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National Philanthropy Day: How to Give Back for an Awe-inspiring Month


Philanthropy is an easy thing to introduce and teach kids from an early age.  With National Philanthropy Day coming up, this is the perfect opportunity to get your whole family involved and give back together.  Often philanthropy comes to mind around the holidays as a way to give back to the community and this is a great kick-off to get the holiday spirit going. Plus it is a great opportunity to teach your little ones about philanthropy and what every one of all ages can do to give back.

What is National Philanthropy Day

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National Philanthropy Day is recognized on November 15, which is the perfect time right before the insanity of the holidays begins.  The goal of this day is twofold – to raise awareness of the importance of philanthropy and encourage those who have not yet been involved in philanthropy to give back.  In addition to this, it also acknowledges those who have dedicated time, energy, and monetary funds to help their communities and fellow humans.  

This day was originally thought up and then organized by Douglas Freeman in the mid-1980s.  It was first officially celebrated in 1986 after President Ronald Reagan proclaimed November 15th to be National Philanthropy Day.  The first National Philanthropy Day awards luncheon was held that year in cities across the country and all over the globe every year since.  

It has given communities the chance to host events that celebrate and recognize the achievements of donors, volunteers, foundations, leaders, corporations, and others engaged in philanthropy.  One simple act has been able to bring awareness to the table and open the door for others to give back.  It shows others what philanthropy can do for the world and it also helps bring light to many organizations that can use all the help they can get.

Read More: Raising Kids With an Attitude of Gratitude

Involving Kids in Philanthropy 

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Learning to give back should start at an early age, and this does not always mean a monetary contribution.  Even better to teach children early on that to give back is more than just money, not everyone has the extra funds to give, but at the end of the day, everyone has something they can give.  This can be time, a homemade item, or even donations that they have grown out of.  Showing kids that giving back and how philanthropy should first come from the heart is the best way to show them.

It is easy for toddlers through early elementary age kids to make cards to send to troops overseas, or baskets for children recovering in the hospital or go through your home and together find items that can be donated.  This is especially helpful at this time of year before the holidays hit and we can all use a little purge before more gifts are in the house.  Ideally, you can find things to part with and donate so they understand they are not the only ones giving items up (as that is how they may see it in their minds).

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For older children, you can donate your time at the local food bank helping hand out meals, at a children’s center reading or playing with kids, or lending a helping hand at the animal shelter.  If you are grocery shopping and there is a donation box, it is easy to show them that the change you got from your purchase can go a lot further to someone else.  An easy way they can be involved and give back is by literally putting the money in the donation box.

Most nonprofits are more than happy to take any donations around the holidays especially since some families may not even be able to have a special meal for Thanksgiving or presents around the tree for Christmas.  You can easily reach out to your favorite local nonprofits and they will happily give you a list of items they need.  Take your older children with you to go shopping and you all might be in for a surprise as you want to pick out the fun toys for others, but realize what they really need are basic home items from sheets and towels to a coffee maker and baby monitor.

Read More: Chore List by Age: Easy Ways to Assign Family Chores to Kids as Young As 2

Philanthropy Ideas to Give Back That Don’t Involve Your Checkbook 

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When you think about philanthropy, you may first think of the big nonprofits out there such as Red Cross or Ronald McDonald House, but your local community most likely has many, smaller although just as impactful organizations that you can give back to.  Here are the best ways to give back on a local and national level.

Make friends at the animal shelter-Do you know that animals that have had more human interaction have a better chance of being adopted soon and finding their forever home?  Dogs especially are similar to humans and just like us they need that human interaction.  Most shelters are happy to have as many volunteers as possible as their bottom line is very thin.

Have a garage sale-Then donate all the proceeds to a local non-profit of your choice, easy way to clean out your house and give back.  Even if you only raise a couple of hundred dollars that goes further than you think to those in need.  You can get your kids involved and do a major purge of the house while you are at it.  Donate any items that did sell to a local shelter.  

Share your skills-Maybe you love to paint, or you have mastered all the voices while reading stories, or just have the gift of gab and can keep folks company.  Regardless of your skills, a set of extra hands is always useful, and if you have the skill to share even better.  

Organize local clean up-From beaches and parks to downtown areas, there is always trash lying around.  Set up a community-organized clean-up for a couple of hours on a Saturday morning, get as many people involved as you can, and if you can have a local coffee shop or bakery offer to donate coffee and other breakfast treats for the crew. To give back, doesn’t just mean giving something, it can also be giving to your local community by keeping it clean.

Clean out your pantry-Get rid of any canned or dry goods that are not expired, but you no longer want and donate to the local food pantry. Not only do you get a chance to get rid of items you will also be able to give back.

You can also check out Volunteer Match, which helps set folks up with the perfect volunteer opportunity in their community. No matter how you decide to give back, someone or something can benefit from the time you are willing to give!

Read More: Charitable Donations During A Pandemic: Here’s How To Make A Difference

If you want to give back, all you need is time that you are willing to donate. You can also give back by donating items, money, or other services. This season, instead of thinking about what you want under the tree, think about what you can give back to make others’ lives a little bit brighter this year. By involving your kids and family you will be teaching lessons that go long past this season and help strengthen your community at the same time!

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Photo Credits: Unsplash, Pexles

Sources: Daysoftheyear


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I am a father of three and my wife is a registered nurse specialized in children.

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