The Informed Investor
Talking to Family About Charitable Giving
January 31, 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, 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, ) do you have to share?
- 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
- Pooled Income Funds
- Private Foundations
- Real Estate
A financial advisor can help you determine the best course of action for you and your family.
Do Your Research
You know what causes matter most to your family, but how can you find a charity that reflects your mission? Luckily, there are many tools you can use to narrow down your options. Different databases allow families to filter organizations by cause, location, or even specific name. You can also explore charity rating sites like Charity Navigator or Guidestar to verify different charities are registered 501(c)(3)s and explore insights into how charities carry out their missions.
Navigate Disagreements with Empathy
All families disagree from time to time, even when they have the best intentions. That’s okay because these tough discussions can allow you to dive deeper into your distinct values and motivations when it comes to giving. When conflicts do arise, remember to keep your FMS in mind and find unity over your shared goals.
Keep the Conversation Going
While the holidays are a great time to talk about what matters most to each family, charitable giving shouldn’t be an annual event – it’s an ongoing opportunity to serve together. One way to keep the conversation going? Plan family meetings that involve your children in the giving process, or build a little time into your family gatherings to focus on giving back. These meetings can give you a chance to discuss updates and talk about any changes your family wants to make moving forward. Most importantly, it gives every family member a chance to be involved in the process.
Need help? Don’t hesitate to include a financial professional as a guide and mediator as you seek to establish giving practices for generations to come.
This material is intended for informational/educational purposes only and should not be construed as tax, legal or investment advice, a solicitation, or a recommendation to buy or sell any security or investment product. Investments are subject to risk, including the loss of principal. Some investments are not suitable for all investors, and there is no guarantee that any investing goal will be met. Certain sections of this material may contain forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks and uncertainties, which are diﬃcult to predict. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Third-party links are provided to you as a courtesy. We make no representation as to the completeness or accuracy of information provided at these websites. Information on such sites, including third-party links contained within, should not be construed as an endorsement or adoption of any kind. Please consult with your ﬁnancial professional and/or a legal or tax professional regarding your speciﬁc situation and before making any investing decisions.
IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION
The Investment Counsel Company of Nevada (“Company”) is an SEC registered investment adviser located in Las Vegas, Nevada. Company may only transact business in those states in which it is registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration requirements. Company’s web site is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to its advisory services, together with access to additional investment-related information, publications, and links. Accordingly, the publication of Company’s web site on the Internet should not be construed by any consumer and/or prospective client as Company’s solicitation to effect, or attempt to effect transactions in securities, or the rendering of personalized investment advice for compensation, over the Internet. Any subsequent, direct communication by Company with a prospective client shall be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides. A copy of Company’s current written disclosure Brochure discussing Company’s business operations, services, and fees is available from Company upon written request. Company does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to Company web site or incorporated herein, and takes no responsibility, therefore. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly.
Please remember that different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment or investment strategy (including those undertaken or recommended by Company), will be profitable or equal any historical performance level(s).
ANY QUESTIONS: ICC’s Chief Compliance Officer remains available to address any questions regarding rankings and/or recognitions, including the criteria used for any reflected ranking. Please review Important Disclosure Information set forth in the last section of this website.