The practice of charity means the voluntary giving of help to those in need, as a humanitarian act.
There are instances in India, of great men, who gave their all to the cause of charity. One such man was Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, the great political leader and a renowned barrister. He donated his house, wealth and all that he had in his possession to his countrymen. In his name, hospitals and similar other charitable institutions are still functioning successfully.
The Birlas, in India, have donated and built many charitable institutions in India for the benefit of the common people. The dharmasalas (a guest-house where pilgrims and travelers are accommodated temporarily free of cost), the hospitals, the educational institutions and numerous scholarships for the poor but meritorious students are their generous contributions towards their countrymen.
Charity, a noble quality in man, brings welfare in the society. It enlarges human hearts and spreads the message of brotherhood and innocent love among the people. The practice of charity was adored in ancient days. The saints and the sages lived on alms offered by the affluent people. It was then an accepted practice to give whatever was possible in charity for the welfare of the people and the society.
India has a long history of civil society. Voluntary organizations were active in cultural promotion, education, health, and natural disaster relief as early as the medieval era. Religious organizations also took up work to help the poor to improve their condition. Towards the end of the 19th century the corporate community in India also began setting up organizations dedicated to the welfare and development of the underprivileged and a large number of Corporate Trusts and Societies came into existence.
During the 19th and early 20th century these voluntary organizations received legal recognition as the Government enacted various laws such as the Societies Registration Act of 1860, The Religious Endowments Act of 1863, The Indian Trusts Act of 1882 and the Charitable Endowments Act of 1890. Such enactments gave public recognition to the intention of the founders and extended the protection of the law to their income and property, however these enactments were rather mild and did not impose strong regulatory controls. The British Government later added two more legislations i.e. the Charitable and Religious Trusts Act, 1920 and (ii) the Trade Unions Act, 1926.
All Charitable organizations may exist as non-profit companies, societies or trusts. However, structure or management is not the essence of the charitable organization. It is the objectives, which distinguish a charitable organization from a business organization.
Forms of Activities of Charity
Non-profit organizations in India today encompass a wide-range of activities, including designing and implementing innovative programs in various sectors of development, research, documentation, and training and advocacy. They range from very small people’s organizations to highly sophisticated and technologically advanced research and health care or educational institutions. Some form of activities of charitable organizations include:
- Advocacy – Charitable organisations working on advocacy or campaigning on issues or causes and they do not implement programs.
- Consultancy / Research Organizations – Charitable organisation working on social and development research as well as consultancy.
- Training / Capacity Building Organizations – Charitable organisation helping other charity organizations by training & capacity building.
- Networking Organizations – Charitable organisations providing networking opportunities in a specific field.
- Mother NGOs – These charitable organisations have a work focus, but instead of implementing projects, they identify projects and monitor, evaluate and build capacities of participating NGOs.
- Grass root Organizations -Charitable organisations working directly with the community
- City Based Organizations – These Charitable organisations restrict their focus to cities.
- National Organizations – Charitable organisations with national presence.
- Self Help Groups – Formed by beneficiary communities, typically women who come together in a group of 10 plus.
- Religious NGOs
A stakeholder is a party that has an interest in a company and can either affect or be affected by the business. The primary stakeholders in a typical corporation are its investors, employees, customers and suppliers. However, the modern theory of the idea goes beyond this original notion to include additional stakeholders such as a community, government or trade association.
Stakeholders can be internal or external. Internal stakeholders are people whose interest in a company comes through a direct relationship, such as employment, ownership or investment. External stakeholders are those people who do not directly work with a company but are affected in some way by the actions and outcomes of said business. Suppliers, creditors and public groups are all considered external stakeholders.
Investors are a common type of internal stakeholder and are greatly impacted by the outcome of a business. If, for example, a venture capital firm decides to invest $5 million into a technology startup in return for 10% equity and significant influence, the firm becomes an internal stakeholder of the startup. The return of the company’s investment hinges on the success, or failure, of the startup, meaning it has a vested interest.
External stakeholders are a little harder to identify, seeing as they do not have a direct relationship with the company. Instead, an external stakeholder is normally a person or organization affected by the operations of the business. When a company goes over the allowable limit of carbon emissions, for example, the town in which the company is located is considered an external stakeholder because it is affected by the increased pollution.
Conversely, external stakeholders may also sometimes have a direct effect on a company but are not directly tied to it. The government, for example, is an external stakeholder. When it makes policy changes on carbon emissions, continuing from above, the decision affects the operations of any business with increased levels of carbon.