home about us glossary media site map

The Give Bank: Help others

Explain sharing

I feel good sharing what I have with others. For many families, giving is as important as saving. If that’s your philosophy, begin early explaining that a certain amount of your child’s money should be set aside to help people.

Investigate your options

Who decides? The whole family can pool its money and give to a single or a few agreed-upon causes. If so, the family should meet and decide together, weighing the pros and cons of the various organizations. A child might want to give toys to other children through programs like “Toys for Tots.” In most cases, giving is a very individual thing. A child who has lost a grandparent to a disease may decide to support the search for a cure. If so, help your child find a reputable organization that supports such research. One place to start is at the Better Business Bureau’s website, www.bbb.org.

Celebrate generosity

Recognize the donation as an accomplishment. When the child has enough money saved to make a donation, turn that donation into an event. Carefully count out the money, and then write a check to the organization. You and your child should mail the check together and talk about it at the dinner table and with friends.

Send the message

Talk about helping others. Whenever you can, make the point that we all help each other. Show it in small ways. For example, ask your child to move an elderly neighbor’s newspaper off the lawn onto her porch as your child passes the house on the way to school. Work from very local events to more national/international ways that families help others.

Help your child plan

Set your giving goal. How much to give? Kids with generous allowances and not many expenses can afford to give more. If the allowance is used to pay many or most of the child’s expenses, then the child might give less money but give his/her time instead – volunteering.

Illustrate the point

Add it up. Help your child understand how a little donation grows. If your child gives 50¢ a week, at the end of 6 months, he or she will have $13 to donate. Count out the coins to make your point.

Decorate the bank

Stay focused. Decorate the bank with pictures of a cause that your child wants to give to.

More info

To learn more about types of investment and the risks they pose, go to Giving under the Fun for Kids Tab.