The Disadvantages of Charity

Updated April 17, 2017

Charity is not seen by everyone as a positive and constructive aspect of society. Although charities send a significant amount of aid and money to the people, places and animals of the world that need it most, some people have concerns about where the money actually goes and how it is distributed. Charity organisations have also been criticised for their inability to fight the root of the problems they target.

Symptoms vs. Causes

From homeless drug users to the deforestation of the Amazon Rain Forest, charities reach far and wide in their aid. But critics say they do little to stem or stop the problems at the source. Many charities are accused of providing only short-term solutions for an otherwise growing and worsening problem. Poverty charities, for example, help and treat those without financial support, but only a fraction of the organisation's donations might be used toward changing government legislation and broking global economic deals to stop poverty at its source.

Self-Defeating Charities

Critics say charities are too self-defeating and that they take pressure away from the institutions and organisations that need to be held responsible for the problems. For example, helping the homeless provides shelter and food for those who need it. However, reducing the numbers of homeless deaths, drug users and criminals takes pressure away from the local governments that are failing to provide shelter and drug treatment programs. The local government could then cut resources for the homeless because the charities are doing the work for them.

Inhumanity and Reliance

In an interview with Ode Magazine, Muhammad Yunus, the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, said that charity does not provide the basis for a strong human relationship between people. Yunus' point was that through the continuous giving of charities, those in need are labelled as people who cannot fend for themselves. This demoralises people, Yunus said, and it makes it difficult for them to break away from the label they have been given. Charity also prevents them from helping themselves. Charities that continually give can condition those with problems to expect charity when adverse circumstances arise. Giving money and resources to poorer countries in need of shelter and water is helpful in the short term, but without educating people on how to install new water pumps and build more shelters, those countries become reliant on donations.

Aggressive Campaigning

Charities can be known for their aggressive and guilt-trip campaign strategies. Street fundraisers -- also known as charity muggers or "chuggers" -- have become a particular problem in some places because they aggressively harass people on the street into giving money. Local councils and governments are implementing restrictions on where and how they can operate. Some street fundraisers earn commission on donations, which gives them further incentive to use aggressive tactics.

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About the Author

Matthew Caines began writing and editing in 2008 and has since gained valuable experience in the publishing industry working for national publications such as "The Guardian," "Sartorial Male," "AREA Magazine," "Food & Drink Magazine," "Redbrick Newspaper" and "REACH Magazine." He has a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Birmingham, U.K.