Decide on the giving circle's mission and focus. Some founders decide these, while others recruit members and build consensus. Giving circles can address a single issue or multiple issues. Members also need to decide whether the focus should be local, regional or international.
Define the form and structure. Giving circles average 20 to 30 members but range from fewer than a dozen to more than 400. Donors may come together with no consistent membership, attend every meeting and make decisions by consensus, or have a more formal structure.
Determine the level of commitment. Circles tend to be more effective when members make minimum commitments for at least a year. Annual contributions range from $150 to $20,000 and up. Some groups require just a modest minimum, while others require set amounts.
For more information, go to www.givingforum.org/givingcircles.
Source: New Ventures in Philanthropy