For most Islamic nonprofits, Ramadan is the busiest month in the entire year. Sometimes it involves working through sleepless nights to ensure you raise enough money to support your Zakat-deserving beneficiaries. Sometimes organizing all these activities becomes a daunting task, especially when you have to attend to your religious duties and give time to your family. For any nonprofit manager, the key to success is early preparation. This article will help you better organize your Ramadan fundraising campaigns so that you can achieve your fundraising goals and revitalize your mission. It's important to understand that Ramadan represents the peak giving season, hence it demands careful planning and sometimes great attention to detail. So read through this and share it with your colleagues.
This should be part of your strategy rather than just a habit. But how early should we plan? A good practice is to start preparing six months before observing the first sawm. The first three months should be dedicated to defining targets and finalizing the date of all your fundraising activities. The remaining three months should be used to plan in detail and develop all your marketing collateral and other materials. During Ramadan itself, you should only focus on implementing what you have planned and developed.
The most important part of planning involves defining the target. How much Zakat and Sadaqah do you plan to raise this Ramadan? Look at your historic data and see if you can identify a trend. Are your annual donations increasing or decreasing? Use this information to set your targets. It’s always better to set ambitious goals that motivate your team members to achieve higher. The amount you wish to raise should be communicated to all team members and put up on notice boards or placed in form of posters.
The target you set will define your marketing budget and strategy.
Acknowledge your donors
If you are asking your donors for money throughout the year, it's important to take a break and find ways to acknowledge them. If you have a huge database, send an email of acknowledgment. Follow up by giving your most valuable donors a call to show how important they are. The best way to make your giving partners feel important is to personalize your communication when thanking them. Here are a few tips you can use to achieve that:
- Avoid digital signatures. If you are sending out letters make sure you sign each one of them individually.
- Send a personalized message from beneficiaries, especially a handwritten one.
- Make sure you always address your donors by their full names in all your email correspondence. Many email marketing service providers allow you to conveniently do this.
- Send out a photo album featuring your donors. It’s important to keep photos of all your donors attending your events so that you can later share them as a token of appreciation.
- Reach out to your top donors to seek their professional advice and their services. Asking for help will make your donors feel that they are valued.
Your acknowledgment ‘campaign’ should take place throughout the year and you should amplify such efforts three months prior to the month of Ramadan so that your brand is at the top of everyone’s mind.
Define the theme
What is the central theme of your Ramadan campaign? The defined theme should entail the following:
- For what purpose are you raising Zakat?
- How much do you want to raise and what is the time frame?
- How can the central purpose be defined in one sentence?
- What design elements will you use to share your message and draw attention?
- Do you have a specific target audience?
- What marketing mediums will you use to communicate your message and raise funds?
- What success story or stories will help you communicate your message?
Once the theme is final you will be able to design all the marketing collateral including brochures, flyers, banners, newsletters, videos, etc. You will also be able to design the landing page.
Make a calendar of activities
If you are launching your Ramadan campaign, bear in mind that it will entail a plethora of activities. Identify the major activities that will have an impact on your success. Jot them down on a calendar clearly mentioning the deadlines. Use Google Calendar to make a customized calendar that showcases all your activities and deadlines. You can also share the calendar with all colleagues and set up reminders.
For your convenience, when planning your activities scheduled in Ramadan, divide the month into three sections as follows:
- First Ashra - First 10 days
- Second Ashra - Second 10 days
- Third Ashra - Last 10 days
Nonprofits normally get the highest volumes of Zakat during the second and third ashras. Therefore see what specific activities you would like to undertake in each of the three ashras. The last 10 days are considered the holiest in the entire year. Laylat al-Qadr is the night when the first verses were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). While the exact date is unknown, it is thought to have taken place on the odd-numbered nights of the last ten days of Ramadan. Many Muslims donate daily on the last 10 nights to ensure that they don’t miss the reward of donating on Laylat al-Qadr.
“We have sent It (the Quran) down on the night of Qadr. Do you know what the night of Qadr is? The night of Qadr is more valuable than a thousand months. The angels descend in it with all orders and by the permission of their Master for all kinds of affairs. Peace be within that night until the break of dawn.”
The Feeling Blessed app allows donors to automatically and conveniently donate on a daily basis. Nonprofits can benefit from the Giving Daily Link which allows them to create an exclusive landing page for giving daily.
Update your donation categories
Are your website and donation page up-to-date? Are you able to conveniently direct donors to donate Zakat? Well before the month of Ramadan be sure to revisit all the donation avenues listed on your website. Following are some of the donation categories you may want to consider for raising funds:
Make sure your most important donation categories are listed at the top.
Through Feeling Blessed you are able to define multiple donation categories and customize them further. For example, it allows you to raise Zakat for specific beneficiaries such as ‘Zakat for Syria,’ or ‘Zakat for orphans.’
Check out www.feelingblessed.org to benefit from multiple fundraising opportunities.
Launch online fundraisers
Your online activities should be complemented by on-ground efforts and vice-versa. If you are doing a live fundraiser, make sure you have a landing page that allows your donors to conveniently donate through their cell phones. This is a great way to engage a larger audience and especially those who could not attend your fundraising event.
Some platforms, like Feeling Blessed, offer nonprofits the ability to launch their fundraisers online and integrate these fundraisers into their websites. Use these tools to leverage your fundraising goals.
Organize Iftar dinners
Iftar dinners are a great way to engage your audience and enable them to learn about your nonprofit. They also help you create that personal connection and make donors feel part of your mission. A good practice is to organize such dinners after one week of observing the first fast or sawm as people take the time to get accustomed to the lifestyle that Ramadan offers. Make sure you send invitations well in advance as many people have commitments elsewhere. It is also a good practice to send ‘Save the date’ messages to your donors so that they can mark the date on their calendars even before you send out an official invitation.
Such events should be thoroughly planned as Iftar dinners need to be wrapped up before the Isha prayers.
Read more on organizing such events.
Roll out a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign
Peer-to-peer fundraising is a process by which individuals or organizations solicit donations from their network of friends and acquaintances. This type of fundraising allows supporters to connect with a cause or project directly, without the need for a middleman. The effectiveness of this type of fundraising depends on two main factors: the size of the fundraiser's network and the fundraiser's ability to motivate people to donate.
A primary advantage of using peer-to-peer fundraising is the fact that it is a cheaper form of fundraising than traditional methods. This is because a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign usually costs less to run than other forms of fundraising such as street collections or sponsored events. Another advantage of peer-to-peer fundraising is that it enables an organization to gain access to new networks of potential donors. This can be particularly useful for charities that are unable to attract a large number of donations through their traditional channels. For example, a charity that operates in a relatively poor neighborhood might find it challenging to attract donations from middle-class individuals who tend to have higher disposable incomes. However, by using peer-to-peer fundraising techniques, the charity could reach out to these donors and encourage them to donate funds to the causes they care about. Finally, one of the biggest advantages of using peer-to-peer fundraising is that the donors are more likely to feel emotionally connected to a particular cause or project when they make a donation themselves rather than donating to the charity indirectly through a third party (such as a collection box). This sense of emotional connection can have a positive psychological effect on donors, encouraging them to make repeat donations in the future.
Feeling Blessed offers ‘Gift Registry’ that allows volunteers to donate to a selected nonprofit by raising funds from others.
Ramadan is the peak giving season. Your donors are more likely to be receptive to your fundraising efforts during this month. Devise strategies to retain them and invite new donors. Early preparation is the key. All of your planning should take place early and during Ramadan you should only focus on implementing what you have planned and focus on getting the results.
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