Let’s kick off 2013 by giving our children the greatest gift: learning to put the ‘DO’ in donate. The holiday season might be over but the need at area shelters and food pantry’s is still on the rise.
Susan Beacham, founder of Money Savvy Generation, helps kids understand the value behind money. She not only created the best piggy bank in the world (yes, my opinion, but many parents would agree that a four slotted piggy bank is genius for teaching a three year old about investing), but she’s an entrepreneur and mother of two teenage daughters. In her spare time (ahem), she travels to Chicago Public Schools and hosts classes about saving, investing, spending and donating.
The great thing is that over the years I’ve been able to share experiences I’ve been having with my own children, and Ms. Beacham always has excellent advice.
Over the holidays, it was pretty easy to give my girls a dollar to put in the candy apple red Salvation Army bucket, and then came time to donate our old toys to make room for the gifts my girls “were hoping” to receive from Santa. We also shopped for two children less fortunate and they carefully selected clothing, toys and we even added a few sweet treats, and wrapped everything with shiny red bows.
I couldn’t help but wonder how we could continue doing nice things for others, and not just around the holidays. “Philanthropy does not always need to involve money. Our company philosophy has always been to teach children to put the ‘DO’ in donate, and that time and talent are equally as good a gift as money,” shares Ms. Beacham, who says birthdays can also be a great time to ask for donations in lieu of gifts, and then you’re your child actually give the donation to the charity. “It will undoubtedly be an amazing experience for all, and could possibly spark a sense of empowerment, philanthropy and stewardship in your child that is separate from your own parental giving.”
Naturally, you need to reinforce your good efforts. “After you have made the donation, have your child indicate in their thank you letters to the guests some of the positive ‘results’ that their donations did or will likely bring. Let everyone know about the amount gathered and a note or two about the charity for future interest.”
Many times, as I’ve noticed while reading the local paper or just being around kids, philanthropy needs to be a desire driven from your child and not forced. But, kids lead by example, so one of my resolutions in 2013 is going to be to give more time to the charities I love and bring my children along so they can see that donating is fun and brightens the lives of others. Happy New Year!