Engaging students in philanthropy allows them to help others, give back to their community, develop leadership skills, increase their creativity and enter adulthood with greater compassion. Encouraging students to participate in school volunteering opportunities is one of the best ways to prepare them for life after graduation because it opens their eyes to the world around them and shows them how they can impact others positively.

Students, teachers, school administration, families and community members can join together to implement volunteer and fundraising efforts.

Teaching Teens About Philanthropy

The best way to teach philanthropy to students is to inspire them. You can engage youth in volunteering and instill philanthropic passion, purpose and motivation in your students with the following tips:

Explore Their Interests

Exploring students' interests can provide insight into the types of organizations they would enjoy helping. Students who feel intrinsically motivated to engage in philanthropic activities are more likely to feel excited about volunteering their time.

Exploring each student's strengths is also essential. Using their strengths to help others can increase their confidence in their abilities and motivate them to continue using their skills for philanthropic purposes.



Encourage Empathy and Human Connection

Getting teens involved in volunteering also relies on empathy and human connection. You can accomplish this in the following ways:

  • Real-life stories: Share real-life stories about people your students can impact. Sharing true stories helps students understand the need for volunteers in their community and feel connected to the people they can potentially help.
  • Meaningful causes: Identify causes your students are passionate about. Educate them about community organizations and volunteer opportunities so they can discover the causes they feel most connected to.
  • Guest speakers: Invite guest speakers into the classroom to emphasize the importance of volunteering. Guest speakers can be nonprofit organization representatives, local philanthropists, or families impacted by philanthropic efforts. Guest speakers can inspire students and answer any questions about a specific volunteer activity. Scheduling a guest speaker presentation also provides your students an opportunity to connect with others and learn how they can use their collective strengths to impact people through volunteering.
Foster Philanthropic Development for Students Through Charitable Causes like Children's Cancer Hospitals

Foster Philanthropic Development for Students Through Charitable Causes

A large part of teaching charitable giving to students is increasing their awareness about where they can help. After teaching your students about philanthropy and motivating them to get involved, you can introduce them to volunteer opportunities for nonprofit organizations. Your students can get involved in and raise funds for various causes such as the following:

Food Banks

Food banks offer a simple, easy way to give back to the community. While individuals often give generously to food banks around holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, this resource is an ongoing need. Emphasize to students how they can make a significant impact by giving and collecting nonperishable food for people in need.

Community Gardens

If your students are passionate about earth preservation and combating climate change, a community garden provides an excellent volunteer opportunity. Your students can develop a community garden in an area of need or raise money for a nonprofit that helps communities start gardens throughout the country. With this opportunity, students can help fight climate change while providing a food source for people in need.

Elder Care

Your students can impact the elderly community with their time and attention. Older individuals living in care facilities can struggle with loneliness, but regular human connection can significantly impact their well-being. Your students can provide connection by engaging in conversation and offering companionship. Simple conversations about shared interests, hobbies, experiences and skills can lift an aging person's mood.

Children's Hospitals and Children's Cancer Causes

Cancer is a leading cause of death among children, and it can change a child's life immensely. A cancer diagnosis affects a child's entire family, and it can burden families with high medical bills. Raising money for children's hospitals and children's cancer causes allows your students to help children fight cancer. You can help your students raise money for a local hospital or fundraise for an organization that has a wider impact through supporting pediatric research.

Organizations such as Four Diamonds support families facing pediatric cancer and fund research initiatives that can help children around the world. Four Diamonds lifts the burden of medical costs for families battling childhood cancer.

Four Diamonds covers 100% of eligible families' medical costs related to cancer treatments at Penn State Children's Hospital that are not covered by insurance. Thanks to the support of students and families across the nation, Four Diamonds also funds research to improve treatments and find cures for childhood cancer. Fundraising efforts from these incredible students support children and families facing cancer by funding crucial research that moves medical cancer treatment forward, resulting in better outcomes and higher survivorship rates. We have covered care costs for more than 4,800 children and funded innovative research at Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Hershey Medical Center to improve worldwide pediatric cancer care.


