The 10 October marked the 5th Destekle Değiştir (Giving Circle) event organized by the Third Sector Foundation of Turkey (TUSEV).
Three civil society organizations (CSOs) presented their projects focusing on multiple issues including increasing the number of guide dogs in Turkey to be delivered to visually impaired individuals free of charge, organizing workshops with socioeconomically disadvantaged children on human rights, gender equality and inclusion, and encouraging the production of electricity using renewable resources in a village in the Çanakkale Province.
90 donors pledged a total of approximately €11,000 euros to three projects, which exceeded the overall target of the event.
With the acknowledgement that giving circle events are quite common around the world and known to be effective in promoting strategic giving, TUSEV adapted the Giving Circle model to the local context in Turkey in 2014 under the name of ‘Destekle Değiştir’.
The adaptation process was realized with much appreciated technical assistance and expertise from The Funding Network, and the Execution Committee formed by TUSEV with the participation of donors and professionals from the philanthropic sector.
Among TUSEV’s motivations to adapt the Giving Circle model was implementing a new model that will enable donor-CSO engagement and promote strategic giving.
Creating a giving experience for donors through live crowdfunding, and providing an opportunity for CSOs with limited access to funding and working on rights-based issues have been essential.
Prior to the 5th Destekle Değiştir event on 10 October, TUSEV organized four Destekle Değiştir events in Istanbul and Ankara, where 13 CSOs presented their projects and collected 50,000 Euros from 286 donors.
During these events projects ranging from creating an LGBTI support hotline, and initiating memory walks to raise awareness on human rights violations, to doing nondiscriminatory workshops with children concerning speciesism, had the opportunity to meet with a group of donors and collect much needed resources. TUSEV has achieved positive impact following the implementation of Destekle Değiştir.
On the one hand, individuals enjoy a new giving experience and they engage with the projects pitched during the events. Above all else, they have fun and raise hope through giving. On the other hand, Destekle Değiştir offers CSOs a window of opportunity which entails an alternative resource in terms of individual donations which can potentially turn into regular ones and nonfinancial support. For example during the latest Destekle Değiştir event, a donor offered one-year-long software support for all three CSOs.
Although the implementation of the Giving Circle model in Turkey has been eye-opening and impactful, there remain some issues to be considered. A challenge that emerges following the events is that both donors and CSOs tend to miss the opportunity of building a long term relationship.
It is quite common for donations to stay as one-off which requires some additional work to be done on the CSOs side. Also, the need to build a stronger network of donors remains.
Despite the mentioned challenges, Destekle Değiştir has a quite promising future in Turkey. TUSEV will continue to implement the model, and provide technical assistance to other organizations in Turkey willing to undertake its implementation.
For more information visit TUSEV’s website.
Hilal Tekmen is Project Expert and Liana Varon is deputy secretary general for the Third Sector Foundation of Turkey (TUSEV).