Get To Know Your Local Philanthropic Organizations

6, 7, 8

The purpose of this lesson is to have students develop appropriate interview questions, interview a philanthropic organization, and present information to the class. This lesson is a continuation from Lesson One: Characterizing Philanthropic People.

PrintFour Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • list local philanthropic organizations.
  • obtain information about a local philanthropic organization through an interview.
  • report information from an interview to the class.

Interview Sample Questions (Attachment One)


  1. Anticipatory Set:Ask students, "How many philanthropic characteristics can you remember from Lesson One? Please write down as many as you recall." Give a few minutes for students to write their answers. Ask four or five students to share their answers. Ask students, "How many of you are philanthropists?" Have two or three students share why they feel they are.


  2. Explain the purpose of a mission statement and describe how nonprofit mission statements relate to philanthropy. All students will share the three organizations and the organizations' missions, that they found for homework, to develop a class list of local philanthropic organizations. This list can be compiled on the board or long paper.

  3. Arrangestudents into groups of three to four students. Each group will select one organization to interview for information. Each organization can be done only by one group.

  4. Optional: Students can be given group roles such as:

    • recorder writes the questions with the group's help;
    • interviewer will do the actual interview and take notes;
    • reporter will report the information from the interview back to the class;
    • encourager makes sure everyone is participating and encourages those who may need it.
  5. Have the class brainstorm what types of questions would be important to ask. Explain to students that more information will be retrieved if they do not ask questions that can only be answered with Yes or No. Interview Sample Questions (Attachment One) has suggestions for important questions into which you may want to lead students.

  6. Before the interviews take place, teachers may want to call the organizations to inform them that students will be calling.

  7. Day Two:

  8. Groups will exchange questions to help proofread interview questions and offer suggestions to other groups. Then students will do mock interviews to practice interviewing skills and how to take brief notes on what the speaker says. Let students know it's acceptable to repeat what the person says and let the interviewee know they are taking notes. They don't need to rush through the interview. Interviews will be done after school or, if your school allows, during remaining class time.

  9. Day Three:

  10. Interviewers will explain to their group what they learned. Reporters, or the group, will then present their organization's information to the class. After each group's presentation, a brief discussion should be held to clarify why this is a philanthropic organization.

  11. Day Four:

  12. In order to share information gained in this unit with the rest of the school, the teacher will obtain permission to use one of the large school or hall display areas. Students will use pamphlets and/or other materials gained during their interviews to mount a display about the local philanthropic organizations they have researched. Copies of their interview sheets may be included or each team may wish to design a poster to be displayed.


Assessment will be through teacher observation of the questions each group develops, the completed report and the hall display.

Cross Curriculum 

Students will conduct interviews with members of local philanthropic organizations and share the information with the rest of the school in a hall display.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 04. Operational Characteristics of Nonprofit Organizations
      1. Benchmark MS.1 State the purpose of a mission statement and describe how civil society organization mission statements relate to philanthropy.
      2. Benchmark MS.2 Describe the basic structure of a civil society organization.
      3. Benchmark MS.3 Describe how a specific civil society organization in the community operates.