Middle class donate over Rs 113bn a year in Punjab

The study conducted by PCP assesses magnitude of individual philanthropy in Pakistan

LAHORE: People belonging to middle class in Punjab donate more than Rs 113 billion a year in charity, which indicates philanthropic trend among Punjab’s philanthropists to reach out to the poor and marginalised segments of society.

This was stated by Mueen Afzal, former finance secretary general, while sharing contents of a study on ‘Individual Philanthropy’ carried out by the Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy (PCP) on charity trends in Punjab during a media briefing at the Lahore Press Club (LPC) on Saturday.

Mueen Afzal added that monetary giving was highest in Punjab with approximately Rs 39.3 billion, while a sum of Rs 12.3 was donated in the form of Zakat. However, he said that Rs 23.1 billion were in-kind donations and Rs 18.4 billion in-time donations in the province. Major recipients of these donations are individuals (needy, disabled and beggars). Some amount was also donated to mosques and seminaries, he added.

He said that around 39 percent of Pakistanis were living in multi-dimensional poverty and this proportion was nearly six times higher in rural than urban areas. “Philanthropy offers enormous opportunities to supplement state-run social programmes to reach out to the poor and the underserved to address local needs and poverty issues,” he added.

The PCP undertook the landmark study to assess volume of individual giving and came up with insights about patterns and motivation of giving trends at national level.

He said that the report addressed varied questions to assess magnitude of individual philanthropy in Pakistan and explored peoples’ preferences and choices about giving to better inform organisational and policy decisions.

“If mechanisms are in place to ensure greater transparency and local involvement in decision making, respondents will be willing to give more to organisations committed to social causes,” Afzal said while quoting the study.

According to the study, about 98 per cent of households give in cash, in-kind or time-volunteered. Monetary giving is the highest in Punjab with approximately 50 percent of donations made in cash. Volunteerism is the largest form of contribution in individual philanthropy in all provinces except for Punjab.

The study makes it evident that there is enormous potential for individual giving and social investing in Pakistan. “Philanthropy can alleviate immediate and long-term suffering of the poor and supplement the state-run social programs to a greater extent,” Afzal concluded.



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