Family and Philanthropy: The Rewards

Charitable giving can and should be a positive, engaging and impactful experience—one that aligns with your values, priorities and culture.

It may also be a tool for family coherence and the propagation of family values. It can be an adventure where you explore and reach new heights together. 

We live in a world of consumerism and affluence where wealth has the power to be good or destructive.  By openly talking about money as a family, you can use wealth as a means for positive impact in the world, based on values, and as a way to have meaningful conversations with your children.

So how does it work?

The process begins with a review of your financial situation including the identification of what you “need” for financial independence to continue your desired lifestyle and what you “want” to pass onto your family, balancing what would be reasonable and still provide incentive for personal ambition. 

The difference  between your assets and these “needs” and “wants” will provide a pool from which to contribute strategically and effectively to causes you think are important.

The next step is for each member of the family, individually and collectively to articulate the values that shape your decisions.  Your common values form the basis of a vision and mission for your philanthropy; they guide you as you create a practical and customized, flexible giving plan that meets your particular needs, aligns with your goals and helps you create the kind of change you want to see in the world.

Next, as a family, you will itemize and prioritize your areas of interest and determine your criteria for making gifts.  You may also want to consider how family members may involve themselves, beyond the financial contribution, in the causes that are important to them. Additionally, it will be critical to work with recipient organizations to ensure that they are aware of your expectations and are committed to regularly updating you on their progress.  From this you may monitor and evaluate the impact of your philanthropy.

Your personalized framework for charitable giving will allow you to easily make thoughtful decisions that have an important impact on the world, your family and the causes that align best with your objectives.

Giving well and with purpose does not just happen - it requires the commitment to develop and implement articulated values, a clear vision and mission, a practical plan and defined outcomes.  Working on this together as a family will not only have a positive effect on the world, it will also provide a profound and fulfilling family experience.  You will be on a rewarding path and adventure together. 

As a philanthropy advisor, I love working with individuals, couples and families to develop and implement a plan to make their giving meaningful, satisfying and effective.