Typically, when parents hear “allowance”, parents think “spending”.
In the worst case, allowances fuel more spending. Thoughtless parents unconditionally shower bloated sums on their entitled kids who rush out to satisfy their “wants” on the latest consumer-driven fads. Instant gratification. Profligate spending. Ugh.
In the best case, allowances constrain spending. Modest sums are saved week after week by patient kids who deliberate over their eventual purchases, weighing the pros and cons of each. Delayed gratification. Disciplined spending. Good stuff!
But there’s another word I wish allowance would more readily evoke: “giving”. Allowance can be a great tool for introducing your kids to philanthropy, and cementing a lifelong habit of charitable giving. Here’s how you can get started today:
Pick a giving goal. Sit down with your child and pick a charitable giving goal that matches her interests and means. Need some ideas?
- I’ve written about DonorsChoose before here. Your kids can help students in need by helping to fund projects posted by public school teachers across America.
- Lots of FamZoo families recommend the microfinance non-profit Kiva. Individuals can lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.
- Our kids recently pooled their charitable account funds and made a donation to Sandy storm victims via the Red Cross.
- In Mark Hurst’s 2013 Gift Guide, I read about a more personal way to reach out to Sandy victims through the organization Family-to-Family.
Want more ideas? Check out pick #1 below.
Make a fund-raising plan. Help your child work out a gameplan to raise the funds for the donation. Here are a few ideas to mix ’n match: set aside a portion of allowance, tackle some odd jobs, hold a fund-raising event, or convince mom or dad to kick in some matching funds.
Track progress. Review progress each week with your child. Fine tune the plan along the way if things are getting off track.
Create a memorable giving moment. When your child donates her own hard-earned money to a cause, it invariably creates a strong sense of fulfillment and pride. It’s a powerful moment. Reinforce it. See picks #2 and #3 below for two recent examples of memorable giving stories involving young philanthropists.
#GivingTuesday™ is a campaign to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations.
I love this story about a 4th grade girl’s generosity with her allowance.Discuss on FaceBook.
When used properly, allowance can be a great tool for helping kids make a habit out of both disciplined spending and thoughtful giving.
Good luck and happy giving!
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