Most researchers agree that charitable giving is a learned behaviour, but most people have never enrolled in lessons on how to be generous. It is just something we pick up through experience. On average, people who are active in a faith community give more to charity than other people in Canada. For them, giving generously is not just a matter of supporting a cause they believe in, it is an act of worship.
Joe and Tammy Franklin* grew up in a rural community where generous giving was the norm. Neighbours often went out of their way (bringing their kids along) to help one another with seeding, equipment, or harvest. Their families both attended church where they put a weekly offering into the collection plate. Sunday school teachers taught them about money and generosity from a biblical perspective, and their parents continued the teaching at home, sometimes foregoing extras so the family could meet their charitable obligations.
After they got married, Joe started his own farming business while Tammy worked as a teacher. They continued to live by their deeply held beliefs about how they should earn, spend, and save their money following the principles modelled in the Bible. Over time, it became clear that their children were not growing up with the same kind of community they had known.
Joe and Tammy worried that generosity was being squeezed out of their modern life. Families, including their own, were incredibly busy. Fewer people were going to church. Charitable giving across Canada was declining. Joe felt called to help others understand the importance of being generous. He started charitable giving courses in his church to help educate people about the joy of giving, and Joe and Tammy asked their financial advisor about how they might increase their charitable donations. Their financial advisor referred them to Abundance Canada to talk about a Generosity Plan™.
Practicing Generosity Together
The Franklins wanted to model the principle of giving their “first fruits” to honour God and help others. I helped them set up a Gifting Fund™ that lets the entire family get involved in charitable giving. Each family member contributes what they can to the fund, and then everyone gets together at regular intervals to recommend the charities they want to support. The younger members of the family benefit from seeing the adults in their lives prioritize charitable giving as they grow into making their own donations, and everyone gets to experience the joy of giving to causes they care about. Even as the family has expanded, the foundation has helped to keep everyone connected.
The Franklin’s faith continues to be the bedrock of all their decisions, but over the years their fund has supported charitable organizations both within and beyond their faith community. By practicing generosity together as an expression of their faith, the Franklins are passing on their values from generation to generation.
Contributed by Brad Friesen
Gift Planning Consultant