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Talking Charity Most Effective Way to Get Children to Give


19 September 2013 at 11:00 am
Staff Reporter
Conversations between parents and children about charitable giving significantly increases the likelihood that those children will give to charity, a new study from the US Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University School of Philanthropy has revealed.

Staff Reporter | 19 September 2013 at 11:00 am


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Talking Charity Most Effective Way to Get Children to Give
19 September 2013 at 11:00 am

Conversations between parents and children about charitable giving significantly increases the likelihood that those children will give to charity, a new study from the US Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Family School of Philanthropy has revealed.

The Women Give 2013 study, among the first to analyse and compare what parents can do to encourage their children’s charitable behaviour, found talking to children about giving makes them 20 per cent more likely to give to charity than children whose parents don’t talk to them about giving. The finding held true regardless of the child’s sex, age, race and family income.

The IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy study found that role-modelling, defined as parents giving to charity, alone does not appear to be as effective as talking to children about giving.

“This research provides a clear, effective path for parents who want to encourage their children to be generous and caring,” Women’s Philanthropy Institute director Debra J. Mesch said.

“The way parents teach their children about giving matters. Talking to children about charity is effective across all types of US households, pointing the way to raising future philanthropists.”

Parents who want to raise charitable children should talk intentionally with them about their own philanthropic values and practices throughout childhood and adolescence in addition to role-modelling, the study said.

The study also investigated whether girls and boys participate differently in giving and volunteering, expanding the Women’s Philanthropy Institute’s exploration of how gender affects charitable giving. It follows the same 903 children over two time periods, 2002-2003 and 2007-2008.

Children are philanthropic, according to the study. Nearly nine out of 10 US children, ages eight to 19, give to charity.

The study also found that girls and boys are equally likely to make monetary gifts to charity; however, girls are more likely than boys to volunteer, a pattern that continues into adulthood.

“Understanding how children learn about charity has important implications for the future of giving in America. Studies like this benefit parents, teachers, nonprofit leaders and policy makers as they seek to engage the next generation in philanthropy,” IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy Research Director Una Osili said.

The United Nations Foundation partnered with the Women’s Philanthropy Institute on Women Give 2013.  

“This study confirms what we at the UN Foundation view as one of the most powerful trends of our time: Young people are a force for positive change in the world. From grade school students raising money to fight malaria to teenage girls advocating against child marriage, today’s young people aren’t waiting to make a difference – they’re doing it now,” UN Foundation President and CEO Kathy Calvin said.

Women Give 2013 is the fourth in a series of research reports conducted at the Women’s Philanthropy Institute that focuses on gender differences in giving.

The view the Women Give 2013 report click here.


Staff Reporter  |  Journalist  |  @ProBonoNews


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