Philanthropy is something we value highly at WH Cornerstone.

Global events like the pandemic and natural disasters are providing ample opportunities to reach out to help those in need. Parents and grandparents have a unique opportunity to teach younger family members the value of giving back.

When children participate in helping others and volunteering starting at a young age, it motivates them to include philanthropy in their personal and financial goals as they approach adulthood. And including younger relatives in your own charitable initiatives could broaden your perspective on the challenges we’re facing and potential new solutions.

Here are three ways to make giving an activity that will bring your family closer together while making a real impact on the world.

Volunteer together

Resources are stretched thin at charitable groups around the country right now and perhaps the most in-demand resource is volunteers.

Social distancing recommendations have made it difficult for some organizations to effectively recruit and train volunteers. Many would-be volunteers are reluctant to step outside their household bubbles.

Many organizations have moved critical operations online and created new kinds of virtual volunteering opportunities, however.  If your family is still spending most of its time at home, you could all take a turn at the computer donating your unique talents.

Parents can volunteer as reading tutors or help with basic remote administrative tasks. Computer savvy kids could use their photo editing skills with a graphic design project, or have an innovative idea for spreading the word about an important campaign on social media.

Whether in-person or online, volunteering together can be a powerful family bonding experience. It can also help reinforce that the family values giving back that children will want to carry forward into adulthood.

Design a family donation strategy

For many couples, charitable giving isn’t just a matter of doing good — it’s an important part of their financial plan. Giving your children or grandchildren a voice in how and where you donate could be an important lesson in both budgeting and the true value of money.

You could also use this discussion as an opportunity to share some family history. Explain to your children what your own parents and grandparents taught you about giving. Tell stories that inspired you and your spouse to start giving and explain why you’ve chosen particular causes or organizations.

Ask your children or grandchildren what causes are important to them and discuss including those causes in your charitable budget.

Another important topic you might touch on is how you’ve vetted charitable recipients. Children who are old enough for social media are bombarded with crowdfunding campaigns and well-produced pleas for help.

If they have their own bank or credit accounts, it’s all too easy for them to click SEND. Remind your kids that larger, established organizations have pipelines and oversight that ensure their money reaches people who truly need it.

Start your family foundation

Some couples establish charitable trusts or sustained giving through their estate plans. But if you have long-term philanthropic goals, why wait?

Family foundations, trusts, and nonprofit organizations come in all shapes and sizes. An annual golf tournament or food drive could grow into a meaningful event that draws big community involvement.

If you want to establish a larger foundation, you could include smaller discretionary or donor-advised funds that your heirs can use to spearhead their own initiatives under the family banner.

Whether your family decides to give back through volunteering, philanthropy, or some combination, your charitable plans will affect your financial plan as well. Careful budgeting of your time and your assets could impact when you decide to retire and the things you want to accomplish once you do.

Let’s talk about your family’s giving goals and how our Life-Centered Planning process can help you achieve them.


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