Parenting is not for the faint of heart. It doesn’t come with an instructional manual, and interestingly the same ingredients and recipe can result in totally different outcomes. Go figure. And parenting high performing and gifted children can be even more of a challenge. Especially when their area of giftedness is outside your comfort zone.
Olivia has always challenged the compassion within Harold and me. When she was 8 she asked me why I never give money to panhandlers. At 9 years old she told me she wanted to build a house for every homeless person she sees. When she was 10 she decided to donate her birthday to charity.
She had an elaborate 10th birthday party. We only do parties for milestones. A few weeks before the party she expressed interest in hosting toy drive for children in the hospital. I suggested that her birthday party would be a great way to start since we agreed to buy her the gift she really wanted. She agreed and asked her friends to bring donations instead of gifts to the party.
After the party she set a goal to collect 100 toys and extended the drive to the community. She was successful in reaching her goal and the local news came out and covered her delivery. Achieving her goal was easier than I thought it would be. Following a few simple steps, I was able to nurture Olivia’s giving spirit and give back to our community at the same time. Here’s how you can help your child donate their birthday.
Choose Your Cause
The first step in helping your child donate their birthday is to determine what’s important to them. In order for a kid to focus time and attention toward someone else on a day that’s traditionally devoted to them, it has to be worth it. So figure out what really means something to them and seek organizations that serve that purpose.
While Olivia loves to help people in general, Alexandra has a thing about litter and graffiti. It’s an intense and almost obsessive thing, but it’s her thing nonetheless. So, we signed her up for a workshop at our local community clean-up organization and will lead a cleanup day through our nonprofit. Choose a cause for which your child has a true passion and donating their birthday will be a cinch.
Ask What They Need
Here’s where we often go wrong. Many times we give organizations what we want to give and not what they actually need. Once you have found an organization to donate your child’s birthday, call them up and ask them what they need. Typically the programming or community outreach department handles donations and volunteers. You will be considered a volunteer and your donation may be tax deductible.
Organize An Event
The organization you choose may be able to assist you in your efforts. Many food banks provide collection materials like boxes, posters and a list of needs for food drives. Other organizations have online signup forms that make registering volunteers as easy as clicking button. No matter the case, organize a plan for how you want the birthday donation process to go.
If you plan to accept monetary donations consider this: How will the donation be collected? Online or in person? Will the money go straight to the organization or does it have to pass through you? Do you really want to be responsible for large amounts of cash? On the other hand, if you will collect actual items, you should consider: Where can donations be delivered? Is there a certain time and day or will it be ongoing for a period? Will used items be accepted? What will you do with donations that you can use for your purpose (because you will get them)?
Spread The News
Want to help your child make an even bigger impact when he/she donates their birthday? Spread the love and share the wealth. You would be surprised the number of people who are willing to join in if you ask them. But you have to ask them. And it’s not complicated. It can be as simple as sending an email to your friends and family or posting to your social media channels with all the details. If you want to go big, draft a press release or send an email to your local television news stations and print publications. Who is going to deny a kid their birthday wish, especially when it’s giving to a worthy cause?
Helping Olivia donate her birthday was an eye-opening experience for me. It challenged me to not only to learn to support and nurture the gifts inside her, but also to change my mindset about giving and serving in my community. Will you help your child donate their birthday to a worthy cause? Leave me a comment and let me know what your cause will be.