Volunteering is something that can make you feel good. It can be fun, enlightening, and rewarding. One great thing about this act of kindness, is that there are no age limits (most of the time)! A child grows up to be the type of individual in society who was nurtured and encouraged by their parents or any parental figure in their life. Volunteering is an excellent way to aid in a plethora of skills for a child to carry throughout their lifetime. A recent study concluded, that for every 1 percent increase in a parent’s incidence of volunteering, their children’s odds of volunteering increased by 0.8 percent, and their odds of donating grew by 0.7 percent.
Una Osili, director of research at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, who conducted the study, explains how nonprofits need to think about developing relationships with families as opposed to just individuals. Getting as much youth involved in volunteering paves the path for that child to grow up and start donating to the charitable sector. In the study, there was a greater comparison between parents and their children, then grandparents and grandchildren. Many parents’ children were found to be interested in and donate to charities within the arts, environmental, international and religious categories. However, grandparents were more likely involved with organizations that cater to vulnerable people's basic needs. The grandchildren not having experienced scarcity, resulted in the non-prioritizing of basic needs organizations, according to the authors of the study.
In order to have the interests of older donors be passed along to their grandchildren, Osili suggests having grandparents bring their grandchildren on site to charities they support. Although this was a sophisticated study with some complexities, the common theme was setting a good example. Children watching their parents and elders do good in their communities, resulted in children wanting to follow in their footsteps. Setting a good example for our youth can have a long term impact on the future of the charitable sector. It is important to get out there and volunteer. You will be helping a favorite charity of yours, and one day, might be your child's favorite charity. How do you inspire your children and/or grandchildren to give back?