Giving and philanthropy
1 Feb 2022
The words giving and philanthropy are often used interchangeably, but there’s a difference between the two.
Giving is an empathetic response to an immediate crisis or need. It is how we show compassion for people displaced by natural disasters, or our support for victims of crime or violence. It is the spare-change we leave in jars so sick kids get the medical help they need, or the extra dollar we give to help provide clean drinking water to villages in third world countries. Essentially, it is the hands on response to helping meet immediate needs like food, shelter, medical care, and the like.
Philanthropy is a more strategic process of giving that seeks to identify the root causes of systemic issues and make the world a better place by tackling societal problems at their roots. Basically, giving and philanthropy both seek to accomplish the same outcome – to address needs and make the world a better place – but the method that philanthropic entities and giving entities each use to reach that outcome is different. Giving refers to the direct relief of suffering and social problems. Philanthropy systematically seeks out root causes of these issues and endeavors to find a solution.
Take the issue of addiction, for example. Philanthropy would use a multi-pronged approach to look at all of the factors contributing to addiction when addressing the issue. A philanthropist might fund a study on social and biological risk-factors for addiction, intensive counseling support for children who have been raised in homes with addicted parents, or preventative education programing efforts to reduce the risk of addiction happening in the first place. But these strategies are all long-term preventative measures that could take several years to make an impact on addiction rates while in the meantime there are thousands of individuals struggling with drug addiction right now. This is where the need for a charitable organization, such as a detox addiction center, comes in to take over and help people in need of immediate support.
Whether you choose to give directly to urgent needs through giving or you prefer a more strategic approach to your giving that will impact long-term solutions, the most important thing to keep in mind is that neither philanthropy nor giving are limited to the wealthy. We can all think critically about the needs of our community and then endeavor to use our individual skills and resources to make a difference.
Why is giving important?
1.GIVING TO CHARITY MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD
Donating to charity is a major mood-booster. The knowledge that you’re helping others is hugely empowering and, in turn, can make you feel happier and more fulfilled. Research has identified a link between making a donation to charity and increased activity in the area of the brain that registers pleasure - proving that as the old adage goes, it really is far better to give than to receive.
2.GIVING TO CHARITY STRENGTHENS PERSONAL VALUES
Having the power to improve the lives of others is, to many people, a privilege, and one that comes with its own sense of obligation. Acting on these powerful feelings of responsibility is a great way to reinforce our own personal values and feel like we’re living in a way that is true to our own ethical beliefs.
3.GIVING IS MORE IMPACTFUL THAN EVER
Many people are concerned that their donations to charity may be reduced by tax or administrative costs, preventing the full amount from reaching the people or causes they really want to help. Thankfully there are ways to make the most of every donation to charity.
4.GIVING TO CHARITY ENCOURAGES FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO DO THE SAME Your own charitable donations can inspire your nearest and dearest to give to causes important to them, and could even bring about a family-wide effort to back a charity or charities that have special significance to you as a group.
Why is Philanthropy important?
1.Philanthropy strengthens community
We’re all “connected” now thanks to technologies like the internet, but in other ways, we’ve never been more disconnected. For many people, the days of a tight-knit community seem like an eternity ago. Philanthropy fuels a person or organization’s involvement in their community. Whether it’s giving time or money, philanthropy brings people together to support a cause that’s bigger than themselves. In a society where giving freely is common, there’s a much stronger unity and sense of belonging.
2.Philanthropy is contagious
Philanthropy is important because it has a snowball effect. When an individual or organization contributes to a cause, others around them take notice. Philanthropists often wield considerable influence in their communities. When they use that influence for good, it has a significant impact. Everyone is searching for meaning. When they see it can be found in philanthropy, they’ll try it for themselves.
3.Philanthropy helps you network
Society is built from networks. Whether personal or work-oriented, networks are very important for success and happiness. Philanthropy lets you connect with like-minded individuals or organizations and expand your network. This is a mutually-beneficial system where people rely on each other and grow together.
4.Philanthropy benefits mental health
Philanthropy is about looking outside yourself and helping others. For most people, this fosters a strong sense of personal fulfillment. People who feel like they have a purpose and are making a positive impact on the world tend to have better emotional health. Research shows that
generosity can reduce stress and symptoms of depression. When volunteering with others, philanthropy can also reduce a person’s loneliness.
The purpose of philanthropy is to improve the wellbeing of humankind by preventing and solving social problems. Philanthropy is not the same as charity. Charity focuses on eliminating the suffering caused by social problems, while philanthropy focuses on eliminating social problems. For example, giving food to a person who is suffering from a famine is charity. The food helps the person for a short period of time, but the person will become hungry again in the future. Teaching the person how to grow food is philanthropy because it eliminates the social problem causing the person's hunger.
-By Dipshika Sen