In Abundance: An Analysis of the Thriving Landscape of Collective Giving in the U.S.

 

 Front cover of the report

New National Research Report from the Johnson Center, Colmena-Consulting, and Philanthropy Together

In Abundance: An Analysis of the Thriving Landscape of Collective Giving in the U.S. explores the transformative impact of collective giving on philanthropy. Practiced in cultures all around the world, collective giving brings people together to pool their resources, including time, talent, treasure, testimony, and ties — often referred to as the 5Ts. Groups like giving circles, SVP chapters, giving projects, and nonprofit-led circles have long served as democratic and philanthropic learning hubs — bringing historically marginalized voices into philanthropic decision-making spaces, challenging preconceived notions of who is considered a philanthropist, and elevating members as integral actors in our sector’s efforts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in giving.

A partnership between the Johnson Center, Colmena-Consulting, and Philanthropy Together, this report underscores collective giving groups’ role in reshaping philanthropic practices, fostering social connections, and amplifying the voices of marginalized communities.

READ THE REPORT

 


 

Key Findings

The latest landscape study of collective giving, In Abundance shows that participation in collective giving has grown to 4,000 groups contributing over $3.1 billion — more than doubling its impact in seven years. This not only fuels greater civic engagement, but also fosters improved mental well-being while bridging political divides.

1. Collective giving is democratizing and diversifying philanthropy.

2. Collective giving greatly expands what gets funded.

3. Collective giving pushes the bounds of how philanthropy is practiced.

4. Collective giving deeply impacts members themselves.

5. Collective giving is a catalyst for social cohesion and change.

4,000
Collective giving groups in the U.S.
370,000
People engaged in collective giving in the U.S.
$3.1B
Given through collective giving groups from 2017–2023

Watch the Webinar

How has the field of collective giving shifted in response to recent world events? What is the impact of being in a collective giving group? Who is part of this movement?

Watch as lead researchers Dr. Adriana Loson-Ceballos and Dr. Michael D. Layton, along with Sara Lomelin and Isis Krause of Philanthropy Together, discuss exciting key findings from the report.

Recorded April 2, 2024

One of the last giving circle meetings I attended, everybody was in the same room, all the donors, all the folks presenting from every organization, we listened to each other, we ate food together, we laughed so much and yes, we drank wine together. And then we got to sharing the stories. It felt like there was no scarcity in the room, there was just abundance! An abundance of power, passion, solutions.”

Masha V Chernyak

Former Senior Vice President of Latino Community Foundation

Masha V Chernyak

Former Senior Vice President of Latino Community Foundation

When I was introduced more formally to collective giving, it shifted my mindset from a place of scarcity to abundance.”

Imani Missouri

DIFFvelopment

Imani Missouri

DIFFvelopment

Through the collective giving movement, I’ve had transformative experiences connecting, building trusting relationships, and collaborating with incredible people and organizations around the world. …They’re showing me better ways to move forward together for the long haul — with love, joy, resilience, abundance, and hope.”

Guff Van Vooren

Social Venture Partners

Guff Van Vooren

Social Venture Partners
A Closer Look: New National Research Report

There has been significant growth in the popularity of and infrastructure available to collective giving groups since 2016, including the creation of the Global Giving Circle Directory. The combination of the pandemic and mobilization against racism has also prompted significant shifts in how groups operate and what they fund.

New research was used to produce an updated national landscape study of giving circles across the U.S. and document the diversity of the giving circle movement. It will also help to:

  • Develop a typology of giving circles and other forms of collective giving
  • Deepen our understanding of the giving circle life cycles
  • Identify how host organizations can more effectively support and encourage collective giving

This report more accurately captures the contours of the evolving movement and the potential of collective giving across the philanthropic ecosystem for advancing equity.

Resources on Collective Giving & Giving Circles
Research
Explore landscape research on giving circles from the Johnson Center and the Collective Giving Research Group.
Insights
Hear from thought leaders and collective giving experts at the Johnson Center and across the sector on our blog.
TED Talk
Philanthropy Together CEO Sara Lomelin shares how communities can build power through giving circles.

 

The 2023 U.S. Collective Giving Research Initiative is made possible with the generous support of:

 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation logo
 Logo: Fidelity Catalyst Fund
 The Lodestar Foundation logo
W.K. Kellogg Foundation logo

 

with input from networks of collective giving groups across the country:

Logos of collective giving group networks, including: 100 Who Care Alliance, American Muslim Community Foundation, Amplifier, Asian American/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, Awesome Foundation, Community Investment Network, DMV Network, The Giving Project, Grapevine, Honeycomb, Latino Community Foundation, Learning by Giving Foundation, Network of Engaged International Donors, Philanos, Social Justice Giving Circle Project, Social Venture Partners, The States Project, and Together Woman Rise


About the Researchers

Photo of Michael Layton

Michael D. Layton, Ph.D.

Dr. Michael Layton holds the W.K. Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair — the nation’s first endowed chair focused on community philanthropy — at the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University. As a researcher, teacher, director, advocate, and consultant, he has worked closely with a mix of community philanthropy organizations throughout the Americas and brings to his position a nuanced understanding of the unique challenges and capacities of community philanthropy to act as a catalyst in promoting community-led development and in strengthening the local context for philanthropy. Dr. Layton has taught at both Wesleyan and Yale Universities, and also founded and directed the Philanthropy and Civil Society Project at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) in Mexico City, where he developed a groundbreaking research and advocacy program to understand and strengthen philanthropy and civil society. Michael is currently working with Philanthropy Together on a national landscape of giving circles to improve practice and enhance DEI in national reports of philanthropy. Learn More.

Photo of Adriana Loson-Ceballos

Adriana Loson-Ceballos, Ph.D.

Dr. Adriana Loson-Ceballos is a seasoned consultant specializing in evaluation, research, and fundraising. She co-founded Colmena-Consulting, a cooperative of consultants with marginalized identities, focusing on social justice values in philanthropy. With over a decade of fundraising experience, Adriana brings a unique perspective to her work, bridging grantee voices with decision-makers in philanthropy. Her participatory approach to evaluation and research, rooted in critical theories, amplifies community voices often sidelined in decision-making processes. Adriana’s commitment to collective action is reflected in her role as an evaluator for Philanthropy Together and her participatory evaluations of initiatives like the LatinXCEL Fund and the Latino Giving Circle Network. Her doctoral research on Latino giving circles and national research on collective giving demonstrate her dedication to amplifying marginalized voices in philanthropy. Adriana also volunteers on global philanthropy boards, the Women’s Funding Network and Social Venture Partners International, promoting social justice and empowerment worldwide. Learn More.

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