Rennie Hoare mentors a Bread Tin group. Copyright: The Bread Tin
Meeting with like-minded people and learning about how to give more effectively are two of the main reasons young City professionals are joining The Bread Tin giving circle, according to a forensic new survey of current and past members.
The Bread Tin puts together groups of about 8 young City professionals who provide both money and time to set up their own charity project. The organisation matches them with a more experienced mentor and a wealthy (older) donor who provides additional funds and together they give around £20,000 to a charity they have carefully selected. In total its 11 groups ihave 77 members.
Keith Johnson, Head of Global Strategy at BG Group and chair of The Bread Tin Board, says: “Our vision is to inspire, motivate and equip a new generation of young philanthropists in the City of London. The Bread Tin programme provides a fantastic environment where a group of like-minded people can explore what they care about and work together to bring about real, lasting, change in that area. The experience they share through their year together builds lasting friendships and shapes their values for the future.”
The findings of the survey that explores the impact of joining a Bread Tin circle on giving and volunteering were recently unveiled at The House of Lords, where Jim O’Neil, former head of global Investments at Goldman Sachs and core donor for Bread Tin Group 5, spoke about the educational benefits of being part of the group.
O’Neil said he was involved because he saw the benefit of encouraging younger people to think and act beyond selfishness.
Many of the Bread Tin members also spoke at the event and recounted their experience building friendships while learning about how charities work and the range of causes they supported.
Rennie Hoare, 28, relationship manager for a City global investment management company, has been both a circle member and is currently a mentor. He says the group gave him a space to talk about issues that are important to him. “I can think of nowhere else I could have had conversations about these kinds of issues that matter. Though we were a diverse group of people we were able to quite quickly come together to think deeply about charity and giving. It certainly isn’t a group-think. You learn how to discuss and collaborate to come to a decision about what kind of charity you want to support as a group."
He says one of the best take-aways from being a Bread Tin member is having the confidence to speak to others about giving effectively. “The Bread Tin experience offers participants real personal growth through giving, “he says.
Hoare’s group, was established in 2012 and ran till 2013, and chose to support vulnerable women. They wanted to find a charity that could provide transformational change for these women through education. An important part of the Bread Tin’s educational process requires each member to find a charity that matches the agreed criteria, and then undertake a due diligence process before pitching it to the rest of the group. They then together choose one to support, in this case HERA (Her Equality, Rights and Autonomy), a UK charity that promotes the economic autonomy of young women who have experienced violence and other forms of exploitation including traffiking, so that they may become entrepreneurs and find formal employment.
“We felt this charity delivered truly transformational change by teaching women business skills so they can become independent and less vulnerable to exploitation. The hope is they teach and employ other women,” explains Hoare.
Hoare’s experience as a Bread Tin Member confirms the findings of the survey, conducted by Fulbright Fellow and Professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha Angela Eikenberry, as a powerful educational tool: the largest share of respondents strongly agreed that the giving circle helped them learn more about the charitable sector and charities (48.3%) and learn new techniques for giving (42.9%).
Respondents who attended the Bread Tin’s general meetings and educational sessions were more likely to say the giving circle influenced their participation in efforts to address problems in the community, according to the report.
Giving circles represent an innovative trend emerging across the UK in which groups of donors collaborate to support individuals, charitable organisations, or projects of mutual interest. To date, at least 80 giving circles have been identified in the UK and Ireland (Eikenberry & Breeze, 2014) and hundreds more exist in the U.S. and elsewhere. In the City alone there is the City Funding Network, a dragon’s den style crowd-funding circle, and BeyondMe, that brings together teams of young donors within a corporate setting.
The Bread Tin model is distinct from others in that it follows a step-by-step learning programme. It is exciting interest from further afield. Peter West, Bread Tin Founder and development director, says: “We are encouraged and challenged in equal measure.
“The Bread Tin is organic. The model can be replicated anywhere and we are excited at the potential. We have requests to set up groups in Bristol, Gloucester and Glasgow and Holland. Indigenous Russians and Indians living in the UK are planning to set up groups over here to fund projects in their home countries. London could become the global centre for philanthropy - it has all the legal structure and financial controls in place.”
The Bread Tin is also moving in a digital direction having launched a new app that aims to create awareness.
Developed in partnership with Hiveworks (previoiusly Orange Digital), the app is a clever divining tool that facilitates group decision-making, dramatically cutting the time it takes a group to decide the cause they will support.
The app is based on the ‘Care4Most’ tool created by Hoare’s father Edward.
David Balko, of Hiveworks, who helped develop the app explains how through a series of questions a group giving profile is created showing what a Bread Tin circle ‘cares for most’.
“The app automates the decision-making process, by mapping answers and seeing where the spikes are so that a group is returned in one of eight giving profiles. It offers a great starting point for the group to then explore further, “explains Balko.
Balko says the real point of the app is to raise awareness about the Bread Tin model.
The Bread Tin app is now available from The Apple store and also for Android from here
To download the survey for free click here