10 Philanthropy Fundraising Opportunities That Engage Your Student Body & Community

10 Philanthropy Fundraising Opportunities That Engage Your Student Body & Community

Once you present various volunteer opportunities to your students, you can begin the fun part of getting everyone involved in fundraising for your cause. Planning various fundraising activities is a fantastic way to involve the entire school community in helping your chosen philanthropy. Consider the following easy and exciting activities your students and staff can participate in:

1. Principal or Teacher Challenge

Involving the school principal or a teacher in fundraising can increase student excitement, and it's a fantastic way for staff to connect with and engage with students. Once students raise the desired amount of money for an organization, they can enjoy watching a school staff member participate in a hilarious prank or stunt. Consider the following options for this fun fundraiser:

  • Pie-in-the-face: Allow students to pie their principal or teachers in the face once they reach their donation goal.
  • Amusing costumes: You can motivate students to raise money by promising them the principal will wear an entertaining costume for the day if they reach their goal.
  • Silly string: Allow students to take turns spraying their principal or a group of teachers with silly string after they raise the desired amount of money for an organization.
  • Dunk tank: A dunk tank is another classic fundraising favorite. You can promise students you will rent a dunk tank for the principal after they reach their goal.

2. T-Shirt Sale

A T-shirt sale is a classic fundraising method. Students can get involved by creating unique T-shirt designs and entering them into a contest. You can then ask students to vote on their favorite entry and advertise the winning T-shirt design to the school community and family members.

3. 5K Color Run

Color runs are exciting fundraising opportunities that promote physical health. Ask students to pay a fee to participate in the run or volunteer to throw the color dust as participants cross the finish line. You can open registration to members of nearby schools and neighborhoods to raise more money and get the whole community involved. A color run is an exciting way to unite schools and communities while raising money for charitable causes.

4. Trivia or Game Night

Host a trivia night to involve students in some friendly competition while raising money. Base questions on popular movies, TV shows and music to make them relevant to student interests. Students can raise money to participate or donate to watch the event take place.

5. Candy Grams

Candy grams are excellent holiday fundraisers, and they are easy to organize. Purchase some popular candy, such as chocolate bars or lollipops, and attach them to card stock using colorful ribbons. Students can donate money to write messages on the cardstock and send the candy grams to friends or significant others. A candy gram sale is a great fundraiser to host around many holidays including Valentine's Day, Halloween or Christmas.

6. Local Restaurant Dining Night

Ask local restaurants to help you host a dining fundraiser. When you host this type of fundraiser, students and families can dine at a restaurant on a night you and the restaurant choose. The restaurant will then donate a percentage of the sales to your chosen organization. Students can also extend this fundraiser opportunity to the community by advertising it on social media and posting or handing out flyers.

7. Talent Show or Open-Mic Night

If you have talented students who would enjoy showing off their skills, consider hosting a talent show or open-mic night. Students and staff can donate money to participate, and you can sell tickets to other students, staff members, families and community members.

Create a schedule of performances for a talent show, or open the stage to the entire audience for an open-mic night. Students and other attendees can read poetry, perform music or present a stand-up comedy routine. Talent shows and open-mic nights are fun ways to connect students with their community while raising money.

8. Art Sale

Consider hosting an art sale if your school is full of natural artists and creative minds. Students can donate money to participate and create unique art pieces. You can display the art pieces in a gallery and host an auction where community members can bid on their favorite art. An art sale is an excellent way to showcase student talent and help them develop confidence while they raise money to help others.

9. Dance Marathon

Consider hosting an exciting dance marathon to culminate a year of fundraising efforts. The Penn State Dance Marathon or THON™ is a student-operated philanthropy that takes place annually at the Bryce Jordan Center. Penn State University Students organize this exhilarating 46-hour event to raise money for Four Diamonds, and your school can emulate it by hosting a Mini-THON® event.

