With Ramadan just around the corner, I’m reminded of a deeply profound saying of our Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, who said: “He whose two days are equal, is a loser.”
It’s a pretty bold reminder. Every day should build on the last. Staying the same is effectively going backwards. Every day must improve on the last in some way or form, not least in our spiritual endeavours. Likewise, week on week, month on month and year on year, we should be taking stock of what we’ve accomplished and seeking to advance ourselves and the work we do.
In the charity sector, Ramadan is our busiest time of the year and it can be tempting to simply rehash tried and tested events, programmes and campaigns. But staying the same is going backwards and what has made Penny Appeal unique is our eagerness to embrace new challenges and shift paradigms in our sector and beyond.
In that spirit, I’m especially honoured to present to you a project close to my heart and something we’ve been working doubly hard to launch ahead of Ramadan – introducing SalaamGiving – the ultimate Muslim crowdfunding platform.
Colleagues from across the charity world will have noted how the giving patterns of donors is changing, with crowdfunding now one of the fastest growing forms of online donation. Over the past year we have been fortunate to spend some time bouncing ideas with the team at industry-leading tech-giant JustGiving.com. Their story is incredible, having amassed a community of over 22 million donors who have collectively raised over $4.5 billion for charities across the world.
Key to that success has been the vision and leadership of co-founder Anne-Marie Huby. She set up JustGiving around the same time I set up SingleMuslim.com and her ‘tech-for-good’ model mirrors our experience of driving sustainable philanthropy through entrepreneurship. What was incredible about our exchanges was how willing Anne-Marie and her team were to explore new ideas and push through frontiers that they hadn’t considered before – it’s no surprise they have led this industry for as long as they have.
Together we began by exploring some of the data that the JustGiving team was able to extrapolate from tens of millions of donations made on their platform. As we expected, and much to their surprise, the JustGiving found their Muslim donors gave significantly more to charitable causes and campaigns than their non-Muslim counterparts.
Penny Appeal alone raises millions of pounds. When you consider all the other Muslim charities in the UK (and beyond) we learned that JustGiving has a massive sub-community of Muslim donors, but no mechanism to communicate with them effectively and direct them to campaigns and causes that may be of interest. When you consider the hundreds of millions of pounds that Muslims donate year in and year out, it seemed like a massively untapped opportunity. So, alongside friends across the charity spectrum, we sat with Anne-Marie and her team to design an all-new crowdfunding platform tailored for Muslim communities and powered by JustGiving – and together we are proud to present: SalaamGiving.com
Our mission at SalaamGiving is to make donating as easy and as meaningful as spreading the peaceful greeting of ‘Salaam’. We’re drawing upon the expertise of the entire Muslim charity sector to launch life-saving campaigns to a dedicated community of donors, offering the most competitive rates and the best possible platform to help nurture, grow and inspire an ecosystem of Muslim giving.
There really is nothing like SalaamGiving out there at present and my sincere hope and prayer is that this new initiative will serve as a platform for a whole range of different charities and campaigns. And doubly-excited that this Ramadan we have an astounding £20,000 up for grabs (you heard it here first folks)! Every day of Ramadan there are cash prizes to be won for the best campaigns on SalaamGiving – raise the most that day and you win cash for your charity of choice! There are even special bonuses each weekend and a top prize of £10,000 for the page that raises the most by the 27th of Ramadan – so if you’re planning to support a charity, either by donating or fundraising, there’s no better place than SalaamGiving!
No two days are the same in our offices and we take that as a positive sign and a blessing. Our hope this Ramadan is not just to grow ourselves, but to be a springboard for others to grow too, and as we’re taught in our tradition, the best way to grow, is to give. Bismillah. Can’t wait for the blessed month to start!
(PS Visit SalaamGiving.com to learn more – if you’re interested in partnering up with us get in touch)!
Founder of the UK’s largest Muslim website SingleMuslim.com and chairman of Britain’s fastest-growing Muslim-led charity Penny Appeal, award-winning entrepreneur and humanitarian making a difference around the world.