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NEWS > General > To ensure the future of charities, we need to educate young children on their importance

To ensure the future of charities, we need to educate young children on their importance

16 Jul 2021

As adults we know the importance of charities and charitable giving, however the younger generation doesn’t possess the same level of understanding. With so many causes out there, and no shortage of fundraising events at school, the meaning of giving is being lost among the sea of activities that come with it. As a 2019 report discussed, failing to educate young people on why fundraising and donating is important may result in a loss of interest in charities in future generations.

I remember when I was at primary school, we had a couple of days in each term when we could wear our own clothes, rather than our school uniform, on the condition that we gave £2 to charity. To my young mind all I heard was ‘to wear your own clothes, you need to pay us a little money’ – I didn’t compute that the money was being given to charity because it wasn’t the focus of the conversation. If we neglect conversations with young people then the link between the donation and the charity itself is unlikely to form, resulting in a disassociation with the cause.

If a person doesn’t understand exactly why a donation is needed, or what the money is going to be used for, it’s going to be a greater and more involved task to choose a charity to support. Let’s face it, our society has become lazier over time thanks to the abundance of technology, with almost everything being within reach with just a few clicks of a mouse. Due to this, if something is not easy or straightforward, we can get bored pretty fast.

Imagine scrolling through Netflix knowing you want to watch a film, but you’re not sure exactly what type of film. Thanks to the sheer volume of available movies, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by choice and end up not watching anything at all – it’s the same idea with charities. Unless you have a personal tie to a charity – a reason to feel passionately about a cause – it’s incredibly easy to become overwhelmed by just how many charities there are and not know where to start. This then coupled with a lack of education around charitable giving is a recipe for disaster.

There’s a saying that feels especially appropriate here, that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Our empathetic values are normally developed pretty early into our lives, and it’s incredibly difficult to unlearn these values once they’re engrained into us. So, teaching teach children and young people about the value of caring and giving, to promote a sense of responsibility to others, should be a priority at both home and school.

Charities are vital to all areas of life, and to see them disappear would be a huge hit to our society. We need to act today to protect the future, and this starts with opening up the conversation around why charities are so important with the younger generation. After all, it’s hard to be interested in something that you know nothing about.

Author: Olivia Eriksen

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