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A Practical Guide to Collective Giving: Dumbo Feather

Written by Mel Butcher

There’s almost nothing I enjoy more than a meal at a table surrounded by good friends and meaningful conversations that go broad and deep. At the end, when we manage to peel ourselves away from each other, we often joke that we’ve solved all the problems of the world. If only we could remember and act on the solutions tomorrow!

Like many, we donate small amounts regularly to charities or in response to crisis situations. But it can seem like a drop in the ocean. How much impact can we have compared with those who are able to give so much more?

Fortunately, there’s a growing movement called “collective giving,” which aims to broaden the impact of everyday philanthropy. While philanthropy is often perceived as the domain of wealthy individuals, through collective giving we can all be involved in scaling up what we are able to give.

So how do you get started? There are many ways you can choose to become involved in collective giving.

Start a giving circle

At the grassroots level, giving circles are a great way to bring people together who are interested in a certain cause or project. You could galvanise an existing group or network such as friends and family, a book group, parent group, footy club, work or professional networks. The Australian Women’s Donor network provides a guide and resources to help in forming and maintaining a giving circle of your own.

Join an existing group

You could also join one of the collective philanthropic initiatives that already exist in Australia.

These include Impact 100 groups (branches in NSW, VIC and SA), 100 Women, Women and Change (Brisbane) and the Melbourne Women’s Fund. These groups use a model where 100 people (or more) give $1000 annually to vote for a cause, charity or social enterprise, which results in the allocation of a significant grant of at least $100,000 to selected organisations with a high potential for impact and/or alignment with the group’s values.

Or, to really amp up the collective fun, organisations like The Funding Network and 10×10 run Shark Tank-style pitching events. Exciting and dynamic, these events aren’t necessarily aimed at wealthy individuals, but anyone who can contribute $100 or more.

Going digital

Recently, collective giving has become a whole lot easier. GoodMob is Australia’s first online collective giving platform. It provides simple, digital tools to support groups so that you can join existing circles or create your own quickly and easily. GoodMob is aimed at the tech savvy, many of whom are already using social good crowd-funding platforms such as Start Some Good or Chuffed as their primary mode of giving.

Other facilitators of collective giving include Good2Give for workplaces and Community Foundations which provides sub-funds focussed on particular topics. In both cases, many of the administrative and legal headaches are taken care of and they also provide guidance on strategic giving for groups.

Giving has tremendous benefits to both our inner selves and the outer world. And, like a good wine and meal around the table, it might be best shared with friends.

Mel Butcher is the Director of Social Impact at The Social Deck, a B Corp that helps organisations to reach and engage people in actions that have a positive impact on society and the environment.


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