Impact of Giving (6-8)

6, 7, 8

Learners investigate local and global issues, and learn about nonprofits in the community. Students examine root causes and effects, and learn about the Sustainable Development Goals and #GivingTuesday. As a service project, they organize an event, such as a volunteer fair or game-a-thon, and raise awareness of the issue or of giving opportunities. 

Photo Credit: FMSC Distribution Partner - Haiti by Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) is licensed under CC by 4.0 

PrintTwo 45-Minute Class Sessions, plus time for a project

The learners will ...

  • define altruism and nonprofit organization.
  • explain the work of the Sustainable Development Goals and select one they are passionate about addressing.
  • make and carry out a plan for taking action toward addressing a local or global need. 
  • reflect on the impact of many people working together for the common good. 
  • Access to the UN Sustainable Development Goals website of materials from the United Nations:
  • PowerPoint on the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) (handout below) or recorded here:
  • Worksheet for a plan to be signed off upon, before they begin their act of giving
  • Evidence sheet that demonstrates they finished their act of giving
  • altruism: selfless concern for the welfare of others
  • nonprofit organization: an organization focused on its mission rather than profits for stakeholders
  • Global Goals: The 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations to provide vision and leadership for individuals, organizations, and nations to make a systematic difference on the 17 critical issues that impact the common good globally.

What is the impact on the givers and the community when people volunteer or take action for the good of the community or world?


  1. Anticipatory Set: Share this quote from John Muir (naturalist and advocate for conservation). "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe."

    Tell the students that while John Muir's focus was on the connectedness of nature, this quote can also speak to the connectedness of people in the world. Discuss the meaning of the quote as it relates to nature and for global common good. 

  2. Introduce students to the Sustainable Development Goals by saying, "The United Nations, as a collaborative of countries around the world, advocated that we work together to address the world's biggest issues. In the year 2000, they set a 15-year goal (Millennium Goals) to address issues like hunger, injustice, and climate change. The effort was effective but not done, so they set another goal -- actually made up of 17 global goals -- for countries and people around the world to work together to make a better world for all. To participate, people, groups, and organizations often select one goal as a focus and do what they can to make a difference. 

    Today, we will look at the goals and study the impact of giving (our time, talent, and treasure) on the world. 

  3. Define altruism as "selfless concern for the welfare of others." Discuss the meaning and talk about examples of what it is and isn't. Discuss how acting unselfishly for the good of others makes one feel. Discuss the impact on others and the world if people are doing what they can for the good of all. Discuss whether it is true that everyone has SOMETHING to give to make the world better. See the Martin Luther King, Jr. quote below.

  4. "Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love."
    – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1968

  5. Preview each of the 17 goals of the Sustainable Development Goals with the students. The PowerPoint below (handouts) may be used or this YouTube video where they are briefly previewed. Alternatively, have students each go on the U.N. website and learn about one goal and present it to the class. 

    Discuss the value of this global effort and encourage the students to reflect on which one of the goals they personally feel passionate about addressing. 

  6. Optional: The Blue Sky Activity is a Learning to Give community-building activity that may be used in a separate class period to explore what the students care about and to envision a world in which they issue they identified is repaired. This activity promotes personal reflection, discussion, envisioning, and consensus building that leads to a group project. 

  7. Move students into groups of shared interests related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDV). For example, the zero hunger group, the climate action group, and environment group, and the affordable and clean energy group. In their group, they do research, interview people at a nonprofit, and discuss one step they can take together toward addressing the issue. They write up a plan of action and present it to the teacher for approval and further discussion. 

  8. Students carry out their plans of action. You may choose to have separate groups work on projects, or the small groups may present their ideas to the whole class. Then the class comes to consensus on one project they carry out together.


Make a banner for the wall that reads, "Everyone has something to give. I pledge to use my time, talent, or treasure to make the classroom, community, or world a better place." Have each person in the class sign the banner.  

Student assessment may be based on the following percentages: 

  • 15 percent group work
  • 15 percent approved draft of plan
  • 70 percent carrying out their plan 

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.5 Identify the business, government, family, and civil society sectors.
    2. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.6 Identify significant contributions to society that come from the civil society sector.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Give political and historic reasons why civil society groups have formed in the nation and world.
    2. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark MS.9 Recognize problems different communities encounter using a "commons" and possible solutions.
    3. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark MS.11 Identify and give an example of organizations in the civil society sector that work to protect minority voices around the world.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.5 Describe the responsibility students have to act in the civil society sector to improve the common good.
  4. 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.
    2. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Describe the goals of the project and their impact.