Comparing Apples and Oranges

6, 7, 8

Students will determine which community need should have greatest priority. Once a priority need has been determined, working as teams, students will research organizations that meet the community need. The research process will use a student-generated list of questions. Finally, students will compile and organize information for a visual presentation.

Lesson Rating 
PrintThree Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • use electronic resources to research philanthropic organizations.
  • organize research information and design a visual presentation.
  • Computer with Internet access
  • For What Are We Looking?—What Do We Want To Know? (Handout One)
  • Visual Presentation of Organization Research (Handout Two)
  • A Dozen Types of Community Needs (Handout Three)
  • Slips of paper (ballots)
  • Posterboard or large roll paper
  • Markers and colored pencils
  • Colored paper and graph paper
  • Scissors, rulers, yard/meter sticks

Guidestar Home Page, Guidestar Home Page,


  1. Anticipatory Set: Ask students to imagine they are going to go shopping with the twenty dollars they asked for from their parents or grandparents in Lesson One. Ask students, "Where would you go shopping, and how would you decide what to purchase?" (This activity may be extended by using play money and advertisement flyers.)

  2. Relate this anticipatory set to the decision making process students will need to use in order to decide how best to apply funding to meet a local community need. List student responses on the chalkboard to the question: "What questions should our class consider in deciding how to spend our funds?" Teacher Note: Money secured through a community foundation and distributed through <> is one possibility. Students may also have raised funds through a service learning project to donate toward the local community need.

  3. Before researching an organization, it is necessary to have students determine the priority "need." [If students need assistance in broadening their list of community needs, A Dozen Types of Community Needs (Handout Three) can assist the teacher and learners.] Students who feel a strong conviction should present their paper (created in Lesson One) as a persuasive essay to convince classmates. Then the class should use a ballot to vote on the priority need to be addressed. The ballots should then be tallied and the need announced.

  4. Ask students to generate questions which will serve as a guideline for researching various organizations. Use For What Are We Looking?—What Do We Want To Know? (Handout One) to compose a checklist of questions. Students may add to the list as they find pertinent information during the research process. Possible questions may include:

    • Is this organization charitable (immediate short-term need) or philanthropic (long-term self-sufficiency) in philosophy?
    • What are its goals?
    • How long has this organization been in existence?
    • What percentage of their funds are spent on the cause?
  5. Note:"Donor Resources" within <> is helpful for guiding a search.

  6. Students should work in small groups to identify an organization addressing the priority need and gather information. Other Web sites for related organizations can be useful. The pros/cons of each organization should be identified. Students will compile information on Handout One: For What Are We Looking?—What Do We Want To Know? When using <>, the following procedure for research is suggested:

    • Click on advanced search.
    • Type in pertinent information
    • In the "NTEE" box, type in the related code from the National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities and/or the category of need in the "Category" box.
  7. Once students have compiled research on Handout One: For What Are We Looking?—What Do We Want To Know?, groups should organize information into a visual presentation to report to the class. Factual information should be organized into charts, tables and simple clear narrative statements including pertinent information. As students are working, the teacher should be continually circulating to ensure that students are including pertinent information for comparison in Lesson Three.


Assessing will take place through teacher evaluation of student work. Students will compile research findings and organize them into a presentation format (to include graphs, tables, and narrative information). Students will also engage in self-evaluation of information organized and presented. Use Visual Presentation of Organization Research (Handout Two) for guidelines/self-assessment.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Discuss a public policy issue affecting the common good and demonstrate respect and courtesy for differing opinions.
  2. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Research the need in the school, neighborhood, local community, state, nation, or world.