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Many people argue that there are no substantial differences between charity and philanthropy. Essentially, charity and philanthropy are different sides of the same coin. Although in some ways this may be correct, there are other reasons why this may not be the case.




Charity and philanthropy are both beneficial concepts that help people that need it. On average, Americans donate over three hundred million dollars a year to charitable organizations. In the US, there is no lack of giving and caring for people and worthy causes. Although the questions remain, what is the difference between philanthropy and charity? To put it simply, philanthropy is regarded as a more long-term endeavor to solve more complicated problems. A philanthropist or a company that is involved with philanthropy will look at the very core of the problem and try to solve it at its root. An excellent example to use is people who are struggling with poverty. A philanthropist would view that problem and come up with methods to solve it. Solutions may be a job fair, better access to education, or even access to food, shelter, and clothing. There is an understanding that people who are wealthy are the only ones who can participate in philanthropy, but this is far from the truth. For someone to be involved with philanthropy, one only has to use their available resources to support a cause. Anyone can be involved in philanthropy!




The words charity and philanthropy are frequently used interchangeably. Unfortunately, as described above, philanthropy has some subtle differences than charity. Charity is viewed more as a direct response to a problem that arises randomly. A good example to use is if a natural disaster destroys homes then people will give charitable donations to that cause to help rebuild homes and reestablish people’s lives. Another way to look at charity is to think of people donating money to a school for the school to use in buying books, supplies, paying their staff and other expenses. Philanthropy would be regarded as being more interactive with the school. Becoming personally involved with school events or aiding the school in finding the most qualified teachers is seen as a philanthropic effort.


Whether or not you participate in charity or philanthropy, both efforts are incredibly beneficial for communities.