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It is no secret that the sorority community promotes philanthropy and service as a central tenet of sorority life. The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) has identified citizenship and service as one of the six advocacy building blocks of the organization. Improving our communities and using our resources for good is a vital part of sorority life on any college campus.

But, did you know that philanthropy and service aren’t the same thing? We often hear these words used interchangeably but it is important to know the difference to find the best fit for giving back to your community.


Community service is the act of doing hands-on service or voluntary work to help a charity or a cause. Service involves active participation and using your skills, talents and abilities to meet the needs of your community.

Some examples of community service could include serving a food shelter, picking up trash in a park or painting a veterans’ center.


Philanthropy involves raising money for a specific cause or charity. In the fraternity and sorority community, philanthropy often looks like raising money through an activity or an event.

Some examples of philanthropy could include hosting fundraising events, bake sales, attending other organization philanthropic events and other activities for course credit or personal enrichment.

Service and philanthropy are both important ways you can help positively influence your community. Certain causes need hands-on assistance and service while others might need monetary support. While there is no single correct way to participate in service or philanthropy, finding a cause that aligns with your personal values and incites your passions is a great place to start.

If you are looking for ways to get involved in your community, you can connect with your inter/national organization’s service or charitable partners in your local community, connect with your local college or university’s service or volunteerism office or even start your own service or philanthropic project!

Written by Kylie Frisby

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