A new study by the Collective Giving Research Group, published in November 2017, has begun to capture and examine the growth of the giving circle movement. According to their research, in 2016, there were an estimated 1,600 giving groups — triple the number that existed in 2007. The forces driving this momentum span a wide range of reasons, but there exist some trends: giving circle members are motivated to join circles by their interest in giving more strategically, to leverage their giving and to engage with their communities.
A giving circle, by the definition of the research group, is a group of individuals who pool their philanthropic money and collaboratively determine how to allocate it to support nonprofits and other entities doing social impact work. And as the movement has grown, infrastructure has begun to develop alongside it — there are a number of different types of organizations and networks that support giving circles. Many, like Women’s Collective Giving Grantmaking Network, Amplifier, Asian American/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, Community Investment Network and many more*,support the giving work of specific communities.
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Meanwhile, different circles use a variety methodologies to operate, including receiving support from a larger network, being hosted or fiscally sponsored by a community foundation or even establishing independent 501(c)(3) status. Despite the different strategies various circles have used, determining administrative best practice (and feasible practice) is an ongoing task for circles and presents some of the biggest questions for the field — especially as circles and networks continue to scale.
Read the full assessment of 2017 for giving circles by Maeve Richards at medium.com.
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