Engaging Youth in Citizen Philanthropy: A Grade 5 Class Giving Project

October 16, 2012 benevity

Encouraging young people to actively participate in philanthropy and social good programs is key to solving the world’s social issues (it’s also pretty helpful for the brands that promote it!). Have you ever thought of using your company’s giving program to kickstart youth in a lifelong passion for giving back? We know someone who did…

A Grade 5 Giving Project

Last spring, Bryan de Lottinville was looking for a way to bring the idea of giving back more tangibly to his daughter’s class in Social Studies. Using the functionality of Benevity’s giving software (did we mention that Bryan is the founder and CEO of Benevity?), he empowered each student in the Grade 5 class to make a difference to a cause that matters to them. With a few clicks and a payroll deduction, each child in the class received a $50 charitable gift card to donate to a charity of their choice.

Students were encouraged to choose their own special charity interest and, at the same time, become more aware of the process of choosing how to give back intelligently. By interacting with their parents, students researched their chosen charity organization to better understand their cause. After putting in the research, the students generated a report and made an oral presentation on which cause they’d chosen and why.

The presentations were judged by a panel consisting of students, teachers and parents and the winning presentation received an additional $500 donation gift card to direct to their charity of choice, as well as an opportunity for their class to go on a site visit to the selected charity. There was even corporate matching by a Benevity client for the donations, which doubled the impact!

In the course of the presentations, the class not only was exposed to philanthropy and community action issues, they practiced and utilized their research, advocacy and presentation skills. The kids grew to realize that some of their emotional reasons for wanting to help certain causes weren’t as compelling as the intellectual reasons of others, and that some charities had more effective measures of success than others (and they weren’t necessarily all about administration costs!). The program was so engaging and successful that they are doing it school-wide this year and have a corporate sponsor to finance the charitable gift cards!

A simple idea with sophisticated and powerful outcomes. Isn’t that what we’re all after with corporate giving programs?

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