Not every organization will have a cause that aligns itself with Zakat but for those that do, zakat donations can be maximized — especially during Ramadan.
What is Zakat?
Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam. It roughly translates as “purification”. As is the case with the other pillars of Islam, Zakat is a mandatory element of Muslim worship and a religious duty.
If they earn enough, Muslims are encouraged to use some of their income to help the less fortunate. By giving a percentage of their wealth to the poor and needy, they can begin to purify themselves.
Zakat is based on the idea that wealth is something to be grateful for and not to be taken for granted. Wealth is ultimately owned by a higher power, with humans taking temporary ownership of it. In line with this, Muslims who earn above a set amount is responsible for helping redistribute wealth to people who have little or none.
By donating Zakat, Muslim donors can remain humble, have a stronger connection with the Islamic faith, and give back to the more neglected members of society.
Who pays Zakat depends on whether they possess the “niqab” — the minimum amount of wealth that must be held for a year to qualify for Zakat. If this isn’t the case, Zakat isn’t required for that year. This means that not all Muslims are obliged to pay Zakat, especially if doing so may result in financial hardship.
Generally, Zakat is around 2.5% of their total wealth and is typically given once a year.
This Zakat calculator can help individuals to work out how much Zakat is payable.
Zakat Versus Sadaqa
Unlike Sadaqa (voluntary charity), Zakat is more restrictive about what it’s used for. Accepting Zakat donations means your organization will need to use the funds appropriately.
Muslims who don’t qualify for paying Zakat may pay Sadaqa, although it will often be less than Zakat. Since it’s a voluntary payment and not an obligation, your organization has more freedom for how to use Sadaqa contributions.
Sadaqa doesn’t always apply to financial donations. Many Muslims will demonstrate it through volunteering and acts of kindness. Muslim supporters may, therefore, look to get involved with your organization beyond donations and this is crucial for helping you raise more funds.
Zakat Fundraising Tips for Your Organization
Many Muslims choose to donate Zakat to nonprofits that distribute funds to the poor and needy, rather than paying Zakat directly to beneficiaries.
Mosques are one of the most common recipients of Zakat donations, especially in the US. After that, local poverty relief and overseas relief are popular choices. That doesn’t mean that organizations with different missions can’t engage Zakat donors but it’s often helpful to know which areas are likely to appeal to them already.
Pro tip: Zakat donations can’t be used for any purpose you choose — your work needs to be connected to causes such as helping the poor or debt-ridden people. If Zakat donations are used for purposes outside of this, Zakat donors can feel cheated.
Although Zakat can be paid at any time during the year, it’s often done during the holy month of Ramadan. Some tips you can use to engage donors during Ramadan include:
Run a Facebook Campaign During Ramadan
Running a Facebook campaign during Ramanda can keep your supporters updated with the progress of your Zakat fundraising and secure additional donations.
If you’re holding or getting involved in Zakat-related events, you can create Facebook events to help promote them. Ask your supporters to confirm their attendance at these events, which will highlight the event to their Facebook friends.
For more tips, take a look at our blog post on promoting your nonprofit on Facebook.
Share the Impact of Last Year’s Zakat Donations
As part of your Facebook promotion during Ramadan, you can highlight the impact of last year’s donations. Zakat donors can be more likely to give if they can see how their contributions will benefit people less fortunate than themselves.
You can also do this across other social media channels and in your email and direct mail communications with your donors.
Create a Zakat-Only Fundraising Campaign
You can create a donation page specifically for Zakat fundraising and pre-set suggested amounts for Zakat donors to give. Looking back at Zakat donations from previous years can help you see which donation tiers may be more effective.
Pro tip: With Donorbox, you can reach more donors and give your Zakat fundraisers more impact. Islamic donors can quickly and easily pay Zakat in just a few clicks through attractive, secure and effective donation pages.
For more tips on raising funds during Ramadan, check out our Ramadan fundraising ideas.
If your organization collects Zakat donations, you’ll likely be considered an “agent”. While you’ll usually want to use the funds raised for Zakat purposes as soon as you can, there isn’t usually a deadline for doing it.
This means for most organizations, you don’t necessarily need to use the funds in a specific time frame unless your Zakat donors request that this is the case.
Inspiring Trust With Zakat Donors
It is important for Muslims who are eligible for Zakat to be sure that their donations are being used for helping the poor and needy. Your fundraiser needs to gain their trust.
Some tips for this are:
- Making sure fundraisers have an ID that shows their connection to your organization.
- Telling donors exactly how their contributions will be used. Where possible, use reports to show the impact of donations and how they’re being used.
- Being transparent about the governance of your organization. Donors are more likely to donate Zakat to you when they can see how your organization monitors, reports and evaluates the impact of your work.
Pro tip: Plan an email campaign during Ramadan. Inform your former donors via email about the impact they were able to bring via Zakat in the previous year. You can showcase exactly where and how the donations were contributed in the previous year(s) and what you were able to do with these funds. Statistics and reports can be key to doing this.
Over to You
For organizations working in certain areas, Zakat can be an underrated fundraising opportunity.
Muslims who meet the criteria for paying Zakat is obliged to do so. They must ensure their annual contribution goes to a cause such as helping the poor.
Gaining the trust of Zakat donors can help secure more donations for your organization.
Here at Donorbox, we’re supporting over 30,000 organizations to raise funds, including Islamic organizations.