Generosity is easier said than done. Wanting to be generous is one thing. Putting generosity into action is another.
Author Richard Cope, CEO of NanoLumens, explores this theme in his book, The Third Bucket. Richard and his wife Karen are active members at Perimeter Church, a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) situated in the suburbs north of Atlanta. They also volunteer their time with Opportunity International where Karen serves on the board of directors.
The Third Bucket, co-authored by Randy Brunson, is a modern day parable featuring Larry Rose, president of Cash Drawer Technologies, a booming company he founded. Larry’s world is revolutionized when he encounters a mysterious character named Jack Stock who helps Larry learn to be generous and give some of his non-monetized assets away.
The story is personal for Richard Cope. He treats his generosity like a business venture, implementing an intentional strategy in order to yield maximum results. Here’s 4 lessons from his own personal experience that Richard believes are valuable for fellow Christian business leaders.
1) Think About Generosity Like Business
Generosity is an investment of the financial resources God has entrusted to you. Like any investment, it should be thoughtful, intentional, and tax effecient. Successful business leaders develop strategic plans for their business. Likewise, Christian business leaders should develop a plan when it comes to their generosity. Sadly, many business leaders treat their generosity as an afterthought.
If business owners treated their charitable interests like their business interests, they would seek ways to grow their generosity and multiply its impact. Moreover, they would create a strategy to give them focus and guide their decision making.
2) Start Giving Early
Most people think they will become generous when they become wealthy. In fact, generosity doesn’t have anything to do with your level of income. Rather, it is a developed habit. If you are not generous when you make $30,000, you will not be generous when you make $300,000.
Establish the discipline of regular and intentional giving early in your career. When you do, you’ll find the joy of giving as your income grows. Be generous with your money and be generous with your time. Find organizations and opportunities to develop your charitable muscles.
3) Get Your Family Involved
There is no such thing as a company of one. Every decision of key business leaders impacts people in proximity. As a leader, consult others. Sometimes, the stakeholders we often forget are our families. If anyone would receive the brunt of a business decision, our families do.
In the book, “[Larry] never made a big decision without being in sync with [his wife] first.” He knew that the choices he made from 9 to 5 could directly affect his family, so Larry always ventured to bring his wife into the decision making.
Ask those close to you for advice. Seek to find how the ripples of a decision could affect others. Get their input. And do not forget that your family is a stakeholder in your endeavors.
The Copes have gotten their daughter involved with their generosity. They solicit her input when making key decisions, and they travel as a family annually to see the impact of the organizations they support. Getting your family involved in your generosity not only strengthens family bonds, it also provides children with a constructive model to follow as they grow older.
4) Be Generous With Equity
For business owners, their equity is an asset they often overlook when it comes to their generosity. Richard encourages business owners to consider transferring a percentage of ownership in their company to a donor-advised fund as discussed in his book. It is a very practical reminder that God owns their business and it belongs to him. For Richard, the donor-advised fund is a simple and useful solution for business owners to be generous with their non-cash assets.
The Advise & Consult Fund® is the donor-advised fund of the PCA Foundation. With zero fees, it provides donors with flexibility as well as the ability to include their family in making decisions about grant recommendations.
The resources we have belong to God. He is free to give them to whom he choses. We are simply stewards meant to be generous with wealth that is not ours in the first place. The Third Bucket challenges readers to impact the world through generous living.
At the PCA Foundation we facilitate generosity to advance God’s kingdom. Learn how you, too, could use a donor-advised fund to exercise generosity with cash and non-cash assets.