One of the great joys of wealth is having the opportunity to better the world around you with your generosity. And, what better way of expressing those values to your clients than by encouraging them to get their family and children involved in charitable endeavors? Engaging the next generation early on can provide an opportunity to pass on valuable insight into financial stewardship and global citizenship.
Establish your roots
Just as a company’s mission statement defines their values and the motivation behind the work they do, crafting a family mission statement can be an opportunity for your clients to highlight their values and goals as a family unit. Creating one doesn’t have to feel like a formal event, either. They can start by picking a time and place to have a family meeting, whether it’s an afternoon on an upcoming family vacation or one night at home over a favorite pizza.
Planting the seed
There are a few different approaches your clients can take to engage children and family members in the discussion. Why do you give back? Why have you chosen to support certain causes or organizations? Encourage them to share their personal experiences, stories and perspectives which can help spark thoughts and ideas with the younger members of the family. Another way to get kids excited about philanthropy is by incorporating their interests. Do they love sports or music? Perhaps there’s an organization that donates athletic equipment or musical instruments to underprivileged children.
Get to work
There are lots of tools and giving strategies to consider, including a couple that lend themselves nicely to charitable family affairs. One is a donor-advised fund (DAF), which is a charitable giving account that allows you to immediately contribute and reap the tax deductions, while choosing which charities you’d like to contribute to later. It offers you the ability to take your time and involve your family to craft a giving strategy, while the money in the fund can be invested and grow tax-free.
Setting up a private foundation provides similar benefits as a DAF (and even more control), although at a greater cost and more complex administrative responsibility. If you have older children, utilizing either of these tools can allow you to set up a training ground for the next generation to begin exercising their philanthropy and learn the ins-and outs of financial stewardship.
Within our families, we share so much – why not also share our goals for charity? You can help your clients determine the best course of action for their long-term financial and philanthropic goals.