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I heard something on the news about a recent study regarding the impact of parental modeling of giving and volunteering on children. What was this study about?

You are probably thinking about the "Heart of the Donor" study. Released by Grey Matter Research & Consulting, it clearly shows that parental behavior has a substantial effect on the eventual behavior of children once they are grown. The study indicates that parents talking to their children about giving and volunteering, modeling the behavior, and sharing the experience with them has a long-lasting effect on kids.

Among persons who say their parents frequently gave money to a place of worship when they were growing up, 55 percent say they contributed money to a place of worship in the last year. Among those who say their parents occasionally gave money to a place of worship, 39 percent are donors to a place of worship today. And among those who say their parents rarely or never gave money to a place of worship, 24 percent are themselves supporting a place of worship today.

Fifty-two percent of adults who say their parents frequently gave money to a nonprofit organization (other than a church) when they were growing up, gave money to a nonprofit in the last year. Among those who say their parents occasionally gave money to a nonprofit, 46 percent are donors today. And among those who say their parents rarely or never gave money to a nonprofit, 26 percent are donors today.

According to the survey parental involvement also predicts how generously their children give. The more frequently parents engaged in six behaviors identified in the study, the more generously their children ended up giving.

Dan Busby is a certified public accountant, president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), and the author of the Zondervan Clergy Tax & Financial Guide.