Every aspect of society is humane and working toward the betterment of other people. That is why so many people who become wealthy and successful do not forget to give back to needy communities. Charity and philanthropy are similar concepts of goodness that are often interchanged. It’s essential to know the differences between the two practices before deciding to give back to the community.


Charity vs. Philanthropy

It’s easy to mix up the definitions of charity and philanthropy. Charity is given more temporarily than philanthropy that is provided on a longer-term. Charity is the donation of money, gifts, or material items to help people in need. Philanthropy is the broader range of giving that includes setting up organizations, providing annual donations, promoting fundraisers, etc. Philanthropists work privately and often use their own money to encourage individual causes.

In addition, charity works to address a specific problem, such as drug addiction or homelessness. Philanthropy is designed to resolve the underlying cause of that problem, such as drug rehabilitation, temporary housing, and scholarships to support educational programs.



A charitable donation is the giving of money, time, support, or items to unfortunate people. This includes giving cash to homeless people on the street or donating unwanted clothing to shelters. A charity drive is a collective effort to collect many donations from the public. Overall, charity is designed to promote a temporary means of survival and wellbeing.



Philanthropy is the continued act of giving that lasts for generations. An example is creating a research hospital or a scholarship fund that is made to last indefinitely. Foundling Hospital was established as a place to care for orphans in London during the 18th century. A man who saw abandoned orphans on the streets decided to care for their long-term wellbeing instead of providing cash or clothing. When acts of philanthropy are made, tens of thousands up to millions of dollars are raised from countless public donations. Celebrities who give continuously and without being asked by others are known as philanthropists.


While charity is focused on giving material goods to small groups of people, philanthropy is designed to support life-changing projects that affect significantly larger people. Philanthropy provides the support for projects that provide results to last for many generations.