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An Open Letter to Nonprofits on the front lines of COVID-19

Assalamu‘alaikum,

On a good day, local grassroots, charities, and places of worship are on the front line dealing with day-to-day societal and emergency relief issues. With COVID-19 changing the way we handle our daily affairs, these grassroots, charities, and places of worship are stepping up even more, assisting in whichever way they can, safely and responsibly. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all charities continuing to do what they do, despite not being labelled as an essential service. To the people they serve, they are indeed necessary.

When running a charity organization, or even volunteering to help those in need, there is an unspoken oath that you are in it to do the best you can.

In a hadith narrated by `Aisha raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her), Allah’s Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

“Do good deeds properly, sincerely, and moderately, and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise, and that the most beloved deed to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is the most regular and constant, even if it were little.”

Here are some tips and advice for non-profit organizations adapting to the new norm. [These tips come from my personal experience of over ten years of operating non-profits in many states and countries.]

1. All donations are essential from the smallest penny to the largest dollar. The donor is the means that allows us to continue our work for the sake of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). All these accomplishments of good are facilitated by these donors through the will of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

Narrated `Imran raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her): “I said, ’O Allah’s Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)! Why should a doer (people) try to do good deeds?’ The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, ‘Everybody will find it easy to do such deeds as will lead him to his destined place for which he has been created.’”

All businesses are struggling, even charities; this is a great way to keep them going strong.

2. Take this time to (remotely) reach out to your donors. You can email them, call them, or use even social media to reach out and thank them. Try to be available for them too if they need you. Many times -due to circumstances- our donors have become clients, and at times the client becomes the donor.

3. Use this time wisely to explore new prospects with your team. In times of calamity, people change and develop, and realize that they want to do more. Making that opportunity available may be rewarding for your charity in the long run. No organization is perfect, and we can always seek to improve in one way or another.

4. Whether you are a CEO or a volunteer, take this time to reach out to a mentor or a mentee. We can always use a different perspective on issues and projects.

Ibn Abbas narrated that the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

“He is not one of us who does not have mercy upon our young, respect our elders, and command good and forbid evil.”

This is an opportunity to implement the hadith, and as well as to guide the youth navigating these troubled times. As a leader, we have our scholars, elders, and mentors who are wiser than us and can advise us as a result.

5. Work with your communication team. As face-to-face time has been reduced tremendously, communication is essential. This is something I struggle with, and plan to work on myself. Alhamdulillah, I am surrounded by amazing volunteers that help me. Adoption of new means of communication due to the quarantine may develop into something permanent due to its efficiency.

6. Read a book. This is a time to expand your thoughts on what the community needs. Reading is an excellent way to expand your knowledge of the issues you are facing. There are books on addressing poverty, economic challenges, food insecurity, etc. Reading provides insight to the work we are doing, and it gives us fresh perspective into our evolving nature.

7. Research your own organization and its programs. Reflect on what your team is working on now. Ask what donors are looking for in an organization, and research the most current literature related to your work.

8. Reach out to other local grassroots or charities in your community. After all, we serve the same people, and we can address their needs together. We can do more together.

Narrated Abu Musa raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him): “The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, ‘A faithful believer to a faithful believer is like the bricks of a wall, enforcing each other.’ While (saying that) the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) clasped his hands by interlacing his fingers.”

This is a worrisome time for nonprofits, and regardless of the sector, we are all taking a hit.  I hope these tips allow us to be as productive at home as we would be in our offices and in the field.

The post An Open Letter to Nonprofits on the front lines of COVID-19 appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Source: muslimmatters/current-affairs

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