Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Islam and fundraising from bequests (legacies)

At the IWRM conference in India recently, I pointed out that fundraisers who resist bequest marketing often use 'culture' as an excuse for not asking supporters to mention them in their wills.

The reason often given is something like 'Indians don't like talking about death...' This is easily countered by the fact that nor to Brits, Americans and Australians where bequest 'marketing' is more established.

But a fundraiser from Indonesia challenged me with a much more practical problem. She asked whether bequest marketing could actually work in Muslim countries since 'Muslims were required to give their money to their family.'

That would bring bequest marketing to a halt. So I went and found out what I could.

I checked with the President of Dee Why Mosque in Sydney. He told me that "Muslims must leave two-thirds of their estate to their family...the last third should go to good causes." On further pressing, he said that the good cause money would be better spent on "Human charities, good causes" and perfectly reasonably for a man in his position preferred Muslim causes.

I also checked with a lawyer, Haisam Farache, after his website, "Islamic Wills" was brought to my attention by bequest expert Christiana Stergiou.

Haisam confirmed that Muslims are indeed required to leave two-thirds to family and the other third can go to any good cause, human, Muslim or other.

Of course, this is looking at local law - it is possible that legal authorities in different countries may apply restrictions differently, but this would be a state/national legal issue and not a religious or cultural requirement.

If there are any other religions or cultures that make bequest fundraising impossible, please let me know!



Maitra said...

Hi Sean, I sent you my fact findings about Indonesian law. Basically it is confirming your findings with some notes. I check to my colleague in Malaysia as well and will share it with you later. Basically, it is back on basic question, will or will not us starting the bequest program? ;-)

Maitra said...

Dear Sean,

I searched the legal term on bequest in Indonesia and got results as follow:

1. Basically it is legal to give part of the legacies to other part beside families, and it need a letter of will legalized by lawyer. In Indonesia, legacies law based on "Legitime Portie" system, where stated that legacy is the heir's right and only could be share to other parties with a legal will. This law nature is closed and could not be waived.

2. However, moslem people must follow syaria law (moslem law), which you mentioned before, it's legal to gave to other parties after the families get their portion equally. The unique situation in Indonesia, we also have customary/traditional law and some people still follow this law. The customary law also has some rules regarding the legacies.

3. The cost for making a legal will is relatively expensive here. So following question will be, who will pay for the cost, the person or the beneficiary? This decision will surely affect on how we will 'sell' the bequest program.

I think that's all from me. Cheers.

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