Inside: Teach kids to donate money and give back to their community with this resource to make donating money easier.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by Give Better and The Give Better Fund, but the opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.
My eldest daughter loves money and has loved it since she was very little.
When she was younger, she loved collecting it, she loved sorting it, and she loved counting it.
She could sit for hours, sorting her money collection on my bed, away from her tiny brother.
And now that she clearly understands the value of money, she really loves “collecting” money- Tooth Fairy money, holiday gifts, and birthday gifts all go into her piggy bank to be counted and cherished.
There was nothing more coveted than $2 from the Tooth Fairy when she was little.
So as she collected money, she also, of course, quickly learned to love spending her money on special goodies while she saved up the rest.
But there’s a third way to interact with money besides spending it and saving it and we wanted to show her a new way to appreciate and use money: to freely, and more importantly, happily give it away to those who need it.
We want her to know that when we have money, some of it we save, some of it we spend, and some of it we give to others.
And while that doesn’t happen overnight or by chance, there are things we can do to help our kids learn the power of donating money to others.
Why it’s Important to Teach Kids to Donate Money
We are a kind family. It’s so important to us, it’s one of our only two family rules.
But we don’t just talk about kindness. (Although we do talk about kindness often with these discussion starters.)
And we don’t just read books about kindness. (Although we do read tons of books about kindness like these).
Kindness is a verb. It’s something we do.
So if we want to raise kind kids, we have to give them opportunities to act with kindness and give their kindness to others.
We teach them to simple, normal, everyday acts of kindness that have the biggest impact on others.
And we also teach them to volunteer often and give back to our community.
We focus on how lucky we are and grateful we are for all that we have (even in financially tough months or tough years). And in that gratefulness, we acknowledge that others may not have what we have. They may not have full pantries and refrigerators, they may not have their health, or a roof over their heads, or they may not have someone who visits them to check in on them.
We show our kids the power of one and how one person, doing one kind act, giving back to one person, can make all the difference in the world to that person.
We talk about community and how we value our role in it. We talk about how if we see someone else struggling, it is our obligation as neighbors to help them when we can. And we almost always can.
And we remind them that helping others not only helps them, it helps us too. It gives us a sense of purpose and pride and happiness that we were lucky and fortunate enough to have been in the right place at the right time to help someone who needed it.
It doesn’t matter if you call it community service, Tikkun Olam, tzedakah, volunteering, donating, giving, giving back, or charity… what matters is we empower our kids to make someone else’s day, week, or even life easier or better by giving.
How to Teach Kids to Donate Their Money
Everyone has a different “relationship” with money.
Saving money can be hard for some kids when money burns a proverbial hole in their pocket. They have to spend it because they have it.
Spending their own “hard-earned” money on special goodies can be hard for some kids… This was my daughter. She could spend hours in a store if we let her as she tried to decide which special stuffed animal she “needed” but wasn’t quite ready to commit because she had to part with her cherished money.
But it’s even harder to teach kids to give their money to someone else. And for some kids, it can be an excruciating lesson.
So since we teach our kids about volunteering by volunteering often, we also teach them there are three main ways to donate, give back or volunteer to make our community stronger.
How We Can Donate:
1. We can donate our time. These actions cost nothing like volunteering at a food bank, planting a tree, or picking up trash.
2. We can donate things we already have at home we no longer need like old books, outgrown clothes, or winter jackets.
3. We can donate money or things that cost money like fulfilling holiday wish lists or buying someone a meal.
We are pretty on top of one and two…we volunteer as a family often with our Monthly Volunteer Challenge.
But we weren’t doing so great with teaching them number three.
So we started by showing them, leading by example, and spending money on causes and issues that are important to our family.
And we ask our kids to donate small portions of their piggy banks and add to our family contribution so they have some buy-in. Literally.
When they donate their own money, it empowers them to realize they can make a difference. They don’t have to rely on their parents to make a difference on their behalf.
