Getting Involved—Increase the Feeling

3, 4, 5

This lesson will emphasiz the important characteristcs under which a nonprofit organization operates.  It will provide a hands-on opportunity for the formation of youth clubs, i.e., Reading Buddies within the walls of the school.

Lesson Rating 
PrintTwo Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • define how nonprofits operate.
  • compare and contrast a nonprofit organization with a school group.
  • develop a mission statement for the school group
  • Chart paper or chalkboard
  • Chalk or markers
  • Copies of various school mission statements
  • Learning to Give Mission Statement (see Attachment One)
  • Internet access

Web site: Search by zip code to get a list of local non-profits, then click onto the mission statement.


  1. Anticipatory Set:Ask: How many of you are involved with an organized group like Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, etc.? Tell the person next to you why you joined (allow 30 seconds for the exchange). Would you recommend joining a group to someone else?

    Teacher Note: Prior to this lesson it will be necessary to make arrangements (time, frequency, place) with a colleague from a lower grade for your students to adopt their students as reading buddies.

  2. How does it feel to be part of a group? What happens when someone does something to help someone else? Does it make the person performing the action feel better or worse? Why or why not?

  3. Explain that nonprofit organizations do philanthropic work for others all the time. It is their primary function. Ask students to name organizations that perform actions for the common good. If students are having a hard time, name several (such as United Way, Community Service Organization, Red Cross, Salvation Army) and ask what type of work the group does.

  4. Ask how students would know the type of work nonprofit organizations do. Explain that we if we didn't know what a particular group did, we could use its mission statement to identify its purpose. Use Missions for Our Causes (see Attachment One) as a sample for students to review. Read or pass out the school mission statements that were secured. Explore them with the students to determine the following: How are they the same/different? Which areas are covered on all statements? What are the parts of the mission statement? (Several mission statements are needed for comparison.)

  5. If the Internet is available to students, show them how to access the site (follow directions listed in bibliographical references) to find and print mission statements for two or three non-profits. If students don't have access to the Internet the teacher may access the site and print copies of mission statements from several non-profits.

  6. Read the missions statements to discover the name of the organization, its mission (what the organization wants to do) and the expected outcomes (what the result will be).

  7. Explain that each class member will be a philanthropist, sharing his/her time and talents by having a reading buddy from a lower grade. Therefore, each student is responsible for developing his/her own mission statement modeled after the ones reviewed (including the name of the organization, ie., Dan's Reading Club, the mission, and expected outcomes).

  8. Teacher note: you may want to brainstorm as a whole class some possible missions and outcomes for reading buddies before the students write their own mission statement.

  9. Once the statements are completed and approved, the clubs will begin. In order to measure if the expected outcomes have been achieved, a journal of weekly experiences should be kept. It should include the day, time, what was read, the buddy's reaction, and how students felt about the experience.


Each student will develop a mission statement to be used for Reading Buddies. The statement should state the name of the organization, the purpose and its expected outcome. Students should define the components of the mission statement in their own words. Students will keep a personal journal about the weekly Reading Buddies experience. Entries should be consistent.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 04. Operational Characteristics of Nonprofit Organizations
      1. Benchmark E.2 Describe how a volunteer youth club in school operates.
  2. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.1 Provide a needed service.