I have written a few times about the way people are organizing themselves in Giving Circles. It seems like an interesting approach to philanthropy because it is social and communal the way some online giving platforms are, but just as personal and local as individual giving. In some ways, it actually inspires people to be much more involved and deliberate in their giving.
Via Non Profit Quarterly is a link to a Philly.com story that talks about those very factors.
“There is tremendous anxiety out there about social inequality and how stratified our society is. People want to do something about it,” says David Callahan, editor of the Inside Philanthropy news site.
“Giving circles create structure for people with shared values to learn about the causes they care about and support them while creating community.”
For members, the experience can be identity-changing.
The intentionality of the process — the vetting of proposals, visits to potential fundee’s sites, hours of thoughtful debate with passionate circle members in five separate committees — has changed Rothenberg’s self-perception.
“I used to think of myself as a donor,” says Rothenberg, who’d annually write checks to her college alma mater and give $50 gifts to this or that cause. “But I didn’t really know where the money went, or it felt like a drop in the bucket.
“Now I see myself as a philanthropist — I’m part of something bigger. I feel invested in the success of the nonprofits we support.”