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 organisations 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 large 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.