Providing Service for a Nonprofit

K, 1, 2

The students select a community service learning project based on interests and abilities, and school/community needs. They plan and carry out the project.

PrintOne Forty-Five Minute Class Period (plus time to carry out the service project)

The learner will:

  • select a service project to serve a nonprofit organization in his/her community.
  • set goals for a service project for the community.
  • give specific examples of safety for the project.
  • describe a service plan.
  • reflect on the effects of their project.

Materials will be determined by the project chosen.

Home Connection 

None for this lesson.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Once again, show the pail of water from Lesson One: What Is a Community? to the class. As you pour the pail of water into a bigger container, remind the students that Humphrey was led back to the ocean by a community of people volunteering their time for the common good. “Just like Humphrey moved from a small space to a large space, the community of concerned citizens grew from a small pool to a larger pool. That is what it is like when people get together to help others. The community of concerned citizens grows. Today our goal is to select a need in our own community. We will then make a plan to meet that need. We will either join others who are working on the issue to make a larger community or others will follow our lead to make a larger community. Let’s start thinking of ways we can help in our community.”

  2. Have the students get out their journals from Lesson Four: Profit and Nonprofit Organizations. Brainstorm a list of nonprofits they observed on their fieldtrip. Discuss which nonprofits needed help. Follow the students’ interests to help them select a service project.

    • Help the students set some goals for this project, such as making an area more appealing to others, helping others become better readers, bringing cheer to someone who is lonely or preserving wildlife in the community.

    • Contact the nonprofit organization (by telephone or letter writing) and discuss and fine tune the students’ plan and goals. (Involve the students in this process.)

    • When the service project is accepted, discuss with the students safety issues involved. For example: treating tools with respect and not as play items; treating materials such as library books and props with respect; moving slowly and carefully around other people and in hallways; sensitivity to people’s differences; and keeping track of each other.

    • Make a plan of action including assigning specific duties for individuals. Encourage students to volunteer for specific roles because volunteering should involve choice.

    • Carry out the plan.

    • When the project is complete, come back to the classroom and have the students reflect by drawing and writing about what they did to help their community.


The teacher will observe class participation in the planning process. Evaluate students’ participation in the service project through observation and through their reflection piece. Use the following rubric: 5 Help on the project and have both a picture and writing about it. 4 Help on the project, have picture, but no writing. 3 Help on the project, have writing, but no picture. 2 Help on the project, but have no picture/writing. 1 No help on the project, but have a picture/writing. 0 No help on the project and no picture/writing.

Cross Curriculum 

Based on community needs as well as students’ interests and abilities, the class chooses a service project to carry out. Some community projects may include fixing up a park, helping at the library, helping those in need, building bird houses for the nature center and making banners or posters to teach others about a need.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.5 Recognize that volunteering requires freedom of choice.
  2. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark E.2 Research the need in the school, neighborhood, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.2 Describe the goals of the project and their impact.
      2. Benchmark E.5 Articulate and demonstrate the safety procedures that are part of the volunteer experience.
    3. Standard VS 04. Raising Private Resources
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe a service plan.
    4. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark E.2 Evaluate progress on the service-learning project before, during, and after the project.