The Informed Investor

Talking to Family About Charitable Giving

April 20, 2023

From choosing the right causes to navigating different perspectives, your family’s charitable giving is a team effort that requires collaboration. To help you navigate these conversations, just in time for the holidays while families gather, we’ve rounded up several strategies you can use to talk about charity with your family.

Start a Conversation

Giving back is done best when there are clear and strong motivating factors behind your actions. As a family, you’ll likely all have different interests and sources of inspiration when it comes to charity, and facilitating an open and honest discussion will help you all get on the same page as you move forward.

To help you along the way, here are our top ten conversation starters for talking about charity with your family members:

How are you currently giving back or serving your community?

What causes are nearest and dearest to you?

What resources (time, money, expertise, etc.) do you have to share?

Your aunt and I are volunteering at [insert organization] this weekend. Would you like to join us?

Who needs your help most?

How can you motivate others, like friends and colleagues, to get involved in this cause?

If you had to give away $100,000 today, who would you give it to and why?

How can you make time in your schedule to do more without risking burnout?

When you think about the world your children and grandchildren will inherit, what would you want to change?

What legacy would you like to remain after you’re gone?

How to Involve Younger Children in the Discussion

 Choose a few charities you care about and allow your children to help narrow them down or even decide which ones they’d like to support. Ask them what causes they care about and encourage them to research those topics. Bring empathy to the forefront of the conversation – why is giving necessary in the first place? Make charitable giving a regular topic of conversation in the household – your kids don’t have to be a part of every discussion, but they’ll pick up on it through regular exposure.

Establish Your Family Mission Statement

Your Family Mission Statement, or FMS, is the backbone of your charitable giving. It’s a summary of your goals that acts as a roadmap along your family’s journey. It doesn’t have to be lengthy; rather, your FMS should be about 1-3 sentences long. To create your family’s unique statement, begin by exploring your answers to these two questions:

Why do you want to give?

How would you define “success” when it comes to giving?

This mission statement can help you concentrate your giving efforts on the causes that matter most to you and assess the progress you’ve made toward your charitable goals over time.

Determine Your Giving Vehicle

Once you’ve narrowed down the “why,” it’s time to explore the “how.” There are several ways you can financially support your charities of choice, including:

Assets, such as retirement accounts or life insurance policies
Charitable Trusts
Donor-Advised Funds
Private Foundations
Real Estate

A financial advisor can help you determine the best course of action for you and your family. The Investment Counsel Company’s (ICC) fiduciary advisors can help you develop a customized investment strategy, incorporating your philanthropic goals, to help you grow and preserve your wealth. ICC has been recognized as one of the nation’s top wealth management firms by publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and Forbes. If you have $1 million or more in investable assets, contact ICC today at 702-871-8510 or check out to  learn how we can help with achieving your financial goals.

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