According to the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers' More Giving Together, a giving circle "is formed when individuals come together and pool their dollars, decide together where to give the money (and other resources such as volunteer time), and learn together about their community and philanthropy."

Some giving circles are supported by community foundations, which offer a variety of services to donors who wish to set up charitable funds without incurring the administrative and legal costs of starting independent foundations. The Council on Foundations' Community Foundation Locator can help you look for a community foundation in your area.

Giving circles may also utilize a fiscal sponsorship arrangement in order to ensure maximum efficiency in their financial activities.

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