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Giving As A Family

Problem: Most families fail to carry on their legacy into the second and third generation. For family owned businesses the failure rate is 70% in the second generation. Why? We tend to do a good job of passing on financial capital without passing on the most important capital: social, spiritual, emotional and intellectual.

Solution: According to Sir Winston Churchill, “We make a living by what we earn, we make a life by what we give.” To pass on family legacy, we encourage becoming intentional about teaching our children to give – of their time, their talent and their treasure. Children who are givers are most likely to exhibit qualities of service and being unselfish.

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (III John 1.4)

Practical Solutions

  1. Create a family giving fund. A family giving fund becomes the family foundation, a platform to discuss your values as a family. It’s easy to set up – just go to the National Christian Foundation. It’s like setting up a bank account – only charitable.
  2. Define your family values. Gather your family, and discuss your top 5 family values, and how those values will influence your giving—where you’ll give and where you won’t.
  3. Take a family field trip. Go visit 3-4 ministries in a day in your local community. These may include an urban ministry, an after-school education program, a homeless shelter. Exposure your children to a variety of causes. Select one to support.
  4. Make a gift to a needy family/individual. Do you know of a family or individual in need? Cancer? Medical disability? Single mom? Transportation. Consider using Helping Hands to make a gift to someone in need. Ask us how.
  5. Look for a leverage gift. This may be a gift where you make a “matching grant,” i.e., someone matches your gift. Or it may be a gift that funds technology, grantwriting, or even the creation of a business to fund the ministry.
  6. Consider giving stuff. It may be as simple as cleaning out closets. It may be more elaborate: giving a vehicle, giving artwork, or giving part of your ownership interest in a business or real estate.
  7. Meet with other families on the journey. Look at Generous Giving for other stories and videos. Attend a local or national Generous Giving conference. Meet with a friend to talk through how you are doing your giving.

Need a mentor? Ask us!

Other Thoughts to Consider

  1. Whatever you do, make it fun! Giving should not be a chore. Change it up. Maybe, you can take a theme for the year, theme for the month. Support summer missions by meeting with every student going on a trip.
  2. It’s not just about the money. Volunteer together. Go serve somewhere. Clean up a school, a neighborhood. Give time. Give talent — do you have a special skill to offer.
  3. Go on a missions trip together. It may be domestically, or it may be internationally. Get out of your comfort zone and see a part of the world you’ve never seen.
  4. Obey the nudge. If you feel a nudge from God, go ahead and make the gift. Don’t rationalize it away. Let your kids feel the nudge as well.
  5. You’re never too young! We’ve found that children even as young as 5 years old can participate in the giving process, albeit with smaller amounts.

    Resources To Consider

    • The Genius of Generosity by Chip Ingram
    • The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn
    • Fields of Gold by Andy Stanley

About Bill High

Bill is CEO of the National Christian Foundation Heartland. He works with families, individual givers, and financial advisers to share the foundation’s message regarding biblical generosity and charitable giving. He is the co-author with David Green of Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously: www.givingitallawaybook.com. » Learn More

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