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

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Why doesn’t Islamic Relief use a 100% Donation Policy? In this explainer, we explore why 100% donation policies aren’t really possible and the relevance of admin fees in Islam. We also examine how having admin fees is one of the best tools we have. As they allow us to support the communities we serve to the fullest, helping them build a brighter future.

Islam teaches us that Allah (SWT) rewards good deeds abundantly. Kindness to others, reading the Qur’an, doing regular Ibadah (worship) and giving charity are examples of all good deeds we, as Muslims, are greatly encouraged to do. And when they are done with sincere intention, one can earn copious rewards.

Charity-giving, more specifically, Zakat (almsgiving), in particular, forms one of the five pillars of Islam. In 2022, a study by the World Bank and the Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI) of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) estimated global Zakat fund reached $550 billion to $600 billion per year. This has the power to lift communities in need out of poverty, providing them with humanitarian assistance and more during times of war, conflict, economic crisis and disaster.

However, when it comes to choosing where to give their donation, the Muslim community face an annual dilemma. The question of a ‘100% donation policy’, and how we navigate the minefield of misinformation that comes with it.

What is a 100% Donation Policy?

A ‘100% donation policy’ or ‘no admin costs’ is a method used by some charity organisations 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. Understandably, 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 goes directly to those in need, how are those charities covering the costs needed to deliver it directly to them?
  • 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. This is why we encourage our donor community, and beyond, to instead focus on the question, “How effectively is my donation being used?”.

Why Admin Fees are Necessary in Lifesaving Work

We’re here to help provide more information on what exactly happens to your donation when you donate to Islamic Relief. As well as 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:

It costs to help those in need on the ground

Islamic Relief is 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 to get help to those in urgent need. Where our teams face challenges working in conflict zones or after the impact of a natural disaster.

Your donation helps those most in need, including in the hardest-to-reach places

Thus, admin fees help facilitate the delivery of our aid on the ground. They cover essential costs. This includes procedures in 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.

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 4c 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 9c goes towards raising 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. Thus, for every $1 invested, we’re able to raise $10 more, which enables us to continue delivering more aid. Making the remainder of your $1 donation (89c!), going 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.

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 use sustainable energy to power water projects in Lebanon, Yemen and Somalia, and build disaster-resistant housing in Türkiye, Syria, Pakistan Indonesia, 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.

Your donation helps provide sustainable solutions to those most in need

Admin fees are an Islamically legitimate cost

Zakat 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 enlists the help of scholars to verify the distribution of Zakat at Islamic Relief, and ensure your precious donation goes towards upholding this upright practice.

It’s our calling, our living

Alhamdullilah, since 1984, by the will of Allah (SWT) Islamic Relief has been able to serve the world’s most vulnerable people. Thanks to the support of our volunteers, staff, and generous donors, we are able to carry out life-saving work.

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. So we can create the worldwide impact that we have around the globe, moving towards our goal of eliminating poverty.

As an organisation, it’s important to sustain our employees’ abilities. To help us achieve our mission, this includes paying them a salary. Many of our staff see their role in the sector as a calling to help those in need. However, 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 on the ground, 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. 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. They help ensure that we reach as many people as possible, even in the most difficult-to-access regions like Yemen and Gaza.

Our staff see your donation as our amanah, ensuring it reaches those most in need

You donation helps us save lives

Poverty impacts so many vulnerable people across the world. Islamic Relief will continue to put the most vulnerable first, always. But, 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.

Empower Our Ummah

Your Zakat and Sadaqah can transform the lives of millions with lifesaving aid. Be their lifeline today.