Breakthrough at the Dekko Foundation

We’ve discovered the power of two little words!

Usually when organizations want to teach or bring about change, they focus on how-to’s: How-to set up an early childhood classroom; how-to build an effective marketing effort; or how-to mobilize community problem solvers. 

Don’t get us wrong. The how-to approach gets things moving. But we think it also has drawbacks.

Think about a time that you watched a how-to video. You relied on the video for step-by-step directions and advice on how things should look at the end. You probably didn’t internalize the process because you knew you could always go back and watch again. 

Our approach to youth philanthropy (and much of our work over all) is focused instead on why-to’s. When we encourage adults to support youth philanthropy we explain that:

  • After being in classrooms for so many years, teens are anxious to get out into the world and try what they’ve learned. 
  • Teens are naturally wired for novelty and risk, and they’re loyal to peer authority.
  • Teens are mature enough to consider social justice and think about their eventual place in the world.

Knowing these things, it seems almost natural to offer teens the chance to solve the community problems that are most important to them. Even without a how-to video, caring adults can empathize with teen development and arrive at creative, effective ways to support and empower young philanthropists.

We apply why-to to supporting youth's engagement in philanthropy, but this is a universal two word victory. With why-to, you can define your own investment approach in stronger, more action-oriented terms. Below is a video showcasing our approach to youth philanthropy. After watching, feel free to share your thoughts on funding strategies related to youth empowerment in the comments! 

About the author(s)

Program Officer
The Dekko Foundation