American donors who may not feel sufficiently empowered — or even feel marginalized — by more traditional forms of organized philanthropy are turning to giving circles to express their charitable inclinations, according to a recent report published by Jumpstart, a nonprofit philanthropic research and design lab.
Giving circles, through which participants pool their charitable contributions and decide together where to allocate them, can both strengthen communal identity and expand philanthropic reach, the report found.
Data show that giving collectives are especially appealing to minority groups, women and younger donors.
The report was based on quantitative findings about participants in giving circles from the National Study of American Religious Giving and the National Study of American Jewish Giving.
It also incorporated findings from a qualitative, comparative study of adult giving collectives associated with several ethnic and affinity groups, including Africa- American, Asian-American/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, Jewish, LGBT, women’s and millennial generation giving circles.
One of the report’s more striking findings was the age of giving circle participants: nearly half were under 40 years old.
Researchers said that unlike other aspects of philanthropy, giving circle participation was much more strongly related to age than to income. Indeed, two-thirds of non-white participants were under 40.