"We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give."

Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965), former British prime minister
All Lesson Plans
General English
Business English
Special Holidays & World Days

This free ESL lesson plan on donating has been designed for adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

Donating means giving to a worthy cause. That cause could be helping poor people feed their families, protecting the environment, or a political movement. You could give clothes or food, but ask most charities, and they’ll tell you money is the best kind of donation. While most people donate out of the goodness of their own heart, others donate for less noble reasons. Donating can help lower your tax bill, or it can buy you power and influence over the government. In this ESL lesson plan on donations, students will have the opportunity to discuss and express their opinions on issues such as ways to donate, what happens to donations, and how donating can affect society.

This lesson plan could also be used with your students to debate these issues for the International Day of Charity, which takes place in September. For more lesson plans on international days and important holidays, see the calendar of world days to plan your classes for these special occasions.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.


Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

Canada Helps | 14 Creative Ways to Give Charitably

The article looks at some alternative ways of giving to charity in addition to just giving money, including donating your special skills, using your voice to champion various causes, and donating hair. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was said? Can they think of any ways they might disagree with the content of the article?

Video activity
To save time in class for the conversation activities, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below and answer the listening questions in Section 3 of the lesson plan at home. The questions for the video are styled in a way similar to an exam like the IELTS.

The video for this class is called “Why Billionaire Philanthropy is Not So Selfless” by TruTV which looks at the ulterior motives that billionaire philanthropists have for donating money.


The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means and if they agree with it. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including how it feels to donate, disasters that result in lots of donations, and whether all people should donate.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with donating such as raise money, fundraiser and generosity. This vocabulary has been chosen to boost the students’ knowledge of less common vocabulary that could be useful for preparing for English exams like IELTS or TOEFL. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the listening questions. Before checking the answers, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about donating. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as donating blood, donating organs and philanthropy.


After the class, students will write about their opinion of donating and donations. This could be a short paragraph or a longer piece of writing depending on what level the student is at. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise and improve their grammar with the feedback from their teacher. For students who intend to take an international English exam such as IELTS or TOEFL, there is an alternative essay question to practise their essay-writing skills.


Did you find this lesson plan useful?

Your English Pal is a free resource to help fellow ESL teachers save time when preparing their classes. If these lesson plans have helped you, and you’d like to help keep the site free, please consider making a small contribution to help cover the site’s costs. Any help you can give is much appreciated!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *