Coronavirus has tested the financial preparedness of our mosques
Monday, June 15th, 2020
The lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid 19 has forced mosques to close since the middle of March. This has proved to be a trying time for many mosques as they have had to figure out ways in which their financial sustainability can be maintained even though the income has reduced drastically, in many cases to zero.
This new situation has tested the financial preparedness for mosques. There has been a slow movement amongst mosques in this country towards greater professionalisation, usually associated with younger generations taking over the running of mosques. This has included better financial systems such as ensuring standing orders are used as a fundraising tool.
What is emerging is that those mosques that have better systems in place have been best suited to tackle the financial shortfall. This healthier financial situation can be characterised in a few ways. A financially secure mosque will have healthy reserves due to prudent spending. It may even have annual targets to achieve on reserves. Khutbahs which are relevant and inspiring can lead to an increased revenue as people are more likely to attend, more affluent people attend and congregants are more willing to support the mosque.
A well run maktab/madrasa also brings in revenue to the mosque. It is also useful to have a finance committee for the mosque that reports to the executive committee; an accountant and business person should sit on this finance committee. Some mosques have made good investments in allied projects which brings in a regular income (in the manner of a social enterprise). For example, some mosques have acquired buildings which are rented out or used as wedding venues. Other Islamic organisations buy a local business such as an ice cream parlour and use its profits to support mosque projects.
Mosques can also raise income through standing orders. These mosques will have social media accounts (public and private, e.g. whatsapp, and twitter) and then have a plan to increase donations through digital fundraising.
Some mosques in the UK have already put many of these points into place such that they have reserves to last them for many years, sometimes in the tens of thousands of pounds. Others however have really struggled. MuslimView states ‘The lockdown should provide us all with an opportunity to look at how we run our institutions and what we can do to improve them’.