Many masjids, commonly known as mosques, offer free meals during the month of Ramadan for iftar, which is the evening meal consumed at the end of the day’s fast. Masjids offer these free meals to members of their communities as an act of goodwill and a way to grow and strengthen the bonds of the community.
Typically, the food ordering process for iftar is done manually. This could be through allowing visitors to order food by sending an SMS message or through filling out a Google form. This manual process requires quite a bit of human intervention, which carries a high chance of miscommunication, and often, food is either wasted due to lack of need or awareness of the food giveaway event, or the masjid administration ends up not having enough meals to give out, which wouldn’t sit well with them as it is not custom to let anyone go empty-handed for iftar.
The iftar food ordering process can be simplified and streamlined through the use of automation to help prevent either of the above scenarios occurring. With automation, masjids can accept food orders, provide confirmations, and send notifications when the meals have been prepared with little to no human intervention.
Here’s how automation can be worked into the food giveaway process for masjids.
Step 1: Collect Signups
The first step in automating the iftar food ordering process is collecting signups from those who wish to receive notifications whenever there is a giveaway event put on by a masjid. These signups can be collected in multiple ways, for example, texting in a keyword to a shortcode number or scanning a QR (quick response) code and filling out an online form.
Once someone signs up via one of these methods, their contact information is stored in a list inside a contact management system, where it can be used when sending the notifications for the food giveaway.
All the masjid needs to do is make sure that there is signage posted with details on how to sign up and promote awareness of the giveaway process signup.
Step 2: Send Iftar Food Giveaway Notifications
Before the next food giveaway event, the masjid can send a notification out to the Muslim community, informing them of the upcoming date. These notifications can be sent out over multiple communication channels, such as email, SMS, or phone call, depending on how subscribers indicated they wished to be notified.
The event notification should include a link to an online form that recipients can use to order their meal.
To make things even simpler for the masjid, these notifications can be created from a pre-created message template, further reducing the amount of manual work that must be done for each event.
Step 3: Take Online Orders
When recipients receive the notification, they can click on the form link and fill out the required information for ordering their meal, such as their name, contact information, the number of meals required, etc. This information will be collected and stored by the automated solution.
The meal order form should be simple for recipients to fill out – the fewer fields the better. This will not only boost submission rates but will also serve to make sure masjids are only collect the information they need in order to provide the basic food ordering service.
Step 4: Send Order Confirmations
The next step in the iftar food ordering process is sending a confirmation notification to everyone who submitted the meal order form. Using automation, these confirmations can be sent out automatically once someone submits the form. Automation can also allow for personalizing these messages. The system automatically pulls the information that was submitted and including it in the message, such as the submitter’s name and order count, along with any other relevant information.
The confirmation message may also contain information about when and where the food requester may pick up their meal orders and instructions to present this message to masjid administrators when they arrive.
Step 5: Complete Iftar Distribution
Last but not least, the final step in this process is the actual iftar distribution. Those who have had their orders confirmed may come to the masjid at the designated date and time to pick up their meals. By automating the iftar food ordering process, and ensuring all meals were ordered beforehand, this means that there is significantly less chance of wasting food, or not having enough to give out.
How do I automate the iftar food ordering process?
Automating the food ordering and giveaway process sounds easier said than done right? Actually, it might be easier than you think!
SimplyCast has developed an automated food ordering service using its all-in-one suite of tools that masjids can customize to suit their own particular needs. Rather than piecing together multiple different tools to automate the process, SimplyCast includes everything masjids need in one centralized platform.
If you are interested in learning more about how SimplyCast can help your masjid streamline the iftar food ordering process, click the button below to request a one-on-one demo of the platform!