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The Different Types of Charities


We’ve talked quite a bit about all the different ways you can lend support and live generously. We’ve talked about school donation drives, ways families that can give back, and so much more. The underlying theme in all those blogs is the idea of donating to charitable organizations—ones like GreenDrop’s charity partners (the American Red Cross, Military Order of the Purple Heart, National Federation of the Blind and Society of St Vincent de Paul), but also a variety of other organizations as well. That said, we think it’s important to take note of all the different types of charities.

When you understand all the different ways you can support your community and the world, you’ll become that much more generous and have that much larger of an impact. Look below to learn more about the different types of charities that exist in the world—and then go out and support them!

Animal Charities

Animal charities are just what they sound like—a way to support, protect, and conserve animals and wildlife. Because of how broad this charity is, it often breaks down into four distinct subcategories:

  • Wildlife Conservation Organizations
  • Hunting and Fishing Conservation Groups
  • Pet and Animal Welfare Organizations
  • Zoos and Aquariums

Now, depending on which 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 savannas and the wildlife within them, then you’ll need to do your research to find charities that pursue that goal. It’s never a good idea to indiscriminately support a charity—doing your research can ensure a good selection.

Arts and Culture Charities

Whereas animal charities help protect and conserve animals and wildlife, arts and culture charities preserve artistic and cultural heritage. This can manifest in a variety of ways, from celebrating the arts to conserving the history of different art forms. Again, similar to animal charities, there are subcategories for this type of charity:

  • Public Broadcasting and Media
  • Museums and Art Galleries
  • Libraries and Historical Societies
  • Performing Arts

It may not seem like these qualify as charities, but a lot of these organizations work and survive off some sort of donation. Without support from their communities, a lot of these charities wouldn’t survive.

Community Development Charities

Think about your community. You know there are always things that could benefit from improvements or enhancements. You know there are areas and people who struggle more than others, for whatever reason, and they are a part of the community as well. To keep your community vibrant and supported, Community Development Corporations (CDCs) are 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations. They function to support and revitalize communities, especially those that are impoverished or struggling. Affordable housing projects are the most common example of these charities.

Education Charities

Education charities are again, exactly what they sound like: charities that work and serve students from every age group, pre-school to graduate school and beyond. Since this is such a broad category, some of these charities serve as educational institutions, while others focus on making education more accessible and effective for different people and communities. We’ve listed a few common subcategories below:

  • Private Elementary, Junior High, and High Schools
  • Scholarships and Financial Aid Services
  • School Reform and Experimental Education
  • Different Support for Students, Teachers, and Parents

The realm of education charities is a vast one, and there are so many avenues to support. Again, do your research to find the scenario you most want to support. Whether it be inner-city students, first-generation college students, or school supplies for impoverished areas, there’s a charity that exists for you to support.

Environmental Charities

Similar to animal charities, environmental charities focus on preservation, appreciation, and sustainable development for the environment. Where animal charities work to protect wildlife, environmental charities strive to preserve our planet in a myriad of ways. There are two primary subgroups when it comes to this type of charity.

  • Environmental Conservation and Protection
  • Parks and Nature Centers

Here again, we can see that there is so much underneath these categories—so much that helps establish these charities—from small organizations that work to plant more trees, to charities that seek to preserve the natural beauty around the world. There is always some type of environmental charity you can support that hardly takes any effort on your part.

Health Charities

Probably one of the most common types of charities you know of is health charities. There’s such a wide variety of organizations that fall under this category that you may not even realize that some of your favorite organizations are health charities or support other health charities (like the way GreenDrop supports the American Red Cross). Here are a few of the common subgroups:

  • Disease and Disorder Charities
  • Medical Research Charities
  • Patient and Family Support Charities
  • Medical Services and Treatment

As you can see, health charities cover everything from supporting and treating people who are sick and disabled, working on cures for diseases, and even promote public awareness.

Human Services

Human services is another broad charity category. It takes a lot of different life experiences into consideration and ends up being the “fallback” category for a lot of organizations because it is so general and all-encompassing. Typically, you’ll find the following groups underneath the human services charity category:

  • Children’s and Family Services
  • Food Banks, Food Pantries, and Food Distribution
  • Homeless Services
  • Multipurpose Human Service Organizations
  • Social Services
  • Youth Development, Shelter, and Crisis Services

Keep in mind that this is not an all-encompassing list of the different human services subgroups. Depending on the charity you decide to support, they could target way more than what’s listed above.

International NGOs

Now comes one of the top-guns in the charity world—International Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). These are typically charities that have headquarters in one country but do a lot of work in numerous other locations and countries. Often, these organizations will overlap with other types of charities we listed above:

  • International Development NGOs
  • Disaster Relief and Humanitarian NGOs
  • Conservation NGOs
  • Child Sponsorship Organizations
  • Peace and Human Rights NGOs

Hopefully, this guide to the different types of charities provided you with further insight into all the ways you can support your community and the world at large. And when you’re looking for a Human Services charity to support, turn to GreenDrop. We partner with International NGOs and other Human Services charities, as well, so you can know that you’re making a difference. From Red Cross donations to Purple Heart, you can take the simple step toward making a difference. Schedule a donation now!

The Different Types of Charities

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