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Teaching Giving

January 19, 2017

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Written By: DBD Team

By DBD Team

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This month, the Donor By Design Group is challenging you to take action, moving from resolutions to results. Today’s topic? Teaching youth to embody the spirit of giving.


We are inspired every day by the work of our clients and the generosity of the donors who choose to support them. For the last year we’ve had the pleasure to work with Harbor House, a non-profit organization in Appleton, Wisconsin dedicated to ending domestic abuse by offering shelter and a comprehensive range of programs.

Recently, Harbor House received a gift toward their capital campaign that embodies the spirit of giving and the importance of instilling this spirit at a young age.

As part of his Eagle Scout project, Trevor Kislewski (16 years old) pledged to raise money to help build a playground for the children of Harbor House. So like any good fundraiser, he made a plan and asked for support in a number of ways, creating a campaign on CrowdRise, posting on social media, participating in community events and presenting to local businesses and organizations. He even spoke to establishments surrounding Lambeau Field who allowed him to solicit donations on game days. His efforts paid off; Trevor surpassed his original goal of $30,000 and is now halfway to his increased goal of $35,000.

Equally inspiring, Trevor met with the children at Harbor House and asked them to be a part of designing their dream playground. See the story for yourself.

Now, before you all call offering Trevor a job in your development department, take a moment to reflect on whether we are doing our part in teaching our children the saving grace of giving? We have an opportunity to teach our own children/grandchildren/nieces and nephews about the power of giving back.

How can you instill the spirit of giving in children?

  • Involve them in researching and selecting non-profits to support and let them see you write the checks and send them off.
  • Encourage them to give some of their own money to charities of their choosing.
  • For birthday parties, have children pick a favorite charity and attendees can donate money or items, rather than give ANOTHER Lego set or stuffed animal that will be forgotten in a week. (Grandmas and Grandpas are always good for presents anyhow. Let the friends enjoy the spirit of giving, as well!)
  • Bring them along when you ring the bells for the Salvation Army or clean up your local park or visit an elderly neighbor with fresh-baked cookies.
  • Have them select food, clothing, toys THEY would enjoy as you shop for the local food pantry or toy drive. Instill empathy that there are children just like them who deserve a good meal, a warm coat and the joy of a new toy – regardless of their family’s financial situation.
  • Make them part of the too-small clothing and outgrown-toy purge and have them select and help deliver to an organization serving children who will benefit.

Our own Bruce Berglund learned from his father that “checkbooks and calendars will show what is important to you.” We know that giving—time and treasure—can truly be better than receiving and the earlier we instill in our children, the more Trevors there will be in the world.

P.S. If you are so moved, you can support Trevor’s initiative and Harbor House here. Or visit Crowdrise.com and search New Playground for the Harbor House.

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