What exactly is the difference between philanthropy and marketing? Philanthropy is where a commercial business makes donations to charitable causes without any expectation of commercial gain. However, marketing is when you do something, expecting gain from it. Marketing is spending time, money and resources to make profit on a brand. Philanthropy is when you do something out of the kindness of your heart and expecting nothing in return. It is difficult to not say something falls under both these definitions. When figuring out where the line is, it is mainly based on the person’s intentions which can be difficult to determine.

During the discussion of philanthropy and marketing, tasks performed with charitable motives were a major topic of debate. It is very difficult to decipher if charitable work done by a business falls under philanthropy or marketing. Opportunities such as helping a charitable trust home, schools and non-profit organizations cannot be called philanthropy or marketing exclusively. It is a blend of both. Many businesses give money to charitable organisations which can establish a partnership between both parties. The business gets recognition one or the other way and the charitable trust gets help. Thus, it works in the favour of both parties.

Whether a business is doing something as philanthropy or as a marketing strategy, depends on the perspective of each person. To some people, it might be a marketing strategy. As they say, “There’s no such thing called a selfless good deed.” On the other hand, some might believe that donations or charitable activities are made simply with pure intentions and an effort to contribute to the community. An act executed out of kindness might be assumed to be either of the two, depending on how it is interpreted.

Marketing and philanthropy often go hand in hand as many businesses thrive on this principal in some way, shape or form. As a conclusion, we accept that there is a fine line between philanthropy and marketing. Where that line is, solely depends on how each person looks at it.

Written by: Pierre Laforet and Patrick Piatek