What is a Family Giving Circle?
A Giving Circle is a form of participatory philanthropy where a group of people pool their own money and decide together where to donate it, be it a charity or community project. Although not as common, it can also include donated time volunteering. A Family Giving Circle uses the same concept within the family to teach children about charitable giving.
Introduce Philanthropy at a Young Age
While many high net-worth families have family foundations that will be passed from generation to generation, many wait to start the underpinning of a philanthropic heart until the next generation is almost ready to run the family foundation. A Family Giving Circle can provide an intellectual and emotional experience of giving to children at a very young age, thus giving the family an opportunity to discuss and experience their charitable philosophy. It is also an opportunity for young children to feel valued and empowers them to feel they can make a change in their community. And it’s a fun way to bring a family closer together as they discuss, come to a decision, and implement that decision.
- Start your first meeting during dinner, a long car ride, or any other uninterrupted family time. Propose the idea of giving as a family in language that your children can understand. Emphasize appreciation for what you have and your gratefulness for the ability and desire to help others.
- Decide to what general category you would like to give. Is it animals, children, the environment? Older children will be able to participate in this process more actively but younger children can still have a vote if given two or three choices explained to them.
- Once a category is chosen, find an organization that fits. Local charities may be more relevant to children.
- Learn together about your chosen organization and the issues they address, even pay them a visit if appropriate. Find out how your donation will impact others or what your donation will be used for.
Add more dimension if you like:
- Enlarge your circle to include grandparents, cousins etc.
- With this added aspect, you will need additional structure. How often do you meet? How often do you give? How do you decide things? Does everyone get a vote or one vote per family group? Does each family put in the same amount of money or do they give what they can? Is the giving anonymous?
- Older children can do research on their own and present their chosen charities to the group.
However, you choose to run your Family Giving Circle is up to you, just remember that the purpose is to give, teach, and cultivate a life-long love of philanthropy!