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'Fundearning' can boost teen community service

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Would raise community service money by dog walking?
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Would you walk a neighbor’s dog to support cancer research? Proofread essays to help low-income families? Or even bake a pie to fight malaria?

A new social platform uses what it calls “Fundearning” to allow students - or anyone - to earn money to support nonprofits.

Giving Privilege, founded by Sthir Malkapur in 2014, works like this:

First, you choose the charities you want to support and then figure out a service to provide to earn the money. This could be anything useful, like babysitting, tutoring, music lessons or tech help. Or you could use your time and talent to create something to sell, such as pottery, gift baskets or chocolate chip cookies.

Giving Privilege calls the service a “gig.” You provide the service and earn the funds that, minus a small administrative fee, are sent to the nonprofit. As the gig organizer, you then get a receipt that the donation has been made.

The concept allows you to do something you love doing while making a difference. And it fosters responsibility, independence and a good work ethic in students.

Sthir hopes her startup will help teenagers feel empowered.

“There is a shift happening towards skills-based volunteering and we are taking that to the next level with Fundearning,” she says. “Supporting your cause by doing tasks that align with your interests and expertise proves to be very gratifying.”

Fundearning can be done by anyone but it works particularly well with students’ schedules. And, teachers appreciate the sincerity of using personal skills to give back, calling the process “empowering,” “philanthropic” and “entrepreneurial.”

Participants say Fundearning, which combines work experience and volunteering, helps them develop time management, accountability and communication. Parents say it helps kids develop their identities and obtain valuable work experience while learning to give back.

Start your own campaign and start supporting your favorite nonprofits now.

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