Getting to know Giving Circles in RG

Have you ever wondered about giving circles? What are they? How do they work? How do you start one?
Are you in a giving circle and wondering how others are doing it?
In these interviews, RG folks share their experiences with and reflections about participating in giving circles. We have interviewed young people with wealth who have started giving circles, non-wealthy folks who have participated in them, and staff of organizations directly supported by giving circles. Learn what worked, what didn’t work, and why. Members answer several popular questions like: “How did you get started,” and “If you had to do it all over again, would you?”
Anyone can join a giving circle or community giving project. Communal giving is a practice that has been instrumental to communities all over the world. In Cameroon, groups of women, called tontines, pool their resources and take turns taking home the pot of money. In Korea, the same practice is called geh. Giving circles work best as collaborative efforts, where voices from both the giving and receiving side are heard.
“A key element in starting up any sort of giving is to make sure there’s a niche; I didn’t see the informal creative social change work in Chicago being funded—so that was my niche. I wouldn’t start a circle just for the sake of giving your money away; there’s already so much good work happening, so just find it and fund them!” —Kristen Cox
“I learned…there’s just a lot of work that goes into having something be successful, in terms of organizing. All the pieces have to be organized well and articulated clearly. Yet when what you’re doing is so unavoidably the right thing to do it makes everything a lot easier. If you’re on board with it being unbelievably the right thing to do then all that little work stuff doesn’t feel like it exists. I mean it does exist, but I’m like, wow, when your heart’s in it, how much work you can actually accomplish!” –Anne Glickman
Check out all of the Giving Circles, Donor Circles, and Community-Based Funding interviews and resources in the Resource Library on our website.