Charity vs. Philanthropy
November 1, 2021
People are driven to give for a number of reasons. We want to believe that our efforts and influence are doing good for the world, and both charity and philanthropy, though different, have their place in our need to give.
Additionally, giving is a part of our culture. We grow up with charitable opportunities in our schools, universities, workplaces, and businesses/restaurants (link). We constantly see charitable and philanthropic efforts online and in advertisements (link). Giving is a part of our cultural DNA, and that’s a good thing for society.
As a nonprofit, it’s important to understand the difference between charity and philanthropy. While both are centered around the idea of giving, there are important distinctions between the two that will influence how you decide to give and how you decide to campaign around each effort.
This article will look at the difference between charity and philanthropy and why defining the difference between philanthropy and charity is so important for nonprofits.
What is charity?
So, what exactly is charity? Charity is something we see from as early as our first years in grade school. We see charities take place through schools, churches, community centers, and through businesses.
You can think of charity as giving to those in need through smaller-scale giving campaigns. Charity might include a food drive for the homeless, or a Christmas charity campaign that makes sure children in need get presents. Charity is about giving directly to a source, and it typically includes short-term solutions as opposed to infrastructural or systemic changes.
What is philanthropy?
Philanthropy, like charity, is about giving, but it’s employed on a macro scale. Philanthropy is about wide-scale, systemic change that looks to identify and alleviate the root cause of problems.
Rather than hosting a food drive to give to the homeless, philanthropic groups will put together a plan that might reduce homeless rates within a city or region. Philanthropy looks for long-term, sustainable growth that will have lasting effects for years to come.
Difference between philanthropy and charity
Both philanthropy and charity are necessary for society. Charity offers immediate, short-term relief to those in need. Charitable efforts ensure people don’t go cold in winter, that children don’t go hungry, and that people in need can get immediate relief from their unique challenges.
Philanthropy is about change for the future. Philanthropic efforts take a strategic approach to ensure that five years from now, we won’t need to be as charitable because there are systematic buffers in place that will help alleviate things like poverty, starvation, homelessness, animal cruelty, and more.
Both forms of giving are valuable in their own ways, and it’s important for nonprofits to understand these differences if they’re going to execute successful giving campaigns.
Philanthropy, charity and nonprofits
For nonprofits, your size, scale, ambitions, and capabilities will determine whether you take on charitable efforts or wide-scale philanthropic efforts. Nonprofits need to raise donors and funds in order to reach their goals. Knowing what kind of campaign you want to run will determine your fundraising goals and how you market yourself.
For smaller nonprofits, charity is often the only option they have. Teaming up with schools, churches, and local businesses has been an effective way to facilitate charitable events within the local community, and planning for these events is less tasking and time-consuming.
For nonprofits looking to take on philanthropic pursuits, a lot more planning, money, and campaigning will be necessary. This often takes teaming up with nationally-recognized organizations, school systems (rather than just one school), and community leaders to set defining, long-term change.
Giving is a central part of nonprofits, and while no one form of giving is better, it’s important for nonprofits to understand their capabilities and goals in order to have successful fundraising campaigns and make the best of their resources.
For local institutions like zoos and museums, giving is a great way to strengthen your bond with your community and increase your members. Zues and museums might actually consider teaming up with nonprofits and other community organizations to host charitable events that are in line with their mission statement.
Philanthropy and charity surrounding the topic of animal rights, deforestation, and preservation are all great ways for museums to give. But this isn’t a necessity; what’s important is that cultural institutions share a valuable place in their communities and are a part of the change that they want to see.
Reach out to your community, drive change, and build new bonds and new members through charity and philanthropy.
ACME and philanthropy
ACME makes it easy for nonprofits and cultural institutions to organize, manage, and track their charity and philanthropic efforts.
ACME’s cloud-based solution provides a customizable, easy-to-use online experience for donors. You can use ACME’s seamless platform to message potential donors, direct deep-linking to custom eCommerce pages, and access a streamlined flow for donation-only orders.
Try the demo today to see how ACME can boost your charitable and philanthropy efforts today.