Investing in Affinity Groups

Collective Giving with Purpose

Maureen L. Murat
Joining an affinity group can help you find mentors and leadership opportunities.

Joining an affinity group can help you find mentors and leadership opportunities.

AzmanL via iStock

Affinity groups are a great way to join others to champion a common cause to overcome seemingly impossible challenges. Recently, interest groups working to seek solutions to meet the demands of society have grown in number and fervor. 

What Is an Affinity Group?

An affinity group is a group of people who decide to come together (formally or informally) around a shared goal, interest, or attribute. Outside the workplace, affinity groups are regularly associated with philanthropy and provide a way to give back to communities by supporting charities and community projects. In all, they are a means to stay engaged with purpose.

Affinity groups allow members to donate to a pooled fund where members collectively choose which specific causes, organizations, or projects to support financially. That means affinity group members not only associate and connect with others around a common cause, but they also give toward a common cause. Members regularly donate their time and services, as well.

If you have an interest or support a cause, there is likely an affinity group for that. For instance, The Denver Foundation has three affinity groups anyone can join: Arts Affinity Group, Environmental Affinity Group, Reparations Affinity Group.

Collectively Giving with Purpose

Affinity groups are for everyone. Regardless of their profession, group members rally around a cause, a community, or a project. That is the beauty of the group. Members can pool funds and collectively give with purpose.

But attorneys, in particular, may want to consider joining because they are so flexible. While attorneys frequently do not have the time to contribute to a cause because the profession can be a little demanding, they can contribute money toward a cause and have a voice in spending those funds.

Benefits Beyond Giving

Although the ability to donate to personal causes is a primary benefit to being part of an affinity group outside the workplace, another advantage in joining is helping your career grow. Joining an affinity group can help you find mentors and leadership opportunities. As you can imagine, joining an affinity group comes with yet another added benefit—a new network of people with whom to engage. Because members are joining the affinity group for a particular interest, it follows that they may have other interests in common. Additionally, members have the opportunity to learn about other members’ professional journeys.

As you consider whether an affinity group is a community you would like to be a part of, be sure to answer these questions to help make that decision:

  • About which causes or projects am I most passionate?
  • If I do not have the time to engage in those causes or projects, are there affinity groups that promote them?
  • Will I be able to meet the level of commitment required to join an affinity group (keeping in my mind that commitment levels vary)?

Joining an affinity group is an excellent means to join forces with others who share a common goal to champion a common cause. Collectively giving with a purpose not only creates community but also creates opportunity.

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Maureen L. Murat

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Maureen L. Murat is an attorney based in Washington, DC, and principal of Crowdie Advisors, a business consulting firm that advocates crowdfunding as a means to grow a small business. She is an adjunct professor at the University of New Hampshire, Franklin Pierce School of Law, where she teaches Blockchain and the Law, Tokenomics and Cryptocurrency Regulations, and Smart Cities, Smart Government.