle contributors who remain unregistered.
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.
How can I share the Giving Circle’s Fund? (Administrators)
If your Giving Opportunity is public follow the steps outlined below:
- Login to Growfund
- On the side navigation click Find Giving Circles
- Click Search all opportunities
- Enter your fund’s title in the keyword field
- Click on your fund’s Learn More link
- Copy the URL of this page and share it
If your Giving Opportunity is private, please email us at [email protected] to share a Giving Opportunity with your personal network. We can provide you with a link that allows non-Growfund Advisors to donate via credit card.
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.
How does my organization become eligible to receive a grant? Who is eligible for a grant? (Administrators)
In order to be eligible to receive a grant from a DAF, your organization must be registered as a 501c3 Non-Profit in the United States. At this time, we are not able to process grant request to charities located abroad (unless they have a headquarters registered in the U.S. that is recognized as a 501c3) or individuals who are experiencing hardship.
Our giving circle has more than one member who handles collecting funds and administration. Therefore, can more than one person manage our Growfund for Giving Circle account? (Administrators)
The person that opens the giving circle account will automatically be assigned as the Primary Advisory. As the Primary Advisor, you can add a Joint Advisor to the account. The Joint Advisor will share the same administrative privileges with the Primary Advisor over their Growfund, including the right to contribute funds to the account, grant funds from the account to organizations, receive account statements, and change account preferences. Both Primary and Joint Advisors can also add Secondary Advisors to a Growfund account. Secondary Advisors have read only access to the account meaning they can contribute to the account, but not make grants and do not hold other administrative privileges.
I have a Growfund Advisor account, do I need a separate login to access my Giving Circle account and view contributions? (Administrators)
No separate login or account is needed. You should be able to access your giving circle account through your personal Growfund account.
Where can I view member contributions made to the giving circle account? (Administrators)
Primary Donor and Joint Advisers will be able to view all contributions made to the giving circle account under “Contribution Activity” when they log in to their account. Our service level agreements aim to approve and post contributions within 5-7 business days of first receiving funds under “Contribution Activity”.
Please note that online checks and e-checks may take longer to clear by the bank – we have experienced longer processing and posting times for these payment methods. Funds must be settled before we can post to your account; in our experience some banks take up to 10 days to process online checks, and physical checks must be received by our offices before we can start the posting process.
If the transaction was declined, it will not be posted.
Am I able to access information about my members and other account history? And, what types of information can I generate on Contributions, Grants, and Tax Letters? (Administrators)
Yes, giving circles administrators are able to access account contribution history, including names and emails of donors helpful in managing administrative matters. Reports can be exported directly from Growfund, allowing you to easily create mail merges for any necessary communications.
The following contribution and grant reports can be generated directly from your account.
Contribution Reports (Found underneath the Contribute tab > Review Fund Contributions)
- Average contribution amount
- Date of contribution
- Contributor Subscription Information
- Contributor name, address, email, contribution type (CC or Check), recurring or single contribution, and donor comments. This report can be exported for mail merge into an existing CRM.
Grant Reports (Found underneath the Make a Grant tab > See Grant History)
- Average grant size
- Date of distribution
- Grants by fields of interest (NTEE Code)
Tax Receipt Letters (Found underneath the Contribute tab > Contributions to My Fund > Letter)
Our policy on tax receipt letters is as follows:
Becoming a registered Growfund user is the easiest way to download statements and tax letters on your account dashboard, organizing all your giving in one account.
As of March 1 2021, we require donors to become a registered Growfund Individual User to download statements and tax letters on your account dashboard, organizing all your giving in one account. Here’s some additional guidance for tax receipts:
- Donors who are claiming tax deductions should keep bank statement records or cancelled checks as evidence of their charitable contributions. Further guidance on this requirement can be found on the IRS website here.
- For electronic contributions via credit card and e-check into Growfund, you will receive an email reply as confirmation of your contribution, regardless of the amount. Please keep this in your records as evidence of your contribution. Registered Growfund account holders will be able to access contribution history and receipts in their dashboard.
Registered Growfund users can view and access receipts in the account dashboard – we encourage you to register as a user for this feature if you haven’t already done so. If you are a contributor to a Giving Circle and not a registered Growfund user, receipts will be provided Via an immediate email if you have donated electronically via credit card or e-check.
Please note, all donations into Growfund are an irrevocable gift to charity. Amendments to recurring donations can be made online or by emailing [email protected].
Global Impact cannot give tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor for further guidance on your own tax situation.
How do we make changes to our Growfund for Giving Circle Page? (Administrators)
Please email [email protected] and Growfund Support will be able to assist you. After you submit requested changes, our team will make the revisions in 2-3 business days.
How do I change my password, address, or email? (Administrators)
- Login to your account
- Go to “Update My Profile” within the Activities Center to update your information
I have an account, but would like to add or change advisor(s)? (Administrators)
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)
As of March 1 2021, we will no longer accept paper cheques from Giving Circle contributors, only e-cheques and credit card contributions. If you prefer to make a contribution by check, you can do so as a registered Individual Growfund user, however contribution cheques under $5000 will be assessed a $20 fee.
Can I make a grant from a DAF to Growfund? (Members)
Yes, you can make a grant from another DAF to your individual Growfund account. Simply ask your DAF or investment account to send you a check, and write in your Growfund account name/number. 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 donor information will the recipient organization receive?(Members)
The recipient organization receives notice that the grant has been made by the Giving Circle via Growfund. Growfund sends an acknowledgement letter that includes the donor’s name and address. This is the case unless the grant has been marked anonymous, in which case the organization will receive a letter stating that a grant has been made by an anonymous donor via Growfund.
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.