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From your award winning charity
29 April 2021

Explained: Giving Charity to Where Most Needed?

Safa Faruqui
Explained: Giving Charity to Where Most Needed?

The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, 'There is no faith for one who cannot be trusted. There is no religion for one who cannot keep a promise'. [Ahmad]

He (saw) also said, 'The faithful trustee who gives what he is commanded completely, in full and with a good will, and delivers it to the one whom he was told to give it to - he is one of the two who gives Sadaqah'. [Abu Dawud]

At Muslim Hands, we take the amanah (trust) of your charity extremely seriously. If we did not deliver your Zakat and Sadaqah correctly, we would truly be people of no faith or religion, but when we fulfil our responsibility towards you, we also gain reward and please Allah (swt)! Fulfilling our trust towards you and our beneficiaries is therefore at the heart of our work - and we are always striving to uphold our transparency towards you.

With that in mind, we've put together an article to explain one of our most popular items - the Where Most Needed Fund! Who are you giving to when you donate to this fund and how is your charity making a difference? We've answered all your questions below!

1: What is the purpose of your general funds?

We love to give our donors as many specifics as possible when it comes to their charity, so the difference that they are making is tangible to them. Some examples of our specific items are:

  • When you give £10 to our Yemen Bread Factory, you produce 280 loaves of bread, feeding 140 people.
  • When you donate 'Four Chickens for £20', you are literally donating four chickens.
  • When you build a Tube Well (£190), your money goes towards a single Tube Well, which will usually have a plaque displaying your name.

The above items are pretty simple to understand. So why do we sometimes use general funds instead of specific items?

There are two main reasons:

Firstly, having a general fund is often a more effective way to help beneficiaries.

For example, let's say we've committed to supporting 1,000 Syrian refugees with thick blankets and heating fuel, to help them survive the winter. If we tell you about these specific items - donate a blanket for £10, donate heating fuel for £30 - this means there is a possibility that many donors will give blankets but not enough donors will give heating fuel. Obviously, we need both items to actually keep refugees warm.

Similarly, if we give donors the option of giving to either Syria or Pakistan, we might end up with a lot of winter aid for Syria and not enough for Pakistan!

To solve this problem, we simply create a general Surviving Winter Fund, which covers all the winter needs of families in Syria and elsewhere - including blankets, heating fuel, food, warm clothes and more. Your donation will then be allocated to where its warmth is most needed.

Secondly, having a general fund is sometimes more appealing to donors.

For example, let's say a donor wants to give Sadaqah to an orphan. This donor can't afford to give £29.50 every month to sponsor an orphan - they can only give a one-off £10 donation. Our Orphans Fund allows them to give how much Sadaqah they can, while making a difference to a vulnerable child.

Another reason a general fund would be appealing is if the donor has too many options to give to. Let's say they have £200 to give in Zakat. When they visit our website, they see that they could give food parcels in Yemen, build water wells in Afghanistan, sponsor orphans in Sudan, provide healthcare in Somalia and so much more.

Having a simple Zakat Fund takes the decision-making off your shoulders - you know their Zakat will simply go to where it is needed at that moment.

Meanwhile, our global teams are pleased to have the freedom to send their donation to where it will have the most impact. We are thus fulfilling your amanah while allowing our local experts to allocate donations to projects that are actually in need.

Because general funds are effective for beneficiaries and appealing to donors, we've created quite a few, including the Water Fund, Food Fund and Emergency Fund. This brings us to the next question…

2: Is the Where Most Needed Fund for emergencies?

Yes, the Where Most Needed Fund is sometimes used to respond to an emergency. Here's how it works:

We already have a dedicated Emergency Fund, which allows us to respond instantly to natural disasters or conflict. We usually use this fund for what you would typically consider 'emergency relief': hot meals or food parcels, clean water, tents, hygiene kits etc. The Emergency Fund helps people get through the worst of the crisis by giving them the basic necessities.

On the other hand, the Where Most Needed Fund is not simply our 'crisis mode' fund. Its purpose is not instant relief; rather, it gives constant support to all of our projects.

In some ways, it is actually more essential to us than an Emergency Fund, because it is not limited to emergencies and therefore has the capacity to help all kinds of beneficiaries.

Here are two ways the Where Most Needed Fund supported us in 2020 alone:

Firstly, when the coronavirus pandemic struck, we swiftly set up a Coronavirus Fund to support our PPE and food distributions. Although, you were incredibly generous towards this fund, the need was even greater. Alhamdulillah, the Where Most Needed Fund was available to help us with our international Covid response, including providing vital food parcels to our neighbours in the UK.

Through the combined Coronavirus and Where Most Needed Funds, we were able to provide one million meals to vulnerable families!