As a family, we donate money to food banks in May and June when school is almost out and kids’ won’t have schools to help fill their bellies. We donate gifts to holiday programs for kids who wouldn’t otherwise be receiving any gifts for the December holidays. And we buy a meal for someone when we see someone who is hungry.
But these are one-off, once in a while moments. They’re great, but they’re not consistent.
And if we know anything as parents, it’s that if we want a message to really sink in, we can’t say it once.
So just like we can’t teach them their alphabet once, or teach them to pick up their shoes out of the hallway once, if we want our kids to learn to donate money to important causes, we have to be relentlessly consistent.
We have to do donate money with them often and talk about it often so it becomes a habit. A habit of donating.
And one of the greatest ways to do that is to partner with a non-profit program like Give Better.
What is Give Better?
There are always a couple of issues when it comes to donating money.
For me, one of the hardest parts is wondering if the money we donate is going to the right place because I don’t have the time or the resources to thoroughly vet the non-profit.
So I often wonder:
Is the organization truly worthwhile? Is the money going to helping people… or to dreaded “administrative” costs?
Another hurdle to donating money is we rarely have a ton of money to donate. So I worry that because it’s not a large donation, it won’t’ make a difference. What’s $10? Is that really going to make an impact? Is that worth it to the causes?
And my last big hurdle is always remembering to donate money. We’d get to the end of the year and realize we didn’t give as much as we could have or we got busy and plain forgot. Or we donate a ton at the holidays, but often forget that people need help year-round.
Give Better takes care of all these issues for us.
Give Better finds and thoroughly vets the best smaller, non-profit companies that used to rely on big, in-person charity events to raise most of the money. Since the pandemic started, these non-profits are unable to raise the funds they need.
Give Better connects people like us who want to give to our communities but don’t know where to donate to with worthwhile, incredible non-profits that need our support… and then as a collective group, our donations, no matter how small, add up to big change.
They also set up recurring donations to make giving to charities that are important to my family more of a habit and less of an afterthought.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by Give Better and The Give Better Fund, but the opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view. @givebetterprojects #GiveBetter #Ad
Here’s how it works:
1. Decide as a family how much you want to donate. Ask your kids how much they’d like to donate from their own money. Some kids may offer “too little” (in your opinion) and some may offer “too much” and want to give away all their money. They will absolutely need guidance. Many families use this formula: spend 50%, save 30%, donate 20%. But of course, do what’s best for your family. Maybe spend 50, save 40, give 10 is a better fit.
2. Choose one of the non-profits Give Better features, or support The Give Better Fund itself so it can continue to support all the non-profits. Right now, you can support Texans hit by the winter storm who are without heat and water.
3. Since one of Give Better’s goals is to help families make donating a habit, donations are designed to be monthly, recurring donations. So divide the amount you want to donate by 12 months, and then each month you’ll be donating a portion of the total you want to donate.
4.Head to Give Better’s website as a family and set up your donation. Make sure your kids are with you, click the buttons, and participate in the process so the concept of donating money to others becomes more of a concrete action of kindness rather than an abstract thing only adults do.
5. Talk to your kids about donating money so it makes sense to them and to set them up to want to give to others more often.
Then, tell them you’re proud of them. Tell them they’re kind, helpful, generous, thoughtful compassionate kids who take action to help others.
And you can ask them these questions:
- Even if we volunteer our time, why is it important we also donate money?
- Where did we donate money to? Who is our money going to help?
- What causes are important to our family that we want to help?
- When have we donated money before? Or when did we purchase things to donate to others before?
- How does it feel to donate money?
- How does it feel to know you made a difference and helped someone?
- Next time we donate money, who do you want to help?
- Next time we donate money, do you think you’ll want to donate more money, less money, or the same amount of money?
- Do you need to be “rich” to make a difference in someone’s life?
Giving money as a way of donating doesn’t have to be scary, or overwhelming, or something only grown-ups do.
We can all make a difference and help those who need it most.
Even kids like my daughter with her $2 from the Tooth Fairy. Actually, especially kids with $2 from the Tooth Fairy.