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This week I have worked with the Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales and MINAB the Mosques & Imams National Advisory Board to ensure safer giving over Ramadan.
Ramadan is a time of year when many of you are incredibly generous in giving to charities. There are hundreds of charities registered right here in Ealing Southall who are doing really great work locally and internationally, and I ask that donations be directed to them and other registered charities. This ensures that everyone’s hard earned money which is so generously given can be directed to the very best charity work, which is so vital to many.
Maulana Muhammad Sarfraz Madni, Chairman of the Mosques & Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB) said:“By donating to charities registered with the Charity Commission, donors can have additional confidence that their donation will be used properly. Registered charities also benefit from the guidance and advice provided by the Commission”.
Sam Younger, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission said and Maulana MuhammadSarfaz Madni said “I would like to wish everyone Ramadan Mubaarak”.
The Commission’s safer giving advice covers the following:
· To donate online to a particular charity, visit the charity’s website – check that you have the right web address. You can find the charity’s website address on their entry on the Charity Commission’s Register of Charities. You can also search whilst out and about on your smart phone, through the Commission's mobile version of the Register of Charities.
· Be very careful when responding to emails or clicking links within them to ensure that they are genuine. Look out for spelling mistakes or other signs that the email is not genuine. If you have any concerns about the legitimacy of a request for donations that appears to come from a charity, don’t hesitate to contact that charity directly.
· Some charities, particularly during Ramadan, fundraise through television and radio appeals. Ofcom rules say charity appeals are allowed in programming only if they are broadcast free of charge, but charities can pay for fundraising adverts. You can find out more about Ofcom’s rules for charity appeals here:
· Look out for registered charity numbers in adverts - it is a legal requirement for registered charities with an income above £10,000 a year to state it is a registered charity when fundraising on a range of documents, including websites, advertisements and other documents such as receipts.
· If you are in any doubt about a charity collector, collection bag or fundraising materials, check the charity’s name and registration number on the public register of charities on the Commission’s website.
· If you receive collection bags or fundraising materials from non-charitable organisations claiming to be charitable, and/or using a false registration number, you should contact the police, your local trading standards office, the Advertising Standards Agency and your local council.
· Always check whether a collector is wearing a proper ID badge.
· Check whether a collector has authority to collect. A permit or license is usually required if raising money in a public place. Collections in private places like train stations and supermarkets need the owner’s or manager’s permission. Collections in pubs need either a license or an exemption.
· Check that the collecting tin has a seal and that it is not damaged.
· Ask the collector how much of your donation goes directly to the charity. There’s no fixed rule about what percentage should be given to charity, but our tip is for people to ask what proportion of gross profit goes to the charity. This allows you to make an informed choice before you give.
· Ask the collector for more information about what donations will be used for - a genuine charity will understand that you may wish to know more and should be happy to answer questions.
· If you receive a phone call purporting to be from or on behalf of a charity asking for money, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Charities or those fundraising on their behalf should be able to provide a name and contact number for the charity itself so you can check it is a genuine call.
· If in any doubt, send your donation directly to the charity.
· It is also good practice for charities to tell you how your money has been used after you have given through feedback via emails, newsletters or other communications.
· If you have a complaint about how a charity has fundraised, contact the Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB) – www.frsb.org.uk.
· If you are concerned that you may have been targeted by a fundraising scam, you should contact the police. You should also contact the Charity Commission via its website.
· Further useful guidance on Giving Safely has recently been published by the Fraud Advisory Panel, a registered charity and leading independent voice on fraud, which aims to safeguard charitable donations and encourage giving.
Posters and leaflets are going out to mosques with help and information. All resources are available on the Commission’s website at www.charitycommission.gov.uk/ramadan.aspx.