Both charities and philanthropic organizations have an essential place in society, but it’s important to realize that these two words do not mean exactly the same thing. Both a charity and philanthropic organization are going to have similar broad objectives which are to make the world a better place, but there are several distinct differences that set these two apart.


A charity, like one that offers to clothe to the homeless, will be focused on helping people now that have an immediate need or concern. Having clothing or food is extremely important for survival and the places that offer these necessities are called charities. A charity offers answers to a problem that needs to be fixed immediately but doesn’t offer long-term solutions that would remedy the issue across society. For example, homelessness is a problem across the country that needs to be addressed immediately. Charities give the homeless a place to stay with food and basic needs, but a philanthropic organization would take an in-depth look into why homelessness is an issue and what can be done to prevent it. It could be providing better educational opportunities to youth and young adults or making affordable housing much more accessible to everyone. Whatever the case may be, philanthropic organizations try to take an objective view at the issue and come up with a root cause of the problem.


When a natural disaster like a hurricane or tornado strikes, the people that respond to requests from the area are considered to be a charity organization because they are reacting to something that needs to be fixed as soon as possible. Philanthropic organizations are more likely to look closely at the current situation, analyze the issue, and provide solutions it or make it run more efficiently. In the case of natural disasters, a philanthropic organization may take a look at what happens when people lose their homes and how to systematically prevent homelessness and the events that often follow a natural disaster.


Whether you believe it’s better to help people short-term through charity or over the course of many years, there’s no denying they both have a rightful spot in society. Both illustrate the societal issues that trouble our world and are taking steps to make life easier for those that need help.