I Hope My Kids Run Their Own Online Fundraiser When They're Teenagers

BlogHer Original Post

Spencer Brodsky

Spencer Brodsky is 17 and he is spending his online time to raise money to bring Green Stoves to Rwanda, something he's been doing for the past 2 years

Spencer wants to help Stoves for Rwanda leverage matching money from an incentive program being offered by Global Giving called "Give More Get More."   If he can raise an additional $500 to bring his total to $2,500 by December 1st, he'll leverage a matching gift of 30% or little over $800 from Global Giving.

As I parent, my hope is that by helping my kids find ways to share their passion for helping others - they will make it a lifelong habit.   My children, now age and 10, have been big helpers in all my online fundraising campaigns for the Sharing Foundation.   They have posed for photos in t-shirts, emptied their piggy banks, helped me make fundraising videos, contributed clothing or other items to drives at school, and have attended lots of fund raising events, including last week's Tweetsgiving Meetup where my daughter won a lunch with Twitterville author Shel Israel that was being raffled off.

And this year, Harry sent some of his birthday loot to the Sharing Foundation, making me proud that he is following my tradition of giving to celebrate a birthday.  

Philanthropy doesn't have to be an adults only activity, giving can be part of your family fun.  And while it is especially appropriate to do this during the holidays, you might consider making it a year-round activity.

Tips To Encourage Your Child's Philanthropy

1. Teach Your Kids About Charities:  YouthGive is a site that helps young peole and their families easily donate to charities while learning more about the organizations.  The organizations listed are profiled by other young people.  You can also check out nonprofit ratings and other information from Great Nonprofits, a sort of Zagat's Guide for Charities.
 

2.  Let Your Kids Choose: Kayta Andresen from Network for Good has fantastic idea last holiday season, "Give with your kids day" She suggests giving your child or someone else's child $25 to donate to a charity.   "You can give them money to spend at Network for Good (which has every charity based in the US) or Global Giving (which has a bunch of international projects).  Let them choose how to spend it, either by letting them pick the charity or by designating their donation to a special project.  Spend it together online, checking out pictures and project descriptions."

3.  Offer a Match: Blogger Marion Conway,whose children are now grown, recommended the book Raising Charitable Children by Carol Wiseman. With her children's fundraising projects, she and her husband offered to match what they raised because they both worked for companies that matching gift programs.

4.  Set Up a Spend, Give, and Save Allowance Policy: Celeste for the studio 501c3 blog suggests this piggy bank, with separate slots for investing, saving, spending, and donating is a great way to teach kids about devoting a portion of their income to
charity. 

5.  Encourage Them To Give Their TimeLaura Hecht shared a wonderful story about a class project where students made cards for some elderly residents of a group home. They had to work hard to spare the time for the effort, but when the residents wrote moving letters of thanks, the kids felt great.  As Laura notes, "This prompted a sincere discussion about giving the most valuable thing we possess  - ourselves."

6.  Buy Gifts That Give Back:  Rather than braving the crowded shopping malls, you can spend some time with your kids online and find gifts that give back.    The Ebay World of Good Site has a fantastic selection of gifts that will make a difference.

 

Resources

Brain Teaser: Young People and Philanthropy
Youth in Philanthropy
Six Steps for Raising a Charitable Child
Learning To Give
Youth In Philanthropy
Children for Children Foundation
Kids Can Make A Difference
Youth Noise

What other stories, tips, or resources would you add?

Beth Kanter, BlogHer CE for Nonprofits, writes Beth's Blog.

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