The holy month of Ramadan is due to commence early next week where Muslim’s fast between sunrise and sunset. Another notable fixture of this important period is the generosity of the Muslim community. Ramadan is always a time of increased giving from the British Muslim community, which increases exponentially from other times of the year.
It is well known that British Muslims are enormously generous in their charitable giving and are the most charitable religious community in the UK. Exclusive research from the Muslim Charities Forum (MCF) showed that in Ramadan last year alone, contributions from donors was over £130m to British Muslim INGOs that helped people across 40 countries. A remarkable figure in its own right but to collect such a vast amount of money in a single month alone deserves great recognition and celebration. The generosity of the Muslim community showcases the best of being British and being Muslim.
This incredible fundraising should be celebrated. At MCF, we see first-hand the difference these vital donations make. However, we want to ensure those donations go even further and are used in the most effective way possible. We need to increase donor awareness so that the fundraising tools they engage with are legitimate, which is why we have launched the ‘Give Smart Give Safe’ campaign.
The ‘Give Smart Give Safe’ campaign has gone further than any other previous Ramadan safe giving campaigns, including official government recommendations.
Having built upon these government recommendations on how to give safely, MCF developed a succinct, animated campaign video to ensure that any donations made in Ramadan 2019 are ‘smart and safe’ and don’t fall into the wrong hands or used ineffectively.
If a person wishes to donate, they will need to make sure the charity they are supporting is registered with the Charity Commission. This is the most basic check and the first to be done. It is also worth checking whether all their records are up to date. It may be advisable to visit www.gov.uk/checkcharity before giving this Ramadan.
There has been the emergence of many charities claiming 100 per cent of a donation is used on the specified cause, which sounds enticing. It is worth being mindful of a charity’s impact and not just its admin cost. However, questions may need to be asked about the impact these charities are having in supporting the those most in need.
Some charities receive half of their Ramadan income through online donations, due to the ease of doing so from a smartphone or table. A padlock icon or a ‘Secure’ message in the URL bar should be present to make sure that donations are protected, and websites are secure and safe.
Thousands of worshippers descend onto mosques for night prayers during the month of Ramadan. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous people may target Muslims at a mosque or communities with large Muslim populations, so donors will need to be confident the fundraisers are genuine by ascertaining whether they have visible identification on themselves and be sure any collection buckets are sealed.
So, whilst Muslim generosity is breaking records every year and we expect the £130m figure to be surpassed this year, MCF want to ensure that the generosity of British Muslims goes further and has a real impact in changing the lives of those most in need around the world. So as Ramadan dawns upon us and Muslims prepare to give hundreds of millions to charity, our plea with them is clear; Give Smart, Give Safe.
Fadi Itani is the chief executive of the Muslim Charities Forum