Guidance issued by the Charity Commission today has been endorsed by The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the Muslim Charities Forum.
6 June 2016 - The Charity Commission (‘the commission’), the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, recognises the huge generosity of Muslims during Ramadan and wants to remind donors of how to ensure their money gets to the good causes they want to support.
Whilst the vast majority of charity collections and collectors are genuine, unfortunately there are occasions where the name and work of charities is abused. To protect their donation and the charities they wish to support, the commission is encouraging donors to take small steps such as checking the register of charities and the identity and licence of charity collectors before donating. The guidance relates to all types of fundraising and charitable giving, including giving to telephone appeals, television advertisements, and street fundraising. Please see the full list of tips.
Charities are also reminded that they should have in place procedures and safeguards to detect suspicious activities, protect themselves from abuse, and reassure their supporters. These include keeping stock of official fundraising material, ensuring all fundraisers comply with fundraising regulations, and informing Action Fraud if they suspect fraudulent activity.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said:
"Ramadan is a spiritual month of reflection and goodwill, and the generosity of the Muslim community for charitable giving and philanthropy is truly humbling. These donations make a real difference to the organisations that need them, so it’s important to make a few simple checks to make sure your money goes to the good cause it’s meant for. Sadly, there are people who will try and exploit the compassion of others and abuse the work of charities. By making checks and asking questions about how your money will be used, you can help make sure that genuine, registered charities benefit this month. Ramadan Mubarak!"
Omayma El Ella, Operations Manager at the Muslim Charities Forum, said:
"We know that Muslims throughout the UK give very generously to charities during Ramadan. People deserve to feel confident that their donations will be used properly. We welcome the commission’s advice on Safer Giving, and hope that it helps to increase awareness of the simple things that donors can do to help ensure their contributions reach worthy causes and people in need."
Sarah Atkinson, Director of Policy and Communication at the Charity Commission, said:
"We recognise that charitable giving by Muslims increases significantly during the holy month of Ramadan, and the need to protect these donations is therefore paramount. By following our straightforward advice, donors can feel confident that their donations will be used properly and that vital funds aren’t taken away from deserving charities and causes."
Top ten tips from the commission to make sure you give safely this Ramadan:
- Before giving, check the charity’s name and registration number against the online charity search tool: Find a charity - register of charities.
- Fundraisers require a licence from the local authority (or the Police in London) to collect in a public place. Check that they have this. If the collection is in a privately owned place, check that they have the owner’s permission.
- When approached by collectors, check whether they are wearing a proper ID badge and that any collection tin is sealed.
- If in doubt, ask the collector for more information - a genuine fundraiser should be happy to answer questions and explain more about the work of the charity.
- Genuine fundraising materials should feature the charity’s name, registered name and a landline contact number. Be wary of those that list only a mobile number.
- Make sure when you give to radio and television appeals that the process is secure. Ofcom lists the rules for radio and television charity appeals on its website: Licensing - Ofcom website.
- Take care when responding to emails or clicking links to a charity’s website to ensure that they are genuine. Instead, search online for your chosen charity to check you have the right web address. For further guidance see: Guidance for donors - Get Safe Online.
- Carefully review collection bags for clothing and household goods to ascertain whether they are from a genuine charity.
- After making these checks, if you think that a collection or appeal is not legitimate, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and inform the Charity Commission: Action Fraud - Police.
- Don’t be pressurised to give to a collection immediately. If in any doubt, donate directly to charity.
For more information about giving safely this Ramadan, visit GOV.UK.
Notes to editors
- The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales. To find out more about our work, see our annual report.
- Search for charities on our online register.
- Details of how the commission reports on its regulatory work can be found on GOV.UK.
- Ramadan this year runs from Monday 6 June to Tuesday 5 July.
- The commission runs various safer giving initiatives throughout the year, particularly at times of increased giving including Ramadan, Christmas, and after natural disasters.