Kids Giving

$1 bills stacked around the dining room table last night at the Powell home meant one thing:  it was time for allowance. 

We don’t always do allowance with our kids very well.  We are usually a few months behind.  And I’m not convinced our youngest, at age seven, really gets the meaning behind the three “Save, Serve, and Spend” envelopes each of our kids has as their own personal “bank”.

After reading a recent study by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University and the United Nations Foundation, I’m feeling like it’s time to turn a few clicks on the “Intentionality Dial” of our family allowance practices.  Using data from a study of 903 American children from age 8 to 19, researchers found:

  • Nine out of ten give money (sometimes mere pennies) to charity.
  • Giving rates among boys and girls are the same, but girls are much more likely to volunteer (49% of girls had given their time at least once compared with 39% of boys).
  • Children whose parents talk to them about giving are 20% more likely to give than those whose parents don’t.

In an era in which online giving (which our family loves!) means that children rarely see parents put checks or cash in the offering plates, it’s all the more important for parents to talk with their kids about money.  Keeping in mind your child’s development and age, you might want to think about:

  • Setting up some sort of “account” (even if it’s an envelope in the dining room, as with our family) that allows your child to choose where they give their money.
  • Talking with your kids about the ministry organizations that you serve (you do not need to give specific amounts).
  • Reading prayer letters or visiting websites with your children about the ministries or causes that you support.
  • Praying together for the leaders and charities that you support.
  • Discussing what else you and your family can donate, besides finances, such as your time or your talents. 

How else do you try to involve young people in the spirit of giving?