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Charitable organizations (Charities)

charitable organisations employee hands together

Definition of charitable organizations

Charitable organizations are non-profit organizations with philanthropical, charitable, educational or religious goals. The objective has to be to improve the public interest. Legislation and juridical status of those are different following the country.

Behind the concept

A charitable organization is often called a charity or a foundation. It can either be private or public. Private ones are funded by one entity: family, individual or enterprise. The main revenues of the organization have to come from one source (more than 50%). Public ones’ funds are coming from fundraising. They are given by governments, individuals or other charities.

The tax exemption that they have makes them attractive to a lot of companies. Furthermore, giving to the community is a good way to improve its brand image. That’s why many companies create their own charitable organization.

A bit of history…

Philanthropy and charity are concepts really present in the Catholic tradition. That’s why it developed in Europe. In the Enlightenment century, the first organized charities were born.

The first foundation was created in the 18th century in England. The goal was to help the orphans in the London streets. Since this moment, the concept has evolved more and more, but the goal is the same: making good.


Trustee: A trustee is someone who’s in charge of the trust. He has to manage it for the interest of the beneficiaries. This is an unpaid position.

Chief executive: Like in any other society, the CEO has to manage the charitable organization. This is a paid position.

Executive director, manager, employee: normal roles of an enterprise exist also in a charity.

Donor or funder: A donor is someone that gives money to the foundation. As it is a gift, it doesn’t imply participation in the activities of the organization. The money that is given can be taken off the taxes.

Volunteer: A volunteer is someone who will work freely for the foundation.

Beneficiaries: The people who benefit from the activities and funds of the charitable organization.

All those people are there for the same goal. MAking the best impact within the foundation is then essential.

Useful links :

List of charitable organisations

How to become an even greater grant agency?

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