5 ways to teach your children about charity

Help build a foundation of charitable giving for your children and show them that their actions, no matter how small, can make a real difference.

Here are some easy ways to teach your child about charity:

1. Show them that they already do it

Smiling at someone on the street, holding doors open for people who need a hand or visiting a sick relative is still charity because it warms someone's heart. Most children already do these things, but they will be pleased to learn that they're helping out.

2. Let them choose their own causes

Suggest some causes to your child and let them choose one that matters to them. They're more likely to want to support a cause that they know about and identify with.

Be sensitive to their age and introduce causes that match their interests. Children’s hospitals where they can donate old toys or local farms where they can play with the animals and donate money often work well for children.

Use our Charity Search to help find a charity that is local to you and matches their chosen cause. 


3. Make it a family affair

Lead by example

Let them see you drop money into charity boxes, ask them to help you pick out canned foods during a food drive or bring them along when you participate in fundraising events. It gives you an opportunity to discuss why it's important to give and how rewarding it can be.

Create family traditions

You can give to the same cause every year during the holidays or set up a charity box at home which the whole family can contribute to -  then decide together how to use the money.

“Every year, in lieu of a Christmas present, my mother gives my partner, my three stepchildren, and me a set amount of money to donate to the charity or good cause of our individual choice.  We deposit the money into our CAF Charity Account in order to get the most our of our donations.

I think this gesture of my mother's embodies the true spirit of giving, and to me is more meaningful and lasting than any material gift.  It has helped to generate discussion with the children about different causes, and has encouraged the two older ones to make regular charitable donations of their own.”

M. Nagel, CAF Charity Account customer

4. The value of time

With limited financial means it can be hard for children to donate money. Use this as a chance to teach them that they have a much more valuable resource than cash - they have time, which can be just as powerful. 

Encourage them to help neighbours with small jobs. If they are older, help them to volunteer at local clubs, hospitals and take part in charitable events at school.

5. Celebrate

When your children give, tell them that you're proud of them. Show them pictures and thank you notes from the places they have helped, so they can see the impact and feel appreciated for their contributions.


Get your childrens' creative juices flowing and set them one of these challenges:

Random act of kindness

Get the whole family involved and reward the most creative person with a non-financial treat, such as their favourite dinner.

Pay it forward

Ask your children to do something nice for three other people each time someone does something nice for them, and teach them to share the joy of receiving.

Next steps

It’s really easy to start giving as a family. We can provide advice and organise everything for you. You can easily open a CAF Charity Account or your own family CAF Charitable Trust so everyone gets involved.

Giving as a family

Need a way to sponsor friends or family?

It’s easy to support your friends and family with your CAF Charity Account.

Why family philanthropy?

Discover how to navigate the emotive issues so that giving together can be rewarding.

Find a charity

Our charity search tool allows you to find charities working in the areas you're interested in and donate to them straight away.