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Philanthropy and socioeconomic development: The role of large voluntary organizations in bridging social divides in Pakistan

Lookup NU author(s): Muhammad Khan, Professor Charles Harvey



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Extant research has focused on the role of philanthropy in the socioeconomic development of western countries, but little is known about the role of indigenous voluntary organizations in bridging social divides in the developing world. To help redress this imbalance, we present findings on the motivations, strategies, methods, and impact of five philanthropically funded voluntary organizations in Pakistan. We ask how and why such organizations are formed and gain traction to provide valuable services for large numbers of poor people in a society riddled with inequalities. Although differing considerably in their relations to markets and philanthropy, we find that success in all cases followed from commitment to Islamic philanthropy and the ideal of social inclusion, social innovation, exploitation of social capital, and scaling-up. Our contribution is to demonstrate how in developing countries philanthropy and social entrepreneurship together can play a decisive role in realizing a more just society.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Khan MSM, Harvey C, Price M, Maclean M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations

Year: 2023

Volume: 35

Pages: 1335–1346

Online publication date: 09/01/2023

Acceptance date: 19/12/2022

Date deposited: 20/12/2022

ISSN (print): 0957-8765

ISSN (electronic): 1573-7888

Publisher: Springer New York LLC


DOI: 10.1007/s11266-022-00554-8


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