Written by Hossam Amin

During Ramadan 1440 (May 2019), I was lightly involved in the fundraising initiatives of two organizations, both of which were raising funds to establish or expand a Masjid. They both are registered charities in Canada and have a sizable local Muslim community from which they have been fundraising from for several years. After the fundraising campaigns, I collected records of both organizations’ online donations and assessed them to see if there were any trends or lessons to be learned. Here are some of my findings:

Masjid 1 Masjid 2
106 unique donors – 72 new and 34 repeat 429 unique donors – 200 new and 229 repeat
Had 211 online donors before Ramadan Had 887 online donors before Ramadan
Received $40K in online donations*, 31% from repeat donors and 69% from new donors Received $197K in online donations*, 65% from repeat donors and 35% from new donors

*Represents donations collected through organization’s website and does not include online donations from 3rd party crowdfunding platforms

I know for a fact that Masjid 2 uses specialized software tools to consolidate donor data and track donor trends over periods of time, whilst Masjid 1 uses spreadsheets to store donor data and does not maintain a single consolidated list.

I also know that Masjid 2 makes it a point to reach out to its past donors through personalized email messages and in some cases call or visit them, particularly ‘Major’ donors, to update them on the progress of their Masjid project and present their financial needs. On the other hand, Masjid 1 does not do any form of donor stewardship.

Clearly these differences in priorities are reflected in donor turnout. The organization that uses specialized software tools can organize and manage donor information better and is able to identify donor trends and come up with a fundraising strategy accordingly. Moreover, these same tools can usually be used for mass communication and can also be integrated with social media.

Man carrying sonWhat is also worth highlighting is the importance of repeat donors and having a donor retention strategy. More often than not, most donors of a Masjid organization are within driving distance of that Masjid, including those living in other cities (living three hours away in another city is still considered within driving distance!). These donors form the backbone of your organization’s donor base and should be treated with extra care. They should be continuously updated on the progress of your Masjid project and be aware of all the services available to them. With proper and regular donor stewardship, you can see many of these donors turning into repeat donors and in some cases becoming major donors.