Motivated to Give (12th Grade)

9, 10, 11, 12

The learners identify their own and others' motivations for giving and social action in the community. They promote giving and social action through persuasive writing.



PrintOne Fifty Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • define community.
  • identify motivations for volunteering/giving.
  • identify personal reasons for volunteering/giving.
  • write a persuasive essay/letter intended to motivate philanthropic acts.
  • Small self stick notes, two colors for each student
  • Student copies of Handout One: Motivations for Giving
  • Student copies of Handout Two: Top Ten Reasons for Youth to Volunteer

Write a paragraph about a time you felt motivate to do something kind or to give to someone. What was your motivation?

  • Learning to Give
  • Prince, Alan and Karen File.  The Seven Faces of Philanthropy. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1994.  ISBN: 9780787960575


  1. Anticipatory Set: Place the words community and social action on a display area for all to see. Ask learners to define these two words giving examples.

    Community: (n, pl. –ies) A group of people living in the same area and under the same government; a class or group having common interests and likes.

    Social Action:(n) Persons in the process of doing or acting for the general welfare of all

    Give each learner two small self-stick notes. (NOTE: Two different colors are preferred) Challenge them to think about who they might know who gives of their time, talent and treasure for the common good by volunteering in the activities of the community(-ies) identified above by taking social action. On one color of the self-stick-notes, have them write what they think motivates adults in their communities to choose to be involved in social action for the common good. On the second colored self-stick note have them think about what might motivate them (or other teens) to choose to be involved in volunteering/giving activities.

  2. Distribute Handout One: Motivations for Giving and instruct the learners to read the article.

  3. As they are reading, list the Motivations for Giving as column headings on the display area. After they have finished reading, to make sure that they understand what each of the ‘ motivations’ mean, ask them to respond to “If/when asked why I volunteer/give and I respond in the following way, under which heading would my ‘motivation’ for being involved in social action fall?” Read each statement below, one by one, and solicit learner response.

    • “Hey, one good turn deserves another, I always say.” - Giving Back
    • “I rather give locally than to a similar National Organization” - Being Part of a Community
    • “I guess I never really thought about it. It’s just something I’ve always done.” -Family Tradition
    • “I give when my accountant says it would be in my best interest.” - Good Business
    • “If the world is going to improve, we all need to pitch in.” - Selfless Concern
    • “Some of my best friends throw great fund-raising parties.” - Social Function
    • “Aren’t we told to “Do unto others as we would have them do unto us?” - Religion
  4. Have the learners re-read their first sticky note ‘what motivates adults in their communities to volunteer/give’ in order to determine under which of the Motivations for Giving it would fall. Have them come to the display area to post the sticky note in the identified column.

  5. Now distribute and have the learners read the Handout Two: Top Ten Reasons for Youth to Volunteer. While they are reading, place the “top ten reasons” in columns on the display area.

  6. Have the learners re-read their second sticky note what might motivate them or other teens to volunteer/give and have them identify which of the top ten reasons for youth volunteerism best matches their own and come to the display area to place their selection in the proper column.

  7. Discuss the similarities and differences in the motivations/reasons for volunteering/ giving both within and between the two columns.

  8. Have the learners, using what they now know about the motivations and reasons for volunteering, write a persuasive essay, in the form of a letter, to a friend or family member intended to motivate and /or provide reasons for them to participate in community philanthropy by giving time, talent and/or treasure for the common good.


Involvement in classroom activities and discussion

An assessment of the persuasive letter/essay

Cross Curriculum 

Students share their persuasive writing to promote giving and civic responsiblity.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark HS.4 Describe and give examples of characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark HS.3 Participate in acts of democratic citizenship in the community, state or nation, such as petitioning authority, advocating, voting, group problem solving, mock trials or classroom governance and elections.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Compare and contrast enlightened self-interest, egoism, and altruism as they relate to philanthropy and principles of democracy.