Secondly, in 2020, the Where Most Needed Fund helped us run our Motherkind clinics in Somalia and Afghanistan. We set up these clinics a few years ago to tackle maternal and infant mortality rates, giving medical check-ups, medicines, vaccinations and more to vulnerable mothers and babies. We have a Motherkind Fund to keep this long-term project running, but naturally, this fund needs to be consistently replenished to cover both day-to-day expenses and unexpected costs. Alhamdulillah, the Where Most Needed Fund is always on hand to support us when the Motherkind Fund falls short.

The above two examples perfectly illustrate the flexibility of the Where Most Needed Fund. When we are struck by an unpredictably massive emergency - like the ongoing pandemic - it works alongside the Emergency Fund to bring relief to the most vulnerable. But it also supports vital causes which don't make the news - such as maternity clinics in war-torn communities - thus tackling the root causes of poverty and making a lasting impact.

This flexibility means it is effective for beneficiaries and also super-helpful for our teams on the ground, who really appreciate its limitless capacity. The situation on the ground is ever-changing and this fund allows us to respond in the way that is most effective.

3: So Where Most Needed donations can be used anywhere, for anyone?

The Where Most Needed Fund only has one limit: you decide what type of charity you're giving.

Your donation could be Zakat, Sadaqah, Interest or General Charity (i.e. for non-religious purposes). Within our 'Where Most Needed' pot, these types of donations will remain separate, so your Zakat only goes to Zakat-eligible projects and your Interest doesn't touch unsuitable projects.

Apart from this condition - yes, your donation can be used anywhere, for anyone. You could be funding emergency relief, livelihoods, healthcare, water or education. We have offices in over 30 countries and all of them work closely with local experts to locate where the need is greatest and create solutions that work best for specific communities.

4: What if I want to limit my donation to specific people or areas?

If you want to limit your donation, the Where Most Needed Fund isn't for you - but we have lots of other funds that might work for you! These include the Orphans Fund, the Islamic Heritage Fund and the Livelihoods Fund. You can see more types of funds here.

5: Does my entire donation go to those in need?

Our Where Most Needed Fund has the same donation policy as the rest of our projects: 90% goes to projects on the ground, 10% goes to generating further funds to support these projects. We have covered this in more detail in:

Here's a brief example to show you how it works.

If you give £1 towards a school bus, 90p will go towards the school bus and 10p will go towards raising money for other vital projects (including school buses). This 10p is not for admin costs - it's for fundraising costs. This covers informing people about projects and collecting Zakat and Sadaqah. In this way, your donation allows us to keep projects running or set up vital new projects, by helping us generate the further funds we need for these projects.

This brings us to our last question.

6: What about my intention?

As Muslims, we believe the foundation of a good action is its good intention.

Ultimately, the primary intention for all our actions should be to please Allah! But we can be more specific about how we intend to please Allah. If we are giving bread to Yemen, we can make the intention to please Allah by feeding those who are beloved to Him. If we are sponsoring an orphan, we can make the intention to a follow a beautiful Sunnah.

The beauty of giving to the Where Most Needed Fund is that your action could support countless projects - and your intention should reflect that! When you donate, you can intend that your donation feed those in emergency situations, empower widows in impoverished communities, supply water to orphans and so much more!

You can even ask Allah to put barakah in your donation and allow it to fulfil as many needs as possible, as the Prophet (saw) said, 'Whoever fulfils the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfil his needs'. [Bukhari]

Moreover, since 10% of your donation will be used to generate further funds, you can even gain the reward of those further funds! You can ask Allah to help us use your Zakat and Sadaqah in the best way possible, to help as many people as possible.

SubhanAllah, He is the Most Generous - He will take a single donation from you and increase its impact until you are unaware of how much reward you gained, just from a single action with a sincere intention:

Last year, generous donors like yourselves gave a staggering £2.9 million to the Where Most Needed Fund. This support was intrinsic to running countless life-saving and life-transforming projects, helping families in the UK and worldwide.

Don't miss out on giving to the Where Most Needed Fund this Ramadan! If you want to earn extra rewards, why not use The Best 10 Nights to automate your donations over the last ten nights of Ramadan? That way, you won’t miss giving to those who need it most on Laylat al-Qadr.

We pray Allah continues to gives you opportunities to do good, and we pray Allah allows our teams to continue their noble work across the globe, amin!

 

Muslim Hands is an award-winning charity, established in 1993 to help those needing emergency relief and tackling the root causes of poverty. If you enjoyed this article, please share with friends and family so they can benefit!

 


Muslim Hands UK

Established in 1993, Muslim Hands is an aid agency and NGO helping those affected by poverty, conflict and natural disaster in over 20 countries worldwide.