Academic Service Learning: Creating the Philanthropy Resource

9, 10, 11, 12

Students will conduct a service-learning project as they interview members of the local non-profit community. After gathering information from the interviews, students will create a resource that lists information and details about each of the organizations.

Lesson Rating 
PrintTwo Fifty-Minute Class Periods There will be one week between the two periods for students’ independent work.

The learners will:

  • interview members of the non-profit sector using proper techniques.
  • list career and philanthropic opportunities in the non-profit sector.
  • create a shareable resource to inform others about local resources that address needs.
  • List of local nonprofit organizations (see Bibliographical References)
  • Interviewing Template (Attachment One)
  • Computer lab
  • Tools and materials for publishing and sharing the final resource
Home Connection 

Interactive Parent / Student Homework:Although not required, parents may want to visit the non-profit organizations with the students. Students need to contact the organizations and conduct the interviews within one week of the assignment for homework.

  • Atwell, Nancy. In The Middle: New Understanding about Writing, Reading, and Learning. Boynton Cook, 1998. ISBN: 0-86709-374-9.
  • Guidestar for information on local non-profit organizations
  • Volunteer Match for information on local volunteer opportunities


  1. Anticipatory Set: Explain to the students that, today or in the recent past, chances are very good that their lives have been affected by the non-profit sector. Ask students what they did last summer. Make notes on the board of any camps, museums, city or national parks that they have visited. Explain that these are examples of non-profit agencies at work.

  2. Hand out the list of non-profit organizations that are located in your community.

  3. Explain to the students that they will be interviewing a person of their choice from one of the non-profit sectors. The write-ups of these interviews will become a resource for your library about non-profits in your community. Before doing that, however, you need to provide the students with some tips about how to interview.

  4. Have students find a partner in the class. It is best to have them choose someone that they don’t know very well. You may have to do this for them.

  5. After students are in pairs, have them fold a piece of paper into four sections. Give the students a few minutes (five minutes or less) to write down five questions that they will ask their partner in the first section.

  6. Then give the students five minutes to ask their partners these questions and to write the answers in the second section of the paper.

  7. In the third section of the paper, have students consider the answers to the first set of questions and write five more questions about the answers that were given. Explain to the students that they should look at one of the answers that interested them, and to dig deeper into that answer by asking more questions about it.

  8. Finally, have the students write down the answers to the questions.

  9. Involve students in a short discussion about what they learned, especially with the second set of more probing questions. Explain that this is the kind of probing questioning they should be engaged in when interviewing.

  10. Tell the students that within the next week they will choose one of the non-profit agencies and, using a template, conduct an interview with someone from that agency. Hand out and go over the Interviewing Template (Attachment One).

  11. A week later have students reconvene with the questions they asked, the completed template and the notes they took from the interview. Have students type the information from the templates. Submissions will then be compiled into a meaningful format for sharing, to be determined by the students and teacher together. This may be a school or regional website or social media. Discuss who the possible audience would be and brainstorm ways to share the resource.


The students will be assessed by completing a final, typed contribution to the resource guide and their interview notes.

Cross Curriculum 

Students will participate in an academic service-learning project in the local community. Students individually interview members of the non-profit sector and create a resource of listings of this information. This resource may be shared on a regional or school website and in the local library in order for others to gain information about careers and volunteer opportunities in the local non-profit sector.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 04. Philanthropy and Geography
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Identify international civil society sector organizations and map their locations.
      2. Benchmark HS.2 Identify and describe how civil society sector organizations help people nationally and internationally.
  2. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Provide a needed service.
      2. Benchmark HS.3 Describe the task and the student role.