As parents, we have an essential role to play when it comes to modeling generosity. It’s up to us to make sure giving and serving others are a priority in our homes.
Here are 5 Ways to Help You Build a Family Charitable Giving Plan
1. Create a household giving budget
How much money can you minimally set aside to give to charity each year? We opened a family Giving Account with Fidelity Charitable, which enables us to name a minimum amount that we conscientiously give away to charity each year. We want to be proactive with our financial giving instead of randomly donating money to causes that ask us on the fly.
It doesn’t matter if your giving budget is $100 or $10,000. Begin to claim a minimum annual family giving budget.
2. Decide what causes are important to your family
Too often, we parents do all the financial giving without having conversations with our children about how much we contribute, who we give to, and why we do it. Children often don’t have the opportunity to learn about what causes are important to them because it’s not brought to their attention to even to consider.
The donation requests that arrive regularly in our mailbox and email inbox are great opportunities for family conversation. Talk about why each organization or charity campaign is of interest or why it’s not.
Show your children how various charities entice you to give by including gifts such as address labels, seeds, or calendars.
Another great way to give back is to purposely choose a local non-profit thrift shop that you may not donate monetarily to but where you can donate your material treasures.
3. Designate an amount of money for your children to donate each year
Think about your household giving budget as one big pie. Designate a portion of the family’s overall giving pie to your children to donate. The goal is that together, the kids need to reach a consensus on splitting the money up by giving to different organizations or perhaps making a more significant impact by donating to only one cause. Ask them to explain their decisions and report back on the organizations they chose and why. What swayed them about a local organization as opposed to a global one?
Remember, this doesn’t have to be a large sum of money. The purpose of involving the kids in your family giving is so they become aware of the importance of giving, no matter the amount. We want to raise our sons and daughters with a heart for giving as an authentic part of who they are.
Thanks to the White Envelope project, we decided to put a blank check in a white envelope on our Christmas tree on Giving Tuesday. The check is made out in the amount that we have available for our kids to give each year.
Our sons and daughter then have until Christmas Eve to decide who they will gift the money to and announce it to Mom and Dad together. Last year they split the money between two global organizations that are dear to our family.
4. Name your family giving guardrails
Our one family giving rule is that we must donate our money to organizations that change human lives. Talk with your kids about which non-profits asking your family for donations align with your family beliefs and worldview. Discuss which charities may not reflect your values even though they do great work in the world.
Have your older kids research how much of your donation would go directly to the cause and how much would go to administrative costs.
5. Communicate regularly about how you give your time, treasures, and talents locally, nationally, and globally
I use three visuals to help our family purposely plan our giving locally in our community, nationally in our country, and globally throughout our world.
1. The microscope helps us focus on what is closest to us, such as our family, friends, neighbors, and the local community. How will you give this season to those closest to you?
- In your home?
- In your neighborhood?
- In your church?
- In your local community?
Think close. Give close.
2. The camera lets us zoom out a little and look at ways to give back nationally and meet needs throughout our country.
In our family, we believe in the power of sleepaway summer camp for our kids. Therefore, we give the blessing of a summer camp experience to kids who otherwise would never get to go.
How can you bless children living in our country with the things you give your children, yet they may never have without your help?
3. The telescope helps us look even further away from home and seek out those living worldwide who could use our assistance.
- If you don’t sponsor a child already, perhaps you want to do that as a family.
- Operation Christmas Child is an excellent way for families to work together in creating a shoebox full of goodies for a child in another nation.
- Sponsor missions work being done through your local church.
Reflect on how your family members gave their time, treasures, and talents to those in need locally, nationally, and globally this past year. Gather with your family, write a list, and talk about how you want to purposely plan your giving for the upcoming year.