How To Raise
Just remember to keep your child's temperament in mind. "Volunteering at the children's unit of your community hospital may be traumatizing for a sensitive child but could serve as a nice way for your healthy child to see how lucky she is," Heisman adds. "Try to match your child's personality to volunteer opportunities with minimal risk for negative emotional impact, but don't miss out on potentially life-enriching experiences for fear of potential unpleasantness," such as volunteering at a nursing home or helping the disabled. As your child ages, you can engage them in more sophisticated charitable activities that blend philanthropy and youth.
In addition to regular charitable donations, you can start traditions with your children that they'll look forward to year after year, recommends Heisman. For each new toy received, your child must select one old toy to give away. Make a trip to the local nonprofit thrift store or homeless shelter as part of each year's birthday activities or designate an annual "family volunteering week."
If you set aside a portion of your income or time for charitable causes, encourage your kids to do the same with their allowance and time. "Let them see how you give and participate, and talk to them about your efforts and reasons for philanthropy -- even if it's just 25 cents in a Salvation Army kettle," says Heisman. "Don't forget to also discuss your choices not to donate. If you decline to give to a panhandler, for example, explain to your child that you donate or volunteer to organizations that know best how to provide the right services and care for such individuals. And don't be afraid to acknowledge that these are hard choices to make, even as an adult."
Even a day or an afternoon of volunteering can be incredibly fulfilling. Keep an eye out for ways to contribute to your community and influence your kids' philanthropic future in a positive way.