As we work with donors, we ask ourselves how we can help foster multi-generational giving within families and strive to find meaningful ways to engage children and grandchildren in charitable giving.
Intuitively, we believe that parents who lead by example by making their own charitable gifts will raise children who will be philanthropic. Yet, until now we really didn’t have any proof of this intuition nor did we know what actually works in teaching children to be philanthropic.
Newly released research from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy in partnership with the United Nations Foundation answers the question, “How can I raise my children to be charitable?”
This ground-breaking research, Women Give 2013, found common themes across all income levels, races, and age groups – and has also found that there is no statistically significant differences between girls’ and boys’ giving.
The research found that parents’ giving to charity is not enough to teach children to be charitable. Teaching children to be charitable requires parents to put an intentional plan together to talk to their children about giving to charity. The role modeling alone does not make the difference without coupling the giving with deliberate conversations about their philanthropic actions.
Parents need to communicate specific and focused messages about those whom they are helping with their charitable giving and explain how giving impacts the lives of others. The critical outcome of this research is that all children, regardless of race, gender, age, and income level, can learn to be philanthropic.
The study concludes with this powerful statement:
Talking about charitable giving is more effective than simply role-modeling charitable behavior. As conversations about philanthropy, including why, how, and when we give, become more ingrained within families, children’s giving will increase. The significant findings in Women Give 2013 show great promise for the future of philanthropy.