How to Teach Your Kids About Giving and Donating

Every season is giving season and it’s important to teach your kids the importance of giving to others and worthy causes. How we understand and view money as adults often starts with experienced from childhood.

When you teach kids about giving and donating at an early age, it helps them become more generous with money and manage their finances better overall later on. Luckily, you don’t need a lot of cash to start instilling these basic principles. Here are a few simple ways to teach your kids about giving and donating.

Start By Donating Time and Resources

You don’t always have to give money as a way to be generous and help others. Encourage your kids to start by giving their time and resources to others who are in need. Explore some of the age appropriate things you can do. This includes making cards for nursing home residents or baking cookies for the local fire department with younger kids.

Older kids may be able to rake leaves for a neighbor or walk someone’s dog. Since my son is in middle school now, we’ve been exploring local charities he can volunteer with to help with small tasks in the community under adult supervision and guidance.

You can also make this a family activity. For example, my husband plans to volunteer with our son once a month. Or, you may want to consider gathering a group and packing meals for people overseas through an organization called Feed My Starting Children.

Consider Giving an Allowance

I know some parents may be against giving their kids an allowance, but this could be a great opportunity to teach your child about money. My husband and I chose to give our son an allowance so he can learn more about spending, saving, and making other financial decisions. If he doesn’t have any money ever in his possession, it’s just harder (not impossible) to teach kids about giving and donating.

In our household, allowance is earned and not guaranteed. Also, allowance can be reduced due to bad behavior or not completing chores around the house. When my son was younger, we used to divide his allowance up into three main categories: spend, save, and give.

This taught him that all the money he receives should not be spent. This is the easiest way to go broke as an adult to get sucked into the paycheck to paycheck cycle. Instead, it’s important to save a portion of your money, and give back to the community in some way and we allowed him to choose a cause he cared about. Sometimes, it was just him giving money to offering at church, but regardless, it’s been a great lesson on giving and donating.

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Match Their Contributions

Another fun and meaningful way to teach your kids about giving and donating is to match their contributions. Help them research an organization or charity they care about. Talk to them about their interest and what to look for such as how the organization collects and uses money. You can help them narrow down local projects, or even large nationwide or international organizations.

Then, pledge to match whatever they donate every 6 to 12 months. This is also a great way to put your money where your mouth is. One of the best ways to encourage kids is to practice what you preach. If they see you giving back and managing your money well, it will motivate them to do the same.

Even if you choose not to give your kids an allowance, you can still make charitable contributions. Allow your kids to become part of this process by sharing what you’re doing and why.

Share the Impact of Their Giving

Finally, be sure to show your child the impact of their giving. This is where it can get really exciting. Giving always makes an impact and a difference whether large or small. If you helped your child donate to an organization, be sure to share with them something helpful that was accomplished that year thanks in part, to their donations.

For example, maybe your child is passionate about ending homelessness and you’ve donated to a shelter. It would be great to communicate an event the shelter hosted to help the community or some other accomplishment.

One thing my family started doing about two years ago is donating to an organization called Food For the Hungry. This is an international organization and our family was matched with a child that we help support for just $45 per month. What’s great is that we receive tons of information about the child and her family. Then, we can send letters and pictures via email if we want to. This is a great way for my son to actually see the impact of our giving and establish a personal connection to being generous to others.


You’ll never regret the effort you made to teach your kids about giving and donating. I’m a firm believer that giving actually helps you earn and save more money since it shifts your mindset from scarcity to abundance. If you’re able to give, it tells your mind that you do in fact have enough and understand the impact of your giving.

We can always earn more money and make wiser decisions with our finances. Giving is one of the best ways to reiterate this while also helping those in need.