Need for Action
  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 03. Names and Types of Organizations within the Civil Society Sector
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Recognize terms that describe the civil society sector.
      2. Benchmark MS.2 Discuss examples of civil society organizations from a list of categories of organizations.
  2. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.

Learners will investigate their resources of time, talent and treasure and brainstorm how these can be used to address community needs/issues or problems in their school, neighborhood and larger community. They will investigate nonprofit organizations that contribute to the common good by addressing these needs.

PrintTwo 45 Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • describe resources of time, talent and treasure that contribute to the common good.
  • identify the importance of citizen participation in the community.
  • identify organizations/programs that benefit the community.
  • define a nonprofit organization.
  • Three pieces of chart paper and a variety of markers
  • Masking tape
  • Internet Access and/or the yellow pages in several phone books
Home Connection: 

Following Day One, and in preparation for Day Two: Ask the students to talk with their families about the needs/problems/issues that were identified in class and to brainstorm with their family what organizations exist within the school or community that address these kinds of needs/problems/issues. Ask the students to bring the list to class on the next day.


Guidestar Website:

  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Begin the day with the following quote:

    “Some people give time, some money, some their skills and connections, some literally give their life’s blood. But everyone has something to give.”

    --Barbara Bush

    Say to the learners: “It is much easier to identify treasure as a source of giving. It is much more difficult to identify time or talent that can be a source of giving.” Ask the students to identify one thing (time or talent) that they can offer or give to another.

  2. Day One:

    Create a T-chart on chart paper, labeling one side Time and the other Talents. Ask for examples and list the items mentioned by the students under the respective title. List as many items as possible.

  3. On a different piece of chart paper, create a list of treasures that the students possess.

  4. Ask the learners to discuss whether the participation of citizens, especially those who are not old enough to vote yet, is important to a strong community and society.

  5. Say: “Now that we have identified our time, talent and treasure, we are going to create a list of needs/issues/problems within the community that we think are important to address.” Using three separate pieces of chart paper, label the first School Community, label the second Neighborhood, and label the third Larger Community. Draw a line under each heading and create three columns with the following headings: Needs, Time/Talent/Treasure and Organizations.

  6. Place the three charts in separate areas of the classroom. Divide the class into three groups and assign each group to a chart. Ask them to hold a brainstorming discussion and list the needs for the community represented on their chart. After about five minutes, or as appropriate for the group discussions, ask the groups to rotate to a new chart, read what was listed by the previous group and add to the list of needs on that chart if possible. After a short period of time ask them to rotate to the third chart, read what their classmates have recorded and add to it if possible.

  7. Upon completion of the brainstorming, display all three charts and quickly read through the lists asking students to name whether they could help meet the need or solve the problem through giving time, talent or treasure, or a combination of the three. List the appropriate “T’s” in the second column.

  8. Assign homework in preparation for Day Two lesson.

  9. Day Two:

  10. Ask if any students are willing to share names of the organizations in the school or community that were generated during the brainstorming with their family members. List these and have the students brainstorm additions. The list might include such organizations as the Salvation Army, Student Council, Parent Teacher Organization, Honor Society, Red Cross and other local organizations.

  11. Point out to the learners which of the organizations listed that are nonprofit organizations. Define a nonprofit organization as an organization whose income is not used for the benefit or private gain of stockholders, directors, or any other persons with an interest in the company. The income is reinvested in the organization.

  12. Review the need/problems/issue on each chart and decide if any of these family/student-generated organizations might address the needs. Write these in the third column of each chart as appropriate. Organizations may appear several times on the chart. If an organization is a nonprofit indicate that on the chart with “NP” after the organizations name.

  13. To find additional local nonprofit organizations, ask the students to do an Internet search using Click on “Advanced Search” and enter the city and state to discover all the local nonprofits and their missions. Clicking on the nonprofit will access their mission or focus. If Internet access is not available, the students can search for nonprofits by looking in the yellow pages of phone books under the heading “Social Services.”

  14. Ask the students to reflect about their own priorities by writing a journal paragraph stating the need/problem/issue they would most like to address and why. The paragraph should also include the name of at least one organization they would like to work with to do address the need.


Teacher observation of student participation and their completed journal paragraph will serve as the assessment for this lesson.