When it comes to charitable giving, Pakistan is a generous country, and it contributes more than one per cent 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 per cent GDP to charity) and Canada (1.2 per cent 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 per cent 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 Zakat, Sadaqa, and Fitrana – as well as other moral and social factors and a deeply rooted sense of compassion toward community members.
But despite this tradition of giving, most donations go directly to individuals, thus bypassing charitable organisations.
While supporting needy individuals plays an integral role in Pakistan’s social safety net, to realise 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 institutionalise 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 organisations, 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 per cent of survey respondents said they give to individuals while 33 per cent of respondents preferred giving to organisations.