With news of mass shootings, natural disasters, hate crimes, and terrorist attacks clogging up the media, the world may not seem like the greatest place to raise a child. How are you supposed to instill positive values in children when violence is all around them? It may seem futile to teach your children to care for others when the world so often does not care back, but if wish to keep philanthropy alive, it starts with setting a positive example.
When children are met with so many sites and sounds that are still new to them, sometimes their instinct is to keep wanting more.But you should realize that the inclination for philanthropy already exists within your child. If you provide your child the tools they need, it is easier than you’d think to mold them into a kind and caring person.
According to the Wall Street Journal, 71.5% of high net worth donors involve their children in giving. Philanthropy represents a $300 billion dollar sector of the American economy and while granted a lot of that money comes from wealthy donors, philanthropy is not just a luxury reserved for the rich, but a way of life that anyone can practice. Starting small with your children is the best way to ensure that the tradition lives on. Obviously, philanthropy is far from dead, but making it a tradition is the only way to continue adding fuel to the fire. In addition to the societal impact of passing on philanthropy, it gives children an enormous boost in self-esteem as they realize the difference they can make in others’ lives. Here are some ways that you can instill philanthropic values in your child:
Help Them Find Their Focus
According to Alison Powell, senior director of philanthropy at the Bridgespan Group, families of all income levels should emphasize focus in teaching their children philanthropy. Your child will be more committed to giving if they find one or two causes they really care about to donate to over an extended period of time, rather than arbitrarily giving to a whole portfolio of charities. Giving to too many places at once can lead to fragmented and less meaningful results.
Teach Financial Responsibility
Money is a huge aspect of philanthropy. As soon as your child is old enough to start earning an allowance for their responsibilities around the house, have them divide their money into three categories: spending, saving, and giving. Start talking to your child about giving as soon as they are able to: research from the Wall Street Journal found that a parent who talks to their child about donating money increases their child’s likelihood of giving by 13 percent.
Money may be an important consideration with philanthropy, but it isn’t everything. Equally important, and often much more impactful, is giving your time and services. Dropping a dollar in the donation bucket may help you feel better about yourself in the short term, but for a lesson in philanthropy that will stick, expose your child to areas of need firsthand by taking them with you to a volunteer project. Many tasks, such as bagging lunches, making care packages, donating toys, or making cards for sick or elderly patients is not beyond their skill level.