Giving collectives, frequently also called giving circles, are groups of people who pool their donations and jointly decide how to allocate them. Giving circles pool donated funds, then make grants mostly to small, local nonprofit organisations or individuals. Circles educate their members about philanthropy and issues in the community, provide a social forum for members, and engage members in volunteering. Collective giving is an easy and social entry path into philanthropy and 38.5% of philanthropy respondents participate in collective giving.
Of those who participate in collective giving, 90% indicated they were motivated by the desire to encourage giving by others. Opportunities to network and belong to a community were identified as valued social aspects of collective giving, present for both philanthropists and the NPOs involved. Several participants observed that women may be more inclined towards collaborative models of giving which provide opportunities to connect with and learn from others involved in considered giving approaches. Although these social aspects were not viewed as the primary aim of giving collectives, they were mentioned multiple times as a perceived benefit to members – but one that could best be sustained by strong engagement with the underlying charitable purpose of the group.
Identified challenges of collective giving included sustaining the large amount of time and effort required by organisers and the need for broader awareness of collective giving opportunities among philanthropists. Although some focus group and interview participants expressed concern that collective giving should not detract from other philanthropic activity and the longer-term support required to address persistent social issues, there was a sense of optimism that collective giving is attracting new philanthropists, encouraging giving and could provide an opportunity to harness resources that might not otherwise go to the nonprofit sector.
To read the full reports and factsheets, go to https://www.communitybusinesspartnership.gov.au/about/research-projects/giving-australia-2016/