In the past, when kids wanted to give to a charity, they either had to send their money by mail or visit the physical location in which the charity did business. Those days are long gone. An increasing trend you might want to take advantage of as you teach your kids about finance is the development and operation of a charity website.
What is a charity website and what types are there?
A charity website is a single webpage or set of webpages on the Internet that is designed to inform people about a charitable cause and to take donations for it. There are two major types, the first of which is a website dedicated to a cause set by the host. These are focused on just one area of giving, and the organizations represented tend already to have a decent history and reputation. An example is the website for the Salvation Army.
Some children choose to start their own dedicated sites if they can’t find a charity that exactly matches what they need or want to do. If your child wants to do this, he can either get help from a web designer, or he can use one of the numerous web hosting services available that allow you to set up a site from a template. The second is a website that allows users to select from a variety of existing registered charities. These essentially act like middle men in that they take donations on the users’ behalf and then distribute it to the charity of choice. These can raise money for everything from school band programs to supporting victims of natural disasters. Examples here are Kids Can Give, Too! and Giveback.
Why are charity websites beneficial?
Charity websites are great because your child can get involved from afar. Even if he’s in a location that’s far away from the organization he wants to get involved with, he still can get his money to the group and communicate with them relatively easily. He can give right from your living room or even from a mobile device while in the grocery store or at a bus stop. Sites that present a variety of different organizations also show your child the wide range of giving possibilities out there, getting him thinking about his charity preferences.
These types of websites are also advantageous because, these days, just about everybody does everything electronically. Your child can track his giving online from any Internet-ready device, and the use of an online account can eliminate your child losing important papers, all while providing perks like email reminders or updates. When your child gives, the transactions usually are processed relatively quickly—just a few clicks and your child is done, giving him (and you) time to get on with other things.
Many charities that function online point out that a website greatly improves how professional a group comes across to the public. The site can verify to potential donors that the organization is likely legitimate, and the way the site is organized and the resources and information it has gives clues to how well the group is doing. The sites also provide contact information.
Are there limits on giving?
Generally speaking, charity websites don’t have any limits on giving, and most encourage users to give as often as they like. Some do have minimum donation amounts, however. This has to do with the administrative resources it takes to process the transactions. It’s much more efficient to process one transaction for $50, for example, than it is to process 50 transactions for $1. This might mean that your child has to save a bit before he can donate, or that he has to pool his money together with other givers, but these situations are great opportunities for you and your child to talk about long-term money goals, the benefits of getting others involved in a cause and how even a little bit of money still can make a difference.