Charitable giving opportunities are a great way to teach your children about philanthropy.

All parents want their children to grow up to be respectful, courteous and compassionate toward others. Getting them interested in giving is one way to help set them on that path.

And remember, giving doesn’t only involve financial donations.

Volunteering your time and talents will make a meaningful difference as well.

Henry Moore, a wealth advisor for Regions Private Wealth Management in Montgomery, Alabama, shares some tips he gives clients:

1. Choose charitable organizations that resonate with the whole family.

Discuss each family member’s interests and determine one or two common elements. Then research age-appropriate volunteer opportunities, and narrow the list from there.

Once you determine an organization or cause, discuss how each family member can volunteer and whether you can use family celebrations like birthdays to request donations in lieu of gifts.

“Many charities across Central Alabama survive because of the volunteers that serve them. Doing these activities together will also bring you closer as a family. Search your favorite charity’s website for kid or teen experiences,” Moore says.

2. Your child’s age can help you determine the best forms of charitable support.

Age is important to consider, Moore says, because younger children may not feel connected to a particular organization and might feel bored if they don’t fully understand what’s going on or how their service helps others.

“For younger kids, sponsor a family at a local homeless shelter with children around the same age as your own. Have your children assist with the items to buy, and have them help wrap and deliver the gifts,” Moore says. “That helps younger children empathize with others just like them.”

For older children, mission trips can be great. “Teenagers are at a perfect age for mission-oriented trips that provide a safe environment for an eye-opening experience,” Moore says. “Several opportunities through religious and cultural organizations are available to help teens understand the importance of lending a helping hand.”

3. Make Charitable Giving a Family Tradition

“Participating in awareness runs or walks is a great way to have a fun, recurring family event,” Moore says.

4. Give Your Children Input

“Ultimately, your children will see what you do and mirror that. If you want to get them into volunteering, there is no better way than to lead by example,” Moore says.

Once the groundwork is laid, children seem to find what they’re passionate about. It may be similar to what you’re passionate about, or it may be different. The key is to let them decide – and support them.

Getting your children excited about philanthropic work doesn’t need to be complicated. A simple conversation about helping people and volunteering as a family will show your children that it’s important to you — and will eventually become just as important to them.

 

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This article was originally published in Montgomery Business Journal.