Islamic Relief Worldwide's income and expenditure both increased by more than £30m in 2021, according to recently filed documents.
According to the charity’s most recent financial accounts, it reached 11.8m beneficiaries last year, supported by an increase in funding from partner organisations.
Meanwhile, the charity received 141 fundraising-related complaints in 2021 and recorded 46 safeguarding cases.
Income and expenditure spike
The charity's income reached £183m in the 12 months to 31 December 2021, a 23% increase compared to £149m the year before.
Funding from Islamic Relief's partnership organisations remained the largest funding stream at £123m, compared to £91m in 2020.
Islamic Relief member entities in North America and Islamic Relief UK were the largest contributors.
The total charitable expenditure increased to £157m, up from £115m in 2020. In 2021, the charity supported more than 11.8 million people.
The accounts read: “With many prolonged, complex and ongoing humanitarian disasters across the globe this year, our greatest spend was for emergency relief projects”.
Some 48% of Islamic Relief’s 2021 expenditure was spent on providing aid in response to emergencies. More than £71m, around 40% of expenditure, was spent on long-term development projects.
Reserves, grants and staff
Islamic Relief’s unrestricted reserves at the end of 2021 were £14.4m, compared to 12.4m the year prior.
These included funds that are designated to fund Islamic Relief’s ongoing programmes. Its free reserves were £8.7m, compared to £7.4m in 2020. The accounts state this represents eight months of operational budget.
The accounts emphasise 2021 was a year “scarred by growing global hunger, fuelled by the far-reaching effects of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the climate emergency.”
Grants from institutions and other major donors were consistent with prior years.
The charity did not spend any money on redundancies for the year ended 31 December 2021, compared to £38,550 in 2020.
Remuneration for Waseem Ahmad, the charity’s chief executive, during the year totalled £97,982, compared to £90,628 in 2020.
‘We try to make it easy for concerns and complaints to be raised’
Islamic Relief Worldwide has a Fundraising Regulator approved complaints policy in place.
The accounts explain: “We try to make it easy for concerns and complaints to be raised via our website and our complaints policy can be found there.
“Complaints are captured centrally, dealt with in accordance with the process laid out in the policy and reported to the Fundraising Regulator through the annual return.”
In 2021, the charity received 141 fundraising-related complaints, compared to 107 in 2020.
The accounts also show Islamic Relief received 46 safeguarding cases in 2021 of which two were deemed to not relate to safeguarding.
A further 14 related to concerns within the community between community members, with no involvement of Islamic Relief staff. Five cases related to concerns between Islamic Relief staff and community members, and 25 related to concerns between staff members.
It states: “Of all cases, six were unfounded, two were found to be malicious, and nine cases resulted in formal disciplinary action being taken including five dismissals.”
The accounts say case numbers have increased from 2020, “evidencing that communities and staff alike are more confident in reporting concerns.”
‘Many of our supporters are themselves struggling to make ends meet’
Chief executive Ahmad said: “At a time of unprecedented global need, Muslim communities have continued to show the true spirit of humanity and responded with incredible generosity and compassion.
“We know that many of our supporters are themselves struggling to make ends meet at the moment, so we are more grateful than ever for their ongoing support.
“We are determined to make sure that every donation has a real transformative impact on the communities we serve.”