Each year, Ramadan rolls around a little quicker and faster than most of us expect. In my work with Muslim charities and organisations, it’s clear that Ramadan is the biggest fundraising and marketing period in the Muslim charity sector.
Thirty days of fasting and worship are characterised by a sharp spike in charitable donations from Muslims around the world, offering their Zakat (obligatory annual charitable giving) as well as an increase in Sadaqah and Lillah (voluntary donations).
British Muslims give over £100 million in charity during Ramadan at a staggering rate of around £38 per second. For popular fundraising platforms, a massive increase between 300 – 500% in donations towards Islamic charities during Ramadan is indicative of the power of this time.
It, therefore, goes without saying that effectively planning your Ramadan marketing and fundraising campaigns, including all web content, social media and direct mail, is essential in order to make the most of this key time of year.
Whether you are an international or UK aid agency, if your core audience is Muslim there are a few key items which should form part of your annual Ramadan campaign.
4-6 weeks before
This is time for feedback. Looking at your previous and existing donors, whether lapsed, repeat supporters or one-time givers, it’s important to re-engage your audience prior to Ramadan beginning.
For some donors, there is a danger that they may feel their relationship with you is shallow and fragile – if they haven’t heard from you since last Ramadan.
For many Muslims, giving in charity is a deeply personal and spiritual act which they therefore feel should not be taken lightly by their chosen charity. The Muslim charity market is crowded and there are people around the world in desperate need every moment of every day – strengthening a genuine relationship with past donors is imperative if you are to rely on them giving to you again.
Delivering feedback on your achievements with donations received last Ramadan and since that time is vital. Central to this feedback should be thanks, gratitude and embracing the donor as being pivotal in change for good. Donors need to know about the impact their money had.
Direct mail that relays the story of their donation is an excellent idea as well as real case studies. Within this, can be the build-up to the coming year’s Ramadan campaign and an incentive to give again. Introducing your campaign strap-line and branding will help to ensure a consistent message going forward, strengthening your authenticity and authority.
Around this same time, your web content should begin to gear up to the beginning of Ramadan with a switch in key campaigns and content. Useful information around the act of giving from an Islamic perspective, tools to calculate Zakat, religious materials, FAQ and a count-down are all useful.
If you are considering a volunteer drive, now is the time to start this with key events and sign-up information that capitalises on the audience’s desire to reconnect spiritually and do good.
Social media tools such as videos with voice-over scripts, competitions and shout-outs can all help to engage viewers as they begin to make their own Ramadan preparations. Supportive content that guides your donors to structure and organise their giving and worship during this month is sure to be a hit and strengthen the two-way support relationship.
During the full 30 days
During Ramadan, keeping a continual presence in online and print communications is important to re-engage past donors and to capture those who are new to you. An effective email marketing campaign through the month, highlighting 30 days of giving or 30 beneficiaries from 30 causes is just one idea to incorporate storytelling.
Muslims will be inundated with emails and content from charities within this market, so it’s important to stand out for the right reasons. Your email subject line is absolutely critical – it must be short and engaging every time. Within the email body, content needs to be concise, meaningful and clear on the call-to-action: give now.
Likewise, web content, which will lead from all social media and email, needs to have a really clear UX (user experience): the journey of the donor needs to be easily sign-posted with maximum incentive and motivation to give but minimum effort to do so. Viewer engagement and drop-out rates remain high, especially at a time when the typical Muslim is extremely busy juggling their Ramadan efforts alongside their every-day life.
Knowing your key audience well is crucial: analysing previous years’ demographic may give you signs as to the age, location, background and motivations of your typical donor.
Don’t assume that just because they are Muslim means they all have the same motivators or are attracted to the same causes. Typically the younger audience gives more online than older donors, with giving via mobile rather than desktop as the norm. Social media platforms remain a huge point of engagement.
Likewise Muslims within certain communities may be more drawn to causes within particular parts of the world that they relate to. They may also be more inclined to give via telephone or in response to direct mail and therefore knowing this, can be worked to your advantage.
During the last 10 days
This is the time to convey a sense of urgency and spiritual benefit more than before. For those who intend to give Zakat but have not yet done so, this is a key time. A good indication towards the religious benefits of giving during the last 10 days and nights is important in understanding your donor’s incentives to give.
In the build-up to Eid, engaging donors through further direct mail, email shots and web content can strengthen the sense of excitement and community. But donors will still be inundated with Ramadan material so unique, thoughtful copy and content are important. As always, branding must remain consistent in tone of voice and appearance.
After — within 6 weeks
Now that Eid has passed, it’s not time to go quiet. Disappearing off the radar will leave donors feeling frustrated and duped. Copy and content geared around continuing the spirit of Ramadan and which relays the journey of their donation with key updates is important and can continue your storytelling. Expressions of thanks and praise are vital with the donor’s involvement in improving and saving lives central to all messages.
Following-up — 3-6 months later
In the following months, continual engagement with past donors can be used to:
- reignite the desire to do good
- reignite that ‘Ramadan feeling’
- convert the ask into repeat donations such as sponsorship or standing order
But once again, it’s important that your donor audience doesn’t feel ‘used’: only genuine communication which is personal will be valued. Anything less could be damaging.
British Muslims today are the most generous religious and community group but this does not mean that they give blindly. More than ever before young British Muslims will conduct their own research, both online and off-line, to establish the most deserving and genuine charity for their donations.
Absolute transparency and honesty are crucial to engaging a switched-on audience who want to know the actual impact of their pounds. So through the year, and definitely throughout Ramadan, your copy, content and key messages must be truthful and authentic.
Are you ready to plan your Ramadan campaign? In 2020, Ramadan will run from approximately 23rd April – 23rd May: there’s no time to lose!
But don’t panic – get in touch with me today for all your fundraising copy and content needs and I’ll have it covered – firstname.lastname@example.org.