Involving children of all ages in philanthropy

Discover some of the best ways to engage your kids in giving, whether they are 5 or 25.

Want to teach your children the core values of gratitude and generosity? There’s no better way to do that than to get your children involved in giving. The good news is that making giving a family affair will not only create some satisfying time together—it will also make a lasting impression. In fact, Fidelity Charitable donors who learned about giving from their parents are 65 percent more likely to teach their own children to give.

Here are some activities to get kids of all ages involved in giving.

Elementary-age children

Talk about giving.

Telling your children stories about some of the ways that you give back and some of the organizations you support is a great conversation starter and opportunity to explore why you think giving is important.

Provide a three-part “giving allowance” to encourage both saving and giving.

An allowance with equal parts set aside for saving, spending, and giving to charity helps reinforce good saving habits and the value of generosity. Every few months, you can sit down together and choose where the donation goes.

Introduce family rituals such as monthly family volunteer days.

Even relatively young children can help with activities such as park cleanups or sorting food for a can drive. It will be rewarding and fun for all of you to make a difference together.


Teach financial values and literacy.

Financial literacy is an important lesson for all young people, and sound money management skills can help set kids up for future success. Giving has a place in discussions about spending and saving decisions, setting long- and short-term goals, and many other aspects of financial literacy.

Encourage teens to volunteer for and donate to causes they care about.

Volunteering can help teens learn valuable lessons about responsibility and teamwork while meeting new people and engaging in activities they enjoy.

Introduce “discretionary giving” to allow teens to autonomously distribute a portion of the funds you’ve set aside for giving.

Give your teens a budget for giving and let them choose where to direct the funds. This is a great opportunity to have a conversation about whether they want to choose one organization to support and have a greater impact, or several.

College-age and young adults

Expand discretionary giving authority.

Your children have proven that they can be responsible and thoughtful about how they distribute funds. Families with significant giving portfolios may wish to expand the role of their 20-something children in selecting donation amounts and recipients.

Encourage membership on committees at their favorite charities.

Committee membership is a great way to contribute and learn more about an organization and also a wonderful opportunity for young adults to build networks beyond their work and school lives. In addition, committee roles can provide valuable leadership experience.

Encourage pursuit of adjunct/next-gen board membership.

Many nonprofits are looking to refresh their boards by recruiting and cultivating next-gen board members, hoping to tap into fresh ideas and talents that young people can bring.

Continue to engage in conversations about giving.

Make sure you continue to talk about giving and volunteer activities with your young adult children. You may find that these discussions are more valuable and rewarding than ever now that you may have shared passions for certain causes or can simply gain new insights from each other’s experiences as donors and volunteers.

Have you thought of connecting with like-minded donors?

Discover the rewards of joining a giving community.

About Fidelity Charitable

We're one of the largest grant makers in the country, and our mission is to grow the American tradition of philanthropy by providing programs that make charitable giving accessible, simple, and effective.