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This post was in partnership with Lurie Children’s Foundation of Chicago, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board.

Philanthropy as a Family: How to Get Involved and Teach the Importance of Giving Back

family fundraising"
family fundraising
Source: Canva
Source: Canva

As a mother, nothing brings me more joy than witnessing the magic of the holidays through my children’s eyes. Writing candy-cane-smeared letters to Santa, earnestly sharing their wish list while sitting atop his lap, and sprinting down the stairs on Christmas morning to tear open the presents he left under the tree—these are all heart-warming occasions that are sure to become fixtures in their childhood memories. But with such a heavy emphasis on material things, it’s also a time for teaching my kids the importance of giving back.

My number one hope for my children is that they grow up to be kind, compassionate, and generous humans. Since these traits aren’t necessarily innate, the best way to teach them is by getting them involved in charitable activities. Thankfully, our long-standing partners at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago offer a multitude of opportunities for giving back to the local families they support. As one of Chicago’s leading medical centers and children’s charities, they are a true champion of children’s health. This season, they are making it easier than ever to get children involved in philanthropy, whether it’s through donating toys and gifts, volunteering at events, or fundraising.

Though I realize, as a busy working parent, it can be overwhelming to figure out the logistics of organizing a fundraiser, Lurie Children’s makes it easy to set one up using their online fundraiser builder. Plus, their website is full of creative ideas and inspiration to help you customize your fundraiser according to your own cause and community. By teaching my kids how they can support other children—including those who may have to spend the holidays in the hospital—fundraising offers them the valuable insight that not everyone’s holiday experience is the same as theirs and hopefully instills a greater sense of gratitude for what they are fortunate to have.

In case you’re in need of inspo on how to get your kiddos more involved in philanthropy, here’s what I’m doing to get my own children more engaged in our fundraising efforts and excited about giving back this season.

Let them choose a fundraiser theme

One of the best parts about using Lurie Children’s online fundraiser builder is that it allows you to choose whatever type of campaign you want. From cook-offs and candy sales to talent shows and toy drives, there’s no shortage of themes to choose from. I’ve realized that the best way to get my kiddos more actively engaged in a fundraiser is by letting them lean into their own interests and choose something that personally motivates them. In our house, my kids really enjoy playing games like holiday bingo, so hosting a virtual game night would be right up their alley. We’re also a crafty family, so something like an arts and crafts fair would be a theme that aligns with their interests.

two kids doing arts and crafts
Source: Artem Podrez / Pexels

Help them establish an emotional connection

When they’re young, it’s hard for kids to fully grasp the concept of a fundraiser, and it’s only natural to want to shield them from anything that could potentially upset them. But I’ve found that taking the time to explain the meaning behind the fundraiser and even showing them pictures and videos of the children they’re supporting at Lurie Children’s, helps them connect to the cause on a more emotional level. This way, they’re able to see that there are real children who need their help, and the fundraiser is not just some abstract idea anymore.

Teach them to set aside their own money

While fundraising teaches kids how to raise money from their community, it’s also a wonderful opportunity for them to learn how to set aside portions of their own money to donate as well. Whether it’s their allowance, birthday/holiday money, or even just spare change, I encourage my kids to divide their money into three different piggy banks labeled: spend, save, and share. Usually, they’ll put half of their money into the spend jar, and divide the other half equally between the save and share jars. By teaching them to allocate some of their funds towards donations, it helps to foster a mindset of generosity.

little boy putting money into piggy bank
Source: Oleksandr P / Pexels

Celebrate their impact

There’s nothing wrong with a little humility, but whenever you receive any thank you notes or messages, or when you happen to hit any fundraising goals, share them with your child and tell them how proud you are of their accomplishments. Show pictures to them of the people and places they’ve helped. When they are able to see the positive impact their efforts have had on others, it will make them feel appreciated and will motivate them to carry on in their philanthropy.

Make fundraising a family holiday tradition

Turning a fundraiser into an annual event that the whole family participates in gives kids something to look forward to each year, and it shifts their focus during the holiday season from “me, me, me” to “how can I help others.” So whether that looks like a yearly cookie-baking marathon that ends in a bake sale or perhaps something less messy like hosting a read-a-thon, the important thing is that you come together as a family in the true spirit of giving to others.

Lurie Children's Foundation logo

This post was in partnership with Lurie Children’s Foundation of Chicago, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board.