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What does charity mean in 2017?

what does charity mean

What does charity mean in 2017?


noun: charity

1. an organisation set up to provide help and raise money for those in need.

“the charity provides practical help for homeless people”

2. the voluntary giving of help, typically in the form of money, to those in need.

“the care of the poor must not be left to private charity”

3. kindness and tolerance in judging others.

“she found it hard to look on her mother with much charity”

Archaic Meaninglove of humankind, typically in a Christian context.

“faith, hope, and charity”


How we think about charity

The idea and views of ‘charity’ has been the same for many years and until recently, it seemed that the word ‘charity’ has picked up a bad reputation. There are often conflicting views for the nonprofit sector compared to the profit sector. We have previously looked at these conflicting views in our previous post – The way we think of charity is wrong. Dan Pallotta, in his TED Talk, explained that Profits, Patience and Marketing are the three main conflicting views that essentially hold back nonprofits from achieving their goals and often provide the reasons for the bad reputation. The wages of the charities CEO’s and Directors are often accused of using the charities valuable donations, they are often criticised by not achieving their goals quick enough and they are also judged for marketing and ‘pushing’ their message. 

Millennials & Generation Z

However, the predicted trends for charities, non-profit organisations, for profit brands and fundraising in 2017 may change the definition and outlook on charity. The influence of the up and coming generations, arguably the most influential – Millennials and Generation Z, have had an effect on the way brands communicate their message and sell their products, which is arguably altering the meaning of the word charity. 

The generations buying choices and perceptions on global brands are forcing brands to change the way they’re marketing, selling and producing their goods. Whilst the key characteristics of purchasing remain (the importance of quality and value for money) the brands level of responsibility in society now has a major influence on the brands reputation and perception.

Millennials and Generation Z’s want to know what companies are they doing with their fortunes. They can see through their billions of pounds revenue and expect the companies to be giving back.

‘Charitable’ Brands

Reflecting back on the definitions of ‘charity’ and specifically the underused meaning, ‘kindness and tolerance in judging other’ the word charity holds an increasing importance to society regarding the events of the world in 2017. Trumps ban on Muslims into the states and the Brits choice to leave the UK with the overwhelming reason being because of immigration problems, has led brands to show charity to society, in turn, winning the hearts of the generations consumers. Starbucks announced they were offering free legal advice to immigrant employees, Airbnb announced they’d give free accommodation to refugees and Linkedin launched an initiative to link immigrants to employers who would hire them.

It’s gone beyond companies being ‘socially responsibility’ by simply use organic produce or keeping their waste under control in order to be ‘making’ a difference. The latest generation has demanded that companies but their money where their mouth is and truly make an impact on humankind.

The archaic meaning of charity – ‘love of humankind’ in turns reflects the change of views of charity and in 2017, it almost overpowers the popular meaning of the word. The Super Bowl advertisements of 2017, which represents some of the biggest brands in the world, encompassed the love and the ‘charity’ we need to show the world due to recent events. Airbnb say #weaccept, It’s Beautiful by Coca-Cola and the poignant advert with the eye opening message from Lumber all encompass the true meaning of charity.

It’s important to remember that the corporations have ultimately produced the adverts and messages for sales and profits, but in 2017, it’s imperative for the brands to use their worldwide platform to spread a message of positivity, inclusivity and hopefulness.

Charity, for the Millennials and Generation Z’s at least, extends beyond giving £2 a month. It’s the ability to show empathy and hold back judgement, it’s the ability to show compassion and acceptance of others and ultimately extend our love for all of humankind.

What are your opinions on the word ‘charity’ and where do you believe for-profit businesses stand with in the meaning of charity.

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