Parenting and GivingMar 31, 2022
One of the things that surprised me when I had my first child was meeting my own inner mama bear, and let me tell you, she is powerful. I felt (and still feel), so protective of my children. That drive has actually been one on the major focuses in my giving. I can only imagine other mama bears out there who are not in a position to offer the safety and basic needs of their children, or children without any support and so I pretty fiercely advocate on their behalf. For me, organizations that support children are core to my giving goals.
When you have children, you might find you feel the same and want to give back, now the thing is, there are so many opportunities. I would suggest focusing on one or two aspects – like safety, or food security, or health or equitable opportunities and education. Once you do, make sure you check a few things:
- Is it a legitimate organization? Check on IRS website or charity website such as Guidestar.
- Is it in good standing? Simply google name and words “fraud” or “scam” to see if there are any hits.
- Check their website and pay specific attention to their mission statements and see if they have impact reports you can view online.
Those are examples if you want to give.
If you want to have your children give, there are different age appropriate ways of doing that. For younger children you can be much more concrete, maybe they have a toy that they no longer use. If it is in good shape (we don’t want to be giving away junk, we need to show our children that people on the receiving end deserve respect and dignity), then you can tell them there are children that don’t have many toys – or books – or good food, and then can give to those kids.
For older kids, there are other ways. One thing we do with my kids is that when they have a birthday, they will get some presents from family, but for a party we have them ask for donations to an organization that they get to choose instead of gifts. For example, my son recently chose an organization to protect wildlife, because he loves animals and it’s something he cares about and connects with.
Often their schools will have opportunities – food drives or coat drives. This is a great opportunity to discuss a little more about giving. Reinforce ideas of respect and dignity, and introduce the idea that there could be a time when they need something (not to scare them), but to imagine and how they would want to be treated. Ie. For older kids living in fire areas, what would happen if our houses burned down and we needed someone else’s help for a while?
When they get an allowance, how are they going to manage that money? How much do they want to spend, save and give? Have that be a discussion from the beginning. It doesn’t have to be a lot, a small token amount is a great way to just build the framework. Then you can show them how to choose an organization to support, and follow up with them to let them know how they helped with their contribution.
There are so many great ways to be involved and to get your family involved in giving with you. Together we can help the next generation do so much good!
You can be the change you want to see in the world through effective, efficient, and impactful philanthropy. Check out my course, The Physician Philanthropist, for a comprehensive education on and strategy for maximizing the impact of your giving both for you and your causes
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