Raising Future Philanthropists
Philanthropy is more than "just" giving money to a charitable organization. It means giving your time and talent and your resources while pledging to promote the well-being of our fellow man and the world around us. It's thinking beyond ourselves and beyond our four walls to the world around us. As moms, we do this pretty much all the time. But is it so rote that we forget to communicate why we do it to our kids? Are you making sure you are helping to raise the next generation of philanthropists?
Where would communities be without volunteers - and, so often, mom volunteers? From classrooms to religious organizations to sports organizations and beyond, so much of the great in our communities would tumble down if moms stopped doing all that they do. Moms often are the members of the household that drive charitable giving, whether in dollars or items, and do other planning and organization as well.
Most moms go about this work quietly, and that's great - but a certain amount of speaking up is warranted. Not only will it help your kids understand the importance of philanthropy in all its forms, it may open up more ways for you and your family to give back to the world around you.
Talk about your commitment
No matter what it is you do to give to your community and the world at large, talk about why it is important to you with your kids, and tell them about your experiences in the process. If you volunteer at a local shelter, talk about the people you meet there and how small efforts like your own can make a big difference in a person's life. If you earmark a certain portion of your monthly income to specific charitable efforts, discuss with your kids why you do this, and how, over time, those donations build to become something great.
If your philanthropy is in giving your talents in other ways (writing marketing material for a non-profit, for example), talk about how you incorporate that effort into your regular schedule, and about how organizations that need help need help in so many different ways. And when home budgets are particularly tight, giving in time and talent in this way may be the best way to continue to demonstrate your commitment to a cause even if your monthly donation necessarily has to go down.
Also read: 5 Ways to foster generosity in kids.
Open yourself to new philanthropy
When you talk about your philanthropic efforts - when it becomes a part of normal conversation - don't be surprised if your kids start to talk about ways they can give, too. And encourage it! One of the great things about kids is that in their newness in our culture, they are less constrained by societal "norms" and expectations, and often come up with great ideas that an adult might not - whether it's how to contribute or who or where to contribute to. Open yourself to their ideas, and philanthropy may become an even bigger part of your family life.
Why not get your kids involved in our Children's Miracle Network fund? Donate to help us raise money for kids and be entered to win a trip to Disney.
More of our Monday Mom series: