In the most recent issue of Alliance magazine (September 2018), guest editor Yunus Sola suggested that the value of Muslim giving was $1 trillion a year. While actual figures are hard to find, if this figure is correct just imagine the possibilities of what $1 trillion in giving to worthy causes could do each and every year. To put this figure in context, the total giving in the United States was around $400 billion last year. The problem is that Muslim philanthropy is not always properly recorded and hence not fully recognised. Furthermore, it is not often given in a coordinated or strategic manner. Consequently, much of the money is given without having a formal mechanism for assessing impact.
The truth is that a trillion dollars could bring about tremendous positive change and alleviate some of the most entrenched global problems facing Muslim societies, from poverty, education and global warming to war, displacement and extremism. The key for Muslim philanthropists is to find a way to harness the power of their giving, to give much more strategically while also finding appropriate mechanisms to record, assess and evaluate the true impact of their generosity.
These challenges make the Global Donors Forum (GDF), a biennial convening of the World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists, which coincided with the publication of Alliance’s special feature on Muslim philanthropy, of such value. The Forum brings together philanthropists, grantmakers, social investors, business leaders, non-profit executives and government officials from across the world to address some of the most pressing global challenges. It is widely recognised as the premier forum on Muslim giving worldwide, providing a safe space for addressing some of the most entrenched challenges facing Muslim societies. It also serves as a launching pad for forging strategic partnerships for the kind of high-impact philanthropy and social investment which can make a real difference. By the time of the next Forum in 2020, I hope we will have the data about Muslim philanthropy which can help us further improve our practices and fulfil our potential to humankind.