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Lindsey Bever‘s latest article for the Washington Post highlights the efforts of groups of Muslim charities fundraising through a crowdfunding campaign to rebuild the six predominantly black churches burnt throughout Southern states. Ms. Bever is a national reporter for the Washington Post.  She previously wrote for the Dallas News, Guardian US and is a former fellow at the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Muslim charities raise nearly $45,000 to rebuild burned-down black churches

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By Linsey Bever| Washington Post | 7/09/15

Over the past several weeks, a handful of predominantly black churches across the South have burned down. Some were ruled arson, others accidents — but they still recalled racist attacks against black churches throughout American history.

The church fires followed the mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., igniting concern over the possibility of a wave of hate crimes.

Three Muslim charities have since launched a “Respond with Love” crowdfunding campaign to damaged black churches rebuild and “stand united against hate.” The Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative, Arab American Association of New York and Ummah Wide have raised nearly $45,000 since starting the fundraiser last week.

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Fundraising to Rebuild Churches: A Mission in Solidarity

The tragic church burnings in South Carolina have rallied many people to come together to help in the healing of the community and the rebuilding of the damaged places of worship.  Solidarity happens when a group that unites over shared interests, objectives, beliefs, standards and sympathies. Project-based calls to action and relief efforts typically bring people together. So how can you unite people throughout the year?

For faith-based organizations, there is naturally a shared set of beliefs that will unite your congregation driving them to work together to affect positive change.  Rebuilding after the church burnings is proof of the good that can happen when people are united.

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Here are some more ways your organization can come together to do even more good:

  • Create a club or membership group to receive daily faith-based mobile messages, attend seminars, participate in religious study groups, or partake in lunch meetings with your key organization leaders.
  • Plan an improvement project for your house of worship, which promotes teamwork, leverages the individual strengths of your members and benefits your entire congregation and the structure you are improving.
  • A common mission in a far-off location will allow your group to spread good deeds beyond the familiar, unify and strengthen your membership and and help individual members achieve personal and spiritual growth. Crowdfunding is a great way to finance a mission trip your organization has always wanted to be a part of.
  • Tithing can be set up on a recurring basis, so parishioners give info once and don’t have to think about it the rest of the year. Encourage them to break up a donation into small monthly gifts that are easier to handle financially, but add up to a larger gift over time.
  • Offer exclusive benefits–like early mission trip registration, featured speaker series, or retreats–to group members that become recurring donors.

The lifetime value of a recurring donor is double that of a one time gift. Promote a mobile-responsive donation pages over email, text, social media, and in live calls-to-action to make it as easy as possible for donors to opt in to recurring gifts during the initial donation process.

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