Your Ultimate Six-Step Guide for Secure Giving

Is your donation being used in the way you’re being told? Here are six ways to secure-check a charity.

Is your donation being used in the way you’re being told? Here are six ways to secure-check a charity.

We live in ‘uncertain times’ where there is so much suffering around us, yet, we also see so many wonderful opportunities to help ease the suffering. However, not all donations we make go to the right cause. It’s important to know your charities and find the most reliable ones before deciding to donate.

As per the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, “all organizations (profit and non-profit) lose 6% of their revenue to fraud every year. Keep reading to find out the six ways you can donate wisely and to the right cause and, at the same time, protect your information data.

1. Be Strategic in your Donations

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the most generous among all people. He constantly encouraged the people to help others and support families, neighbors, communities, and the ummah in a broader perspective. Prophet Muhammad’s giving was self-sufficient, strategic, and need-driven and created a long-lasting impact.

He focussed mainly on these 4 categories:

  • Feeding the poor
  • Providing water
  • Looking after the orphan
  • Looking after widows

So choose charities that alleviate immediate suffering through water and sanitation, shelter, nutrition, orphan care, medical care, and emergency assistance at times of crisis or natural disaster. 

2. Focus on Charities that Provide Livelihoods and Microfinance

Hitting sustainability is what matters. Many non-profit organizations address the underlying causes of poverty and find ways to combat it, like helping set up small businesses, investing in infrastructure, and providing microfinance. Investing in those charities will make you stand toward the solution side rather than the problem side.

3. Protect your Personal and Financial Data in an Online Donation

Before giving to a charity or creating an account for the first time on a nonprofit’s website, make sure the organization has a Donor Privacy Policy in addition to the Privacy Policy. If they do not have that, you have an extra concern about misusing your data. Donor Privacy Policies keep donor data secure. Before processing the payment, make sure the checkout forms are secure.  Always check for HTTPS://, trust badges, security certificates, etc. And look for a ‘Lock’ and ‘s’ for security in the website address bar.

True fundraisers should welcome and respect your mode of donation; they should not insist on wire transfers, cash payments, and gift cards, as these payment methods are difficult to trace. 

4. Check if the Charity is Registered and Credible 

There are different registers to check for their credibility, you can check their works, aim, spending, and other criteria. To know the legitimacy of a charity, check for EINs (Employee Identification Number) or equivalent. 

NO EIN = Not Legitimate

Failure to register means that a charity cannot provide additional information about its activities. This lack of transparency should serve as a warning sign. Your charity should not only make you feel good but should also reduce your taxable income. So, find out if your donations are tax-deductible. You can look at their long list of partners, affiliations, and memberships, which is enough to give significant weight to their humanitarian contributions. 

5. Charity Impact

Being in a position to donate is simply great. But you also want to be sure that your donations are going to the best possible use. It’s best to do some due diligence work before clicking on that ‘donate now’ button. Some poorly run charities may not manage your donations properly, making them difficult to be used for intended purposes. Make sure the organization has publicly available audit reports and run through their financial information listing on registered websites. It’s always best to check the overhead cost. overhead cost below 15% is acceptable. 

Many charity navigators use sophisticated rating systems and give bonus points to non-profit organizations with lower operating expenses.

6. Zakat Compliant Policy

When donating your Zakat, check the charity’s website for information about their Zakat policy and their Zakat advisory board. Charities need to have an easily accessible zakat policy on their websites. Zakat payments need to be utilized within one lunar year by Sharia Law.  Zakat payments should be paid into dedicated, interest-free bank accounts, where the funds will be held until being sent to the relevant countries for the implementation of Zakat-eligible projects.

Charities should have a Zakat specialist and an Islamic scholar to ensure that the Zakat fund is operated by the principles of Shariah.  Charities should maintain transparency, demonstrate all activities selected for zakat distribution, and restrict the administrative cost to less than 15%. Charities should also have the ‘Fatwa Certificate’. The Fatwa is an Islamic opinion and declaration. Charities should have the fatwa from a scholar that the Zakat policy and its planned practices about Zakat are Sharia-compliant.

How to Register a Complaint Against a Charity

If you did not like the way charities approached you and asked for more information than needed, then you can check this website with the fundraising regulator. If you are bombarded with spam emails and advertising campaign you think is misleading and inappropriate, then you can complain to Advertising Standard Authority 

You can write to Fundraising Preferences Services to remove you from the email list and opt-out of a charity’s database. 

Allah (SWT) has placed Sadaqa as the 4th pillar of Islam and we need to deal with it with the same seriousness as we do with other pillars. By becoming strategic philanthropists, we can increase the impact of our donations on society Inshallah.

Choose Wisely, Donate Safely.

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