Many children are already involved in fundraising through their schools, scouts and churches, but bringing philanthropy into the home makes giving back to your community a whole-family effort.

You can introduce your child to the rewards of helping others by establishing an “I Can Make a Change” jar.

One of the best ways to inspire a budding philanthropist is to choose a charitable organization that appeals to your child’s passion. Consider personal hobbies, favorite school subjects and stories in the news that spark her curiosity.

Are there specific causes or issues she finds interesting? Use this information to guide your child in selecting a charity or cause toward which to make a contribution.

If you have an artist or musician in the family, consider donating to an art museum or local symphony. An animal lover may opt to support a local shelter or rescue group. An avid reader may be interested in helping fund a literacy program.

No matter what her interest, there is a group — local, national or international — to match her passion. To get started, check out GuideStar.org for a listing of local, national and international charities.

4 Join the Discussion

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  1. I love this! Every year on our sons’ birthdays we empty their piggy banks. They save 1/3, spend 1/3, and donate 1/3. Each year they choose an organization to support based on what interests them (obviously we chose for them when they were young). We donated to the Humane Society on my older son’s first birthday because his first word was “dog.” One year my son wanted to give to firefighters because he was on a fireman kick. Another year my oldest son gave to public TV because he liked watching Cyberchase. This year the boys donated to Haiti relief and the Ronald McDonald House. We delivered the check in person, along with some items from their wish list.

    • We applaud the idea of empowering your children to give by letting their interests guide their choices! Letting them be the “deliverers” of their respective gifts also lets them see first-hand the impact they can have on others!

    • Thank you so much for your input. Every time my son gets money or finds change, he puts it into his piggy bank. Of course he spends some of it, but for the most part he just keeps on saving, on his next birthday, I am going to implement the 1/3 save, 1/3, spend, and 1/3 donate and make that a birthday tradition. Thank you for inspiring me to empower my child to become a conscious human being of the world around him.

      Amie

      • We’re so excited to hear about your awesome save-spend-donate plan, Amie! What a spectacular way to get our Wonder Friends excited about saving, sharing and being smart about money! Have a great day, and thanks again for sharing your comment! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • How do you decide where to donate your money?
  • How can you raise money for a favorite cause?
  • How do you learn how to save money?

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Try It Out

Once you have selected an organization, it’s time to begin raising funds! Help your child set up a lemonade stand or neighborhood bake sale with all proceeds benefiting her charity of choice.

Engage younger children in the giving spirit by hiding spare change around a room in your home and asking them to go on a treasure hunt to find the coins. If your children are older and receive an allowance, you may want to designate a percentage of each dollar to be set aside as a charitable donation toward their chosen organization.

You can even help them get more bang for their buck by implementing a 50/50 “parent-matching” program for each dollar they contribute. Not only is this a good lesson in philanthropy, it also provides an opportunity to begin teaching your child about the importance of prudent financial management.

Have your child track progress as each donation is placed in the jar. Celebrate when you reach the halfway point. There are many other ways to make charitable giving fun. They don’t call it FUNdraising for nothing!

Before you begin collecting donations, ask each family member to estimate how much money will be inside the jar once it’s full. When the coins reach the top, count it up and reward the person who had the closest guess.

Much like learning a foreign language, the earlier your child begins to practice charitable giving, the more likely he is to make it a lifelong habit. Planting a seed of compassion teaches your little one he doesn’t have to wait until he’s rich to make a positive change.

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