I believe that if you do receive something in return for helping, it can still be charity, but I need to defend my position. I completely understand the perspective that if you are giving away something and expecting something for yourself in return, it does not seem like act of charity at all.
First, Merriam-Webster defines charity as:
- the act of giving money, food, or other kinds of help to people who are poor, sick, etc.; also : something (such as money or food) that is given to people who are poor, sick, etc.
- an organization that helps people who are poor, sick, etc.
- the organizations that help people in need
According to these definitions, the key part of charity is "the act of giving" and "helping." Nothing regarding returns is mentioned here.
I believe there is a part missing in this definition and that this missing piece is the part that @L_staff believes what truly defines charity. We will get to that in a few paragraphs though.