FINANCIAL BRIEFS from Comerica Bank Teaching kids the value of charitable giving

Donating to charity is an important way to give back to those less fortunate. And, it’s important to teach kids early on the value of charitable giving.
“The holiday season is a great time to teach your children the invaluable lesson of helping those in need,” says Irv Ashford, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs with Comerica Bank. “Whether it’s making a monetary donation to a charity, providing toys or used clothing or donating your time at a soup kitchen, there are many ways to help.”
Ashford offers the following tips on ways to involve your child in the charitable giving process.
Get your child interested. Teaching your child early on the importance of donating is key. Giving them praise and explaining how good it is to help others will get them excited about giving. Even if times are tough, you can give a gently used toy or clothing your child has outgrown to another child that needs it. Volunteering is another way to help others, and a great opportunity for children to see the value of charitable giving first hand. You can bring them along to help in a soup kitchen or even participate in an event sponsored by a non-profit organization.”
“Make sure you involve your child in the donation so they see where everything is going,” says Ashford. “If you are donating to an angel tree, bring them with you to place the gift there, or at the mall, let them put loose change into the Salvation Army bucket. They’ll feel good about it and will want to be more involved in future donations.”
Communicate with your kids. “Children often mimic the activities and behavior of their parents or an older sibling,” Ashford explains. This means it’s a good idea to involve them in any volunteer work you do. This helps them understand the importance of giving your time and energy to others, and may also make little ones more likely to want to help out too. Be sure to explain what you’re doing and why, and how their work can help others not only during the holiday season but throughout the whole year.
Money and charitable giving. If your child has an allowance, encourage them to give a small portion to a charity of their choice. Have them put aside a set amount each week and bring them to the charity the money is going to so they can see how their money will be used. It’s important to tell your child where their money is going and why, and also to help them create a mini budget plan. “Charitable giving is a great way to teach your children how to become good financial stewards,” Ashford says.
Charitable giving as an educational tool. Lots of learning takes place outside of the classroom, and there’s no reason why you can’t reinforce some skills kids learn at school through charitable giving opportunities. Ashford explains that children will boost their math skills while trying to budget their money and reading comprehension skills if you let them research and learn about different charities. If they’re old enough to volunteer, this can further teach them about time management as well.
The holiday season is a great time to show children how to give and be unselfish. As you might be preparing to spend time with loved ones, put aside a few hours per week with your kids to help others. If your kids are younger, encourage them to go through their toys and clothes and set time aside to sort out what they need and what they have outgrown. This will further teach them to be giving and to remember others even at the most family-centric time of year.
For more information, contact Kristin Arena at or 214.871.7723.