Giving Circles Network is a non-profit organization that seeks to better enable individual donors and emerging or existing Giving Circles to increase the impact of their contributions, thereby making their donations towards the greater good more meaningful to themselves and the recipients. Specifically, GCN seeks to enable giving-minded individuals and emerging circles to self-create and find the means to enhance their organization, connect with and communicate with other like-minded individuals and circles, analyze charitable needs and issues, identify giving objectives and potential charities, leverage existing and find new resources, engage in wise giving, enhance the impact of their giving, thereby ultimately making their charitable contributions more meaningful.
How do you define a circle?
We define a “giving circle” as any group of individuals who associate and pool their funds and/or in-kind contributions (time, goods, or property) to improve the public good either in the U.S. or internationally. In this regard, we do not limit our definition of a giving circle to one that is hosted or sponsored by an established charitable organization such as a community or private foundation which until recently have constituted the majority of giving circles. In other words, any individual or informal group of neighbors, friends, colleagues or family can start and/or participate in a giving circle, however small, informal or geographically dispersed and regardless of the level or type of giving (financial or in-kind contributions). Similarly, we welcome larger, established giving circles who might want the benefit of our online association or management tools and/or to expand their membership. This definition brings the world of donors to your desktop.
How Is GCN related to the New Philanthropy Giving Circle Knowledge Center of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers (Forum)?
GCN is not related to the Forum, its website or knowledge center, with the only exception that we both support Giving Circles. The Forum is an association serving various types of grantmakers, including Giving Circles. GCN, on the other hand, is an informal network (not an association) focusing solely on Giving Circles.
Do you restrict any organizations from participating?
We support the participation of any organization or individual in the Giving Circles Network online space regardless of political or social orientation as well as the right to free speech. Our mandate is to support charitable giving that promotes “meaningful” giving in a peaceful manner and therefore, in accordance with our bylaws, we encourage the participation of individuals or groups that are non-violent, moral, ethical and law-abiding.
If you are joining an existing Giving Circle, we recommend that you ensure that there is compatibility between yourself and those members as well as commonality of vision and approach. Some Giving Circles might not be appealing or relevant to a specific individual for a wide variety of reasons, but might still be moral, law-abiding and peaceful individuals, so are therefore able to operate equally in the Giving Circle Network space. Other Giving Circles might not be highly effective; however, GCN exists in part for the purpose of enhancing the effectiveness of Giving Circles, so we welcome all Giving Circles to participate in the GCN space to that end. We ask that, while we will make every effort to ensure that no Giving Circles operate beyond the limits of our bylaws, every participant has an understanding that there is a wide variety of Giving Circles and should find, join or establish a circle that is well-suited to your giving purpose, goals and approach.