How cultivating the joy of giving in children will grow the next generation of changemakers 

Kristen Lark, CEO of The Funding Network Australia Fri, 9 Jun 2023

Kristen Lark, CEO of The Funding Network Australia, on why TFN has created a special fundraising event, Giving Heroes, that engages young people and their parents by focusing on the impact they can make in the lives of disadvantaged children 

Kristen Lark, The Funding Network

From chores to washing cars, cleaning up our parks to bake sales, fundraising initiatives provide valuable life lessons and empower children to understand the importance of giving back. Studies have shown that attitudes towards philanthropy are forged in childhood, and that engaging in giving as a family helps children develop important life skills such as empathy, communication, problem-solving and teamwork.  

These skills are not only valuable in their charitable endeavours but have far-reaching impacts across different aspects of their lives as they grow into responsible and compassionate adults. It builds a foundation of social responsibility that can have a lasting impact on the children involved and the communities they touch.  

Giving Heroes by The Funding Network (TFN) is a global-first platform that is all about connecting children with causes that help other children.

It is designed to develop the next generation of changemakers – those who will create the solutions of tomorrow as well as those who will fund their development.  

This family-oriented giving program brings young people together to help kids in need, to encourage fun, meaningful activities to raise funds and to learn how donating their time and pocket money can create real impact. Giving Heroes’ easy-to-use platform makes it more accessible for children to engage in fundraising activities. It enables them to connect with causes, organisations and initiatives that support other children. It also encourages empathy, compassion and a sense of solidarity among the young participants.  

We know that by cultivating a spirit of generosity in children and providing them with the tools to raise funds effectively, we’re cultivating a mindset change that Australian young people will take through to adulthood – and help deepen the culture of giving in our society. By empowering the next generation of changemakers, we can create a more compassionate and equitable world for all. 

Giving Heroes is directly aligned with recommendations made by Philanthropy Australia to ensure every Australian child is given the opportunity to participate in a philanthropic project so they are exposed to the power of giving and volunteering at an early age, paving the way for more giving across their adult life and a more generous national culture.  

The Giving Heroes model encourages young people to actively connect with causes they are passionate about and nurtures the next generation of givers. 

Making a positive impact on peers gives children a sense of purpose 

Participation in fundraising and giving not only empowers children to contribute to their communities but also nurtures a sense of agency and responsibility within them. When kids are given the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of their peers, it instils a powerful sense of purpose and self-worth.  

Children involved in Giving Heroes had agency throughout the design process, helping to choose the three NFPs for which they are fundraising. Participants in Giving Heroes register and fundraise for a period before logging on to an online event with their parents. Allowing participants the independence to choose how they want to fundraise and which charity or charities they wish to fundraise for gives them real agency and an opportunity to connect emotionally with the stories and impact of the work those charities do. 

By focusing on children supporting other children, the event fosters a sense of community and camaraderie and increases children’s awareness of peers who may be facing challenges or adversity.  

Importantly, the young people realise that together they have the capacity to effect change and improve the lives of others – which can have a transformative effect in empowering the next generation of changemakers.  

The second annual Giving Heroes event powered by The Funding Network will be streamed live online on Sunday 18 June from 4-5pm, giving children around Australia the opportunity to participate, no matter where they are. Hosted by broadcaster and author Jacinta Parsons and her son Perry, it features three exceptional grassroots charities chosen by a special selection panel of young Giving Heroes. The three finalists are Big Group Hug, ID. Know Yourself and One Ball, which all work to support children experiencing disadvantage.