December 31, 2018
Anecdotally, we know that our donors have a strong desire to include their children and grandchildren in their philanthropy, in the hope that they inspire future generations. But to be effective, it may be just as important to "walk the walk" rather than just "talk the talk."
A 2016 study of 8,000 families tracked for more than a decade by the Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy showed that:
"Parents' decision to give to charitable organizations positively influences their children's decision to give to charitable organizations."
Going from thought to action requires some advance planning on the part of the parent or grandparent. When considering the best way to engage and involve younger family members, individuals must consider age-appropriate expectations and opportunities for involvement that will foster a lifelong commitment to giving.
Roy Williams and Vic Pressier, both established experts in wealth and family philanthropy, created research-based guidelines for preparing heirs for their transition into wealth and financial responsibility.1 Based on their work, below are several ways to involve younger generations in your charitable endeavors:
|Ages||Key traits||How to encourage giving|
|5-10||Start to experience the outside world and what "limit" and "choice" mean.||
|11-15||Understand "cause and effect" and realize they can control whether they are happy or not.||
|16-20||Appreciate privacy and independence as family members become less influential.||
Encouraging giving at a young age sets the groundwork for a lifetime of charity and community connectedness that cannot be learned in school. Regardless of your child's age, it's never too late to start discussing philanthropy and start building your legacy of giving. You may find that involving family members in an ongoing charitable conversation helps keep you grounded to your own charitable mission.
1Roy Williams and Vic Preisser. "Philanthropy, Heirs & Values: How Successful Families Are Using Philanthropy to Prepare Their Heirs for Post-Transition Responsibilities." Oregon: Robert D Reed Publishers, 2005.