I Know I Can

6, 7, 8

Students define philanthropy as giving time, talent, or treasure for the common good. They learn about community philanthropy and make a presentation persuading others to act philanthropically in a specific way (volunteering, contributing to a nonprofit, or advocating for a cause). This lesson will raise awareness of philanthropic opportunities within our local communities, homes/family, and school. Based on guidelines for writing persuasively, students create persuasive speeches encouraging philanthropy.

Lesson Rating 
PrintFour Seventy-Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • investigate local philanthropic opportunities.
  • explain why philanthropy is needed for the common good.
  • present a persuasive argument encouraging specific philanthropy.
  • list of local nonprofit organizations from local Chamber of Commerce
  • Steps to an Effective Persuasive Speech (handout)
  • Student copies of Persuasive Speech Rubric (handout)
Home Connection 

Students may practice the speech at home to become more comfortable in presenting.


Chamber of Commerce www.chamberofcommerce.com/ (list of local philanthropic organizations)



  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Tell your students about a valuable volunteer experience of your own or a reason you donate to a specific nonprofit or issue. Let the students know that giving/philanthropy is a part of a citizen's life. For example, "The environment is important to me, so each year I volunteer at the community's river cleanup. It's fun to spend the day with friends and meet others with a similar interest. By the end of the day, we get all the trash picked up alongside the river. I'm really proud of that."

  2. Define philanthropy as giving time, talent, or treasure and taking action for the common good. Tell them that many people think philanthropy is just giving money, but voluntary actions we take that benefit our community are also philanthropy, 

  3. Ask them to think of things that could be better in our school, community, country, or world (choose one area). For example: Our city doesn't have a recycle program. or There's a refugee family in the area that needs help with shopping. The senior center would love to have youth make friends with their residents. 

  4. Tell the students that nonprofit organizations form to address issues like hunger, homelessness, help for seniors, literacy help, and so on. Share a list or chamber of commerce website where students learn about different nonprofits. 

  5. Form groups of three based on interest in issues and organizations. The group decides if they are focusing on school, community, country, or world (choose one area). Encourage a variety among the groups. The group identifies an organization that addresses the issue they care about. They conduct research about the issue and organization, and learn how a local group takes action and what help they need. 

  6. Assign student groups to prepare a three to five minute persuasive speech about the importance of personally being involved in philanthropy for that issue/org. Describe the characteristics of “persuasive” speech. Go over criteria that define an effective persuasive speech. See Steps to an Effective Persuasive Speech and the Rubric (handouts). 

    This may be prepared in class and as homework. Set the day for the presentations. 

  7. Allow students to complete the preparation of their speeches and rehearse within their groups, focusing on content, time and presentation skills. The teacher should move from group to group, answering questions and listening for students' understanding and focusing on the time, talent and treasure attributes of philanthropy.

  8. Have students present their speeches to the entire class on the predetermined day. The other students take notes, ask questions, and provide feedback about their interest in participating in the volunteer ideas.


The teacher will assess the speeches using Persuasive Speech Rubric (handout).

Cross Curriculum 

Explain that a representative from a local philanthropic organizations could visit the class to speak about the work of their organization. Make it clear that the presence of this volunteer (NP visitor) in the classroom is a philanthropic act in itself. If you bring an expert in, encourage students to ask questions and be interactive with the speakers. Introduce the speakers and have each one share philanthropic opportunities in their organizations and explain how 10-15 year olds can be involved.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Define philanthropy as individuals and organizations providing their time, talent, and/or treasures intended for the common good throughout history and around the world. Give examples.
    2. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Describe how different needs are met in different ways by government, business, civil society, and family.
    3. Standard DP 04. Operational Characteristics of Nonprofit Organizations
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Describe how a specific civil society organization in the community operates.
  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.