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January 12, 2022

The Difference Between Charity and Philanthropy

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.

Charity is the kind of support people give to show compassion. Like that one dollar change, one gives towards alleviating poverty in third world countries, or the money people give to support the needy according to religious beliefs. Charity is often an act of love and cares for those in immediate need, while philanthropy is supposed to solve the origin of the need. The two of them come in the form of money or volunteerism.


The purpose of charity is to offer direct aid or assistance to alleviate the severity of a crisis. Philanthropy is when the objective of giving is to try to eliminate that crisis. For example, buying food for people in the Sub Saharan region of Africa is charity, while bringing innovation and technology to introduce farming in the region is philanthropy.


Charity is the immediate help given to people faced by an unseen challenge. On the other hand, philanthropy is the long-term help to resolve significant societal challenges while achieving more excellent missions. Charity tends to be short-term, unlike philanthropy which is inspired by the same foundations while providing a solution for the long-term. For example, charity can be cloth donations given during winter for the homeless, while philanthropy will involve creating strategies for those families to have their own homes.


Charity is unplanned; there is only one primary goal of offering empathy. Philanthropy involves a well-structured plan and a confirmed budget with a map and a defined purpose. For example, the support given to provide medical care during a cholera outbreak is charity but building a well-equipped hospital and approaching the cause of cholera in that community is philanthropy. Philanthropy has a higher level of dedication to giving than charity. Charity is simply giving without a defined plan, while philanthropy is developing structures and systems to improve livelihoods and create a lasting result.


Charity or philanthropy are aimed at doing good, but none of them is superior. Nevertheless, it is noticeable that the impact of philanthropic giving is more than that of charity support. The effect is felt more through philanthropy because charity leans on donations to support specific groups like children and the old. In contrast, philanthropy engages in research, advocacy, and stable solutions.

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