While we all know many examples of extreme generosity through charitable bequests, a new CNBC survey of high-net-worth individuals paints a different picture.
This poll published in the Chronicle of Philanthropy in May 2015 indicates that 59% of the 750 millionaires polled agreed that there is “no such thing as too much wealth” when deciding how much money to leave to their children.
Of these same respondents, 2/3 said that they would bequeath less than 10% of their estate to charity, and one out of five said they would not include charity at all in their wills. These facts seem to indicate that the mainstream wealthy in the U.S. are not following the example of Gates, Buffett, and other generous philanthropists.
Yet, in looking at the positive side of this new data, the intergenerational transfer of wealth gives us the opportunity to engage a new group of prospective donors.
Research from the Foundation Source on Engaging the Family in Your Philanthropy tells us that we must start young, model philanthropic behavior, and give the younger generation the opportunity to experience giving. Thus, the younger generations will then be ready to make their own charitable giving decisions and invest their inheritance in changing the world.
One example of a great program that is effectively engaging younger generations is the GO: GIVE BACK program from the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana which teaches philanthropy to children from 1st to 12th grade. This program is designed to develop future philanthropic leaders through a combination of philanthropy education and charitable giving.
Most importantly, this program engages the family in the process so more than just one generation in the household is learning about and experiencing the process of making meaningful contributions.
Programs like GO: GIVE BACK strengthen the fabric of charitable giving in our country and model effective and impactful ways to model philanthropic behavior across the generations.