Until recently, the topic of charitable organizations seemed to have fallen in disgrace. Social scientists have given little attention to this sector of associational life. Instead, a great deal has been written on the issues of democratization through pressure groups or on the transformation of social movements into professional organizations while assessing the overall impact of development promoted by donors. Yet three signs point to the need for a better understanding of charitable organizations. First, new research studying Islamic activism through the lens of social-movement literature has offered innovative results. Second, studies on the impact of aid during the second intifada have revealed that charitable organizations as well as Islamic organizations offered a significant amount of emergency support, sometimes competing with professional nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Finally, the fact that Hamas, also known for running a vast network of charitable organizations, achieved such a significant political success in the 2005 municipal and 2006 legislative elections should invite social scientists to consider whether and how political momentum can also be obtained through activism in the charitable sector.