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Global Giving Circles

December 21, 2020

This is a very relevant study which highlights how this new, more democratic, and local form of giving is spreading. There are 426 giving circles (GC) outside the US and estimate that in 2018 they gave away a combined $45.74 million in grants and involved 42,200 members. Among many of the specific findings, we found global GCs to be more frequently connected to a GC network and more often to be independently run (vs hosted) than their US counterparts, to be overwhelmingly local in their focus, and overall much younger than their US counterparts with 92% founded in the last decade. 

Dynamics of Hosting Giving Circles and Collective Giving Groups

November 30, 2018

The final report of this initial series, Dynamics of Hosting Giving Circles and Collective Giving Groups, explores the hosting experiences of community foundations and other organizations. Key findings include:Contributing to a culture of philanthropy in their communities is the top reason that hosts are motivated to start or support a giving circle, followed by reaching new donors and a more diverse set of donors.The most fundamental service provided by giving circle hosts is serving as a fiscal sponsor; other top services offered include providing communications support, organizing educational opportunities for members and soliciting proposals from potential grantees.Hosts cited staff time required, differences in expectations between the giving circle and host organization, and covering costs as the biggest challenges associated with hosting giving circles.

The Landscape of Giving Circles/Collective Giving Groups in the U.S.

November 9, 2017

Giving circles and other forms of collective giving (hereafter referred to as GCs) have grown significantly in visibility and popularity over the past 15 years. Often started by donors, they are widely understood to be highly flexible, democratic, do-it-yourself vehicles for giving. Previous research has illuminated the positive impact that participation has on the giving and civic engagement of donors. Until recently, however, our understanding of the scope and scale of GCs was 10 years out of date! This research presents an updated understanding of the current landscape of GCs and similar models of collective giving or giving collaboratives in the United States. This research comprises the first of a three-part inquiry, which also looks at research underway related to the impact of participation in GCs on donor giving and civic engagement, and a study of the relationships between GCs and their hosting organizations.

Project Streamline: Practices That Matter

May 17, 2013

Project Streamline has a simple premise: that the cumulative impact of grantmakers' distinct and often laborious application and reporting requirements undermines nonprofit effectiveness, causing grantseekers to devote too much time to seeking funding (often without payoff) and reporting on grants (often without benefit) to the detriment of their mission-based work. The streamlining effort has a correspondingly straightforward goal: to help grantmakers understand and reduce the burden of application and reporting on their nonprofit partners, while still getting the information they need to make good grantmaking decisions. Five years after the research that resulted in Project Streamline's initial report, "Drowning in Paperwork, Distracted from Purpose," and subsequent tools, assessments, and workshops, the leaders and partners of the initiative decided to take stock of progress. They wanted to find out whether the core principles and concrete practices essential to streamlined application and reporting had gained traction in the field of philanthropy. They needed to know more about which application and reporting practices made the biggest difference to nonprofit organizations and grantmakers. And they wanted to chart a path forward with recommendations for where Project Streamline should focus its energies going forward

Building Community Capacity for Participation in Evaluation: Why It Matters and What Works

January 29, 2013

This briefing shares five principles for engaging community stakeholders in evaluation planning, data collection and the interpretation and use of findings as part of place-based initiatives. These insights emerged from the shared experiences of grantmakers and evaluation practitioners during the first year of GEO's "Embrace Complexity" Community of Practice -- a group focused on the evaluation of place-based grantmaking.

Benchmarking 2010: Trends in Education Philanthropy

October 5, 2010

Education funders tend to work in a vacuum -- each organization has its own mission and its own grantmaking budget. But given the depth and breadth of challenges to our education systems, these efforts can never achieve real change -- unless we have a collective knowledge base and an ability to align and coordinate funders' work. This report provides data, analysis, best practices and challenges to the field, all geared to increasing the collective impact of education grantmakers, and ultimately to improving education for all learners.

Drowning in Paperwork, Distracted from Purpose: Challenges and Opportunities in Grant Application and Reporting

April 1, 2008

Are nonprofits drowning in paperwork and distracted from purpose as a result of grantmakers' application and reporting requirements? Do the same practices that grantmakers use to increase effectiveness end up over-burdening both grantmakers and grantseekers—and diminishing their effectiveness? This research report commissioned by Project Streamline addresses these questions by examining current application and reporting practices and their impact on grantmakers and grantseekers alike. In short, we found that the current system creates significant burdens on the time, energy and ultimate effectiveness of nonprofit practitioners.

More Giving Together: The Growth and Impact of Giving Circles and Shared Giving

May 15, 2007

The Forum's report finds that the number of giving circles in existence has more than doubled in the last two years. There are now at least 400 giving circles nationwide -- at least one circle in nearly every state. To examine the growth of giving circles, the Forum surveyed a sampling of 160 circles across the country. Findings include: Nearly 70 percent of giving circles have a host organization that receives members' contributions and disburses donations to the organizations selected by the circle to receive its support. More than half of all hosted circles keep their money in a donor advised fund at their local community foundation. Giving circles give a lot. In 2006 alone, giving circles surveyed donated $13 million for community needs. Giving circle members number in the tens of thousands. Nearly 12,000 people participate in the 160 giving circles surveyed by the Forum. Giving circles are diversifying. While once considered a women's philanthropy phenomenon, nearly half of circles now have male members. The popularity of giving circles is also growing among people of color and in the gay and lesbian community. Giving circles have staying power. Nearly a third of circles surveyed have been through more than five rounds of grantmaking. Regional associations of grantmakers, community foundations and private foundations, among other philanthropic organizations, are lending their support to giving circles by serving as hosts and advisors.