A benefactor is a person who helps another person or institutions. The help that a benefactor offers can take many forms, but usually this help is in the form of monetary contribution. Benefactors are seen as do-gooders; this is apt since the word comes from the Latin words bene, which means good, and factor, which means maker.

Financially benefactors extend help by giving cash donations, loans, and grants. Cash donations can be given as a one-time basis or on a regular basis, depending on the individual or organization’s needs as well as the benefactor’s capability and as well as affinity to the cause. Loans given by benefactors are usually below market interest rate loans or even zero interest loans (no interest).

Loans vary from petty-cash loans to long-term loans. One common thing about the loans given by benefactors is that the regular installment amounts are usually very small so that even those with very little financial capability can avail of the loan and not default. Loans can also sometimes be repaid, partially or fully, through services or even goods. These loans are also often coursed through foundations or micro-finance institutions.

Aside from financial help, a person can also help by donating products and services. For example, a person that donated clothes, medicines, food, books, or any other thing to charity is already a benefactor of that charity. Services that can be offered by benefactors include anything from medical services to sorting other donations and helping in dissemination.