Thoughtful Charity

I want my daughters to be generous adults. But I want them to be purposeful in their giving rather than giving mindlessly or out of guilt.

Please allow me to tell you the story of what I attempted when they were in their teens. It was just after Christmas and my husband and I wanted to give a sizeable (for us) donation to a charity.  We invited them to select the charity to which we sent the money. Fortunately, they took us seriously and put thought and effort into the decision.

We started by looking at how philanthropists make decisions for grants. They generally chose a specific cause such as providing shade for playgrounds or scholarships for students who fit certain criteria. So, we asked what was most important to them. What is their passion?  That’s a difficult question to answer, especially when a teenager. Often we don’t give this question much thought when deciding which charity to support. So, we started paging through the gift catalogs that many charities such as World Vision distribute close to the holidays. We happened to have a few in the house but they are also available online. There were options relating to animals, housing, medical needs, education and more. There was also a range in costs from a few dollars for a chick for a family to building a home in a country devastated by natural disaster.

An additional benefit we enjoyed was the conversation with our daughters as we weighed the options. These same girls who gave one syllable responses to any question about their school day began to weigh the values of each program. It gave us insight into their developing personalities.

What did they choose? They wanted to give to a program that helped young girls recover after being used in the sex trade industry. It was a wise choice. I continue to be proud of my girls and pray they will continue to think of others and be a blessing to others less fortunate than they.

Want to see how the charity you are thinking of donating to rates as far as how much of your donation actually goes to helping those in need? Check out Charity Navigator.

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