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Beyond Gifts: How to Spark Family Conversations About Giving During the Holidays

During the holidays, the spirit of generosity is top of mind for many, but it’s not something you have to approach alone.

Engaging family and friends in conversations about giving – discussing the issues you care about, exploring local nonprofits and sharing insights into where you direct your charitable giving – can provide a meaningful way to deepen connections between loved ones from multiple generations.

At Rose Community Foundation, we help donors learn about issues facing the Greater Denver community and where their philanthropy can have the greatest impact. Here are some strategies to use at your own holiday table to spark a conversation about giving with your family.

Why Make Giving Part of Your Holiday Gatherings?

Integrating giving into holiday gatherings adds a new and meaningful dimension to the festivities. It transforms a simple meal into an opportunity to connect on a deeper level. It also allows loved ones to learn more about what matters to one another. The Denver community is changing rapidly, and there are many issues to learn about – from affordable housing to supporting youth to creating economic opportunity. By sharing knowledge about the local nonprofits making a difference, families can be inspired to make meaningful change.

Rose Community Foundation can help to facilitate conversations with families about their charitable giving.

Where to Get Started

To kick off the conversation, pose questions such as, “What is the most meaningful experience you’ve had giving back – with your time or money – and what made it meaningful for you?” You can also ask what causes or issues in the community matter most to them. For a more personal approach, encourage people to share the values that guide their community involvement and who in their family embodies those characteristics. Families may find that core values differ from person to person, and people should welcome and embrace those discussions. The goal is to create a shared space to translate values into meaningful change.

A parent and participant in Rose Youth Foundation, a giving circle for Jewish high school students.

Hosting a Giving Circle

To take the conversation further, consider hosting a small giving circle at your event. In a giving circle, members pool their individual donations and work together to determine where to give. In advance of your holiday gathering, ask each person to bring with them the name of an organization they support or one they are eager to learn more about. During your event, go around the table and give each person a few minutes to describe their chosen organization, the work they do, and why it matters. Decide together – through discussion or voting – on one or two organizations that your group will support. Contributions can be pooled, and one person can make the donation on behalf of the group. Rose Community Foundation has a Friends and Family Giving Circle Toolkit which provides step-by-step instructions for hosting a 90-minute giving circle.

Rose Community Foundation donor Justin Levy and his family volunteering together.

Keep the Momentum Going

If your group is also interested in a more hands-on approach, consider volunteering together during the holidays or throughout the year. Resources like Spark the Change and Volunteer Match offer excellent opportunities for group volunteering.

As the holiday season unfolds, the team at Rose Community Foundation is available to support your charitable giving. Opening a donor-advised fund or participating in a giving circle can be powerful ways to amplify the impact of your philanthropy. Explore our resources, including lists of local nonprofit organizations working on various issues areas, to discover causes you may wish to support.

Incorporating giving into your holiday celebrations is more than a festive gesture; it’s a commitment to making a positive impact on your family and your community. This holiday season, let your family gatherings not only bring joy but also serve as catalysts for meaningful action and deeper connections.

Generation Now Circle is a giving circle designed for young adults ages 25 – 40.