The Logic of Charity: Great expectations in hard times

The Logic of Charity: Great expectations in hard times

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The significance of charity has increased over the years – We begin by asking our central question: Is there any logic to charity or any driving force behind the charity sector?

Apparently, this has drawn multiple perspectives. However, no logic necessitates or predicts either a poor bias or an equitable distribution of resources.

Charity was widely viewed as kindness, generosity and love for fellow beings, yet public opinion on ‘charity’ continued to lack clarity and agreement. Some view it as a mora imperative, while others believe it is important so as to maintain solidarity in an increasingly individualized and complexed society.

Charity however, is easily dismissed as anachronistic, or something that is only needed in nations lacking a sufficiently robust welfare system.

Previously in 2015, Pakistanis give approximately Rs 650 billion for charity annually to mosques, seminaries, poor and homeless people, needy relatives, victims of terrorism and hospitals, revealed a nationwide study on charity trends conducted earlier.

The research study was conducted by Pakistan Peace Collective (PPC) -a research body of Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage.

According to the key findings of the study on charity, 78% Pakistanis give charity while 69% give charity mostly in the form of money.

Some 14% people said they give charity in kind like free teaching in schools or help in a local clinic. Around 16% people said they give charity in kind and cash. Out of the total population, nearly 84% males and 67% females give charity.

Furthermore, around 68% give charity during Ramzan while 2% believe that charity funds are misused to promote terrorism and 24% people said they are not aware where their donation is spent.

According to the study, 73% people consider giving charity in the form of money to mosques and religious seminaries, 66% consider giving charity in the form of money to poor and homeless, 54% consider giving charity to needy relatives, 14% consider giving charity to help educate poor children, 13% consider giving charity in the form of money to victims of terrorism and only 6% consider giving charity to hospitals – Such swings in public opinion exemplify an ambivalent approach to the idea and practice of charity.

68% people give charity in Ramzan, 52% every month, 42% at Eid, 20% at religious festivals, 19% during difficult times for family, 14% on family celebrations, 14% on Ashura days and 13% during natural disasters.

When it comes to charity giving, Pakistan is a generous country, and it contributes more than 1% of its GDP to charity, the Stanford Social Innovation Review reported.

The contributions push it into the ranks of far wealthier countries like the United Kingdom (1.3% GDP to charity) and Canada (1.2% of GDP), and stand around twice what India gives to those in need as a percentage of its GDP.

A study conducted by Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy shows that Pakistanis give around Rs240 billion (more than $2 billion) annually to charity.

The report indicates that about 98% of people in the country give in one form or another – if not with cash, then with in-kind donations or by volunteering for needy causes.

Fueling this culture of generosity is the Islamic emphasis on giving – in the form of ZakatSadaqa, and Fitrana – as well as other moral and social factors and a deeply rooted sense of compassion toward community members.

While supporting needy individuals plays an integral role in Pakistan’s social safety net, to realize the full impact of philanthropy for more sustained development efforts, Pakistan must do more, the authors of the study say.

In order for Pakistan to become a more integral player in the sustainable development agenda, it needs to make efforts to institutionalize the individual tendency of giving and redirect it toward more-structured efforts, the study recommends.

In trying to understand why Pakistanis prefer giving to individuals instead of organizations, the research was conducted via household surveys and focus group discussions.

It measured philanthropy in three ways: monetary giving, in-kind giving, and time volunteered. The results found that when accounting for all forms of philanthropy, 67% of survey respondents said they give to individuals while 33% of respondents preferred giving to organizations.

Data was also collected in the Sindh province in 2013 and also in Punjab, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) in 2014.

In the case of in-cash philanthropy, Balochistan stands out with 90% of respondents preferring individuals as recipients for their giving. One reason for this could be that Baluchistan is the least developed province of the ones we studied, and thus charitable organizations in Baluchistan are less established and have gained less public trust that ones in the more developed provinces.

Similar to cash donations, donors also prefer individuals for in-kind giving and time volunteered, albeit to a lesser extent, say the researchers.

Punjab and Balochistan give in-kind donations to individuals at almost equal rates, and both provinces give slightly more than KPK does, the report highlights.

Organizations seem to fare much better, however, when it comes to time spent volunteering: In KPK, close to half of the respondents volunteered their time for organizations, followed by Balochistan, with more than one-third of the respondents volunteering their time for organizations.

According to the research, there are four major reasons Pakistanis prefer giving to individuals over socially minded organizations.

