The Charity Talk


A few weeks ago my son asked me if I could donate money for something at school . . . 

By the way, anyone feel like you get this question at least once a month from your kids these days?

I don’t have anything against charities, supporting them, or helping our children learn the importance of giving back. However, I do feel a bit bombarded at every turn; the grocery stores, some regular stores, emails from friends/companies that have my email, and schools.

Anyhow, going back to my son: I asked him if he really believed in the cause. He said that it sounded good, but mostly he just felt pressured to show up with a donation. He didn’t want to be the only kid who didn’t donate.

How many adults can relate to this? When the cashier asks if you love puppies enough to donate, and you get the sense that the line of humans behind you are just waiting to judge your reply?

So I saw it was finally time to have the talk. The charity talk, that is.

I told him that it’s important to spend your money wisely. Just because something sounds good, doesn’t mean they are responsible with the money you give.

It is more meaningful to donate to a cause you really believe in, and that is ethical enough to do what they say they’ll do with your money.

I offered to help him research charities. And when we found one that was ethical and worked for a cause he believed in, we could set up a monthly contribution.

Let’s face it, a one-time donation can make us feel and look good, and certainly has its place on occasion. But that’s not the point of charity. At least not the way I was brought up.

The point is to do it anonymously and on a regular basis. Where you allocate a percentage of your money, as you do for car, house, food, towards helping those in need.

Where no one knows if you donate $20, hundreds, or thousands a year, because you don’t need recognition.

You give to help others. Not to elevate your image, or “fit in.”

Another thing I mentioned was how special it is when people donate their time and gifts; another way to show love to others.

What was interesting is that it turned out that the charity he was talking about, for every $1 you donate, only gives $0.40 to the people they advertise to help. The rest goes to research (30%) and administration/ marketing (30%).

We found they didn’t even fulfill the minimum requirements from the BBB charities site.

But then we found a few charities he liked and were ethical. Obviously, he won’t be donating a huge amount. But at least he is giving on a regular basis. Those charities will be able to count on his donation. And my hope is he will increase his donations as he grows and earns more money.

Now that he gives according to his values – even if it is in a small way – he can be confident that he is doing his part, and manage his money with grace – not guilt or shame.

At least that’s the plan…

Here’s to raising good stewards of the blessings and gifts given to us!

How do you teach your kids about charity and giving to those less fortunate?


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