6 Ways to Encourage Kids to be Future Donors and Volunteers


Photo Credit: Ari Moore

A study recently revealed that parents are a huge influence on whether or not children give to charitable organizations and/or volunteer when they are older.

Working in the nonprofit world and seeing declines in giving and funding over the years, I think the subject of philanthropy is an important one to bring up with our kids. After all, they are our future donors and volunteers.

The study gave 6 things parent can do to encourage philanthropy now and in the future. Among the 10 parental behaviors tested in this study, six specific actions were correlated with the behavior of today’s adults:

  1. Gave money to a church or other place of worship;
  2. Gave money to nonprofit organizations other than a place of worship;
  3. Talked about the nonprofit organizations they supported and why they supported those organizations;
  4. Took the child to church or another place of worship;
  5. Volunteered their time to help nonprofits other than a place of worship; and,
  6. Encouraged, even as a child, to volunteer time to help nonprofits.

Key findings of the study: Parents with little to no participation in the above six behaviors have about a 25% chance of raising a child who ends up as a donor. Those who frequently participated in the above behaviors have a more than 80% chance of raising a child who turns out to be a donor. That’s a big difference.

Thinking of my own philanthropy, I realize that I have not talked to my older son, G, enough about who we give to and why. At 5, I think he is more than capable of understanding the concept of philanthropy. This study show me that one way I can live more philanthropically is through modeling ways to give for my sons.

We have talked about why we give to needy families during Christmas. When we talked about boys like him who couldn’t afford to buy simple things like toothpaste or cereal, he led me on a shopping spree to buy all the things those other boys might need to make them happy like him during the holidays, including a nice toy truck. We’ve also talked about how you don’t participate in a fundraiser at school simply to win a prize for raising money. You do it to help people.

Think of all the nonprofits in the world that need our help and support to continue to do their work. Who do you give or volunteer to? Do you talk to your kids about your philanthropy? It’s so simple, really.

No matter how big or small we might think our contributions are, they are always big in our kids’ eyes.

Source: The Nonprofit Times

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