Ways That Teens Can Learn Philanthropy

By Kathryn Hatter
Help teenagers get involved with service projects.
Help teenagers get involved with service projects.

While adults can certainly make a difference from practicing philanthropy, these selfless, giving activities do not know age limitations. Engaging in philanthropic activities involves the giving of time, effort and even funds to help make a difference in the world. Teens can learn about philanthropy in a variety of ways -- and you can help your teens start to practice philanthropy in their daily lives.

Important Questions

As a teenager explores getting involved in philanthropic activities, encourage her to answer some personal questions about her interests, goals, skills and passions to narrow the options and find a philanthropic cause that will have relevance and personal meaning to her, advises The Sacramento Bee Media-In Education website. Selecting a cause or a service for which your teen has passion, can make the lessons and experience in philanthropy more meaningful.

Community Service

Turning a teen’s focus to local needs gives the teen an opportunity to return a debt of service to his own personal community, notes the School Family website. Schools often make a community service project a compulsory part of the student academic requirements to teach important lessons about serving others for the good of the community. Ideas for community service projects include volunteering services to improve public areas of a community, such as parks or green spaces, and organizing a service project to serve local citizens such as a food drive or a neighborhood recycling program.


A teenager with some spare time can make a significant difference if he chooses to volunteer. Volunteering can happen at the local level by serving at a senior citizen center, an animal shelter or a food pantry. Volunteering is also needed at the national level, enabling a teenager to make a philanthropic difference to people living in other communities. For example, a teenager could volunteer assistance to those in the military, shipping packages or even just writing letters. An organization such as Habitat for Humanity has nationwide chapters that build homes for the need. Your teen could find one locally or even in a different state and organize a trip for himself and other teen volunteers to help build homes.

Fundraising and Donations

Fundraising can be an effective means of philanthropy for a willing and energetic teenager. After choosing a nonprofit cause to champion, your teenager can begin raising money to benefit the organization. Fundraising activities might include selling items, or organizing a car wash, bake sale, a run/walk with pledges or a community rummage sale. If your teen has a part-time job, he can make his own monetary donations to a cause, which is likely to give him a sense of pride as he is putting his money toward helping others.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.