How Much Would You Give?

Grade Level: 
7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Act of Philanthropy
Communication Skills
Decision Making
Financial Resources
Persuasive Techniques
Youth Advisory Committee
This simulation helps youth participants make choices and determine how to best use financial resources to support a cause. Through reflection and discussion, they explore what influences their giving and how to use resources for make a greater impact.

What persuasive techniques do you use to get people to donate their dollar to your cause? What persuades you to donate?


65 - 75 minutes 


  • Paper, pencil 
  • Timer


  1. After a brief discussion about needs in the community (poverty, inequity, arts), the facilitator asks every participant to select one cause they will strongly support. Participants write that cause on the top of a piece of paper and think about why it is important to them. They can write a statement or draw a picture on the paper.
  2. The facilitator explains to the participants that each person has $1.00 (no more, no less) they can give away to the other causes in the room. They each write $1.00 on the top of their paper. When they give money to another cause, they deduct it from their dollar on their sheet (keep a running tally). They are to give the total dollar away in 15 minutes to the causes they support.  
  3. The group will have approximately 15 minutes (more time may need to be given for larger groups) to walk around the room and listen to other people‚Äôs causes and decide how they will give the $1.00 away (in whole or parts). Each person will also be simultaneously trying to convince the donors in the room to give to their cause. Each time a donation is given from a funder in the room, the participant writes down that amount in a separate column from the dollar they are giving away, and keeps track of how much money is raised to support their cause. The facilitator allows for clarifying questions and instructs the group to begin. Then, the facilitator gives a signal when there are only five minutes left to seek funding. 
  4. After the facilitator calls time, the participants total up the amount of money they received for their cause. Participants describe their own causes to the total group and tell how much they raised. After everyone has shared, talk about fundraising techniques. Who raised the most and why? Was it a good cause or a persuasive fundraiser? Other ideas?
  5. Discuss whether all of the participants gave their charitable dollars away. If not, why didn't they give their money away?  


Process the activity using some of the following questions: 

  • What was it like for you to try to convince others to support your cause? 
  • How difficult was it for participants to give their charitable dollars away? 
  • What have you learned that will help guide you to share your real dollars with causes that you care about? 
  • What criteria did you use to decide whether to give a donation or not? 
  • Would you use the same criteria in real giving? 
  • What ideas do you have on how this group might have pooled its financial resources to have more of an impact? 


Ask youth participants to interview someone who has provided financial resources to the organization and learn about why they chose to support the organization. The participants might want to discuss the activity with their families and find how they support causes that fit their personal beliefs and values.