December is often filled with feelings of hope, gratitude and kindness to others. It’s the perfect time to reflect on the role everyone can play in making the world a better place. For us at Greater Horizons, December also means “The Giving Season” is in full swing, which is a time when we help many philanthropists set up new donor-advised funds and support nonprofits they love.
While you’re gathering with loved ones during this season of giving, you can spark conversations about spreading generosity. In a study of next-generation philanthropists, 89% of participants said they learned about their family’s philanthropy and values from their parents, and 63% said they learned from their grandparents.
For some, it may be easier to start the conversation by sharing and hearing about family stories and traditions. Our family histories often shape who we are and what’s important to us. Dr. Robyn Flvush and Marshall Duke developed 20 questions to help families begin:
- Do you know how your parents met?
- Do you know where your mother grew up?
- Do you know where your father grew up?
- Do you know where some of your grandparents grew up?
- Do you know where some of your grandparents met?
- Do you know where your parents were married?
- Do you know what went on when you were being born?
- Do you know the source of your name?
- Do you know some things about what happened when your brothers or sisters were being born?
- Do you know which person in your family you look most like?
- Do you know which person in the family you act most like?
- Do you know some of the illnesses and injuries that your parents experienced when they were younger?
- Do you know some of the lessons that your parents learned from good or bad experiences?
- Do you know some things that happened to your mom or dad when they were in school?
- Do you know the national background of your family (such as English, German, Russian, etc.)?
- Do you know some of the jobs that your parents had when they were young?
- Do you know some awards that your parents received when they were young?
- Do you know the names of the schools that your mom went to?
- Do you know the names of the schools that your dad went to?
- Do you know about a relative whose face “froze” in a grumpy position because he or she did not smile enough?
- What are three things that you wish everyone in the world could have?
- If you could solve one problem to make the world a better place, what would it be?
- What was one of your most meaningful charitable experiences? What was its impact?
- What does it mean to give with the community versus to the community?
- What social or historical events have influenced your giving?
- How would your town change if charitable giving did not exist?
- What motivates you to give to the organizations you support most often?
- How could you use your talents to help others?
- If you were showing a visitor around your town, where would you take them?
- What personal experiences influence your giving?
Or perhaps, consider embracing the spirit of gratitude as a part of your family’s routine throughout the year by incorporating these exercises:
- Carve out moments for family bonding, whether at the dinner table or on a walk around the neighborhood, to share three things everyone is thankful for that day.
- Create a gratitude jar where family members can jot down or illustrate something they feel grateful for a few times a week. When the week concludes, reveal the notes.
- Use the donor portal to request grants to nonprofits as a family. Nonprofits are looking for financial support every season, not just at the end of the year. Come together as a family to make a difference in the causes you all care about most.
If you would like to dive deeper into more conversations surrounding charitable giving, our team of philanthropic advisors is here to help. Reach out to us to learn more.
Authored by: Whitney Hosty, Senior Philanthropic Advisor