Charity vs Philanthropy
You see a beggar on road asking for dollar to be able to eat something. You take pity on the man and search for money in your wallet to give him. You provide him with means to overcome hunger. Now consider another option. You get an email from a NGO asking you to sponsor a poor child by paying small money every month to fulfill his requirements. You feel you ought to help raise a poor child and agree to give a cheque every month. Do you see the difference in the two acts? You are helping in both cases but, while the act is that of charity in the case of the beggar, it becomes philanthropy when you agree to give money every month to help raise the orphan child. What is the difference? Let us find out.
Charity is an act that comes as a relief from suffering for a man. So you do charity when you give food to a man to eat when he is really hungry. Similarly, sending your old clothing items to a far off place struck by a natural calamity is also an act of charity, though you do not know who the actual beneficiary in this case is. Some communities feel obliged to give for charity as they have been raised to feel the moral responsibility to help those who are less privileged. The change from our pocket that goes into the jar of school children trying to raise money for the abandoned animals or to help poor in a third world country of course qualifies as charity.
You give a man a fish to eat, and you fill his stomach, but you teach him to fish, and you help him to earn a living forever. This is what a philanthropic act has the capability to do for a man. Investment of private capital for the public good is what is at the core of philanthropy. Philanthropy has at its focus the question of solving the root-cause or the problems rather than providing money for immediate help. So donating a large sum of money for building a new wing in a hospital or an old age home is an act of philanthropy as it is not going to provide immediate relief but focusing on long term solution for the growing needs of the poor and old age people.
What is the difference between Charity and Philanthropy?
• Charity is to provide relief from suffering while philanthropy tries to identify the root cause of the problem
• Charity is a short term solution while philanthropy is a long term solution
• Donating to a cause close to our heart is charity, but a large sum of money from a foundation to build a new wing for an orphanage is philanthropy
• Charity is plain giving, while philanthropy takes a more active stance
• Philanthropy involves a strong urge in the heart of wealthy people to give back to society