Most people understand the concept that unity brings strength, and related to giving the same is true. Hence the idea of giving circles. There is nothing overly magical about this idea but in many ways today more than ever it seems to be beneficial to view philanthropic giving by the strength numbers bring.
Maybe it is because the problems we face seem more difficult or maybe individuals are becoming more disenfranchised when it comes to wanting to see what they give makes a difference. Regardless of the case one quote comes to mind: “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”
In a study done in 2007 by the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers’ New Ventures in Philanthropy they identified four hundred formalized giving circles in the US. A number that has doubled in just two years. In that same survey it was noted in 2006 a total of twelve thousand people were involved in one hundred and sixty giving circles that had leveraged $13 million in funding and nearly $100 million to date.
For more detailed information on giving circles I’d recommend you visit The Forum of the Regional Association of Grantmakers website and first read:
Additionally you can find help by going to the Giving Circles Network website http://www.givingcircles.org/index.htm.
For even more insight on how actual groups are forming I’d encourage you to read a recent USA Today article titled: “Giving Circles Mix Fun, Fundraising” http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-02-26-givingcircle_N.htm
Not all, however, are keen on the idea of the new growth and potential impact of this new type of philanthropy. In the article: “Giving Circles Lead Some Charities Down Dead End,” http://philanthropy.com/blogs/giveandtake/giving-circles-lead-some-charities-down-dead-end/9381. The fundraising consultant in the above mentioned article fears that these groups while might initially help a nonprofit by giving funds could quickly lose interest and move on to another project and therefore could not be seen as a stable source of funding.
In the end regardless of how people choose to give i.e. individually or collectively, it will be up to the greater nonprofit community to make the decision on how they will respond. The donor’s style of philanthropy must be met with open arms. For too long individual donor’s needs have been ignored. Fortunately, for nonprofits, most donors are resilient and forgiving but the ultimate deciding factor of a nonprofit’s success will always be tied to how they treat their donors.
DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to provide legal or accounting advice, or to address specific situations. Please consult with your legal or tax advisor to supplement and verify what you learn here.