Family giving is a powerful factor of successful families

Giving As A Family

Giving As A Family

by Bill High

What’s the big idea behind a family giving together? I regularly recommend the practice of generosity to families I consult with, because it brings the family together around common causes.

Of course, a sports team or shared interest can also unite a family, but giving together is unique in providing an opportunity for the generations of a family to work together serving others and doing good.


Most families fail to carry on any kind of 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.


There’s a quote (popularly attributed to Sir Winston Churchill) that captures it well: “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.


Family Giving: 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–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. Expose your children to a variety of causes. Select one to support.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. (Find out more about how this works with The Signatry’s Asset Giving Overview.)
  6. Meet with other families on the journey. Meet with a friend to talk through how you are doing your giving. Need a mentor? Contact me!


Other Giving Considerations

    1. Whatever you do, make family giving fun! It 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.

Don’t think your kids are too young! We’ve found that children even as young as 5 years old can participate in the giving process, albeit with smaller amounts.


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Published September 30, 2015

Topics: Giving Strategies

Family GenerosityGenerosityGiving Strategies

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