Volunteering as a Family: Selecting a Project

posted by Talk About Giving blog team

March 21, 2012 @ 12:00 pm

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So you’re looking for a way to pull your family together for some meaningful quality time. What next? Here are some tips and ideas to help you and your kids get the most out of your volunteer efforts.

1. Plan as a family

We know from research that including children in the conversation – the rhyme behind the reason – of our philanthropic efforts helps them understand why it’s important to us and gets them thinking about what is important to them and why. Explain why you feel it’s important that you volunteer as a family and the impact that it can have on our lives and the lives of others.

2. Keep these questions in mind as you begin to explore your volunteer options:

  • What are you looking for in a volunteer experience?
  • How often do you want to volunteer?
  • What kind of impact do you want to make?
  • What is age appropriate for everyone in the family?
  • What are you comfortable with?
  • Do you want to volunteer with the same organization each time, or try different experiences?

3. Brainstorm ideas as a family

Try to incorporate your family and individual interests into your volunteer efforts. If there’s a little animal lover, environmentalist, athlete or future chef in your household, offer opportunities that parallel personal passions. It will make the experience more meaningful, fun and help them make the connection of using our talents and strengths to help others.

4. Be prepared and make it fun

Before volunteering, find out what activities you’ll be participating in and explain the details to your kids so they understand what is expected of them. Make it fun – count down to Family Volunteer Day, take pictures (where appropriate) and get them excited about the difference they’re going to make. Praise them for good work and positive attitudes.

5. Reflect together

After you volunteer together, take some time to talk about what your family did. What did you like best and what could have gone better or differently. Talk about the people you helped and what your efforts mean to them.

6. Celebrate and document

Create a Giving Scrapbook that documents your efforts and keep it on a shelf where everyone can pull it out and reminisce. Cook a special dinner that night, eat on the porch or have a picnic, go out for ice cream and celebrate the good work you did together!

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