MAKE A DIFFERENCE DAY
Can the impact of one day make a difference to children’s attitudes towards charitable giving for the rest of their lives? Research suggests yes it can, however teaching children to make charitable giving a habitual activity is an ongoing process. A 2013 study for the United Nations Foundation* concluded that talking to children is the most effective strategy to encourage them to give to charity. In comparison, parental role modelling did not have significant impact on children’s giving behaviour. Put simply, parents may put money in donation tins or sort out stuff for charity shops but this doesn’t help kids understand what charity is.
Through adopting a few mindful activities children can play an important role in supporting charities. FARA makes school visits to give presentations explaining FARA’s mission and how pupils can help. FARA was delighted to be invited to Thomas’ School in Battersea on 19th June (FARA’s fourth year supporting Thomas’ Schools.) The whole school kindly brought in donations. A class of 8 year olds were given the presentation and three 12 year olds volunteered in the FARA Battersea shop.
So how does FARA hope to make a difference:
• By inspiring empathy – asking how it would feel if there was no one to care for you or if you didn’t have the things needed to thrive and reach your full potential.
• By explaining why solutions to the problems of need are not simple – if a child needs food or shoes it is not always the answer for charities to send these to them. Part of the bigger solution is to help support a countries economy by buying items locally.
• By teaching kids how to donate wisely to charity shops – explaining how FARA makes the most of every donation by asking people to give items of re-sellable quality (one good book or an out-grown t-shirt is better than a whole bag of games with missing pieces which FARA has to then dispose of.)
• By sharing the fact that giving to charity shops prevents clothing equivalent to the weight of 40,000 elephants from going into landfills every year. Recycle, reuse and re sell helps towards the sustainability of resources in the future.
• By showing that kids can be ethical consumers by making good choices to spend their pocket money in charity shops where toys and books can be bought and where clothes can be sought more cheaply than the high street & individual looks can be created!
• By doing a good deed through helping out which is a lot fun as well. Pupils at Thomas’ School happily gave up their break time to help carry on sorting donations as they were enjoying it so much!
“I believe that children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.”**
They are our future philanthropists, conscientious consumers, our future supporters, donors, customers and staff. The ones who will make a difference for generations to come.
*Written and researched by Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
**Whitney Houston, The Greatest Love Of All