A giving circle is a group of individuals who pool their money and collectively decide on donating to a particular non-profit organization. Giving circles are often self-managed, allowing members to evaluate potential non-profits and administer grants. Other circles, especially larger ones, employ professional staff for day-to-day grant management.
Giving circles are typically not tied to any one charity, with members deciding where funds should be distributed, in contrast to a donor circle that would be organized by an individual non-profit as a fundraising tool. Giving circle members are encouraged to maintain independence allowing flexibility in the giving activities according to the interests and focus of the group.
Education and social interaction
Giving circles are unique in that they coordinate the pooling and streaming of resources while educating members on issues of philanthropy, community, social impact and sustainable giving. Through means of workshops, speakers and trainings, on relevant topics, members add form to their knowledge of giving related issues.
Social interaction and maintaining a healthy network within ones philanthropic field is also a common reason for joining a Giving circle. Giving circles not only engage members in decision making, education and giving, but also provide social opportunities and a community where social interaction is cultivated.
Divers in structure
Circles are divers in structure depending on the preferences of the groups founders. Some circles require a membership fee, or ask members to contribute equal amounts, while other circles attract more diversity by allowing multiple giving levels.
Most circles encourage their members to contribute time and skills as well as money to the organizations being supported. Giving circles usually offer grants to support non-profits, but others use loans or equity funding to invest in social enterprises.
How it works:
Invite some friends
Set goals and structure
Nominate a cause
Establish mission and commitment
Make a difference
Review potential recipients and make grant awards