Trends in collective giving: Regrounding in our roots

Sara Lomelin and Isis Krause

While collective giving is seen as ‘innovation’, it really marks a return to long-established values and practices of philanthropy

A groundswell in collective philanthropy in the past decade is changing institutional philanthropy from the outside in. Whether through a giving circle, philanthropic collaborative, giving project, or other models, this inclusive and democratic approach to philanthropy is raising questions of power, voice and agency, asking, Who is included in decision-making? How are those decisions made? What is getting funded? And because the movement of hundreds of thousands of people all around the world practising collective giving is a grassroots, decentralised force, there is constant innovation at the edges as groups push on how far this model can go.

Giving circles leaders from Community Investment Network. Credit: John A. Stephens

Innovation usually involves new discoveries, but for the field of collective giving innovation means a return to the roots of the practice of communal caretaking and a recognition of the legacy and history of centuries of practice, a resurgence of a time-honoured tradition. As a global field catalyst for the collective giving movement that stands on the shoulders of this history, Philanthropy Together changes narratives, elevates strong models, and pushes boundaries to build a thriving field. From our global vantage point, here are five ways we’re seeing collective giving innovating by returning to its roots:

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