UK Fundraising: What makes a Muslim donor click

There is no doubt that Britain is one of the most generous nations in the world and for the last few years Muslims’ charitable giving has rightly begun to be seen as part of that. As the Charity Commission reports, at Ramadan Muslims in the UK donate more than £100 million, or an average of £38 every second.

The retail sector is also embracing Ramadan as their third most important season after Christmas and Easter. Tesco, Asda, Morrison and Sainsbury’s all now have dedicated Asian aisles with direct marketing campaigns during the festive season.

According to the 2011 census Muslims accounted for 2.7 million of the UK population. Recent estimates show that this has increased to 3.3 million. This community has a huge combined buying power.

Path to donate online
Muslims’ primary motivation for giving during Ramadan is the obligatory gift of Zakat, as part of their compassion for others within the concept of ummah.

This compassion for others leads many Muslims to give to global emergencies, and support causes like orphans, clean water provision, education and health.

Online giving paths are not always clear for Muslims wishing to give Zakat. They might come across a charity’s appeal appear on a banner ad, and not quite be compelled to donate. But then later s/he searches for a charity to receive a Zakat donation and sees a pay-per-click ad or an organic link on Google’s search results and donating then. Attribution modelling can help charities to see and analyse this journey and then allocate marketing budgets to get the best ROI per channel.

An example of a conversion path might therefore look like:

Organic > Paid > Display > Email > Direct > Paid [successful donation]

Phases in Ramadan
During Ramadan the online donor journey includes phases ranging from the exploratory phase which can start a few weeks before Ramadan, visiting various websites, through to reading content such as case studies, to deciding finally to donate. According to Google trends’ report, search volume for the term “When is Ramadan” and “Ramadan timetable” sees a massive increase two to three weeks before Ramadan. There is a similar tendency for “Zakat”. There is even a different giving trend for different days in Ramadan.

Every 10 days the response varies. Historically, online income significantly increases in the last 10 days where charities can receive as much as half of their Ramadan income.

Impact of technology
As giving technology has changed so has the giving pattern, with many Muslims preferring to give through digital media.

In recent years other marketing channels such as call centres and post have seen a considerable drop in terms of donors’ preferences.

This has of course pressured many charities into adapting new business models. New ideas and platforms have emerged:

MuslimGiving (similar to JustGiving and crowdfunding sites)
LaunchGood (popular in North America)
MyTenNights
are now considered part of the marketing mix during Ramadan campaigns.

In addition Islamic Relief has launched its first virtual reality gaming app.

According to the 2011 census more than 45% of Muslim population is under the age of 25. It is imperative to engage this younger audience, make them loyal to charity and take them on the journey of becoming a supporter.

They use of a variety of mobile apps during this season such as Hadith of the Day.

YouTube views of nasheed (or chants) and Islamic lectures have also increased around Ramadan over recent years.

Donor insights and journey:
* The average donation takes at least five to seven touch points before someone donate online.
* Muslims do shop around and look at several charities’ website before they decide to donate so there is upstream/downstream flow of traffic.
* Ease of donation is one of the key considerations in Ramadan.
* Online marketing played a major role in introducing charities during Ramadan.
* At least 20 Muslim charities are marketing online with Ramadan-related messages.
* During Ramadan more than 65% traffic to UK charities comes from mobile devices.
* The cost per click for keywords like Zakat can increase up to £18 per click during this time.
* Very few charities have a mobile strategy.
* The majority of Muslim charities use in-house staff who have either limited experience or no formal digital marketing qualifications.
* Few charities use video ads around Ramadan.
* Few Muslim charities have a digital-centric approach with a three to five year digital strategy in place.
* Search is the key online channel which brings best ROI.
* The average online donation value during Ramadan ranges from £75 to £125.
* Those aged 25 to 45 years old are the most active online.
* Men give more online than women.

Very few Muslim charities integrate offline data with online data to map the donor journey.
Impulse giving is still significant during Ramadan: it is not just planned giving.
During the last few years mainstream charities like Water Aid, Save the Children and UNICEF have run Ramadan appeals to attract Muslim donors in the UK.

Conclusion

Online fundraisers and marketers within all charities need to familiarise with new technologies/platforms, adapt best practices, follow online trends and know their online audience through analysing data.

Hassan Imtiazi is a digital marketing strategist who has helped grow charities and professional brands. After spending nearly a decade working in digital for major brands in the UK, USA & South Asia, Hassan knows what truly drives conversions, activate brands online, and was interviewed by Google for his campaigns.

Hassan has helped many faith-based charities raise more than $70 million in the last nine years. He holds a MA in International Business from the University of Northumbria at Newcastle. He completed the Certificate & Postgrad diploma in Digital from IDM-UK and the Certificate in Brand Building from Judge Business School at Cambridge.

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