As Muslims enter the month of Ramadan, the Charity Commission is encouraging donors to take simple steps to ensure their donations reach the intended cause.
Ramadan is a time of huge generosity among British Muslims, with the Muslim Charities Forum estimating that, in previous years, UK donors have given over £130 million to charity during the holy month alone*.
Muslim communities across the UK have continued to support charities close to home and around the world over the past year, so they can continue to play a vital role in strengthening communities and improving lives during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Increased online giving is expected this Ramadan, with a reduction in cash collections, as mosques and community centres have social distancing measures in place.
Most fundraising is genuine, however fraudsters and criminals may sometimes take advantage of public generosity at times of increased giving, using various methods such as fake appeal websites, email appeals that falsely use the name of genuine charities, or appeals from fake charities.
The regulator is therefore pointing to simple steps people can take to make sure donations reach registered charities:
•check the charity’s name and registration number at gov.uk/checkcharity. Most charities with an annual income of £5,000 or more must be registered
•make sure the charity is genuine before giving any financial information – it’s ok to decide not to give on the spot. Be wary of unsolicited emails from charities you have never heard of and be careful when responding to emails or clicking on links within them
•exercise the same caution as with any other internet transaction, for example, to donate online, visit the charity’s own website and always type the website address into the browser yourself
•contact or find out more online about the charity that you’re seeking to donate to or work with to find out more about their spending. Ask a trusted friend or relative if you are unable to research this or need a second opinion
•ignore requests to donate through a money transfer company
•if in doubt about an approach, give instead to a charity that you have an existing relationship with
The Charity Commission’s online register also allows donors to search for charities operating within their own local authority area, or to undertake keyword searches to find charities providing specific services, such as foodbanks or support for older people.