It takes less effort than ever before to donate money to charities. Online giving and social media platforms offer opportunities to help others with just a few clicks. BUT just because online giving is easy doesn’t mean everyone does it and it doesn’t mean it will come naturally to your children. That may take some training. So work with your spouse to make some opportunities to encourage your kids to give to others this holiday season.
Research by Mobile Cause shows that 84% of millennials give to charity. This is a higher engagement percentage by far than Gen Xers and Boomers. But the Greatest Generation shows their greatness yet again by topping millennials with 88% of their age group donating an average of $1,367 (3x millennials total which makes sense and shouldn’t take anything away from millennials).
Isn’t it encouraging that our children’s generation looks like they’re headed in the right direction for giving? They’re engaged and they want to know as much as possible about the organizations they give to. Their age group wants to know more and be excited about where they donate their funds. That’s where you come in.
Here are 3 steps you can take to help your children learn to be cheerful givers:
1. Select a charity that excites your kids.
You may feel a connection to the charities your family chose years ago before you had kids or when the kids were young, but as your kids age reevaluate and choose charities your children are interested in.
We support several different charities as a family, but one that is near and dear to all of our hearts is the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Bethany is a Stage 3 breast cancer survivor and the boys remember those very difficult days. They were 3 and 5-years-old at the time, but something that traumatic never leaves you. We are all grateful that the foundation’s research helped to save Bethany’s life. And the boys are eager to give every year to help someone else’s mother or daughter or sister.
If one organization doesn’t pop right to mind ask your older kids to do some research online to find a worthy cause. Poll the youngsters for their input. You might be surprised. Zoos and firemen need love too.
First and foremost, pick an organization that excites your kids to encourage your kids to give to others.
2. Dial up the fun factor and get involved.
You might have to get creative on this one, but make giving fun for your kids. Figure out what you can do to get them involved in helping others.
- Make a craft item and sell them to friends to raise money for the charity
- Wear t-shirts, pink gloves and pink socks on game day to raise awareness
- Walk dogs or pet sit to earn money for the cause
- Shovel walks or decorate yards at Christmas for donations
- Encourage friends online to give to a charity that is special to them
- Make a video or write a song about their chosen charity to raise funds or awareness
- Start a social media account with the mission of sharing facts and compelling reasons to give to the cause of their choice
Our boys for years have been helping us with a fundraiser we do for Friends of Club 21 to raise money for Down syndrome children in South Africa. Bethany’s brother is special needs so our boys know first hand how helpful it is to lend a hand to this precious group of people. They’re spending their time and efforts to help others like their uncle who need resources across the ocean.
Believe it or not, Cole and Cade dress up as elves for the Friends of Club 21 fundraiser and help out. They have been doing it for years and now their buddies show up and help.
Teen boys dressed as elves! You might be surprised what this big-hearted generation will do to help others.
Get your kids involved and make it fun.
3. After you give to others, process the experience with them.
After your kids step out of their normal routine to help others, take some time later and talk about it. Really help them process their experience so helping becomes more and more a part of their nature.
- What did you think about that?
- How did that make you feel?
- What went well? Or not so great?
- What could we do next year to give more?
- Did anything surprise you?
- Would you change anything?
- How do you think this helped the cause?
Help your child or teen process the emotions of helping another. Selflessness doesn’t happen by accident. We come into this world screaming to get our needs met. It is part of our job as parents to encourage our kids to look around this great, big world and see others less fortunate than them. And then help out.
If you’ve read some of our other blogs or browsed our videos on The Money Couple YouTube channel you know that some Money Personalities will find giving easier than others. Don’t ever shame a child for not naturally wanting to give. It’s difficult for some. Just find ways to involve them, make it fun, and assure them that they have plenty to share.
One of the best gifts you can give your children this Christmas is the ability and desire to show compassion for another. Christmas is about Christ’s arrival on this earth to help us out (slightly simplified) for eternity. May we use this time of year to help those around us too.
Make it happen!
Scott & Bethany Palmer
The Money Couple