October 18th, 2021
As our daily lives are becoming busy once again with outside activities, we need to optimize our face-to-face time with family. Thanksgiving is one of the few times during the year that people take a break from their active lives to spend time with their families. Thanksgiving isn’t just for overeating, football, and surface conversations. It is an opportune time to focus on expressing gratitude and integrating our rising generation into our philanthropy.
One of the family-clients we serve implements the following family ritual during Thanksgiving:
Each family member writes down on a piece of paper what s/he is grateful for (anonymously) and then puts it in a bowl comprised of all the other family member’s pieces of paper. Then before or after the main Thanksgiving meal, each family member picks a piece of paper out of the bowl and reads it out loud…they continue this process until everyone’s expressions of gratitude have been read.
In addition to expressing gratitude, we encourage our client-families to use this time (and the other year-end holidays) to integrate their rising generation into their philanthropy. In most financially successful families, one or two of the parents are the primary “givers” for the family. However, this approach misses out on a big opportunity to talk with their rising generation about their family’s shared values, educate them on the various charitable vehicles and related tax benefits, prepare them for future leadership/stewardship roles, and have another opportunity to create shared family memories.
To whom much is given, much will be required. Luke 12:48
Whether your family has a private foundation, DAF, Charitable Lead Trust and/or a pen and checks, here are ideas to begin integrating your rising generation into your philanthropy, thereby transforming your giving into true family philanthropy:
- Use the Time-Talent-Treasure framework. This enables the conversation to go beyond how much of our financial capital we might donate, to how will we also donate our time and talents to the people and organizations that align with our shared values.
- Donate leveraging all of your family capitals (FISHS – financial, intellectual, social, human, and spiritual) – see Chapter 6 of LEGACY.
- Set aside an amount you would like your rising generation to decide who they would like to donate to before year-end. For example, $5,000, $10,000, $50,000, and so forth. And then communicate the amount to them.
- If you want to set up guard rails on who or which organizations you will not allow the donations to be made to, let them know this too. For example, “no friends” or “no animal causes.”
- Ask your rising generation now to be prepared to share their ideas during Thanksgiving regarding who they would like to see some of the family resources go to.
- When you are together during Thanksgiving, have each family member share their recommendations and why they chose the organizations they did.
- Be sure to implement the charitable decisions before year-end with the rising generation being part of the process.
Note: We would also suggest that you include your Advisor team in this process. For example, let your rising generation know that your Advisor team is their Advisor team too, and if they have any questions about the technical aspects of philanthropy or personal finance for that matter, your Advisors would be happy to spend time with them.
If you prefer to have a third party facilitate your family though this process, please let us know and we would be happy to guide your family though this process as we have with many of our client-families.
Contact us HERE or call 609.917.0161
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