I’m a big fan of philanthropy and the things it accomplishes. Not only does charitable work and funding help the targeted non-profit, it helps the people who are the donors. In many cases, I believe non-profit multiple uses are just as, and sometimes even more important than the primary purpose.
Some of the things that philanthropy accomplishes besides the obvious are:
Helping a business owner transition out of active operations of their business. One of the problems that business owners have when they leave their business is what’s next. It’s this what’s next question that can be answered in part by having the business owner get involved working with non-profits. The skills that a retiring business owner can bring to the non-profit are needed skills. Although non-profits are not tasked with making money, they have the very same issues that all businesses have.
You can use your charitable activity as a way to teach children money skills. I love to see non-profit contributions and decisions about contributions used as a way to teach money skills to children. Having age appropriate activities for working with families on deciding where family donations go and then following through to see how well the non-profits do with the donations is something that can help children learn important money skills. In addition, this activity can help children learn about those who might not have as many “gifts” as the family does.
Philanthropy is a wonderful unifying force around family meetings. If a family has developed significant wealth, there is a good chance this family will want to develop a family council. Having early family council meetings work on philanthropic activities is an excellent way of getting a family council started and having family members who may not be involved in the family business work on significant activities that are important to the family and the community.
Evaluating potential charities for donations can provide analytic skill training. Today there are more and more donors who are concerned that their charitable contributions are being used effectively and efficiently. Having younger family members do basic analysis of potential donations is an interesting way of helping younger family members learn analysis skills around the effectiveness of a potential charitable contribution the family might make.
These are some of my ideas of potential side benefits you and your family can achieve from charitable activities. I’m interested in hearing what ideas you have in this area. If you want to chime in, please feel free sending me an email at Jpatrick@stage2planning.com.