Monday, March 23, 2009

Broke? You Can Still Help Someone In Need - Form A Giving Circle

Sometimes, we get so caught up in what's wrong in our world and what needs to be done until we overlook all the good work that "we the people" are doing. One great example, the Giving Circle.

According to Wikipedia, "Giving Circles are a form of philanthropy consisting of groups of individuals who pool their funds and other resources to donate to their communities and seek to increase their awareness and engagement in the process of giving. Through this process, they seek to impact their owncommunities or larger areas - including to have global impacts. The circles can serve as a form of shared, or collective, giving in the context of community economic development or other social ventures.

Members of giving circles donate their own money or time to a pooled fund, decide together where to give these away, and often have some sort of social or educational interaction associated with the giving. Many circles, in addition to donating their money, also contribute their time and skills to supporting local causes."

Voice of America documents the trend saying, "There is strength in numbers. More and more Americans are discovering the truth of that adage ["It Is Better To Give Than Receive"]as they look to 'give back' to their communities. They are forming what are known as "giving circles," and these circles are changing the face of philanthropy in America."

This American Association of Retired Persons video does a great job of explaining the concept.

Here's how to start a Giving Circle.

I think this is one of the best examples of practical, solutions-based thinking I've seen. How about you? Could Giving Circles work in your community?