Introducing children to philanthropy

Blue And Pink Piggy Banks,

Many parents and grandparents ask us about ways to introduce their children to philanthropy and when these conversations should start.

If your child or grandchild is old enough to use a computer, allow them to research causes that interest them and set aside one night each week to share their findings with the family.

Then, take it a step further with micro-loan organizations like Kiva.org and you’ll begin to incorporate opportunities to learn geography, different cultures, small business models, and the myriad ways people around the world earn their living – from grinding and packaging spices to designing textiles!

If the children are younger, consider adding a small supplement to their allowance with the condition that the money be spent making a gift to a selected charity. Young children do well when they can directly apply the concept to their own lives: a donation to the SPCA to care for a puppy or kitten similar to their own family pet, or a donation to a summer program so another child can enjoy swimming lessons and the chance to cool off during the summer.

Family rituals are about sharing values and priorities, and the slower days of summer are an ideal time to create new family philanthropic traditions.

Share your story of when and how you introduced the children in your life to philanthropy – send us an email or send this article to a friend with children or grandchildren of their own!