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Pledging to Give

Regardless of the size of your donation, giving requires some planning.  One way to teach your children how to plan, and turn giving into a lifelong habit, is to introduce them to the concept of Making a Pledge.

What is a Pledge? A pledge is simply a promise. When we make a financial pledge, we are promising an organization that we will provide a specific amount of money over a specific amount of time.  Pledge payments can be set up in different ways — for the following exercise you can do with your children we’ve made it a once-a-month donation for one year. Step One Explain what a pledge is and discuss why your child might make one.  Here are some conversation starters.

  1. Small donations add up. It’s easier to give a little at a time than to give in one chunk. You might not be able to give Pawmetto Lifeline $12 today, but over the course of the year perhaps you could give them $1 a month.
  2. It’s easy to forget. Between soccer, ballet, piano and school you have a busy schedule. Select your monthly donation day so you don’t forget and put it one your calendar. The first day of the month might be easy to remember.
  3. Nonprofit planning. Making a pledge also helps your favorite nonprofit with its own planning. By telling Riverbanks Zoo exactly how much you’re going to give them each month, the zoo will know how much money it will collect for monkey food for the year.

Step Two Talk about your child’s budget and how they’ll decide how much to pledge.  Here are some tools and some ideas. We love the concept of ‘Spend, Share, Save Jars’. Your child can make their own or purchase a Modern Piggy Bank to keep her money organized. If your child has a job or receives an allowance, ask her to put a portion of the money she receives in each jar. Decide together how much to put in each jar, but consider putting 70 percent in the ‘Spend Jar’ and 30 percent in the ‘Share’ and ‘Save Jars.’ Ask her to do the math. Count the money in the ‘Share Jar’ each month and have your child decide how much money she would like to give to her favorite nonprofit. The amount is up to her and she also gets to pick what organization she’s going to support. Choosing where to give can be tough.  This is a great time to talk to your daughter about what she cares about most. Step Three Teach your child how to make their donations.  There are lots of ways to give and your child should be in charge of making the donation each month. Here are some ways he can make them:

  1. Drop it off. If he’s too young to drive, schedule a time to take him to the nonprofit so he can make his donation in person. Nonprofits will take checks, dollars or coins.
  2. Mail a Check. If your child has a checking account, have him write the check and mail it to the nonprofit each month. This option affords a great lesson in checkbook balancing too.
  3. Online giving. Many nonprofits now offer the option to make a donation online with a bank account or debit card. Look at your nonprofit’s website or give them a call and ask if this is an option.

Making a pledge is a simple way to provide your children with a valuable financial lesson and help set them up for success in the future. By incorporating giving into this lesson, you will also instill the value of giving to others.

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