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Listen Now! Tips for Engaging Children in Philanthropy

In less than five minutes, learn how to get your children excited about giving back.

Podcast Transcript

Host: Sarah Douglass, Managing Editor, Wells Fargo Private Bank

Guest: Beth Renner, National Director, Wells Fargo Philanthropic Services


In this episode of Your Financial Journey, a podcast series that explores questions that families of wealth commonly face, we’re going to talk about how to get your children excited about giving back. Beth, I’m so glad you’re able to join me to talk about this really important topic.


Thanks, Sarah. It’s great to be here with you today.


You know, I have a burning question. And we were actually talking about this before we started recording this podcast. I’m trying to get my children interested in giving back. And you know, sometimes I feel like I’m talking to myself. So what would your recommendation be to talk to your children about how to give?


Here’s how I would describe it, Sarah: Meet them where they are at in their development. We know that young children are very different than adolescents in how they like to engage in different things. But the one common thing that we find about how parents can engage their children more is to understand what’s important to them. Understand what values they may have, even at this early age, because once you understand what’s motivating them, it’s an easier way for you to have a dialogue about how we can share that value with others.


You know, the way you frame that up, and the way we’ve talked about it before, I think I’ve been going at this all wrong. I’ve been trying to influence how my children think about giving. And I know you’ve talked about some of the times that you’ve spoken to clients. And you find the same thing. Would you like to talk to us a little bit about that?


If you think about it, as parents, our natural tendency is to want to help our children grow into good people. And when we do that, we can’t help but place some of our own values upon them, right? They want that from us. They need that. But there also needs to be room for their values that are independent from yours to be developed. And oftentimes, philanthropy and the discussion around giving and sharing with others an abundance of resources that you both possess is a great way for them to understand more about what’s important to them as young people or as adult children so that they can engage in that conversation. What we find, in the most successful families around engaging their children in philanthropy, is there is a dialogue back and forth and that there’s an agreement around what we call a shared purpose.


So basically what you’re saying is listen more and say less. Would you agree?


I would agree.


So as you get started, what would be the best approach? Would it be to have a family conversation around the topic rather than the usual dinner table conversation of “Why aren’t you more involved in x, y, z?”


I think that oftentimes we find that some of the best conversations are not planned. And that what you do is you introduce the conversation when you recognize an opportunity to do so. Children are becoming more engaged in volunteering and in charitable work through their schools. And so when your child comes home and maybe talks about a volunteer program that they worked with in school, take that opportunity to have a little more dialogue, to ask them how they feel about engaging in that volunteer work. Help them understand that there is an opportunity to not only engage in giving in school, or in other areas, but at home as well.


That’s great advice, Beth. So thank you so much. To learn more about how to talk to your children about giving back, and how to engage with our philanthropic services team, contact your Wells Fargo Private Bank relationship manager. And thank you for joining this podcast.

What can Wells Fargo do for you?

Your passion for giving is unique, and your strategy should reflect that. Talk to your team at Wells Fargo to get started.

This information is provided for educational and illustrative purposes only.

Wells Fargo & Company and its affiliates do not provide legal advice. Wells Fargo Advisors is not a legal or tax advisor. Please consult your tax and legal advisors to determine how this information may apply to your own situation. Whether any planned tax result is realized by you depends on the specific facts of your own situation at the time your taxes are prepared.

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