Donors Can Gain From Giving Circles

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.”

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker (artshacker.com) website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (http://www.creatingconnection.org/about/)

I am currently the Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.

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