K-12 students in over 161 schools host Mini-THON events each year to raise money for childhood cancer research and to help families battling pediatric cancer. Your students can engage in philanthropy by hosting a Mini-THON event that engages attendees in dancing, games and activities. It's a time for students and school staff to join with their community, celebrate their fundraising achievements and support kids fighting cancer.

Organizing and participating in this multi-hour dance marathon is an excellent opportunity for students to develop the following skills:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Problem-solving
  • Creativity
  • School spirit
  • Organizational skills

Your school can start a Mini-THON by recruiting student volunteers, appointing an advisor and choosing an event date. Four Diamonds provides resources to help plan this exciting event and makes the marathon organization process easy with step-by-step guides and training materials.

Mini-THON event attendees can raise money to participate and dance the night away. Some schools choose to include unique activities such as lip-sync competitions, dance battles, family hours (sharing videos or stories from families impacted by childhood cancer) and student performances. Students can also incorporate food and prizes in the event to raise extra money for the cause.

10. Student Ideas

Teenagers are creative and have excellent ideas to share. Ask your students to develop their own fundraising ideas and work with their classmates to bring them to life. Whether they plan a unique competition or organize a special event, encourage students to use their interests and skills for a greater purpose.

Fundraising through Four Diamonds' Team FTK® allows individuals and groups to join the Four Diamonds community and help give children with cancer hope. Generating ideas and developing fundraisers allows students to help others while growing their creativity and leadership skills. Your class or university can join Team FTK® and set up a unique fundraising page to raise money for Four Diamonds.

Experience the Impact and Benefits of School Philanthropy

Student philanthropy education is incredibly beneficial for teens and their surrounding communities. Engaging teens in student volunteering for nonprofit organizations offers many benefits, including:

  • Increased support for the community: Encouraging students to volunteer gets them out into the community, increasing the number of volunteers in your town.
  • Student leadership: Teaching student leadership through philanthropy allows them to plan and organize fundraisers for a meaningful purpose, increasing their confidence
  • Teamwork: School volunteering opportunities also help students practice teamwork by working together toward a common cause.
  • Compassion: Volunteering helps students develop compassion for others.
  • Positive school culture: Philanthropy helps students increase their school spirit, encourage each other and strengthen bonds with each other. This can create an overall positive school culture.

Explain to students how philanthropy can help them grow and develop skills while impacting their community. While volunteering looks great on college applications, it is much more than that. Volunteering helps individuals grow into compassionate, selfless, confident and hard-working adults. It's an opportunity to practice and develop leadership skills and creativity while working on a team to help people in need.


Get Your Students Involved in Philanthropy With Four Diamonds

Get Your Students Involved in Philanthropy With Four Diamonds

Philanthropy is a chance for your students to learn and grow in incredible ways. Engaging high school students in volunteering is an excellent way to connect teens to the community and expand their knowledge. From creativity to leadership skills, students can gain skills necessary for adulthood and develop a new sense of confidence and compassion.

Four Diamonds provides various opportunities for student volunteers. Our resources make planning philanthropic events seamless and fun for students, school faculty, administration and the surrounding community. Your students can get involved in Four Diamond's mission by hosting a Mini-THON® or Team FTK® event or donating through community giving.

When students raise money for Four Diamonds, they contribute to a cause that helps children around the world conquer their fight against pediatric cancer. All funds donated to Four Diamonds go toward innovative cancer research that is finding better treatments and cures for all children. Additionally, Four Diamonds covers cancer treatment costs that insurance doesn't cover for Four Diamonds children, allowing Four Diamonds families to focus on their children and hope without the burden of high medical costs. Consider raising money through Team FTK® or hosting an exciting Mini-THON event to unite your school and make a difference in the fight against pediatric cancer.