Charitable giving can be tricky to demonstrate to your kids. If you have money taken out of your check to give to large organized charities in your city, you know it, but your children may not see it. Giving directly to someone in need may not feel safe. However, by mirroring and giving with intention, you can show your children that helping benefits the giver as well as the receiver.
Explain with Empathy
Seeing a homeless person on the street may frighten or confuse your child. Handing them cash may not be safe and can even get you ticketed. However, you can schedule time with your family to create hygiene kits for the homeless and those in need. You will need large sealable plastic bags. Inside, you can include
- a toothbrush and toothpaste
- a bottle of water
- lip balm
- tissues and hygiene wipes
- feminine products
None of these things need to be expensive or high-end, but packing up a few of these bags each weekend and keeping them in your car will mean that you and your children can be on the lookout for people in need.
At the same time, consider asking your children to help you put together bundles for homeless children. Many family shelters and safe houses for families with children are also in need. These bundles can include
- small handheld puzzles and games
- a stuffed animal
- a self-contained art kit
If your children have received a new backpack for the school year, place these items in the old pack or in a tote that the child can take with them. Avoid putting things in a donation bag for a child that will require a lot of space to use.
Give with Respect
One of the keys to any form of charity is to be respectful of the recipients. If your neighbor can no longer mow her lawn, you may model helpful behavior for your children by mowing hers while you are out working on yours. In exchange, she may treat you and your family to some homemade treats.
Nearly everyone can do something for someone else. Giving with respect means that you allow the recipients of your help or charity to give back in some way. The values of a giver must include awareness and respect for the skills, feelings, and abilities of the recipient.
Inch by Inch
One person cannot do it all. A sense of community has been hard to find recently, but by showing your children that others who have gone before have donated or helped, you can promote the wonderful joy of giving as a community. If you belong to a church, consider volunteering to help set up for church fundraisers, yard sales, and other charitable events. You may also put cash in the donation box at your local museum, allow clerks to round up charges at the store for a particular charity, and join in at your local community gardens.
Find the Recipients That Offer the Most Good
It can be frustrating to give to charities that have high overhead, even if they have a wide reach. If you are donating cash, try to give to organizations that have both a strong presence and a low overhead. This will take some research, especially if you are making a large donation to any organization.
Finding reputable car donation charities can be challenging. However, if you can be sure that, no matter what happens to your vehicle, the proceeds will go to a cause important to you, giving up the keys will not be hard.
When giving cash, try to give to designated funds within large organizations. For example, if you want to give cash to an organization with a huge community presence, ask for a checklist so you can designate your funds to the needs that matter most to you.
Of course, charitable giving is just part of charitable living. Life has been very tough for a lot of people in the past few years, and those who have been able to keep their incomes and even put more in savings may choose to share more. If you cannot give money, strive to give time when possible.
By Victoria Smith
Victoria is a freelance writer who specialized in business and finance, with a passion for cooking and wellness. She lives in Austin, TX where she is currently working towards her MBA.