May 16, 2018

Wise Giving Wednesday: Ramadan and Philanthropy

We give for the benefit of others for many reasons. Among the most powerful is faith. This is certainly true of Islam. According to Islamic Relief USA, (a BBB Accredited Charity), Islam has the concept of zakat as a fundamental tenant. Zakat is Arabic for purification, growth and blessings.  It requires Muslims to donate a percentage of their wealth to those in need: Yesterday, Muslims around the world began Ramadan, which is a time for fasting and reflection.  The mandatory act of giving to others will be on the minds of many during this period.  

In general, the greater one’s faith the more they give to charity. According to a 2013 study featured in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, people who regularly attend religious services give at a significantly higher rate than those who do not. 

While religion may influence the decision to give, there are certainly many choices for where and how to give. Yet relatively few people, religious or not, actually give with discernment or investigate the charities they support. It may be that the act of giving is enough to satisfy the donor. Whether or not the gift will fully address promised goals may be less important. Ultimately, donors trust that charities will give best efforts to accomplish their aims. The work we do helps to assure that the trust people have in charities is not misplaced. Charities should be purposeful to uphold trust by: 

  • Having functioning and independent governing boards,
  • Managing and reporting their finances,
  • Distributing accurate fundraising appeals and other information, and
  • Assessing their performance. 

When charities do this, they enable donors to give with confidence regardless of whether they are driven by religion.  

Video of the Week 

As part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide a video featuring Paul Miles, President & CEO, We Raise Foundation (a BBB Accredited Charity) which provides grants in the Lutheran community that support the initial development of sustainable health and human care ministries. The organization reports having a special interest in nurturing new health and human care ministries developed by local congregations and new faith-based organizations. 

Recent Reports 

We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:

Finally, remember to let us know by going to if you are  interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.   

H. Art Taylor, President & CEO
BBB Wise Giving Alliance