How the power of friendship can create community change
Giving circles are about encouraging gatherings of like-minded friends, to have fun and at the same time know that collectively they are contributing to a better society.
Most of us would like to think that, in some small way, the world might be a better place for the fact that we have been here. Becoming part of a Giving Circle can be a richly rewarding experience.
Giving Circles work by pooling financial resources with a group of friends or colleagues, and then generating new ideas about how collectively they can make a difference in their community. Community foundations can support this giving by introducing well-researched options for to the groups to consider, and decide where to give the money. They can introduce the groups to the charities or organisations that interest them, and arrange for them to come and speak to the group, or for the giving circle to visit them on site to see them in action.
In this way, the group knows that the donations the group is making will have the greatest possible impact in the areas that they care most about. These groups also get the opportunity to see first hand how you are making a difference.
How Does A Giving Circle Work?
- A group of friends (maximum 10) establish a named fund
- The group arranges an initial meeting (think Book Club scenario) to discuss how much you will each contribute, and what the common areas of interest are. It may be one or it may be more.
- Each member donates an agreed amount monthly by direct credit or by payroll giving
- Once the group has identified their preferred interest area, their community foundation will give some options.
- It’s then up to the group to decide how often they would like to get together – it may be as little as twice a year, or they may decide to meet more often. That’s entirely up to the group.
- Once a year the giving circle’s funds will be distributed, based on the group decision.
- The community foundation will evaluate the impact of the donation and report back to the group.
The monthly donations are invested by the community foundation so that they accumulate interest over the course of the year.
The Benefits of This Approach to Giving
A Giving Circle ensures your decision is fully informed, and it’s fun to share the process with like-minded friends.
Your group can choose how close to, or distant from, the process of giving you want to be. You can choose the parts you want to be involved in – like visiting the chosen charities – and the parts that you prefer to leave to the community foundation.
You become part of a community of donors helping to make your region a better place – and that’s got to be good for everyone.