Do You Need a Social Charity Club?

Here’s an idea. Get a group of 20-somethings together who want to give back to the community and enjoy local restaurants and bars. Once a month, this group of socially-conscious professionals would meet at a local bar or restaurant, make a reasonable donation to a local charity of say $10 or so, and get a complimentary drink from the bar or restaurant. While they are at the bar or restaurant, they would get to learn a little about the local charity, give back to the community, and support a local business.

This idea is real in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Formed in 2011, the Social Charity Club of Grand Rapids ( has been meeting since last June at various bars and restaurants in Grand Rapids. Each month, they meet at a different venue and support a different local charity. It is an idea that works – they raised $1,500 for their local charity at their December event. A member of the group was interviewed on the local news and said that since they were going to be going out anyway, why not give something back to the community at the same time? Their motto is “Let’s eat, drink, and be charitable!”

Is your United Way trying to reach the socially-conscious, 20-something crowd? Perhaps there is a lesson or two to be learned from the Social Charity Club of Grand Rapids.

First, there are plenty of socially-conscious, 20-somethings out there looking for a way to give back, and they can come up with creative and meaningful ways to give back like the Social Charity Club. I am willing to bet that the young people who organized the Social Charity Club had no idea their local United Way has a program just for them. The local United Way program promises “meaningful opportunities for future leaders to impact our community.” If you were a 20-something, which sounds more exciting to you: “Let’s eat, drink, and be charitable” or “meaningful opportunities for future leaders to impact our community”?

Second, the word “social” is the essence of the idea. The Social Charity Club Web site is actually a Facebook page, they Tweet about everything, and there are probably few things more social for a 20-something than the restaurants and bars in their community. They even called themselves the Social Charity Club, which makes it imperative for United Ways to think social-give-advocate and volunteer.

The Social Charity Club of Grand Rapids should be an inspiration for every United Way trying to reach the 20-something crowd.