The last 10 days of Ramadan have a very high significance in a Muslim’s life. Muslims revere these 10 days because the prophet Muhammad (SAAW) did so, and he did so because they contain the most significant night of the year, Laylatul Qadr – a deed done during this night has more reward than deeds done in a thousand months.
The significance of these 10 days is clearly reflected in donor turnout.
It is safe to say that most donations collected by a Masjid in Ramadan are collected during the last 10 days of that month.
Many Muslims delay their Ramadan giving just to benefit from this period’s great blessings. Knowing that, what are some practical steps a Masjid can do to make the most of this highly rewarding giving period?
Here are 5 best-practices:
- Offer automated daily donations – The exact night of Laylatul Qadr may not be known, but one way to make sure its reward is not missed, is to donate every day/night during the last 10 days. This idea was tested out by an Ottawa Masjid in Ramadan 2018 and received a great turnout and then later emulated by many others. Any Masjid can do the same. Just make sure you have a tool that allows for donors to sign up to have a certain amount deducted from their bank account/credit card automatically every day (preferable every night) during the last 10 days of Ramadan. Also, make sure to announce that initiative ahead of the last 10 days to get people excited and mentally prepared to commit.
- Email donors before odd nights – Your Masjid has probably accumulated many donors over the years, some of whom may have already donated to your Masjid in Ramadan. But a fair number may have not donated yet. Plan to send them personal emails before the odd nights of the last 10 days. We’re not talking about sending an email to your newsletter; what is meant here is to actually send a personal email from your Masjid’s imam or president to each and every one in your donor database informing them of your Masjid’s Ramadan campaign and asking them to donate during the upcoming odd night. This may be a bit labour intensive (unless you use an email tool that can automate email sending, such as mail merge), but it is well worth it and has shown to be very rewarding.
Remember that building hype and momentum play a big role in peoples’ psyche and comfort level when considering to donate. So, if you spread your emails across a number of odd nights, you can have some sort of a momentum built by the night of the 27th (or 29th), which would certainly be in your favour. Keep in mind that momentum is only evident if your donation page shows a donation meter and gives an indication of how recent donations came in.
- Hold a mini fundraiser after the last Jumuah prayer – There is no doubt that one of the most effective fundraising techniques in the Muslim community is to bring them under one roof, soften their hearts with some hadiths, ayahs, and stories of their pious predecessors, and then ask them to donate. We see this happening at fundraising dinners very successfully, Alhamdulillah. So, why not utilize that same technique at the Jumuah prayer gathering?
Of course, one should be extra sensitive to the community’s tolerance levels. We don’t want to be discouraging people from their Jumuah prayer obligation because we take a lot of their time asking for donations. So, a mini fundraiser should be short (just a few minutes), not too pushy, and the Khutbah before it should be shorter than usual. Moreover, having a fundraiser after Jumuah prayer should be limited to just once or maybe twice during Ramadan, one in the beginning and one toward the end of the month. However, there is an exception to this guideline; there are some Jumuah prayer locations that see new faces in large numbers almost every week. So, capitalizing on this fact and making more frequent fundraisers after the Jumuah prayer may be very rewarding.
- Designate a special online giving day or period – Giving special significance to one or more days in the year is a very common fundraising technique in the non-profit sector. For example, some non-profits have a one-day fundraising campaign on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Others have fundraising campaigns on the International Women’s Day. And in recent years, many non-profits have been putting in a lot of effort in Giving Tuesday fundraising campaigns (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the United States).
For Muslims, Laylatul Qadr (Night of Power) has a very special significance because its rewards are more than those of a thousand months. And because there are some narrations that point to the night of the 27th of Ramadan being the Night of Power, many Muslims give that night extra significance. Hence, we find many Masjids holding fundraisers during that night (during Taraweeh prayers). But, what can we learn from the giving days held in the non-profit sector that can make fundraising on the 27th of Ramadan even more rewarding?
The answer is simple: turn the 27th day/night into a giving day (or period) and market it that way. As a matter of fact, this idea was tried out by an Ottawa Masjid in Ramadan 2018 and proved to be very successful.
What this Masjid did was organize a special giving period between sunset of the 26th of Ramadan and sunset of the 28th of Ramadan. They even dubbed that period ’48 Hours of Power’ in all their marketing material. The promise was that any online donations made during that period would be matched by a number of local businesses and individuals. Of course the Masjid had to coordinate with businesses (e.g. Halal restaurants) and individuals ahead of the online event. This idea resonated very well with people and, Alhamdulillah, that reflected in donor turnout.
- Make the most of the last few days of Ramadan – Having a deadline coming up can do wonders to a fundraising campaign. When there are only a few days remaining in Ramadan, simply reminding donors that the opportunity for donating in this blessed month is almost coming to an end is in effect indirectly asking them to donate before it’s too late. So, don’t let that opportunity slip. Here are some last-minute fundraising initiatives you can do as Ramadan comes to an end:
- Post on social media an update on the progress of the campaign and mention how close you are to reaching your target goal (best to show a screenshot of your donation meter).
- If you are like many Masjids and aim to have the whole Quran recited during Taraweeh prayers, give special significance to the Khatm Al-Quran night so that people turn out in large numbers. Take that event as an opportunity to update your community on the progress of your Ramadan campaign, thereby encouraging them to help achieve its target.
- Send a personal email to those who had donated at the beginning of Ramadan updating them on the campaign and asking them to consider topping up their donation before the end of the blessed month.