As Muslims accelerate their charitable giving in the last 10 days of Ramadan here is the Muslim Charities Forum checklist for safe giving.
The guidance comes as several Muslim charities have been hit by scandals over the misappropriation of donor money.
But by following this basic safe-giving checklist, MCF says you can better ensure that you make an informed choice about where your donation is going.
Below is a summary of the guide which can be read in full here.
Is the charity registered?
Visit http://www.gov.uk/checkcharity and find out if the charity is registered with the Charity Commission.
Does the charity’s values match your values?
Check out the charity’s website for information about their aims and values. You should only give to organisations that you feel are in line with your values.
Is the fundraiser genuine?
Many people do personal fundraisers for charities and this can be a great way to donate to charity. However, it’s important to check whether it is genuine. They should feature the charity’s name and registered number.
Do you feel pressured to donate?
You should never feel pressured to donate to a charity, it should be a free and informed choice. If you need more information, you are within your right to ask the charity for it directly, prior to donating any of your money.
Does admin cost reflect impact?
Charities differ in their admin costs for different reasons, for instance, their specialism. Look at the impact more than the admin cost. Don’t be led by just numbers. A higher admin could translate to higher impact, or vice versa, depending on the organisation.
CONDUCTING YOUR OWN RESEARCH
Who runs the organization and do they have experience in development? Who is the chief executive or the director of finance? What experience do they have in their respective fields? How easy is it to find out this information.
What difference is the charity making? How does the charity measure and evidence its impact? Can you tell what the charity has achieved? How does the charity choose the projects it is working on?
Are the charities accounts filed on time to the Charity Commission? The Charity Commission tells you if the accounts have been filed late. Does the charity regularly file its accounts late?
Who are the trustees of the organisation and do they have professional experience? Have the trustees gained experience in other large organisations? Are they familiar with their legal responsibilities?
Size and history
How old or new is the charity? How big is it? Does it have an area of expertise: a specific type of project or country?
Charities are also collecting Zakat in Ramadan. The Muslim Charities Forum recommends that each donor asks the following questions before giving their zakat to a charity:
- Does the charity have a zakat policy which tells you how they spend the zakat money? Is it freely accessible on the website?
- Does the charity have a zakat policy holder whose name is available on the website and whose contact details are also available?
- Does the charity have a scholars’ board that checks the validity of its zakat policy? Are these scholars named on the website?
- Does the charity explain how zakat funds are dispersed in its annual accounts?
The Muslim Charities Forum has also released a good practice guide aimed specifically at charities themselves. You can read it here.