saferMany community organisations and Mosques benefit from the generosity of Muslim people in particular in the Holy Months. Many charities are also raising desperately-needed funds to help the people affected by the famine in East Africa at this time.

The Mosques & Imams National Advisory Board, is 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 MINAB with 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.

* 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/charity-appeal-rules

* 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. Collections in pubs need either a license or an exemption.

* 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 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.

The English registration advert is at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hDNvYUWTc4

The Urdu registration advert is at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aB757C8b5W4

The Bengali registration advert is at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_6ZzfdFe1Y

For further information please call or email the MINAB office.

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