The holy month of Ramadan is a time when many people give very generously, often to community organisations and Mosques, many of which are also registered charities.The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of Charities in England and Wales, and MINAB, the Mosques & Imams National Advisory Board, are encouraging people who want to give to charity to check if the charity they are donating to is registered with the Charity Commission, and to follow its safer giving advice. The Charity Commission offers safer giving advice around all major fundraising drives and emergency appeals.
All registered charities are listed on the online Register of Charities on the Charity Commission’s website. Donors can check the name or number of the charity against the register to see if an organisation is registered and check its number and details before giving. The Commission’s safer giving advice for donors covers a variety of fundraising methods including giving online, giving in response to TV appeals, donations of goods, particularly clothing and giving cash to public collections. The Commission has also introduced a mobile version of its online Register of Charities which donors can check whilst out and about, using their smart phones.
In relation to appeals running on satellite channels by organisations that may be based outside the UK, the Charity Commission only has jurisdiction over charities registered in England and Wales, and would encourage donors who want the security of knowing they are giving to regulated charities to give to those registered in England and Wales.
Maulana Muhammad Sarfraz Madni, Chairman of the Mosques & Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB) said:
"Many people will be giving very generously during the holy month of Ramadan and there are many charities that will be fundraising at the moment. By donating to charities registered with the Charity Commission, donors can have additional confidence that their donation will be used properly. Registered charities also benefit from the guidance and advice provided by the Commission. I would like to wish everyone Ramadan Mubaarak."
Sam Younger, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission said:
“Charitable giving is a very important part of Ramadan, and thousands of people give generously to good causes to help those who are less fortunate, in the UK or overseas. Our online register of charities makes it easy for people to check whether an organisation is a registered charity before giving so that they can give with confidence. I wish everyone Ramadan Mubaarak.”
The Charity Commission is also urging any organisations which are charitable and are required to register to do so online on the Charity Commission’s website. The Commission has produced some short adverts in English, Urdu and Bengali publicising the benefits of registering as a charity. The adverts can be found via the youtube links below.
The Commission’s safer giving advice covers the following:
- To donate online to a particular charity, visit the charity’s website – check that you have the right web address. You can find the charity’s website address on their entry on the Charity Commission’s Register of Charities. You can also search whilst out and about on your smart phone, through the Commission's mobile version of the Register of Charities.
- Be very careful when responding to emails or clicking links within them to ensure that they are genuine. Look out for spelling mistakes or other signs that the email is not genuine. If you have any concerns about the legitimacy of a request for donations that appears to come from a charity, don’t hesitate to contact that charity directly.Some charities, particularly during Ramadan, fundraise through television and radio appeals. Ofcom rules say charity appeals are allowed in programming only if they are broadcast free of charge, but charities can pay for fundraising adverts. You can find out more about Ofcom’s rules for charity appeals here: http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/2011/08/12200/
- Look out for registered charity numbers in adverts - it is a legal requirement for registered charities with an income above £10,000 a year to state it is a registered charity when fundraising on a range of documents, including websites, advertisements and other documents such as receipts.
- If you are in any doubt about a charity collector, collection bag or fundraising materials, check the charity’s name and registration number on the public register of charities on the Commission’s website.
- If you receive collection bags or fundraising materials from non-charitable organisations claiming to be charitable, and/or using a false registration number, you should contact the police, your local trading standards office, the Advertising Standards Agency and your local council.
- Always check whether a collector is wearing a proper ID badge.Check whether a collector has authority to collect. A permit or license is usually required if raising money in a public place. Collections in private places like train stations and supermarkets need the owner’s or manager’s permission. Check that the collecting tin has a seal and that it is not damaged. Ask the collector how much of your donation goes directly to the charity.
- There’s no fixed rule about what percentage should be given to charity, but our tip is for people to ask what proportion of gross profit goes to the charity. This allows you to make an informed choice before you give.
- Ask the collector for more information about what donations will be used for - a genuine charity will understand that you may wish to know more and should be happy to answer questions.
- If you receive a phone call purporting to be from or on behalf of a charity asking for money, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Charities or those fundraising on their behalf should be able to provide a name and contact number for the charity itself so you can check it is a genuine call.
- If in any doubt, send your donation directly to the charity.It is also good practice for charities to tell you how your money has been used after you have given through feedback via emails, newsletters or other communications.
- If you have a complaint about how a charity has fundraised, contact the Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB) – www.frsb.org.uk.
- If you are concerned that you may have been targeted by a fundraising scam, you should contact the police. You should also contact the Charity Commission via its website.
- Further useful guidance on Giving Safely has recently been published by the Fraud Advisory Panel, a registered charity and leading independent voice on fraud, which aims to safeguard charitable donations and encourage giving.
Posters and leaflets are going out to mosques with help and information. All resources are available on the Commission’s website at www.charitycommission.gov.uk/ramadan.aspx
For further information contact the press office on 020 7674 2366.
Notes to editors:
- The Charity Commission is the independent regulator for charitable activity in England and Wales.
- For information on how to register your organisation as a charity, visit the Charity Commission’s website: www.charitycommission.gov.uk
- Summaries of advice on registering as a charity are available in English, Urdu, and Arabic.
- Advice is also available from the Institute of Fundraising - http://www.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk/
- The Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB) is a representative body, with a membership of over six hundred mosques and training institutions. It was set up to promote good governance in Mosques and Imam Training Institutions.
- The MINAB is unequivocal in its support for the principles of democracy, the rule of law, and equality of opportunity. These principles are embedded in its broad range of programmes which include increasing the participation of women in society, helping faith leaders broaden their skills and expertise. See www.minab.org.uk.