The development of a "third sector" of private, nonprofit organizations results primarily from the separation of church and state, a political arrangement that has given rise to hundreds of thousands of voluntary organizations, all seeking their own vision of the public good.
A distinction can be made between philanthropy and charity. Philanthropy is normally applied to attempts at investigating and reforming underlying causes. Professional philanthropists do not always donate large amount. For them, donating is a good, but it could be also a good to be traded off against other goods.