Individual Submission Summary

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Assessing the Impact of an Event-based Giving Circle Model in Central and Eastern Europe

Thu, July 12, 2:00 to 3:30pm, Room, 1A 33


In 2012, The Funding Network (TFN) began supporting event-based giving circles across Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) to encourage individual philanthropic giving, a practice being revitalized in primarily post-Communist communities. Now with 40+ circles across 9 countries, this evaluation will assess the impact of giving circle participation on individuals’ giving behaviors, social network development, NGO skill building, and capacity building & sustainability of local philanthropic institutions (principally community foundations & youth banks).

Previous research has identified a range of positive giving circle impacts including increasing local philanthropy, raising the profile and expanding the networks of circle hosts, increasing the knowledge of participating donors, and increasing social capital through strengthened community ties (Boyd & Partridge 2017, Eikenberry & Breeze 2015, Graham 2015, Dean-Olmsted et al. 2014). This research will explore whether evidence of similar impacts emerge from giving circles launched in post-Communist CEE communities where patterns of giving are typically more limited than those of Western European or US counterparts (Petrova 2007, Toepler & Salamon 2003)

A series of three surveys will be administered between Nov 2017 through May 2018 to three key actors in the delivery of the TFN model in CEE: host organisations (n=40), funded projects (n=160), and individual donors (n=2400). We will also conduct interviews with TFN’s nine national partners to better understand the services they provide to hosts and their views on the TFN model’s benefits and potential.

The results of this evaluation will provide the first empirical insight into the impact of an event-based giving circle model in CEE and more broadly offer insight about the viability of giving circles as a tool to promote philanthropy in post-Communist societies. Survey and interview data will offer insight into donor experiences and behavioral and knowledge changes; the skill building results for participating NGOs; the challenges and benefits in terms of capacity building and sustainability for local philanthropic institutions that host giving circles; and the supports needed for effective local implementation of this international model.

Conclusions & Relevance
Giving circles are an increasingly popular form of individual philanthropy in Western countries. This evaluation will offer insight to scholars interested in the adaptation and impact of Western philanthropic models in other cultural contexts.

Boyd, J & Partridge, L. (2017) Collective Giving and its role in Australian Philanthropy. Creative Partnerships Australia, Melbourne.

Dean-Olmsted, E., Bunin Benor, S., & Gerstein, J. (2014) Connected to Give: Community circles, Los Angeles: Jumpstart.

Eikenberry, A & Breeze, B. (2015) Growing philanthropy through collaboration: the landscape of giving circles in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Voluntary Sector Review; 6 (1): 41-59

Graham, K. (2015) Evaluation Report. The Funding Network Australia, Melbourne.
Petrova, V. (2007) Civil Society in Post-Communist Eastern Europe and Eurasia: A Cross-National Analysis of Micro- and Macro-Factors. World Development; 35 (7), 1277-1305

Toepler, Stefan; Salamon, Lester M. (Fall 2003) NGO development in Central and Eastern Europe: An empirical overview. East European Quarterly; 37 (3): 365-378.