Engaging your children in giving through conversations and activities can unite your family towards a common goal. It can also provide a way to instill your family values about money, work, and giving back to your community.
Over the years, Wealth Dimensions has worked with clients to engage their young children, as well as teenagers, in giving. Others have asked us to recommend books about family philanthropy or for suggestions for giving activities based on what the associates at our firm practice with their children.
Dan Vogelpohl, a principal and financial advisor at Wealth Dimensions and his wife Isla are committed to family giving. They have three children, ages 10, seven, and four. As Dan tells us “I began reading “Raising Financially Fit Kids” by Joline Godfrey to them when my oldest was seven years old.”
“This book and the activities we have undertaken as a result of reading this book has helped my children develop an appreciation for money and the responsibilities of having it.”
So what are the ways to engage your children in giving? Here are a few ideas to consider:
Giving allowance. According to Dan, “My 10-year old daughter and 7- year old son have a weekly chore list that’s tied to receiving an allowance. For my daughter, some of her chores include folding laundry, walking the dog, making lunch in the morning for her siblings, and making her bed daily. With her $15 per week allowance, she spends one-third, saves one-third, and gives the remaining third to charity. When it comes to making gifts to charity, we sit down each year at Thanksgiving and discuss where she’d like to see her money make an impact on helping others. During this discussion we educate ourselves on various charities and then she ultimately decides where to send the money.
More than allowance. This is the same concept as the “giving allowance” though is more appropriate for tweens and teens. It goes one step further than the giving allowance by asking young adult children to independently research both online and offline nonprofits they want to give to. It also requires the young adult to share his or her suggestions with the family. In your family conversation, ask your child to explain why they chose the cause, how much to give and how often. This exercise can help young adults develop critical thinking skills and how they can make an impact.
Family volunteer day. Many organizations like making volunteering a family affair. If you’re looking for ideas, conduct an online search for listings of family volunteering opportunities in your local community. Whether it’s preparing and meals for the elderly, or Saturday afternoon clean up of a community park, family volunteering provides a meaningful way to connect more deeply with your family and the community.
Volunteering. One way to help your children build their independence and assume responsibility as they mature is to have them contribute several hours of their time each month to a nonprofit that’s important to them. The nonprofit can also be an organization that they simply want to learn more about. “Our daughter works at a local soup-kitchen Our Daily Bread. She sees first-hand how her contributions are making an impact,” says Dan.
You can’t put a price on the values giving activities teach children. As Dan reminds us, not only do these activities help them develop a sense of confidence and responsibility as they mature, but leads to your children having a warm and giving heart.”
For informational purposes only. Not intended as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security or strategy. Opinions expressed in this commentary reflect subjective judgments of the author based on conditions at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. For more information about Wealth Dimensions, including our Form ADV Part 2A Brochure, please visit our website at www.wealthdimensions.com or contact us at 513-554-6000.