We’ve all given to a charity, but think about it: Typically those
checks get written at our desk, out of view of our children or
grandchildren. This month, begin a conversation with these children
about the value of sharing part of our good fortune with others – no
matter how much or how little your family has to donate. Teaching
children about giving makes them rich with compassion and a sense of
community responsibility, and begins a thread of generosity and
kindness that can extend for generations.
Jenny Friedman, Executive Director
||Get into the "giving box" groove
Make a Difference... Begin a family tradition
of giving by designing your own “giving box” to collect your family’s
charitable donations. Use an empty shoebox or coffee can, decorate it,
make a slit in the top, and place it on your kitchen counter or living
Photo: A traditional giving box
||Have a conversation about how and where to donate
Talk About It ... ...
Discuss how your family will use the “giving box” to begin a habit of
When will you place money in your giving box? One family we
know feeds the box each time something wonderful happens to them, as a
way of spreading the joy. Others put in loose change. Or each family
member can give up one luxury (your morning latte?) each week and
donate the money to the box instead. Maybe you all decide to simply
donate a portion of your “allowance” each week.
Decide together where to donate the money. If children are
young, just provide a few choices and take a vote. Older children can
help research charities that support their interests and passions.
When the box is full, count the money and have your children
help write the check.
Talk about how the recipients might feel and the difference
your donation will make.
Learn About It ...
For more ideas on how to involve your family in charitable giving, read
Susan Crites Price’s The Giving Family: Raising Our Children to
Help Others. Crites offers a variety of ways to foster philanthropy
in children. Other books on giving and serving for children and adults
are listed on our website under
||How Much Should You Give?
What's the average? The average American gives about
3.1% of their income (before taxes) to charity, an increase from
previous years but still well below the traditional 10% "tithe" for
charity recommended by religious institutions.
Who gives the most? The people who give the most
actually make the least. Households earning under $10,000 a year – far
below the poverty line – gave 5.2% of their income to charity. That's a
larger percentage of their money than any other income group.
What's the bottom line? The average household donates
$1,620 each year. That's just $3 a day.
You make the difference: Did you know that if you
count up all the money charities receive, 75% of it comes from
individuals? If we all give our fair share, no one will go hungry and
no child will grow up in poverty.
Sound idealistic? Everything depends on how we spend our
||One Family's Story
“For our family it’s always been important to look at those
who are in need and do what we can to help,” says D’Anne Briggs, a
mother of four children, ages 6 to 12. “It’s just something that we
weave into our lives.”
Briggs and her 12-year-old daughter, Courtney, did just that
last month when they traveled to Santa Ana, El Salvador, to visit an
orphanage with 431 children sponsored by a national nonprofit
organization, Friends of the Orphans, where Briggs is a board member.
They took supplies they’d collected to donate – including underwear,
socks and enough books to start a small library – and spent their days
playing with the children, learning about the culture and traditions of
El Salvador and planning future mission trips for the organization
Photo: Courtney and D’Anne Briggs
||News From DGT
If you know a civic group or service organization that is
interested in finding out more about family service and Doing Good
Together, please let us know. We offer a presentation that highlights
the multiple benefits of family volunteering and the tools Doing Good
Together has developed to encourage families to serve others.
Contact us to learn more.