Donations tend to spike during the holy month of Ramadan. Here we look at some ideas for your charity to get Ramadan-ready and fundraise online
The holy month of Ramadan is a traditional period of charitable giving for the Islamic community, during which Muslims devote themselves to their faith and take time for spiritual reflection, giving back and reaching out to others. In 2021, it begins on the 12 April, with the final evening – the festival Eid-al-Fitr – ending on 12 May, according to the lunar calendar.
Whether you are a faith-based organisation or not, over 5% of people in the UK are Muslims, which means many people will be eager to use this special time to make a difference to the local community and good causes far and wide.
In 2020, despite being cut off from the usual face-to-face fundraising channels, Fadi Itani, chief executive of the Muslim Charities Forum, told Civil Society News that fundraising during Ramadan exceeded expectations, showing that giving remains at the heart of Ramadan even through difficult times.
If you’re wondering how to make the most of this generosity and community spirit with your supporters, here are some ideas for your charity to get Ramadan-ready and fundraise online.
Fasting is one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith. During Ramadan, Muslims fast every day from sunrise to sunset. The fast-breaking meal after sunset is called Iftar and it’s a time for sharing and eating together with others, sometimes in a Mosque. However, in 2021, due to COVID-19 the Muslim Council of Great Britain is asking people to avoid Iftar events outside of their family or bubble.
In 2020, Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association UK ran a virtual Iftar, inviting people to take part in virtual events and eat together, with Muslims and non-Muslims alike joining in. They shared their series of events across social media under the hashtags #BigVirtualIftar and #FastAtHome. While tickets were free, it helped highlight the organisation’s work and fundraising campaigns.
As well as reaching the usual supporters, a virtual Iftar can be a great way of bringing togetherness to those who are experiencing loneliness or are cut off from their communities, such as refugees or international students.
You could also set up opportunities for people to share their Iftar and feed those in need by encouraging them to donate the price of a meal or food parcel online. Muslim Hands is one charity doing this on their website as part of an Iftar appeal
Zakat is a fundamental pillar of Islam that states it is the duty of every Muslim to give a portion of their wealth to those in need, throughout their lifetime. While this can be done at any time, many Muslims choose to give at Ramadan because the rewards that come with giving during the holy month are multiplied.
If a Muslim’s personal wealth is above a sudden threshold, they’re obliged to give a certain amount. But working out exactly how much and where the threshold is can be complicated, taking into consideration the value of gold and silver owned, and money held in different places such a pension fund or property.
To go the extra mile and encourage people to give to your cause during Ramadan, make it easy for your donors by providing a Zakat calculator.
You can either embed your own on your website, or link to some of the online Zakat calculators already existing out there – like the one from Islamic Relief.
Because many more people also make general donations during Ramadan, you will want to make it clear that people not looking to make a Zakat donation can also give and that their donations are valuable too. A good way of doing this is by tying donation amounts to specific programmes and showing what their donation will achieve.
Campaigns like Alcohol Change UK’s Dry January, Veganuary, and Macmillan Cancer Support’s Go Sober for October are becoming more popular every year, with millions taking part to sacrifice something over a period for a short time, kick bad habits and feel cleansed physically and mentally.
During Ramadan, Muslims give up food, drink, smoking, and sexual activity between sunset and sunrise. Doing so helps them focus on their relationship with God and those less fortunate than them and many people also choose to limit other distracting activities like watching TV.
This makes Ramadan the ideal time to launch a ‘give something up’ campaign. Why not ask supporters, Muslim and non-Muslim, to choose something to give up for the month? It could be anything from chocolate or sugar, to swearing, driving (in place of cycling or walking), fast food, or even social media.
These sort of challenges can be great ways of encouraging peer-to-peer fundraising, with supporters building their own fundraising pages on platforms such as JustGiving and getting friends and family to sponsor them.