|By Jeff Johns, Tijeras Foundation, Albuquerque, NM
When it comes to transitioning your giving to the next generation, there are some common pitfalls that most families encounter. Often, parents expect the transition to work with little planning and communication, and they are doomed to failure. If they expect their mission to continue when their heirs have never “bought into” their original intent, they’re expecting too much.
Making plans without allowing family members and spouses to help define their own roles will also create problems. If a parent has issues with control, they must learn to release some of this control or their children will never learn to administer their giving plan as they intended it to be done.
To make sure your family doesn’t fall into these same traps, here’s a four-step plan for a smooth transition:
- Design your Family Stewardship Philosophy – Involve everyone who will be a part of your Family Foundation or Giving Fund in the creation of this vital document. Go here to learn more.
- Visit ministries together – As a family, visit ministries and start making decisions together about your support
- Go over your estate plan – Help your heirs understand how the plan might affect them, as well as your family giving, in the future
- Match their giving – Support them dollar for dollar or maybe even five-to-one or ten-to-one
Above all, remember that Jesus cares more about relationships than money, more about family unity than financial success, and more about building the Kingdom than building your assets. Your next generation of stewards will value open dialogue, and even open debate. And taking the time now to share your wishes and concerns with them will certainly be of benefit to the whole family for generations to come.