Don’t give unless you mean it!

By Younas Chaudhary

During every harvest in our village in Pakistan, my father would donate large buckets of wheat to the villagers for their personal use. With their gleeful faces, they would carefully take what they wanted and left feeling thankful. I grew up seeing this every season and understood at a young age that giving with humility is powerful to both the donor and the recipient.

Younas Chaudhary

My parents taught me that the core tenet of giving is humility. During the Muslim festival of Eid, slaughtering goats and cows was common practice and my father gave at least a third of the share of the meat to villagers, especially to those who couldn’t afford it. My grandmother, another generous human being, made it a point to feed anyone who came to her home during meal time.

As I made money in the West, I followed the path to help and assist others in their time of need without making a big deal of it or even doing it anonymously where possible. Though, in organized philanthropy, nonprofits and fundraisers focus too much on the donor and not the recipient. This is why I detest the practice of people donating to have their names all over religious centers, hospitals, universities, and community centers just to show off their wealth in the name of leaving a legacy. This practice is more common in the West than in South Asia where people give more to religion and family members.

I feel the best way to give is to help others quietly who cannot afford day to day living costs, groceries, and other needs. These acts of generosity where you help someone in their time of need without showing your presence makes you venerable. Here, the giver and the receiver know that the shared act of helping a fellow human being in need is the humblest thing you can do.

At this stage of my life, giving my time, talent or money are what makes me the happiest. Sometimes, youngsters ask me for advice related to the oil and gas business or launching their businesses and I openly give them all my ideas and options. I’ve learned through experience that passing and gifting knowledge that benefits another human being has good value including donating money to particular causes.

I do engage in philanthropy myself and through my foundation, the YBC Foundation, and we give to a select group of charities who do phenomenal work in our communities. I try to make sure that these charities are vetted well and that they spend most of what I donate on direct services to people in need and not towards their own operational expenses. Besides this, I check their genuineness.  I dislike the lazy ones who send their standard tax deduction receipts and are always looking for more money.  

What charities sometimes don’t understand is that each gift comes through hard work, and perseverance and it ought to be honored with the respect it deserves! Stay blessed.


The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. Further, I make no warranty regarding the accuracy or effectiveness of my recommendations, and readers are advised to consult other advisors as well as their own judgments in making business decisions.

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