Did you know that about one-third of annual giving occurs in December, and 12 percent of all giving happens in the last three days of the year? As you contemplate your philanthropy this month, I encourage you to gather differently as a family when discussing community, national and global issues. Putting thoughtful planning behind your family gathering will help everyone get out of their well practiced, predictable roles and put on their hat of philanthropist and social change maker. Facilitator and convener Priya Parker penned The Art of the Gathering. Her thesis is that "how we gather matters". A well planned gathering influences discussions, catalyzes connections, and ultimately impacts decisions. Consider the following changes to shake up your family meeting patterns:
- Change the meeting environment to spark different conversations about community and giving
- Introduce an opener that connects family members across personalities and generations
- Switch up who leads discussions
- Bring in outside community voices for added perspectives
- Embrace challenging discussions
All of these things can shift the dynamic and create invigorating discussions. As Priya writes, "Gatherings crackle and flourish when real thought goes into them, when (often invisible) structure is baked into them, and when a host has the curiosity, willingness, and generosity of spirit to try."
I encourage you all to think boldly in how you engage your family in philanthropic discussions not just this month - any time you gather. You may be surprised by the nuanced discussions that surface.