Giving Elf - Teaching kids to give!
Created October  3, 2011 by Nicole Pearson
Giving Elf’s mission is to increase charitable giving by teaching kids to give and giving them the resources they need to fundraise for the charity of their choice. Giving Elf will be centered around a website through which kids will be able to donate to any charity. The website will be easy for kids to navigate and kids will be easily able to search for charities that match their interests (ie: environment, animals, health, education, etc.) and the location they want to give (ie: local, provincial, national, international). The description of the charities will be written in a language that kids can understand and charities will be able to add pictures and videos to visually show kids what they do.
Other features of the website will include:
• giving pages – kids will be able to start a fundraising campaign to raise money for the charity of their choice; whether they want to donate their birthday, participate in a “athon” (spellathon, skipathon, etc.) or another type of event and collect pledges, or “sell” arts and crafts they have made in exchange for donations to their charity, they will be able to do it through the website
• group pages – schools and other groups will be able to set-up group giving pages so that kids can work together and either collect for one organization or multiple organizations; the school can decide to give the kids the option how they raise the money or they can create a specific event for the kids to fundraise for
• customized posters, letters and flyers to promote giving – kids and/or groups will be easily able to customize posters, letters and flyers to help them raise funds for the charity of their choice; whether kids are looking to host a lemonade stand and need posters to help their sales, collect bottles and need a flyer to ask their neighbours to put their bottle out for them or write a letter to their family for support, the website will include the resources kids need and they will easily able to customize them
• communication tools for charities – charities will be able to easily create custom thank you cards with their logo so that when kids give they will automatically receive the cards to say thanks
• a virtual giving piggy bank – kids will be able to print a label to put on a jar at home and as they add money to it they will also add it to their virtual giving bank; when their virtual giving bank reaches a certain amount they will receive a message letting them know it is time to choose a charity and donate it online
• a video game that kids will be able to play so that they can learn about giving in a fun way; as part of the video game kids will learn get a custom elf avatar and as they fundraise as part of the thank you from the charities they will receive additional items (clothing, decorations for their elf’s houses, etc.) for their elf from the charities they donated to (these will be sent to them as part of the thank you cards from the charity)
The website will be free for charities and kids to use. All of the money collected through the website will be passed on to the charities with the exception of an administrative charge which will be under 5% - this will cover the cost of banking charges (for credit card donations and EFT transfers to the charities) and administrative charges to issue tax receipts (Giving Elf will issue the tax receipts which will save the charities administrative time).
The Giving Elf website will encourage and make it easy for kids to give thus increasing the amount that kids currently donate to charity but also impacting the amount that kids give when they get older. Giving Elf will teach kids to make giving a part of their everyday lives – a habit they will hopefully continue throughout the rest of their lives.
The idea of Giving Elf was born out of the belief that there is a need to start kids on the road to giving at an early age. According to Susan Crites Price, author of The Giving Family: Raising Our Children to Help Others (Council on Foundations, 2001), it’s important to start young. “Habit gets instilled at an early age, and young kids can do a lot,” Price said. “That doesn’t mean that for teenagers it’s too late, but the earlier they start giving, the more it becomes a habit.”
The goal of Giving Elf is to create an on-line community for kids to learn, inspire, connect and get involved with charities so that they develop a habit of giving at an early age. The Giving Elf website will include resources kids need to search for charities and fundraise for the charity of their choice. It will also include a virtual game (MMORPG) so that they can learn about the benefits of giving in a fun environment.
In June 27, 2011 edition of Global Voices (published by the Toronto Star), Craig and Marc Kielburger discuss video games and the potential impact they can have on social change. Read the article - http://www.thestar.com/news/globalvoices/article/1015085--global-voices-playing-games-for-