With Ramadan underway, the Charity Commission is encouraging donors to ensure they are giving safely by making a few checks before they donate.
Ramadan is a renowned time of generous giving, with the Muslim Charities Forum estimating that, in previous years, UK donors have given over 130 million to charity during the holy month alone.* Many expect this figure to rise again this year as Muslim communities are returning to mosques and in-person celebrations following the pandemic.
While most online and in-person fundraising is genuine, fraudsters and criminals may try to take advantage of this unparalleled generosity. This may include fake appeal websites, email appeals falsely using charities' names, 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;
- take your time to ask a fundraiser questions and check street collectors' ID badges, fundraising materials and information. Be careful when responding to emails or phone calls, or when clicking on links from any organisations purporting to be charities;
- contact or find out more online about the charity that you're seeking to donate to or work with to understand 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.
Helen Stephenson, CEO of the Charity Commission, recently said:
The generosity of British Muslims, especially during Ramadan, is remarkable. It's vital that these substantial donations reach their intended causes, to strengthen communities and improve lives at home and abroad.
That's why we urge everyone to follow our simple steps to check that their money is going where they think it is. Donating to a registered charity is a good way to feel confident of that.
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.
Notes to Editors
- The Charity Commission is the independent regulator and registrar of charities in England and Wales. To find out more about our work, see the about us page on GOV.UK.
- *Figures around donations are always estimates. For more information please contact the Muslim Charities Forum.
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