The definition of charity may be as simple as that: benevolence or generosity towards others. “Others” implies the widest variety: humans in general, environment, families in need, young talents, refugees, extinct species, abused animals, artists.
Before we start going deeper into charity categories and the charity organizations, think of why we need not only earn and get but also give.
So, what values can be taught in charity? Here are the most common reasons to give to charity
- Giving to charity makes you feel better. Yes, a very simple thought you shouldn’t be ashamed of. Giving to others, seeing gratefulness from people and feeling you contribute to something important if not crucial makes you feel better psychologically. Even if you don’t share your charities, you still know it.
- Giving to charity strengthens personal values. Being a social conscious person makes you feel more empowered – people donate because they feel this responsibility. And if you are able to support others you are for sure able to support yourself.
- Giving to charity is a vital opportunity to show your children the importance of generosity. Good role models and behavior models are better to be presented to kids at a young age. The earlier they see examples of charity the better. They can make their own tiny but impactful charity contribution. And any cooperation within a family is making it stronger.
- Giving to charity encourages people around you to do the same. From the nuclear family to the extended family, from co-workers to the fitness club pals – share your stories, create awareness, educate and coordinate. Be an inspiration!
Now, if you are inspired enough to start, let’s dive into a basic and simple scheme of charity types. We will mention some of the charities working internationally, but you are free to search local charities or examine more using Charity Navigator ratings.
Generally speaking, charities are organizations that raise funds for non-profit purposes. Their aim is to help the less fortunate in the society and improve the community’s well-being. There are so many charities that sometimes it can be difficult to divide them into categories. To group them, you need to look at the different functions they perform and the sectors they support. Let’s speak of six broad categories below.
1. Education charities
These non-profit organizations help students in need no matter what age, class and school they belong to. Some charities donate funds to different schools while others have set up their own schools where they educate and support all the students. The help comes in the form of scholarships, provision of learning materials and financial aid. Support can be given to students directly, or to their guardians or teachers.
Global Fund For Children
This fund believes that educating children and youth is the key to building a more peaceful and just society. They partner with 48 local organizations in 17 countries that work to secure equal educational access and high-quality education for all kids. They provide education tailored to different purposes like girls’ needs, early childhood development programs, supplemental learning opportunities, and innovative educational programming for indigenous children, migrants, refugees, child laborers, and children with disabilities.
Areas served: Worldwide
State Street Foundation
State Street Foundation tries to provide disadvantaged individuals earn and make a living. By keeping a focus on work and education, they hope to bring lasting economic benefits to communities worldwide.
Areas served: Worldwide
2. Health charities
Those are probably one of the most common types of charities you know. There’s a wide variety of organizations that fall under this category that you may not even realize they are health charities or support other health charities (like the way GreenDrop supports the American Red Cross).
Here are a few of the subgroups:
- Disease and Disorder Charities
- Medical Research Charities
- Patient and Family Support Charities
- Medical Services and Treatment
This can range from financing for medical research, promoting health awareness to paying accumulated hospital bills to those having difficulties in raising funds.
Health charities cover everything from supporting and treating people who are sick and disabled, working on cures for diseases, and even promote public awareness, which is also of a great importance.
The most well-known international charities are Doctors Without Borders, International Medical Corps and Direct Relief.
3. Animal charities
Anyone willing to contribute to animal welfare does so through animal charities. They raise funds for use in a broad wildlife conservation and local protection of pet and animals’ wellbeing.
You will hardly find a person who’s not engaged in wildlife protection (directly or indirectly) or is indifferent to the natural world around us. Some people choose to support organizations that protect extinct animals, some opt to live eco-friendly lifestyles and some decide to volunteer in local pets’ shelters.
Animal charities are exactly what they sound like—a way to support, protect, and conserve animals and wildlife. This charity is immensely broad, so we’d better break it down into several subcategories:
Wildlife Conservation Organizations
- Hunting and Fishing Conservation Groups
- Pet and Animal Welfare Organizations
- Zoos and Aquariums
Whatever category interests you, you should do further research to find the charities that truly match up with what you want to support. If you want to conserve, for example, savannas and the wildlife within them, then you’ll need to do your research to find charities that pursue that goal. If you are interested in the ocean’s wildlife conservation, it’s the same algorithm there.
The WWF is the most well-known conservation organization and doesn’t need much of an introduction. They have been fighting for wildlife for decades and their efforts have made a huge difference to our natural world both on land and in the ocean.
Also, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is the largest animal rights organization in the world, and PETA entities have more than 9 million members and supporters globally. Remember the brilliant campaign “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” with multiple celebrities participating? Yes, it was them, PETA. A brilliant example of wonderful marketing in action.
If you are passionate about stray dogs or desire to help the local rescue – then opt for shelter charities and do your research in this category.
4. Environment charities
Environmental preservation, sustenance, and development are the goals of these charities. They champion the use of greener energy sources, environmental conservation and protections of nature centers.
Just like animal charities, environmental charities focus on preservation, appreciation, and sustainable development for the environment. Where animal charities work to protect wildlife and extinct species, environmental charities strive to preserve our planet in thousands of ways.
Two main categories may be singled out here.
- Environmental Conservation and Protection
- Parks and Nature Centers
Of course, there are so many subcategories underneath these and so many organizations —from small ones planting more trees in their towns, to charities that seek to preserve the natural beauty around the world. There is always some type of environmental charity you can support financially.
Climate change issue is one of the greatest threats to our world these days. Nonprofits and individual advocates are working tirelessly to address this threat. Thanks to their efforts, real change is occurring!
Greenpeace is the most well-known among the environment protection organizations. It states its mission as ensuring the ability of the earth to nurture life in all its diversity. The newer mission of Greenpeace is to change social, environmental, and economic systems to address the climate crisis and advocate for racial justice.
Greenpeace believes organizations must include racial and socioeconomic justice in their fights against climate change. They do this through an Indigenous Peoples Policy and Black Lives Platform.
Other younger nonprofits have worked for years to make these actions a reality. These organizations are just some of the thousands of people and organizations actively fighting climate change.
Well Done Foundation, Clean Air Task Force, Cool Earth are some other charities to pay attention to.
5. Art and culture charities
These types of charities seek to protect and preserve cultural heritage and art. They can be further classified into Museum and Art Galleries and Historical Societies.
Well, new charities emerge every day and some of them can fall into or out of these categories based on their agenda.
There are smaller categories for this type of charity:
- Public Broadcasting and Media
- Museums and Art Galleries
- Libraries and Historical Societies
- Performing Arts
It may seem like these do not qualify as charities, but a lot of these organizations work and survive off some sort of donation. With little support from their communities, a lot of these charities wouldn’t survive. Consider charities like The International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS), International Arts & Artists (IA&A) or Artist Organizations International.
Why does giving to charity make you happy?
A 2010 study found that people experienced happier moods, when they were giving money away—but only if they had a choice about how much to give. In a nutshell, giving to charity makes us happier; especially when we freely choose to give.
According to the World Giving Index 2018, 63% of people helped a stranger last year.
So, why not carry on the trend and hold a door open, give up your seat on the train or just smile for someone you don’t know?