Giving together can unite your family across years, geographic locations, and life circumstances.
No matter how old your children are, integrating philanthropy into your family life can be an excellent way to pass on healthy attitudes about money and helping others. Children involved in giving have the opportunity to:
It is never too early — or too late — to engage your family in giving. You may choose to involve family members in only one aspect of your giving, or opt to build shared goals into every step. When deciding how — and how much — to involve family members, you will need to consider their ages, levels of independence, strengths, and interests. Working through the following five steps will help you start giving as a family.
1. Have Family Members Articulate Their Giving Goals. Ask each member to express his or her giving priorities in writing, rank them, and indicate the timing, amount, and mode of giving they would like the family to consider.
2. Develop a Family Mission Statement. Discuss family members' individual statements, looking for common goals and priorities. You might want to list competing goals during the discussion and prioritize them as new opinions are offered. Incorporate top goals into a giving mission for your family as a whole.
3. Decide Where to Give. Begin to make choices about where and when to give, and to set ground rules for making these decisions as a group.
4. Select a Giving Vehicle. Consider what level of involvement each family member would like to have in the giving process, and choose a vehicle that not only furthers financial goals but also allows individuals to be as active in the charitable process as they would like.
5. Assess Your Impact. Make time to review regularly the effect of your family giving strategy. Devoting even a small amount of time at family events or holidays to this activity will allow you to enjoy together the results of your giving.
There are a variety of ways to engage younger children, teenagers, and adult children in charitable endeavors.
Younger children can participate in the giving process through a number of activities that teach simple lessons about philanthropy, such as:
Teenagers are often eager to take on family responsibility and are frequently ready to grasp complex issues. Here are some ideas for teens:
Adult children can become full partners in the family giving process and may find it gratifying to be involved in:
1The Giving Family by Susan Crites Price, Council on Foundations.
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