This article first appeared on Nonprofit Quarterly on May 25, 2018. 

This past February, the nonprofit Global Impact publicly announced that it was launching Growfund for Giving Circles as a donor-advised fund with no minimum, “offering a more affordable and flexible way for giving circles to pool their money together, invest and distribute funds for social causes.”

NPQ has written widely about donor-advised funds, or “DAFs.” It would be hard to ignore them, given that donations to DAFs totaled over $23 billion in 2016, with final 2017 figures sure to be higher. They are sometimes controversial because they have no legally mandated payout minimum, although actual payouts as a percentage of assets far exceed the five-percent payout minimum of private foundations.

In its announcement, Global Impact observes that according to the Collective Giving Research Group, “more than a thousand giving circles and 525 chapters exist in the United States, granting $27.7 million in 2016 and as much as $1.29 billion since inception.” However, most require a minimum initial contribution between $5,000 to $25,000. But Global Impact’s Growfund, with no minimum balance required, makes the DAF mechanism accessible to a much broader public.

Scott Jackson, CEO of Global Impact, notes that, “We developed the Growfund without brokerage fees to have the power of a donor-advised fund and have it for no minimum. Without a minimum, you can save and invest in philanthropy and share with your friends. That’s the overall platform.”

You can read the rest of the article as it originally appeared here.