Difference Between Charity and Philanthropy

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What Is the Definition of Charity?

Charity is defined as an immediate way to give to people in need when they need help. In many cases, when people need charity, it involves a basic necessity for help from a natural disaster, life-saving emergency assistance or other donations over a short period of time. Many charities are run by nonprofit organizations that focus on getting one-time gifts for those in need. These organizations can be small or large and created by an individual or even a large company or corporation. Some are even volunteer organizations that run on a limited budget.

Whatever the case of the size of the organization, charity is based on giving through emotional response. For example, people who are affected by a severe storm or earthquake and lose their homes may be prime candidates to receive charity so that they can get food, clothing, shelter and other basic necessities after such a tragedy. Other reasons behind charity involve helping people who are sick. Some charities are religious- or faith-based.

When people donate to charity, the amount of money given can range from a few dollars to much larger sums. Typically, people agree that even a few cents can make a difference in helping those in need.

What Is the Definition of Philanthropy?

Philanthropy refers to making contributions to people based on wanting to serve the public in a beneficial way. However, this extends beyond the purpose of charity; philanthropy is guided by larger visions and a deeper purpose to provide good for the public. It is a much longer term idea that aims to address various social and societal issues and involves strategic approaches. Those who get involved in philanthropy don’t just give on occasion; instead, they volunteer, donate money and actually participate in hands-on work to accomplish their goal of serving the public.

President Jimmy Carter is a good example of a philanthropist. He has dedicated his life to helping people by advancing human rights and promoting democracy, resolving conflicts, improving physical and mental health and providing shelter to those who need it most.

What Are the Notable Differences Between Charity and Philanthropy?

Charity and philanthropy both exist to help people in need, but they have notable differences. While charity is more of an immediate form of giving to benefit people, philanthropy helps people and society as a whole over an extended period of time instead of just right at this moment and once. The goal of philanthropy is not merely to help people, but it also exists to get to the root of the problem and solve it for the sake of a better future.

What Types of Acts Are Involved in Charity?

There are many different types of acts involved in charity. In most cases, the goal of charities is to provide basic necessities to needy individuals. In the most basic examples, some of those things may include food, water, clothing, shelter and healthcare. However, there are other charitable causes associated with a charity that involve amassing donations to go toward cancer research, saving wildlife in jeopardy of going extinct or religious purposes.

However, because charity is a type of immediate way to give to someone in need, there are other, small ways that a person can participate. Some of them include donating blood, donating used clothing, organ donation, volunteering at your local food bank or homeless shelter, participating in athletics for a good cause, donating your tax refund or making a gift to your favorite charity in your will.

What Kinds of Acts Are Involved in Philanthropy?

Philanthropy goes several steps farther than charity, so instead of short-term giving, it involves giving to worthy causes on a much larger scale with altruism to help on a long-term basis. There are many acts involved in philanthropy. A person can volunteer their time and effort for the benefit of a certain group, cause or society as a whole. Another way to become a philanthropist is to establish a foundation or fund to benefit certain groups or an entire community, town, city or state on a long-term basis or make continuous donations over a long period of time to a specific charity or charities.

What Types of Organizations Are Involved in Charity?

Different categories of organizations can be involved in charity. Typically, they include churches and other religious organizations, private foundations, social welfare organizations, labor, agricultural and horticultural organizations and political organizations. Because these organizations are charitable, many of them are nonprofits. Instead of operating to earn a profit for the owner, these organizations exist to benefit the public, beneficiaries or members. Many nonprofits run on funding provided by donors.

What Types of Organizations Are Involved in Philanthropy?

Organizations involved in philanthropy are also nonprofits, but they are also non-governmental and use donated funding to provide services for the good of the community or specific groups over a long period of time. Some examples of philanthropic organizations include charitable trusts that give on a long-term basis, community foundations and endowments. These organizations do not have to pay federal taxes because of their nonprofit statuses and donations made to them are tax deductible.

Any foundations that fall under the category of “philanthropic” are considered private instead of public unless they meet specific requirements.

How Do Monetary Donations and Non-Monetary Contributions Compare?

Monetary donations and non-monetary contributions can be made to charity or philanthropic purposes. While all donations are considered contributions, the reverse is not necessarily true. Monetary donations go directly toward specific charitable purposes. Meanwhile, non-monetary contributions are made toward something you feel passionate about; however, such contributions don’t have to go toward a specific charity.

How Do Immediate Responses to Problems Compare with Long-Term Solutions?

Immediate responses to problems take care of the issue in the here and now. This is the main facet of charity. You can make a charitable donation toward a specific cause based on your emotions in that moment.

Long-term solutions are far deeper than immediate responses because they are devised over a long period of time. Their purpose is to address societal problems over a long-term basis.

How Does the Impact on Social Issues Compare with Medical Research Teams?

Donations made toward social issues or medical research teams can both carry long-term solutions. Social issues focus on various problems in the community, country or even the world as a whole. When donations go toward medical research so teams can solve medical mysteries, it could also benefit the community, country or the world altogether. The difference between the two is that social issues include a wide array of matters while contributions to medical research teams aim to solve issues in the medical and healthcare community.

What Benefits Does the Donor Receive?

Donating to charity or philanthropy allows you to reap certain benefits. First, it feels good to give back and gives you a sense of purpose and accomplishment. It improves your personal values and lets you make an impact to be felt by those in need; depending on how you donate, you can touch a single person or an entire group or even the community.

Donors can also gain access to the community, have publicity and enjoy recognition and appreciation.

What Are Some Examples of Charitable Organizations and Philanthropic Activities?

There are many charitable organizations throughout the world. Some of the most well-known are Save the Children, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders, St. Jude Children’s Research, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the American Red Cross and the Nature Conservancy.

Examples of philanthropic activities include donating large sums of money to create research centers, providing four-year scholarships to needy, worthy students or building homes for people in need.

What Are Private Foundations?

Private foundations are entities created specifically for charitable purposes. They can be funded by a single person, family, other group of people or a company.

What Are Community Foundations?

Community foundations are public charities created for the purpose of providing grants or other funding to needy people within a specific community or area.

What Are Donor-Advised Funds?

Donor-advised funds are accounts that exist for the purpose of making charitable donations to organizations, individuals or causes.

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