Giving circles seen boosting engagement

Members of giving circles tend to be more strategic in their philanthropy and are more engaged in their communities than non-members, a new study says.

Those involved with a circle now or in the past give more, give to a larger number of nonprofits and are more strategic in their giving, says the study from the University of Nebraska, the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

The study compared the knowledge, attitudes and civic behaviors of 587 current and former circle members to those of a control group.

Members of giving circles tend to know more about philanthropy, charities and the needs of their communities, the report says.

They are also more likely to support the needs of women and girls and minority groups, and they are more likely to fund the arts, culture and ethnic awareness.

Volunteering gets a boost from circle membership, with those who are most involved in their circles and long-term members being more likely to increase their volunteer time than others.

“We knew that people join giving circles to make a difference in their communities,” Jessica Bearman, one of the study’s lead authors, says in a statement. “Now we know that giving circles really have an impact on members’ giving, knowledge and civic participation.”

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