There’s always been something special about getting your family together for an activity that everyone can get involved in. Whether it’s taking a small vacation with the family, cooking a meal together or digging out a garden in your backyard, time spent with your family is time that should be appreciated and cultivated when at all possible.

If you’ve already laid out that garden, cooked enough meals for a month and expended your vacation fund, perhaps it’s time to look into involving your family with a local nonprofit.

Family volunteering is both fairly common and immensely helpful when it comes to nonprofits in need of a few extra pairs of hands on a job. But volunteering your family also requires similar schedules and a good bit of time–just one of the reasons that I am a strong advocate for creating a charitable family fund.

Similar to an IRA, you and your family can set up a charitable fund with most any bank, and you don’t need to deposit huge amounts of money to get it started. When people think of charitable funds, they often think of the big players–the Susan G Komens, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the ASPCA, and so on. People tend to believe that, without a multimillion dollar budget, the changes you’re able to create will be negligible. Though I’ve written about the powerful changes you can bring about through smaller donations of just a few dollars, it’s worth reiterating time and time again: you do not need a huge savings account to make a difference. In fact, a family charitable fund can be set up for as little as $1,000 more often than not.

These accounts can receive deposits over time from your family, growing over time in a very similar way that an IRA functions. Nominal contributions over time can add up over time and present a fantastic way for your whole family to get involved. If your smaller children are earning an allowance every week (or every month), encourage them to contribute a portion of it to the account in the name of doing good.

Starting a charitable family fund is a perfect way to get your children interested and accustomed to giving back to the community around them. Doing it at a young age helps to instill the meaning behind helping others, ensuring it will follow them for the rest of their lives.

It’s never too early to instill your children with a sense of altruism. The world functions better when people are involved, when people are loving, when people are caring, and when people are