Dear Advisor: We've always tried to "give back" to our community, but in the past, giving has been disorganized and sporadic. I'd like to take a more disciplined approach. Have you any suggestions?
We applaud your desire to contribute to your community. And the "disciplined approach" will help maximize the benefits for the family, for the community and for the business.
An important benefit of giving back is the synergy between the giving and the origins of the monies. Done synergistically, giving back not only "does good," but it strengthens the family's commitment to and enjoyment of the business.
Families who own businesses can give back in at least four ways:
Business giving to the community
Joint family philanthropy
Individual charity It's useful to be clear on the purpose and role of each type of giving.
Corporate conduct should always be a source of pride for family owners. Ideally company executives and employees take responsibility for corporate conduct, with oversight from the board.
Business giving generally consists of gifts to worthy community organizations in fulfillment of the need to be a good corporate citizen or in relation to specific business goals.
Family philanthropy hopefully will unite the family behind a common theme, provide family members with worthwhile ways to serve the family, as well as reinforce the mission and identity of the business. (Perhaps both corporate giving and the funding of the family's foundation can be proportionate to business profits each year.)
Individual charity allows opportunities to pursue personal interests.
Incorporate into your charitable contributions only those elements that work best for your family and your business.
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