As Muslims in the UK enter the month of Ramadan, the Charity Commission and the Fundraising Regulator are encouraging people to take some simple steps to ensure their Zakat donations reach their intended causes.
The Muslim Charities Forum estimates that Muslims across Britain donated around £130 million during Ramadan last year*. This generosity contributes to important work that helps strengthen communities and improve lives. However, the regulators are warning that in rare cases, people can seek to take advantage of this generosity and valuable donated funds can end up in the wrong hands.
The Charity Commission and the Fundraising Regulator have therefore launched a safer giving campaign aiming to help donors continue giving generously to registered charities this Ramadan.
Helen Stephenson CBE, CEO of the Charity Commission said:
“All year round, and especially at Ramadan, the generosity of British Muslims has a great impact on so many people’s lives. We know that Zakat is an important and treasured tradition, and so we want to encourage people to be smart, savvy donors. I urge people to follow our simple steps, to help ensure your donations end up in the right hands, and help those in need.”
Gerald Oppenheim, CEO of the Fundraising Regulator said:
“We want to make sure donations made during Ramadan go to the right place. Unfortunately there are people who will try to take advantage of the generosity of the Muslim community. The fundraiser asking for your money should know where it’s going, so don’t be afraid to ask them. If they’re using the Fundraising Regulator badge on their collection bucket or clothing, their charity should be signed up to good, honest fundraising – you can check this on our website.”
Fadi Itani, Chief Executive Officer of the Muslim Charities Forum said:
“British Muslims are enormously generous in their charitable giving, which increases during the holy month of Ramadan. Following our research, we know last year’s donations in the month of Ramadan alone were £130m. At the Muslim Charities Forum, we see first-hand the difference these vital donations make. That’s why we are supporting this campaign and are encouraging Muslims to check before you give to ensure you are giving to a genuine registered charity and that your donation is going where it is intended.”
The Charity Commission and the Fundraising Regulator produce a range of resources to encourage safer giving, particularly at key times of the year, such as Christmas, Ramadan, during emergencies and humanitarian crises.
The regulators’ top tips are:
- before giving, check for a charity registration number – you can verify by looking at the charity register www.gov.uk/checkcharity
- be more cautious about people collecting for general charitable causes, such as ‘for sick children’ – make sure you’re giving to a genuine registered charity
- when approached by collectors, check whether they are wearing a proper ID badge and that any collection tin is sealed and undamaged
- if in doubt, ask the collector for more information – a genuine fundraiser should be happy to answer questions and explain more about the work of the charity
- check if a collector has authority to collect – if they’re raising money in a public place, they’ll need a permit or license. Collections in Mosques should be authorised by the trustees of the charity.
- never feel under pressure by a fundraiser into making a donation immediately
- if you want to donate online, type in the charity’s website address from your internet browser
- be careful when responding to emails or clicking links within them – do not click-through from suspicious looking emails
- if donating through an online fundraising platform, check if they’re registered with the Fundraising Regulator