Generation to Generation – Planning Your Succession of Giving
By Betsy Buchalter Adler, Guest Blogger, Community Foundation for Monterey County Board member, Donor Educator Series Presenter
In my parents’ modest home, back in the 1950s, there was a “pushke” – a small tin box with a slot in the top for coins.
At the end of his workday, when my father emptied his pockets, the change went into the pushke. And at the end of each week, the contents of the pushke went to charity.
If you’re reading this post, you probably have more than literal pocket change to give. And that brings us to the challenge we discussed at a recent donor education session: philanthropic succession planning.
Sharing your Hopes
Whether your philanthropic resources are in a donor-advised fund, a family foundation, a charitable remainder trust, or in your checkbook or investment account, at some point you won’t be around to steer those resources to the causes and groups you care about. But your descendants will be. What message do you want to send them?
A good place to start is by identifying what you hope for and what challenges those hopes might have to contend with.
We flagged three questions:
- What do you hope the next generation will do with the philanthropic resources you’ve left in their care?
- What do you think are the odds that your hopes will become reality?
- What can you do to improve those odds?
The first step is for you to give some serious thought to Question 1 and come up with some answers on your own. That’s likely to take some time, but we strongly encourage you to invest that time before you move to the next questions.
Questions for the Next Generation
To answer Questions 2 and 3, you need to know more about the next generation. Here are some things you’ll want to find out:
- What causes and organizations are important to your descendants?
- Are they already involved in giving time or money or both to those causes?
- If they had more money to give, what might they do with it?
- Or are they simply too busy with careers and children to think about anything beyond how to get through the day?
- And what do you feel about their causes?
It’s never too late to start asking those questions and listening to the answers so that your generosity can continue to sustain our community in years to come.” – Betsy Buchalter Adler
Not an Easy Conversation
Many of us haven’t worked through these questions yet. It’s not easy for many of us to talk about money and values, especially with family. But it’s worth the effort to start the conversation. We may think we already know the answers, or at least some of them, but if experience is any guide, you are likely to be surprised by what you learn.
Here’s where your CFMC philanthropy advisor can help.
The CFMC can share resources from the National Center for Family Philanthropy to review and share with your family. Your CFMC advisor can even facilitate a conversation with your family about philanthropic succession.
It’s never too late to start asking those questions and listening to the answers so that your generosity can continue to sustain our community in years to come.
- National Center for Family Philanthropy—Generation Together, a curriculum for Engaging Youth in Family Philanthropy
- Families With Purpose—Family Mission Statement
- 21/64 – a website focused on generational giving