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Giving Circles Encourage Pooled Donations

First Posted: 03/18/10 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 04:05 PM ET


One of the most persistent questions we ask when we donate to charity is, "Is this really making a difference?" Indeed, a single $100 donation to Keep A Child Alive or Farm Sanctuary can often seem like a drop in the bucket. The online sites Donors Choose and Kiva have worked around this problem by allowing people to give to specific individuals for clear and measurable benefits.

Now, groups of givers are finding a new way to effectively pool their resources. The new trend is Giving Circles, groups that want to make a significant difference in their donations. With a group of 100 people, scattered donations of $100 become $10,000 directed to a single organization.

Meredith Moss of the Dayton Daily News analyzed this trend and interviewed some Giving Circle members. She found that the act of donating brings even more joy when ambitious givers see their gift coupled with 100 others.

From the Dayton Daily News:

Researcher Angela Eikenberry, assistant professor at the University of Nebraska, estimates there are more than 600 giving circles in the nation. In her report, "The Impact of Giving Together," participants said they give more money and do so more strategically as a result of their group involvement. They also learn a great deal about their communities' needs.

Donors, who are all volunteers, feel grateful, too.

"Thank you for putting this group of women together," wrote Debbie Staton of Centerville to Banwart. "What a great feeling when we leave those meetings and know what our pooled resources have done for our community."

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Filed by Jonathan Daniel Harris  |