Charity work by NGOs – Should it be done with publicity?

We are witnessing a trend of NGO’s taking pictures of their charity works. It is mainly done to attract donations so that more and more people gets benefited. On the contrary, if we think from the receiving end, it is the most awkward situation and the poor who receives the benefits tend to lose the social status. When I was involved in Blanket Distribution Drive with GPRF (a non-funded NGO whom I am involved with), we realised that it is not only an awkward situation from the receiving end, but also for us too. (That was the first and the last project of which we have taken pictures of the receiving end.) In this situation the real needy – who live with dignity – don’t come forward to accept the help provided by the NGOs and the benefits may not get properly distributed. What need to be done in this situation?

Truth Arrived | Faith: Opinion: Charity work by NGOs - Should it be done with publicity? | Iftikhar Islam

When you give with one hand, the other shouldn’t realise it:

The charity must be done in secret. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: ‘Seven people will be shaded by Allah under His shade on the day when there will be no shade except His.’ One of them is ‘a person who practices charity so secretly that his left hand does not know what his right hand has given’ (Saheeh Bukhari 1423

The companions of the prophet (peace be upon him) used to practice charity so secretly that no one could even realise what act has been done and by whom. This attitude helps the poor who is receiving the charity. He can live with dignity in the society. This practice can be done when an individual is performing the act of charity. So, I strongly recommend an individual to perform these kinds of charities instead of just donating the amount to the NGOs. If every individual, who is rich enough, takes care of the poor relatives, friends, neighbours, and/or those living in their locality, then we can create a self-sufficient society. And the NGOs who are working for this cause can work on more advanced projects – like education, health, etc. 

The motivation factor:

When you give charity openly, then it may act as a motivation to others and help them in giving more charity. Sometimes people won’t realise in how many ways they can help the humanity. If someone gives the charity in public, like the way NGOs does, it help other NGOs to replicate the model and reach many others.

If any individual gives the charity in public, the others seeing him may realise that even he has to (or, can) help the needy. The Quran says “Those who spend their wealth (in charity) by night and by day, secretly and publicly - they will have their reward with their Lord. And no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.” (2:274) 

There are some charities that a person has to do in public, which must be done in public. Like, helping an old person to cross the road or give a bus seat, or NGOs provide major relief so that the area doesn’t get repeated. 

The balance act:

There are instances where a person has to do a charity in public; like, NGOs taking public fund, needs to be transparent in their work. They need to be accountable. In this situation, a photograph or video must be taken of the items given in the charity, the volunteers working for it, the journey undertaken to reach the potential person. In no way, the identity of the person or family receiving must be disclosed to the general public. In this way we can be, somehow, accountable for the donations received from the public, motivate the general masses towards charity, and give a model to work for other NGOs. It also helps in avoiding the repetition of work and helps in distribution evenly. 


In conclusion, whether you do the act of charity in public or in private, it must be done for the sake of Allah and to please Him alone. See to it that your charity is reaching the potential person who is in need, not the one who are professionally trained beggars. Give it to those who are really in need, not the one who has made their habit of taking charity. Lastly, give the charity in such a way that the person who is taking the charity now, one day becomes the one who gives it. 

May Allah ﷻ accept it. Aameen.

This article was written for Truth Arrived.

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