Raising Philanthropic Children

There are many aspects to teaching children about financial literacy, and charitable giving is one of them. It is never too early to start the discussion with your children about being generous. Whether it’s sharing Cheerios, hosting a bake sale or volunteering at a local nonprofit organization, even our youngest citizens can learn the importance of giving.

In a recent article from U.S. News, Debbie Carlson provides four tips on how to raise charitably minded children, including tips for working with children of all ages.

  • Communication – talk about charity and how it fits in your world.
  • Time, treasury, talent – think of giving as more than just monetary donations.
  • Make it fun – find volunteer opportunities tailored to children and invite friends.
  • Let them choose – give children control in making decisions regarding where to give.

Beginning at age three, I let my children choose a charity to receive a gift in honor of their birthday, an idea that Carol Weisman shares in Raising Charitable Children. This is a great opportunity to discuss the nonprofit organizations that a child interacts with on a regular basis, while also celebrating giving as a fun and rewarding activity. When my daughter turned three, she loved monkeys, so it was an easy decision to give her grant to the zoo to feed her favorite animal. My son turned three earlier this year, and after several discussions about options for his grant, he decided that he wanted to support a school in Haiti that he had learned about through fundraising activities at his school.

Using our family’s charitable giving account, also known as a donor-advised fund, to make these small grants each year, we can easily track our contributions over the years. We can look back at the organizations we’ve supported and reflect on our experiences. Whether it’s meeting with the charity to present a check, or making an even bigger impact by volunteering, we have record of the causes that are important to us.

Passing along charitable values to future generations is a great way to leave a legacy, and by raising the next generation of philanthropists, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that the world will be in good hands.

Grow Your Giving Senior Philanthropic Advisor Whitney Hosty


Authored by: Whitney Hosty, Senior Philanthropic Advisor