Cause4 announces results of survey of charitable giving in the British Muslim community

9th December, 2014

Ali Khimji, Development Coordinator at Cause4, conducted the survey to investigate the attitudes of British Muslims to charitable giving and any motivations behind supporting particular causes.

Religion has always been a key driver of charitable giving through structured religious practices, such as tithing in Christianity, tzedakah in Judaism, and zakat in Islam. As a result, studies have found that religious people are more generous in charitable giving than mainstream society. A survey carried out by JustGiving and ICM of 4,036 UK residents reported that Muslims in the sample give more money to charity than other religious groups. It was found that Muslims gave an average of £371 to charity each year, with Jewish donors giving the second highest at £270 per year, and atheists giving the lowest at £116 per year. During Ramadan, which is the highlight of the fundraising calendar for Muslim charities, the Muslim Charities Forum estimated that its members would raise £50m, with approximately £100m being raised across the Muslim charitable sector in fundraising appeals.

However, whilst it is interesting to know that donors from a religious background, and in particular Muslims, might give more money to charity than other demographic groups, this alone is not enough for fundraisers to be able to develop a cohesive strategy to actively and deliberately engage those donors. In order to ensure that fundraising is efficient and effective, fundraisers need to be aware of the preferred donation methods and areas of support that religious donors would be willing to fund, so that they can create targeted fundraising appeals with the maximum chance of success.

The main highlights from the survey were:

  • 48.9% of respondents give at least £20 per month on average to charitable causes and 22.4% of respondents make an average monthly donation of at least £50
  • The top three reasons that British Muslims give to charitable causes relate to humanitarian motivations, with some of the main reasons being ‘You feel compassion for those who are less fortunate than yourself’, ‘You feel it is a religious duty to help others’, and ‘You want to make a difference to the lives of other people’.
  • The top five areas of charitable interest for survey respondents were Children, Disaster Relief, Education, Community Development, Homelessness and Religion.
  • 40.8% of British Muslims would make a donation to cover administrative costs and overheads and 57% of respondents would fund the cost of a research project.
  • 43.4% of respondents to the survey volunteer at least once a week for charitable causes.
  • 62.5% of respondents preferred to donate to charitable causes through online mechanisms and 34.9% of respondents said they most often hear about charitable appeals through social media.
  • When asked what would make them give more to charity, 70.6% of respondents said more disposable income.

After analysing and reviewing the survey results in detail, the following eight recommendations can be made for the wider charitable sector to consider when planning individual fundraising campaigns to target British Muslims:

  • Aim for regular donations from British Muslims through Direct Debit.
  • Muslims are interested in many causes but education, community development and homelessness organisations feature often
  • Tap into digital trends, as the majority of British Muslims prefer to make donations online.
  • Utilise social media for fundraising and marketing, as it allows for direct communication with potential supporters.
  • Give donors greater control over their donations.
  • Trial fundraising appeals for different initiatives, including contributions towards costs that are not directly charitable, such as administration or overheads.
  • Target British Muslims for volunteers, and those volunteers for donations.
  • Understand your British Muslim audience when running fundraising appeals, especially their levels of religiosity.

To read the full report, click here.

"The course was informative, enjoyable, covering plenty of ground in just one day without feeling rushed at all. It came at a crucial time in our planning and thinking as a development team and was a very welcome pause for thought. Michelle was a brilliant facilitator and it was a real benefit to hear about her experiences across the sector."

Jane Reynolds, Development Manager, Manchester International Festival