Guides & Resources

Starting and Developing Youth In Philanthropy Programming

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More and more AFP chapter boards are considering whether to add youth programming as a way to engage youth in philanthropic activities and recognize young people for their charitable work.  When starting this important discussion, many questions come up.  The following resource will help chapter boards answer some of those questions, and understand why it is important to include YIP programming in the chapter’s activities.

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Why Chapters Should Have a YIP Program

  • Every community needs future donors, volunteers and fundraisers
  • Helping young people to understand community needs and how they can make a difference at an early age will increase the probability that they will become donors and volunteers as adults
  • Hands-on involvement is exciting and gratifying for youth
  • Young people will be introduced to fundraising as a career option
  • AFP, our profession and philanthropy have a lot to gain by developing the next generation
  • To leave a legacy of passion for what we do
  • Youth in Philanthropy programming helps AFP meet its Strategic Plan goal of engaging young professionals

The Impact of a YIP Program on the Board and Chapter

  • The board can/will add a board member who is the chair of Youth in Philanthropy
  • The board will not see any added time to their work, but members of the YIP Committee will have added work and opportunities for contributing to, even leading, the chapter, depending on the program the group chooses to undertake
  • The board may allocate some funding in support of the YIP Program
  • Increased media attention on the young people involved in the program will positively benefit the chapter
  • If the board adds a YIP Award to the National Philanthropy Day program, the event may bring in more individuals

Our Board Already Has Too Much to Manage Now

  • If you recruit a chair and committee members from the chapter membership rather than adding responsibility to the work of an existing board member, the YIP program will not be an additional burden to the board
  • Youth programming can function independently with YIP committee oversight
  • Through the reports of the YIP Chair, the board will remain apprised of the YIP activities

How to Choose the Right Chair

  • The Chair of a YIP Committee does not have to be someone from the “leadership track”
  • The Chair may be someone who has not been involved before, but is interested in this program
  • The Chair should be someone who has a passion for youth programming
  • The Chair should be someone who will commit to chairing the committee for more than one year; a YIP committee needs consistency and long-term commitment
  • The Chair should be someone who wants to see a program grow and develop in the community
  • The Chair should be enthusiastic, motivational and collaborative
  • See a draft job description in the Attachments section, below

The Youth in Philanthropy Committee

  • A committee of 3-5 members is usually ideal
  • Members willing to commit over several years to develop an ongoing YIP program
  • Members who are interested in and willing to help teach and advise young people

The "Youth" in Youth in Philanthropy

  • AFP’s Youth in Philanthropy programs are designed for children and young people in grades K- 12
  • Chapters can select the group they wish to work with: elementary, middle school and/or high school
  • AFP also has a Collegiate Chapter Program and some chapters choose to develop and work with a collegiate chapter at their local university or college

Finding the Young People

  • Chapters have developed relationships with the following types of institutions and organizations:
    • Schools: public, charter and private for both in-school and after-school programs
    • Youth-serving organizations: Boys & Girls Clubs, Scouts, InterAct, RotarAct, youth leadership groups
    • Religious institutions: youth groups, religious schools
    • Community Foundations and Service Clubs

What We Want Students to Get Out of a YIP Program
There are key concepts that students who participate in a YIP program should come away with:

  • Knowledge
    • What philanthropy and philanthropic fundraising are and why they are important
    • The role of nonprofit organizations in the community
    • How nonprofits work, including their fundraising
    • The ethics of the philanthropic sector
    • Understanding their personal passion
  • Skills
    • Good decision-making
    • How to be a good volunteer
    • How to implement a community service project
    • How to raise money:
      1.  Giving
      2.  Project-based fundraising
      3.  Relationship-based fundraising
    • How to give money away wisely
    • How to take philanthropic action and be a change agent for good
  • Values
    • Caring about the unknown “other” or common good
    • Willingness to share resources, serve as a steward of resources, and ask for volunteer and financial help for worthy causes
    • Motivation to act to improve the world through appropriate citizen action, to voice opinions and engage in civil discussion
  • In order for young people to embrace the importance of philanthropy, they need to have a positive, hands-on experience with the act of philanthropy to understand that they can make a difference in the world. Students should understand that everyone can be a philanthropist

How To Choose the Right YIP Program for Your Chapter

  • The choice of program will depend on the interests of the committee and board, as well as the amount of time committee members can give
  • There are at least four types of YIP programs:
    • Awards Programs
    • Teaching Programs
    • Career-Based Programs
    • Mentoring Programs

Awards Programs

  • Having a Youth in Philanthropy Award for local young people recognizes their accomplishments and encourages others to become involved in their community
  • Approximately half of AFP Chapters have established a Youth in Philanthropy Award that they present at their annual NPD events
  • Setting up a YIP Awards Program is the easiest starting point
  • Awards are made through the chapters’ Awards Committee process
  • The NPD and YIP committees can work with schools and community-based youth-serving organizations to generate nominations
  • YIP awardees are often invited to the NPD event to be recognized and to experience the breadth of nonprofit work being done in their community
  • TIP Sheet for Chapter YIP NPD Awards (link coming)

Teaching Programs

  • AFP believes it has an obligation to promote and encourage the involvement of young people in philanthropy
  • AFP has created a 12-unit high school curriculum, Making a World of Good©, A Hands-On Learning Experience with Philanthropy, Fundraising & Making a Difference
  • Making a World of Good© can be used effectively in grades 7-12
  • The curriculum was designed to be flexible and can be taught as an in-school class, an after-school activity or a weekend project.
  • The curriculum includes complete lesson plans, a Glossary and Teacher’s Manual with sample handouts, ideas for teachers, suggested ways to partner with schools and youth-serving organizations and ideas for funding
  • The curriculum was piloted by two chapters in the fall of 2010 and is being used by several chapters around the United States
  • AFP will be developing an elementary school version of the curriculum in the future

Career-Based Programs

  • AFP believes it has an obligation to promote and encourage young people to learn about opportunities in the profession of fundraising
  • AFP has a program for chapters to use to present fundraising as a career option to high school juniors and seniors
  • The AFP Careers in Fundraising Toolkit offers step-by-step information and samples to make it easy to present to students
  • Included in the Toolkit is a handout chapters can order at no cost from AFP PrintQ: Ten Reasons to Consider a Career in Fundraising (see Attachments)

Mentoring Programs
There are several types of mentoring programs a chapter can create:

  • Shadowing - High school students are invited to sign up to spend an afternoon with a chapter member in a local nonprofit organization’s development office to see what development is like and what a development professional does. This type of program requires:
    • A connection to a high school
    • A group of volunteer mentors willing to host a high school student
    • A list of recommended experiences for the student
    • Some some sort of evaluation
  • Invitations to Chapter Meetings - High school students are invited to attend and experience a regularly scheduled chapter meeting. This type of program requires:
    • A program likely to be of interest to high school students
    • A plan to match each student with a chapter member who will be their host for the meeting
    • A program or associated activity that includes a way for students to participate
  • Internships - High school students are offered the opportunity to participate in a formalized internship program at local nonprofits. This type of program requires:
    • Members with organizations willing to design and provide a skills-based internship program
    • High School students interested in such a program
    • A committee to develop the opportunities, recruit the students and monitor the effectiveness of the internships

Getting Help

  • There are several ways you can get help. AFP staff and members of the AFP Youth in Philanthropy Subcommittee are happy to talk with you about your ideas and your chapter. You can also be connected to another chapter that has the type of program you are considering. To connect, send an email to

Read More

08 Dec 2023 Guides & Resources
08 Dec 2023 Guides & Resources
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