Question: What is the ruling on gathering the Zakatul-Fitr for a charitable Society?
Answer: “In his time (ﷺ) and the time of the Pious Predecessors the Zakat was collected, like the Zakat of the crops and livestock. Likewise, there was no collection of the Zakat on money, the obligatory [Zakat]. The Zakat of money was not collected. It was only an affair obligated upon a wealthy one who would distribute/give what was obligated upon him in money. Every legally responsible person would only give it [themselves]. As for giving Zakat fitr to these charitable societies today, then that should be abstained from due to an important matter. I do not know if these charitable societies are concerned with applying it. We all know that Zakatul-Fitr is not allowed to be given in advance and given out more that two or three days before [Eid]. Giving it out in the first of Ramadan or in the middle of Ramadan, as many individuals do, is against the Sunnah. If the charitable societies, which are referred to, are able to observe this aspect, gather the Zakatul-Fitr, and not give it before Eid, then there is no harm. this is since this [action involves] appointing the charitable society as a trustee for this charity upon the necessary basis that they are more knowledgeable of the poor and needy who are in the neighborhood [than the one giving Zakat].
However, I fear that these charitable societies adopt a spacious view that allows giving the Zakatul-fitr before Eid by many days. This is from one angle. Another angler: they collect this money in a fund in the society and join it to the original sum of Zakat collected with them. Then [they] give it perhaps after Eid by some days or perhaps by a month. So like that, it is more cautious [for a person] to give the Zakatul-Ftir himself than appointing a trustee who will give the charity [on his behalf]. So [what should be done] is first: giving the Zakatul-Fitr before Eid directly and this is better and if [he wills he can] take the allowance, one or two days before. Second: that it is placed in the hand of one whom he sees to be from those who deserve this Zakat and also observe that he is from the righteous. This is another aspect, which I do not know if the charitable societies have the preparation to observe and apply. This is so that the one giving Zakat supports the people of good and righteousness with what he presents to them in terms of good and money” [ al-Mutafariqaat no. 260]
Faisal Ibn Abdul Qaadir Ibn Hassan