Using Special Skills For A Cause
Philanthropy isn't just giving money or volunteering; it can also be giving of a talent that a charitable organization can then use. Just as there are various ways you give philanthropically, so can kids give in different ways. Beyond giving part of allowance or giving their time, kids can also give their talents to charitable organizations.
Not all adults can afford to give money to charity, and not all adults have the time in the "regular" part of the day to volunteer time - and not all adults feel comfortable giving time in traditional ways. But just as adults can find creative ways to help causes and organizations, so can kids.
Talents and skills
As parents, we often think about helping our kids develop their individual strengths and talents for academic and life success. But those same strengths and talents, as they are developing, may be able to be applied to philanthropic giving.
For example, if your child has strong art skills, he or she could help a local kid-focused charity with posters and such that will then be used for other charitable efforts. Maybe your child is a musician, and can volunteer his or her talent for an event that benefits a charity. Maybe your teenager has great ideas about fundraising and is a great organizer, but is shy in face-to-face situations (making certain volunteering emotionally difficult); he or she can offer those skills to local groups.
Philanthropy, as a life commitment, isn't about giving in just one way. It's a myriad number of ways to contibute to the greater whole in our community and our world. When we think of charitable giving as "just" money or "just" time, we really limit ourselves in how we could contribute. The same holds true for kids of all ages - and kids often come up with really creative ways to give back.
If philanthropy, in all it's forms, is a part of your life, it likely will be part of your kids' life, too. Encouraging and looking for creative ways to give back, for all of you, is incredibly rewarding. And enouraging your child to use their unique gifts and talents to this end is a terrific way to drive the point home.
More tips on teaching kids about charity: