Working Together Works: Philanthropy Lesson (8th)

6, 7, 8

Students will understand the importance of working together for the common good. They will create persuasive radio public service announcements about a philanthropic organization and its mission, and justify a personal choice about an organization they would like to support with time (volunteerism) or treasure.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Forty-Five Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • research a philanthropic organization and its mission.
  • create a persuasive radio advertisement for a nonprofit organization.
  • choose an organization to personally support with a donation of time or treasure and justify the choice.
  • Have students explore the Learning to Give informational White Papers to read about nonprofit organizations that interest them. Alternatively, the teacher may print a variety of papers in advance about different philanthropic organizations. (See White Papers under Teach menu.)
  • Plastic drinking straws, one for each student.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Hand out a plastic straw to each student. After they are seated, tell them to bend their straw (not break it) with their hands. Tell them to remember how it feels to bend your one straw. Collect all the straws, put them together tightly with rubber bands or tape. Ask several students to try to bend the grouped together straws using the same force they used in bending their own individual straw.

    Tell the students that this illustrates how people, when they work together for a common cause, are stronger and can sometimes accomplish more than individuals. Combining energy and resources can result in more being accomplished.

    Nonprofit organizations are made up of people who care about the same issues or causes and group together to address them. Tell the students that they are going to investigate some nonprofit organizations in the local area to discover the mission around which it was established and how they are responding to a cause or issue.


  2. Arrange students into groups to research a philanthropic organization, accessing by computer. Learning to Give has briefing papers about a variety of philanthropic organizations. Build local community connections for your students by having them research local organizations that can be found by zipcode on GuideStar.

  3. Have each group select, or assign each group, a philanthropic organization about which they will write a 30-second persuasive radio commercial or public service announcement, encouraging support for the organizations through donations or volunteers.

  4. Students will have 20 minutes to work in groups of 2-3 to read the information and create a radio advertisement encouraging people to support the organization.

  5. Students will perform the radio “spots” for their classmates.

  6. After the presentations, ask the students to write a short paragraph about which of the organizations they would be most likely to support with a donation of money or time (volunteerism) and why.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. 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. 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.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
      2. Benchmark MS.2 Research the need in the school, neighborhood, local community, state, nation, or world.