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Making Realistic Commitments

To Do ListHave you ever found yourself in a position where you’ve ‘bitten off a bit more than you can chew?’ We’re all probably guilty of it – from making commitments we simply cannot keep to burning-out, losing interest or all-out giving up. Whatever the reason, not following through with a commitment is disappointing and can discourage you from trying again in the future.

When introducing your family to giving, it’s important to successfully meet your obligations and your expectations. If you do both, you’re more likely to create a positive experience that will motivate your family to ask for more.

When planning your next volunteer opportunity or financial contribution include these considerations:

  1. Consider your time. If you have kids, you have a crazy schedule. Throw in ballet, soccer, choir and school … Before you add another project consider the time requirements of all your commitments, including volunteering. As a family, review your schedules, make priorities and be realistic about what your family is able to bite off. Although no one has the exclusive rights to busy, families certainly have a lion’s share!
  2. Consider your financial obligations. As we’ve discussed, financial giving typically involves planning. Regardless of your method, setting realistic goals for saving, spending and sharing will help you achieve your objectives.
  3. Consider your family’s interests. When attempting to interest your children in a new project, it often helps if they find it interesting. Your interests may not mirror your children’s interests, so when supporting a cause or organization as a family, decide together who you’re going to help and be sure everyone’s on board. Consider rotating your commitments to expose your family to different service opportunities and to keep your efforts fresh and interesting.
  4. Consider your family’s abilities. What are your children  able to offer and what are they capable of doing? What project will provide them with an experience to grow and learn while they’re helping others?  When you research opportunities and, before you commit, consider a discussion with volunteer leaders so you understand what you and your kids will be expected to accomplish.
  5. Consider your expectations. What do you hope to gain from this experience? Be clear as you begin exploring options so you can ensure that in helping others, your family has the experience you’re hoping for.
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