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April 20, 2021


With Ramadan 2021 in full swing, many people begin questioning how charities spend their donations and how much of it is spent to cover administrative costs.

Donors and potential donors want to know how we’re spending their donations, what measures are in place to protect their funds and how we’re held accountable for our work.

At the same time, a WhatsApp message tends to make the rounds with clickbait titles such as “MUSLIM CHARITY EXPOSED”.

In this blog, we tackle some persistent questions and falsehoods surrounding admin costs to assure our donors that their money is going to the right place.

We’re constantly finding ways to improve our service to you and the people we serve. Islamic Relief wants to be accountable to donors, the people we serve and to Allah (SWT). We hope this article goes some way to addressing concerns you may have.

 

“Why doesn’t Islamic Relief only spend money on projects?”

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One of our many water projects (Kenya).

The vast amount of money raised IS spent on projects. We only spend 9% on fundraising and 4% on admin.

We need to spend money on raising funds so we can run projects overseas. And we need to spend money on admin, so we can ensure that the projects are as effective as possible.

 

“Are charities that have a 100% donation policy better than those which don’t?”

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How we spend your donations.

Firstly, Islamic Relief does not have a 100% donation policy and it is impossible to spend 100% of donations on projects.

All projects incur admin costs and they have to be covered somehow. Admin costs include items such as ensuring an organisation is governed well; monitoring and evaluating projects to ensure they are delivered efficiently; rent for buildings, insurance, staff salaries, volunteer expenses, and equipment.

For every £1 donated to Islamic Relief, 87p goes directly towards programmes and initiatives that help people in need. 4p is spent on administrative costs and 9p is invested in raising more funds.

Islamic Relief is an accountable and transparent organisation, and we can confidently state that in order to help those in need, admin costs are necessary. Islamic Relief would not be able to operate on the scale it does without spending money to ensure it reaches as many people in need as possible.

 

“What inspires Islamic Relief in its work?”

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Islamic Relief staff helping an elderly lady in Syria.

As an Islamically-inspired organisation, we remain guided by the timeless values and teachings of the Qur’an and the prophetic example (Sunnah).

We know that not only are we accountable to you our donors, the Charity Commission and all our partners, but also to Allah (SWT).

We understand that your Sadaqah and Zakat donations are a huge amanah (trust).

We take this trust seriously and we ensure that your Zakat donations are only spent on projects that meet the Zakat criteria outlined in our Zakat guidelines and policy, which have been developed in consultation with a panel of experts and scholars.

Every day we strive to embody our five key values:

  • Sincerity (Ikhlas) – Our efforts are driven by sincerity to God and the need to fulfil our obligations to humanity
  • Excellence (Ihsan) – Our actions are marked by excellence in our operations and the conduct through which we help the deserving people we serve
  • Compassion (Rahma) – We believe the protection and well-being of every life is of paramount importance and we join with other humanitarian actors to act as one in responding to suffering brought on by disasters, poverty and injustice
  • Social Justice (Adl) – Our work is founded on enabling people and institutions to fulfil the rights of the poor and vulnerable. We work to empower the dispossessed towards realising their God-given human potential and develop their capabilities and resources.
  • Custodianship (Amanah) – We uphold our duty of custodianship over Earth and its resources, and the trust people place in us as a humanitarian and development practitioner to be transparent and accountable.

 

“Why don’t charities just use volunteers and not pay staff?”

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Islamic Relief volunteers.

Although we have many volunteers around the world, we also hire staff with the proper skill set and expertise to deliver our services to the highest standards in the most effective and impactful way.

This is how we can ensure that more people affected by conflict and natural disasters as well as those living in poverty can get the best help they need and deserve.

Staff wouldn’t be able to do this voluntarily on a full-time basis without a salary as they themselves need to support themselves and their families.

Islamic Relief is also working to help communities build their future with long-term projects and this can take a huge amount of work, commitment and time for staff.

Furthermore, nearly all Islamic Relief’s overseas staff and volunteers are local people who come from the communities they serve.

 

“How do we know if Islamic Relief’s work overseas is any good?”

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At the Third Sector Awards, London 2019.

Islamic Relief is one of only 20 organisations in the world that meets the Core Humanitarian Standards, the highest standard in the sector.

Furthermore, Islamic Relief is the only Muslim charity to be a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), a coalition of the UK’s leading humanitarian agencies.

Islamic Relief is transparent in all its communications regarding finances, which is evident in our Annual Reports, our website, and the Charity Commission website too.

Our work is accountable, certified and credible. We’re signatory to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movements and NGOs in Disaster Relief, meaning that our work commits to global standards of non-discrimination, human rights law and global ethics.

As well as supporting projects overseas, we also support local partners in the UK. We are on the VCS-EP (Voluntary and Community Services Emergency Partnership) which is managed by the National Emergencies Trust (NET), which means we help to respond to emergencies right here in the UK.

 

“How much of an impact does Islamic Relief have?”

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A Syrian boy with Qurbani donations.

We believe our work speaks for itself. Since 1984, we’ve transformed and saved over 120 million lives in over 40 countries across the globe. Subhan’Allah!

We have supported communities in some of the most volatile and dangerous places worldwide. From Syria and Yemen, to Gaza and Myanmar, we’re continuing to support vulnerable men, women and children in need.

However, we don’t only respond in times of emergency. We work to empower local communities to break out of poverty and build a sustainable future for themselves, their families and their communities.

We support families at risk through a dedicated three-step approach which enables us to actively respond to emergencies, as well as support the long-term recovery process. Through resilience – relief – recovery, we help break the cycle of poverty and allow communities to build their own futures for the long term.

This ensures that the money we spend is used in the most efficient and effective way possible, to build long-term change.

 

These are only a handful of the questions surrounding Islamic Relief. If you do have any further questions, please do feel free to contact us.

You can also find out more information on our FAQs page on the website and Annual Report or alternatively, feel free to email us at info@islamic-relief.org.uk or call us on 020 7593 3232.

Save a life now, donate to Islamic Relief.

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