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image of an islamic relief staff handing an aid box to a syria rightholder islamic relief uk admin costs 100% donation policy

5 Reasons Why Islamic Relief Doesn’t Use a 100% Donation Policy

We’re here to help provide more information on what exactly happens to your donation when you donate to Islamic Relief, why 100% donation policies aren’t really possible, and why our admin fees are one of the best tools we have for serving the communities at the heart of our work!

Muslims are taught that our good deeds are rewarded abundantly. Kindness to others, developing a relationship with the Qur’an, Ibadah (worship) and charity are greatly encouraged. When they are done with sincere intention they can earn copious rewards.

In 2018, the Muslim Charities Forum (MCF) published an article on ‘giving’ in the Muslim community, concluding that £130 million had been donated by British Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan alone! We are indeed a generous community, Alhamdullilah.

However, each year, Muslims rally up to donate their hard-earned money to those in need, only to face an annual dilemma surrounding the question of a ‘100% donation policy’. It can be a minefield of misinformation regarding your precious donation.

A ‘100% donation policy’ or ‘no admin costs’ is a method used by some charities to imply that 100% of a donor’s money, in its entirety, goes straight to those in need. When compared to charities who are transparent about their admin fees, this looks like the superior choice. It’s understandable that so many would be confused about the ethics surrounding their donation.

When donating to a charity, here are some important questions to consider regarding your donation:

  • If 100% of my donation is going directly to those in need without covering the costs of any means needed to deliver it, how are those charities covering their costs?
  • Are the charities promoting a 100% donation policy transparent about how they’re covering their admin costs?

Any charity performing life-saving work is almost certainly employing the relevant means to help them do it, whether that be through staff, vehicles, buildings, and more – all of these cost money. This is why a 100% donation policy wouldn’t work, and why we encourage our donor community, and beyond, to instead focus on the question, “how effectively is my donation being used?”.

We’re here to help provide more information on what exactly happens to your donation when you donate to Islamic Relief, why we don’t use a 100% donation policy, how this isn’t really possible, and why our admin fees are one of the best tools we have for serving the communities at the heart of our work!

Here are five reasons why admin fees are powerful and important for those in need:

1. It costs to help those in need on the ground:

Islamic Relief are fortunate to have been able to provide aid to millions of people in over 40 countries since 1984. We often work in remote areas of the world, and are challenged with working in conflict zones or after the impact of a natural disaster to get help to those in urgent need.

Admin fees help facilitate the delivery of our aid on the ground. They cover essential costs such as conducting needs assessments to ensure our aid is relevant, fuel for cars to transport aid, rent for local offices, salaries for staff and expenses for volunteers who help deliver our life saving responses. They also cover the costs of monitoring and evaluating the impact of our work. Without admin, our work simply wouldn’t be possible.

2. It helps us to use your donation in the most effective way possible:

Did you know, that for every £1 donated to Islamic Relief, just 4p is used to cover admin costs? Although a minuscule amount, it has an incredible impact on our ability to use your donation as effectively as possible. Out of your donation, a further 9p goes towards the work we do to raise more funds for those in need. This portion of your donation is carefully and effectively used to pave the way for ground-breaking work in fundraising – for every £1 invested, we’re able to raise £10 more, which enables us to continue delivering more aid. The remainder of your £1 donation, (87p!) goes a phenomenal way towards our life-saving work.

Since 1984, your generous donations have helped transform and save over 120 million lives. We couldn’t do this without your support, and we are accountable to you for every penny spent.

3. Admin fees change the future:

You’re helping Islamic Relief to build a brighter future for those in need. As well as delivering aid, Islamic Relief works to campaign for the most vulnerable communities and strives to effect change. This includes campaigning on issues such as climate change, which is having a devastating impact on communities in the global south, as we saw in 2022 during the Pakistan floods.

Your admin fees are not going towards band-aid solutions. The thought leadership that is required to build life-saving and sustaining micro dams, in Mali which harvest rainwater to improve access to water and livelihoods for communities in need, is the same that is required to mitigate the effects of global issues that tackle the root causes of poverty and inequality around the world.

4. Admin fees are an Islamically legitimate cost:

Zakat, one of the five pillars of Islam, is a form of charity that has strict rules around the eligibility of the donor and the one who receives it. The impact of this obligatory form of charity is powerful and has the ability to eliminate poverty in the world.

In His divine wisdom, Allah (SWT) decreed that one of the eight people eligible to receive Zakat, are the administrators of Zakat, the al ‘amilina alayha.

Islamic Relief has enlisted the help of renowned scholars to form an independent Zakat Advisory Board, who are in place to monitor and review Islamic Relief’s Zakat policy. They are there to verify the distribution of Zakat at Islamic Relief, and ensure your precious donation goes towards upholding this upright practice.

Our Zakat Policy

Our Zakat Advisory Board

5. It’s our calling, and our living.

Alhamdullilah, since 1984, Islamic Relief has had the honour of inviting generations of hard-working and loyal volunteers to help us serve the world’s most vulnerable people. Without the support of our volunteers, staff, and generous donors, we wouldn’t be able to do the life-saving work that we do.

When volunteers donate their time to support our work, Islamic Relief covers their basic expenses. Our staff work incredibly hard to ensure that volunteers efforts are properly supported and can create the world-wide impact that we have around the globe to help us achieve our mission of eliminating poverty.

As an organisation, it’s important to sustain our employees’ ability to help us achieve our mission, this includes paying them a salary. While many in the third sector see their roles as a calling to help those in need, they would be unable to do so without being able to cover the cost of living.

It’s also important for us to consider the incredible skill set of our employees, who deliver ground-breaking work and solutions to increasingly complex situations across the world. Staff expertise helps us to deliver innovative solutions like rainwater harvesting in Bangladesh to ensure communities have access to clean water.

Localisation in our work is extremely important to us and that is why 95% of our staff are employed from within the areas and communities we serve, to ensure we’re sensitive to the cultural and religious requirements of those in need. Because our staff are from the areas that we work in, they know what’s needed on the ground and they can help ensure that we reach as many people as possible, sometimes in the most difficult to access regions like Yemen and Gaza.

Poverty impacts so many vulnerable people across the world. Islamic Relief will continue to put the most vulnerable first, always, and in order to do that, we need your support. Transparency around our admin costs is an integral part of the relationship we have with our loyal donors. We are accountable to those in need, and to you, our loyal donors. Thank you.

Donate your Zakat and Sadaqah, and help save lives.

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