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May 4, 2022

How to Encourage Philanthropy in Your Family | Maribeth Jezek

Every parent wants their child to grow up with a generous spirit and a desire to better the world. However, many don’t know how to make philanthropy a part of their parenting, and it’s even harder to know if kids will carry giving into their adult lives. Fortunately, there are ways to encourage graceful giving from an early age.

Focus on One Person

While there are tons of organizations set up to help others, a child may not understand what giving to a non-profit means for those he wants to help. When possible, start with one person or a small group of people so your child can build a connection and see the impact.

Visit a nursing home and make homemade cards or gifts to the residents. Pack comfort kits for the homeless and hand them out when possible. Even supporting a child internationally through a program that sends pictures or letters can help encourage a child to give. The personal connection and contact make a child understand both the need for generosity and how it helps.

Lead by Example

Leading by example is a huge part of parenting in every circumstance. It’s also a great way to encourage giving. Kids need to see their parents do things they are being asked to do so they understand the importance and have a guide to follow.

There’s also the benefit of tapping into what researchers call contagious generosity. When a person sees someone else donate generously or offer support for someone in need, research shows that the person watching is more likely to give or offer empathy. Generosity has a domino effect that can go far beyond the people inside a home. To start the dominoes, let kids witness kindness and giving around them so they can then be an example for others.

Explain the Impact

When it’s not possible for a child to see the impact of their giving, make sure to explain it. There are charities that send catalogs so families can see where the money they spend goes to help others. Kids may choose to buy chickens to help feed a family or purchase newborn medical supplies for a new mom who can’t afford one. This puts a face and purpose to the giving.

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