Teaching your children the importance of charity is one of the most valuable lessons they can learn. The power of giving not only helps them discover causes they care about but also how giving can help others. Understanding the meaning of charity is also an excellent way for children to learn about the value of money and how even the smallest amount can make a big difference.
What do charities do and what importance do they have?
Charities bring together people who care about a cause so they can make a difference and effect change. A charity’s goal might be to relieve poverty, advance the arts, or protect an endangered species. They do this in various ways, by providing information, help and support, or raising awareness of an issue.
Charities are important. They’re a way to help people less fortunate than us and support the causes we believe in.
Why teaching your child about giving back is important
1. Valuable money lessons
Donating even a small amount of money to charity shows children they can help others and make a difference in the world. It’s also a useful lesson about appreciating what they have and the differences between needs and wants.
2. Learn about compassion and empathy
Getting into the habit of regularly giving, can help your child develop a sense of purpose, compassion, and empathy for others. It also gets them involved in issues they feel passionate about.
3. Connects kids with their community
Giving back is also an excellent opportunity to show children the importance of charity in the community and supporting those around us.
4. Strengthens their personal values
Giving to charity strengthens a child’s personal values. It helps them to see they have the power to make a difference in the world.
5. Giving can help identify interests and passions
All children feel passionate about something. It might be animals, the ocean, climate change, or something more political. Encouraging them to give to charity helps them to identify these passions.
6. They are the next generation
Giving to charity also helps children to develop a sense of awareness and personal responsibility for their future.
7. Helps those less fortunate
A big part of giving to charity is understanding that there are people out there who are less fortunate than us. Charities help those who need all the things we take for granted.
8. Helps communities become more sustainable
Charities also help communities in developing countries with environmental and economic sustainability so that damage to the environment is minimized.
9. Helps reduce poverty
In developing countries, charities help reduce poverty by improving sanitation and healthcare. They provide humanitarian support in the wake of natural disasters too.
10. Brings attention to serious issues
Charities also campaign to highlight awareness of issues society tends to avoid focusing on. Like human rights violations and problems arising from war, conflict, and poverty.
11. Can encourage those around you to do the same
Charity has a knock-on effect. Giving to a good cause can persuade others around you to give too.
12. It can make us feel good
Studies show donating to charity is a stress reliever. It makes you feel good. What’s more, studies show the act of giving itself is not just a feel-good moment. Improved mood, better health and living longer are all connected to giving. Whether it’s in the form of donations or volunteering.
How to teach your child to give back
Giving back involves more than just taking a bag of unwanted toys to the local thrift store. Here are eight tips for teaching your kids how to give back.
1. Explain what donating means
Use everyday examples of giving and donating your kids can relate to. For instance, that time they helped your elderly neighbor bring in the shopping. Point out that these small acts of kindness are examples of donating their time to help others. You can then use this to build on and explain other ways they can give to charity, such as donating through the Giving feature on the GoHenry app.
2. Help your child understand why it's needed
For children to want to help others, they need to understand why help is needed in the first place. This means talking to your kids about why you donate warm blankets to a homeless shelter during winter or why you take food items over to the local food bank. The idea of homelessness or food poverty may still be an abstract concept for many young children. You'll need to explain it in simple terms and then build on their understanding as they get older.
3. Lead by example and donate as a family
The best way for children to learn about giving is by seeing it first-hand. Take them with you when you take unwanted clothes to the local thrift store or put money into charity boxes. Ask them to pick out a few cans of food when you're in the grocery store to save for the food bank. And take part in fundraising events as a family.
It not only sets a good example, but it also creates an opportunity to talk with your kids about the importance and rewards of giving.
4. Volunteer with your child
Volunteering with your child to help a local charity is a good way to give back to the community. It’s also a useful way of getting your kids on board with the concept of giving. Charity and community organizations will always appreciate an extra pair of hands. Whether it’s helping at a fundraising event, serving food at a homeless shelter, or volunteering in a thrift store.
5. Show them the impact
Kids are more likely to respond well to donating to charity if they understand the impact their giving has. Pick out some community projects and take your child along to show them what can happen when people donate their time, money and resources.
For example, do you regularly donate to a local animal shelter? If so, take your child along and ask the staff at the shelter to show you exactly what they do with their donations. That way your children will see first-hand the effect of charitable giving.
6. Encourage your children to choose a charity
Ask your kids to pick a charity your family can donate to. It can be by volunteering your time or giving money or items. Suggest a few charities to your child, explaining what they do, and let them pick one that matters to them. They’re far more likely to want to give up their time if it's for a cause they've chosen and know about.
7. Explain what can be donated
Do some research into what can be donated to your chosen charity. If your child picked a thrift store or hospice shop, find out what they will accept and let the rest of the family know. Most thrift stores will accept clothing and household items that are clean and in good condition.
How to help your children understand the importance of charity
It’s not always easy to get your children to understand the importance of giving and the work charities do. What can help is to point out local and global charities that benefit everyone and use films and books to inspire them.
Here are some examples:
- Charities working on land conservation, preserving wetlands and wooded areas they enjoy playing in.
- Charities working to stop species like rhinos, gorillas and tigers from becoming extinct.
- Charities working to feed and help some of the children they go to school with.
- Charities that raise money to help find a cure for serious illnesses like cancer.
- Picture books like Just Help! How to Build a Better World, which asks the question, ‘Who will you help today?’
- The Lorax movie (Netflix) helps educate children about the environment and explores how we can't just take and give nothing in return.
- Up (Disney) teaches empathy for people different from ourselves. No one is ever too young (or too old) to help someone else.
- Pay It Forwards (Amazon Prime) A young boy develops a plan to pay each good deed forward. Each act of kindness goes on to inspire another.
How can GoHenry help you teach your child about the importance of charity and donating
To help children become responsible givers they need to learn how to manage their own money. Topping up their GoHenry prepaid debit card with their allowance means they can practice making choices around giving, saving and spending. Children can use their GoHenry app to check their balance, track their transactions, and donate.
Using the app's giving feature, our GoHenry community has raised over $30K for the Boys and Girls Club of America (BGCA) in 2022, with kid donations averaging $4.8. Your children can also access Money Missions on the app. Through fun quizzes and interactive games they’ll hone their money management skills. Money Missions covers everything from borrowing and investing to charitable giving.