How is an advocacy group different than a charity?

How is an advocacy group different than a charity?

Advocacy groups and charities are both non-profit entities. Both types of entity function on funding through various donations from the individual people, the government, and the private sector. However, there are somewhat slight differences between an advocacy group and a charity.

Advocacy is defined as the "active support of an idea or cause, etc." Basically advocacy is actively supporting a group and/or cause.

A charity can be defined as numerous things such as a "foundation created to promote the public good." There are two separate definitions but fall under the lines of the first definition such as "an activity or gift that benefits the public" or "an institution set up to help the needy."

In a sense, an advocacy group is not that different than a charity. But there are quite a few notable differences between an advocacy group and a charity.

One good example is an AIDS awareness advocacy group and an AIDS charity. What the advocacy group does is actively spread awareness of AIDS to the rest of the world and actively support AIDS research such as finding and creating a cure to this ailment that claims the lives of many people. While an AIDS charity seeks funds to pay for people’s medical treatments, medicine, etc.

This is the one direction where the advocacy group and the charity split up. Advocacy group spreads awareness and support for further AIDS research while the charity helps out the people already infected with AIDS and affected by AIDS. That’s pretty much the simplistic explanation. While the charities do fundraisers and use the funds to help people out, advocacy groups basically spread support and awareness.

Another example would be a breast cancer advocacy group that advocates more research and funding towards breast cancer research. At the same time a charity would help out the people already afflicted with breast cancer.

Charities help out everybody whereas advocacy groups are focused towards various causes. For example the NAACP is focused towards the advancement of Blacks. It’s an advocacy group that focuses towards their advancement. The United Negro College Fund is a charity centered towards handing out scholarships to Black students.

The way advocacy groups go, they can go in various directions. A good number of advocacy groups are focused to promote the public good nor help the needy. There are plenty of advocacy groups that cater to one or a few groups of people while they alienate the rest. In today’s world let alone today’s country, there are people trying to push their views and opinions on other people in the form of advocacy groups.

You see little of that in charity. Charities are consantly out to promote the public good and help those in need. Advocacy groups are very different. Though there are groups that double as an advocacy group and a charity. But each entity has their notable differences.

For example, there could be an advocacy group that advocates against gun ownership while there could be a charity group whose goal is to help people affected by guns.

In short, advocacy groups advocate various things: causes, missions, people, etc. Charities help out people. Despite their differences, these two entities are interdependent of each other.


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