Cash donations are most frequently made in small amounts and on a regular basis. Needy individuals are the prime beneficiaries of this type of donation, as they inspire spontaneous giving driven by compassion in the moment. These individuals are also easily accessible, while organizations require more planning on the part of the donor. In addition, many organizations have not yet developed the requisite infrastructure to collect small donations.

Religious institutions such as mosques and madrassahs likely get the bulk of giving that goes to organizations. These institutions also have infrastructure in place geared toward collecting small donations, in the form of door-to-door campaigns, donation boxes placed at counters of shopping outlets, and so on. Through such efforts, they are highly visible to potential donors.

Fear of misuse, wastefulness, and lack of impact play an important role in discouraging people from donating to organizations. Proximity and reputation are the two main factors that encourage people to donate to any one organization. Mosques and madrassahs are more trusted than civil society organizations, hence they receive the lion’s share of donations that flow to organizations.

While wealth does not seem to influence giving exclusively to organizations, we found that wealth positively influenced the giving priorities of people who responded as giving to both individuals and organizations.

In other words, the higher the level of wealth, the more inclination toward giving to both individuals and organizations (and vice versa).

One reason for this could be that people in lower income groups have closer ties with needy individuals, while they may have less familiarity with charitable organizations. People with high incomes often have direct connections with foundations and other charitable organizations.

In Balochistan, where more people fall in low-and middle-income groups as compared to KPK and Punjab, around 90% of philanthropy goes to individuals.

There is no doubt that Pakistanis are generous people, as the practice of giving is nearly universal.

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However, this charitable impulse needs to target more impact-oriented philanthropy. In this way, individual donations can play a more-effective role in inclusive development than simply assuaging the symptoms of poverty, the study has stated.

According to the researchers, it is evident that a lack of trust for civil society organizations is hampering their fundraising efforts.

To encourage more institutional giving, organizations have to ensure transparency and accountability, thereby mitigating the trust deficit of givers. the report contends.

While civil society organizations need to expand their fundraising networks among the general public, efforts should also be made to inform people that giving to organizations may have greater impact than giving to individuals, the research team has concluded.

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Here is the list of top 10 NGOs in Pakistan, which make us proud that we are living in Pakistan.

  1. EDHI Foundation

On the top, there is none other than the Edhi Foundation, which is the biggest name in the history of Pakistan. It is working across the world on non-commercial and non-political basis. The main aim of this foundation is to serve the people round the clock without any discrimination of color, caste, creed and color.

2. Chhipa Welfare Association

This amazing NGO of Pakistan operates just like the “Edh Foundation for the poor”. The Chhipa Welfare Association is a non-profit organization in Pakistan working for pure humanity. It was started by Ramzan Chhipa, who is kind hearted to provide all types of help.

3. Agha Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP)

In 1982, the Agha Khan Rural Support Programme was established to provide the best and quality life for the poor and the people of the villages. It is an NGO, which is working for the deprived people of Gilgit Baltistan and Chitral.

4. Shahid Afridi Foundation

This foundation is in the process by Shahid Afridi, who made it possible to construct a school and a hospital in Pakistan. This foundation will promote the best medical practices with the modern education to the public.

5. Aurat Foundation

This foundation was established in 1986 with the view to create awareness and commitment for a caring and democratic society in the Pakistan. In this society, women should be treated equally like men and women have the rights to live with dignity.

6. Ansar Burney Trust International

The Ansar Burney Trust International is a non-governmental and also non-profitable, that works for the human and civil rights through the public donation and money generated through private firms.

7. Dar-ul-Sakun

Another NGO – is a home for the mentally disabled children and adults who are alone and have been left by their family. Once, Sr. Gertrude visited these kinds of people from Holland, but make up her mind to stay here and work for these people.

8. Lahore Musical Forum

An unconventional NGO in Lahore, that helps the train classical musicians to come up with new life. This forum promotes the musical standards of classical music in Pakistan and raise new stars because of absence of a platform.

9. Saylani Welfare International Trust

It is one of the most famous NGO’s of Pakistan, which is working for the poor people by providing them different platforms. This trust gives the people free food every single day with the name of ‘free for all’.

10. Youth Parliament of Pakistan

The Youth Parliament of Pakistan is another unorthodox NGO that helps the young people to practice and develop democratic interest in order to run their country in better ways. It also translates and nurture the young talent in Pakistan into tangible action.

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