- Social Media
- Active Citizenship
- Good Giving
- Corporate Responsibility
- Be Fearless
Thanks to everyone who shared their personal giving preferences with me in a previous post: What’s your giving style – give more to less or less to more? It was reaffirming to see that many others have the same questions and concerns about giving strategically and wanting to feel like your dollars and volunteer hours are impactful. I must admit, I was surprised to find that the majority of commenters expressed a preference to give more to less. My hypothesis (based on my un-scientific gut) is: like me, this strategy allows you to feel like you’re taking an active role in your personal philanthropy and feel good about where your contributions are going. If this is true, then you’ll be interested in another form of giving I’m adding to my mix – giving circles.
The concept started several years ago and may be a great way (especially when budgets are tight) to get involved with a network of people with similar interests, develop a connection or deeper understanding of the organizations you will support, and be able to affect greater impact.
I co-chair the DC/Baltimore chapter of AAPIP, and we plan on starting a local giving circle. Andrew Ho, of Council on Foundations and a member of AAPIP, recently authored a white paper, Asian American Giving Circles: Building Bridges Between Philanthropy and Our Communities, which explains that a giving circle:
“…is a means for ordinary people to participate in philanthropy with others like themselves. Referred to as a way of 'democratizing philanthropy' … For many, it is a great way to not only give away money but also learn about the giving process and the organizations and communities where the giving circle is making a difference … at its core, a giving circle involves three basic elements: 1) a group of individuals, 2) a pool of their funds, and 3) a group decision on how to give away those funds … Pooling funds together empowers giving circle members to do more collectively than individually and to leverage philanthropy.”
This description hits on all of my personal goals and objectives and is the perfect addition to my hodgepodge! I’d love to hear about others’ experiences with giving circles and welcome any advice for our AAPIP chapter as we get ready to dive in.
Here is a list of resources on giving circles (pdf) for those interested.