Unlocking Generosity: Key Reflections From Our Research with British Muslims

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Unlocking Generosity: Key Reflections From Our Research with British Muslims

This week we're sharing the key takeaways from our recent report and roundtable on the giving habits of British Muslims, which we produced in partnership with the Muslim Charities Foundation.

Aymen Habib 

Understanding the dynamics of charitable giving within specific communities is crucial for organisations working closely alongside them. Recently, we collaborated with the Muslim Charities Forum to help them to better understand their core audience: British Muslims. The goal was to unravel the preferences and challenges faced by this community, shedding light on their generosity, diverse ways of giving, and the optimism that fuels their charitable spirit. Following on from the roundtable we delivered on the results of our report, we’re keen to share our main reflections on what we learned over the course of this project. Today, we're delving into the results of our research with British Muslims to uncover the unique facets of their charitable behaviours.

Shared Concerns, Unique Perspectives

Our research uncovered a mix of shared concerns between British Muslims and the wider public, though some issues were unique to this community. The state of NHS services and personal finances topped the list with a respective 53% and 31% of British Muslims expressing their concerns around these issues. These figures mirror the worries of the general public.

Notably, Islamophobia emerged as a significant concern for 38% of British Muslims, despite not being a consideration for the wider public, highlighting a unique challenge faced by this community.

It’s also worth highlighting that despite the economic challenges of the past few years, British Muslims displayed resilience in their giving habits. While a remarkable 93% expressed concerns about their finances, with two-thirds reporting a decline in their financial well-being over the past six months, the spirit of giving remained strong. Our research shows that British Muslims have showcased an unwavering commitment in recent years to charitable causes even in the face of these personal financial difficulties.

Faith-Based Motivations and Methods

As with any deep-dive into a specific demographic, our expectation was that the motivations behind giving would be distinct from those of the general public, and this is especially true of faith-based communities. Our exploration into the ways British Muslims prefer to give demonstrated this exactly, revealing a strong inclination towards faith-based giving. Charities with connections to the Muslim faith were preferred, emphasising the deep-rooted values that guide their giving behaviours. Personal connections, such as ties to a country overseas, and direct donations to those in need also emerged as significant motivators.

Interestingly, the most popular method of giving was through collections and offerings at a mosque, with 60% of British Muslims contributing this way in the past three months. The majority of donations were not restricted to Ramadan, challenging the stereotype that giving is limited to this holy month. Many donations exceeded the required Zakat, displaying a generosity that goes beyond religious obligations.

Navigating Challenges with Optimism

Despite facing economic hardships, British Muslims displayed a remarkable sense of optimism about their future giving habits. The outlook for charitable giving next year among our Muslim sample was a net 8% higher than for the current year, in contrast to the general public, where expectations dropped by 12%. A significant majority anticipated little to no cutbacks in their charitable giving, reflecting a resilient spirit amidst financial challenges.

Volunteering, a popular form of contribution within the community, has also faced challenges due to the cost-of-living crisis. While 43% of our British Muslim sample engaged in volunteering in the past year, a third reported a decrease in their ability to volunteer regularly. This underscores the impact of economic difficulties on the practical aspects of community involvement – even despite the community’s wider optimism about giving.

Our goal with this research was to illuminate the complex landscape of charitable behaviours within the British Muslim community. By benchmarking this community against the wider context of the UK, we gained valuable insights into their unique challenges, preferences, and the resilient spirit that fuels their commitment to giving. It's a testament to the enduring generosity of British Muslims, a force that continues to navigate through challenges with unwavering optimism.


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