Ramadan and Muslim Charities

Surah Nisa Verse 40  “Verily Allah does not do injustice even of the weight of an atom, and if there he a good deed He multiplies it and gives from Himself a great reward.”


For Muslim charities this is the season of fundraising in the UK. Muslims usually pay zakat in the holy month of Ramadan and also exceed in acts of charity such as feeding the hungry, sponsoring orphans, supporting the destitute and collecting funds for refugees, widows and the elderly, as well as for natural disasters and emergencies worldwide.

To attract donors from the public these charities publish their annual reports, print bold posters, launch nationwide fundraising campaigns and mail flyers and donation material to thousands of British households in Ramadan. Mostly their mailing lists revolve around Muslim names and addresses. Their mailing lists overlap and often compete with the many of the same donors with the result that each Muslim household ends up receiving promotional literature from over a dozen Muslim charities based in the UK. Some of these charities do not have sophisticated mailing software to eliminate duplicate addresses. Consequently they end up sending up to 4 letters to each household with the same address but addressed to different individuals who reside at the address.

There is a lot of charity money that goes into fundraising effort. Each charity spends at an average around GBP 70,000 into a large mail shot comprising their report and coloured brochure for various charity appeals. This is on top of the expenditure earmarked by charities for Google ads, Iftar dinners, sponsorship of motivational speakers and nasheed artists and TV appeals. This expenditure cannot be unfortunately avoided due to the nature of the charity model that has developed in the UK for all public fundraising charities. However, if charities can eliminate duplicate mailing and agree to send no more than one mailing shot per Ramadan to their donors they may be able to save an odd GBP 100,000 per annum each on this exercise. In fact they can save more if they all agree to go online to reach out to their donors and do away with mailing completely. I doubt very much if they will agree to it but it hurts me to see Muslim household dishing out dozens of letters in their waste bins in Ramadan after being bombarded by letters form charities soliciting donations. The Muslim Charities Forum should look into this and come up with creative ways of cutting costs where the waste of paper, time and effort is so glaringly obvious.

It must be said, however, that the Muslim charity sector is very vibrant in the UK compared to its limited size and donor base. It is most active in providing services to the British charity sector. Muslim charities do an amazing job of raising funds for good deeds in the most difficult economic circumstances from a community which is not amongst the most affluent in Britain but which always tops the donors lists in terms of the proportion of their income going out for charitable work.

Syed Sharfuddin
London: 10 June 2016






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