Part 4 - Ten Ways to Give with Your Family

Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen


Following is Part 4 of a special Giving 2.0 blog series on raising giving children.  My hope is that the ideas presented here will inspire and educate your family’s philanthropic journey.  These posts aim to empower you to share your giving values with your children by providing practical and actionable ways to create positive change together.

“Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.
 – Buddha

As philanthropists, the most powerful legacy we can create is one that keeps on giving–through our children. Here are ten easy ways to help your young children make giving become a core value of their own.

Top Ten List: Giving 2.0 for the Family

  1. Take your children on a site visit to one of the nonprofits you support or one with which you are considering getting involved.

  2. Talk to your children about why you give to the organizations you support and why each one is important to you. (If your gift is significant to the organization, consider inviting a staff member to meet with you and your children when making that gift. Use the time to explain to staff why you chose to give to make the gift and let the staff talk about the impact your gift will have on their work.)

  3. Find out if there are any nonprofits in your area that allow teens or college students to sit on their board, as board fellows or volunteer members, or are willing to pilot such a position. Nonprofits that serve youth may be especially interested in doing this.

  4. Create a “volunteering circle”—essentially a giving circle but one that donates time instead of money. Partner with two or three other families who have children of similar ages and with whom you enjoy spending time. Choose an issue area that’s important to all of you, and plan monthly volunteer projects focused on that area. End each volunteering session with a potluck meal at a circle member’s home.

  5. Suggest your children try tithing—giving 10 percent of their allowance to a charity every month.

  6. Once a week, read stories and features from the newspapers or online media with your kids and ask them to explain what concerns, upsets, or even enrages them about the stories. Ask them what they would like to do—however small the contribution or effort—to help solve the problems arising in the stories and brainstorm ideas for how they might do this.

  7. Read through a number of the online profiles of social entrepreneurs featured by organizations like, Acumen Fund, Technoserve, or Ashoka with your children and learn about how individuals around the world are addressing pressing social needs.

  8. Create a campaign on a social networking site for a cause that everyone in the family cares about and spend an evening a week updating the site, adding news items, and connecting with new members.

  9. Instead of a beach or ski vacation this year, take a “philanthrocation.” Spend a week or weekend traveling near home or abroad (you may be able to organize this through your place of worship or children’s school), and have your family help build a school, hospital, or orphanage for a community in need. The perspective and sense of achievement gained from such an experience could make the holiday one of your family’s most memorable.

  10. On each birthday, help your child fill a basket with unwanted toys to give away to a hospital or a homeless shelter.