Giving Tuesday and your Islamic Centre (Masjid)

There is no doubt that Giving Tuesday is a growing phenomenon. According to the Nonprofits Source, Giving Tuesday raised 38% more in 2018 than in 2017 and 38 times more than in 2012, which is when the idea of Giving Tuesday began. On Facebook, Giving Tuesday donations grew by more than double between 2017 and 2018. It’s about time Muslim organizations jump on the Giving Tuesday wagon.

If your Islamic Centre relies on donations to keep it running, you do not want to miss the opportunities made available to you through Giving Tuesday. Yes, it’s a one-day event – it may not be as long as you’re used to (we are spoiled by long giving periods like Ramadan!) – but with proper planning, you can plant seeds during that day, whose fruits you can continue reaping for many years.

As an Islamic Centre that provides a space for performing daily prayers, family counseling, youth activities, dawah initiatives, etc …, you are providing essential services to the Muslim community, which they have probably become used to and cannot simply live without.

Giving Tuesday can be your opportunity to showcase your centre’s services to the Muslim (and general) community, thereby improving your centre’s brand.

Anyone within driving distance of your centre, whether in the same city or even another nearby one, will find benefit in your centre and ought to know about its services. Here are five recommendations to consider when planning a Giving Tuesday campaign:

  1. Develop a story to be the main theme of your Giving Tuesday campaign. Ideally, you would want to present it in a short 1-2 minute video. However, if you have a limited budget, then you can still present your story in the form of graphics and text. Select a story that shows the positive impact of your centre. Keep in mind your target audience, who will likely be the Muslim community living within driving distance of your centre. For some ideas of impact stories from a Masjid, see Storytelling in the Muslim Community.
  2. Make your call to action as specific as possible. For example, you may want to have a target of increasing the number of monthly donors by 20%. Yes, Giving Tuesday is mainly about giving, but try to be strategic with your ask. People may not be as willing to donate in the thousands like they do in Ramadan, but by simply donating any amount, they are expanding your donor base and can – in theory – be persuaded more easily in the future to donate again. Even if people hear about your campaign and choose not to donate, make sure to give them the option of joining your mailing list.
  3. Showcase your Giving Tuesday theme on all your online channels. Any multi-media you produce for Giving Tuesday, such as banners and videos, should be posted on your organization’s website and social media accounts ahead of and during that day.
  4. Prepare your community ahead of the big day. Let them know by email and through social media that Giving Tuesday is coming up and what you plan on achieving that day. Some may not know what Giving Tuesday is, so make sure to add some background information about it.
  5. Point all your online traffic to a special Giving Tuesday page on your organization’s website. Make sure this page has your call to action clearly defined and a simple form to fill out to process a donation (including to sign up monthly donors) or to simply join your mailing list.

Giving Tuesday and your Islamic School

If you are the principal of an Islamic school, a staff member, a board member, or simply a concerned parent, you likely have to think of different fundraising initiatives throughout the year. Yes, Ramadan may be the time of year during which you have your biggest fundraising campaign, and it rightfully is the best time of year for that. But, Ramadan’s timing is not entirely within one’s control; it may take place during the summer, winter break, or fall within an exam period.

Enter Giving Tuesday!

Giving Tuesday takes place around the same time every year. Not only that, but it takes place during the fall semester when most people, particularly parents, are at work and not away traveling. This provides a very good opportunity for you to capitalize on the publicity Giving Tuesday naturally has and to showcase your Islamic school to the wider community, and bring in some donations while you’re at it.

Even if some parents in your local community have decided not to send their children to an Islamic school, you can still show them the great work you’re doing.

Maybe that’ll encourage them to, at the very least, support you financially, if not consider switching their children over to your school in the future. Here are three recommendations to consider when planning a Giving Tuesday campaign:

  1. Develop a story to be the main theme of your Giving Tuesday campaign. Ideally, you would want to present it in a short 1-2 minute video. However, if you have a limited budget, then you can still present your story in the form of graphics and text. Whatever media you develop, make sure it can be easily shared online.
    Select a story that showcases the impact your Islamic school has on its students. For example, you may want to highlight the positive environment Islamic schools provide children. For some ideas of videos from Islamic schools, see https://youtu.be/VmqliUE1ec0 and https://youtu.be/d0RsDoRXy14.
  2. Get staff members and parents involved in the marketing of the campaign. Parents are usually asked to donate to their children’s school on various occasions throughout the school year, such as during city-wide fundraising campaigns for breast cancer research as well as during Ramadan. So, rather than marketing the Giving Tuesday campaign directly to parents, it is more effective to involve them in its marketing, thereby reaching a wider audience. Most parents, if not all of them, are on social media, so by encouraging them to ‘tag 5 friends’ on Giving Tuesday, for example, your campaign can go very far online.
  3. Use a reputable crowdfunding platform. Because your main target audience are potential donors within your city as well contacts of parents who could be anywhere in the world, people may not be very familiar with your school’s website. Therefore, set up a page for your Giving Tuesday campaign on a reputable crowdfunding platform such as LaunchGood, GofundMe, or Facebook, and refer your online traffic to it. Many people already have accounts set up on these platforms and so the process of donating on them is a lot easier.