You Don’t Have to Create Your Own Charity to Teach Your Kids How to Give Back


I’m a proud graduate of the Public Relations program at Algonquin College and I remember that more than once we were tasked with something to do with raising funds for a charity. There was a lot of work that went into preparing communications plans, organizing events and working media relations as we tried to break the fundraising record set by the class before us.

To be sure, those fundraisers were gratifying and I’m sure the recipients of the funds were thrilled with all the work we put in. But, once our project was done, we went back to learning graphic design or advertising rates or how to take a photo with an SLR camera. The fundraising was a component of the class.

As parents, we can make fundraising, or at least the idea of helping other humans, a component of the way our children grow up. And they don’t need to take classes to do it or raise tens of thousands of dollars to know they’re making a difference. Helping someone else with one loonie they didn’t have before your work is helpful. And I have a few ways your kids can help raise a few loonies, make other kids happy and just in general bring smiles to the faces of others..

Run a Lemonade Stand (or banana stand for levity)

A secret I’ve held onto for the past five years is that I once drove right past a lemonade stand even as the kids held out cups as they smiled their biggest smile. Mind you, I had no money to pay for it, but I felt awful nevertheless. Never, ever drive past a lemonade stand without making a purchase. Also, never spit out the lemonade even if it clearly a little too heavy on the lemon and weak on the sugar.

Collect and drop off some favourite stuffed animals

At a garage sale we had this Spring, we set up an animal adoption stand where we arranged a fine selection of stuffed animals to give to our garage sale revellers free of charge. These animals needed a home and the thought of free anything made our attendees happy. Some of the adopters were kids and others were adults looking to pick up a “toy” for their dogs. Both groups left our garage sale happy so we were too.

Sing for people in a park

Most of us are hesitant to sing out loud because most of us think we sound awful when we sing out loud. Yet, have you ever started listening to your kids sing and thought to yourself “I wish my child was more reserved and measured,”? Well maybe you have but I’ll tell you, in general, people like seeing kids doing things out of the ordinary. I wish I had the courage to sing Let it Go in the middle of a playground. Give it a try next time your kids start singing. Don’t tell them to quiet down and stop bothering the other people, ask them instead if you can join in. Make it a playground singalong.

A jewelry making blitz

When I was a kid I was an expert jewelry maker. There’s probably a more official term for that than jewelry maker but that’s good enough for me. I could have sold my wares for ones of dollars and then I could have given those ones of dollars to a charity. I missed my opportunity but the business model is a sound one. Turn those Rainbow Loom creations or pipecleaner bracelets into a business and let your child pick which charity they’d like to give the profit too.

Mike is an Ottawa born-and-raised husband and father of two. He’s obsessed with making sure his daughters says ‘daddy and mommy’ and not ‘mommy and daddy’ and with ensuring his daughters know they’re both one-of-a-kind.

  • ashley picco

    we had a lemonade stand at our recent garage sale; all the funds went to a fundraiser for a little girl at my sons school. They need a bathroom renovation for her (she has CP)