There are laws and decrees that must be followed when fundraising for a charitable cause or support group in Dubai.
26 April 2015| Last updated on 22 May 2017
Many expats like to give back to the communities in which they live across Dubai, whether it's adopting a forever pet, or showing support to local charities and support groups or fundraising for an event. But as with anything, there are laws surrounding such charitable behaviour that anyone who wishes to fundraise in Dubai must be clued-up on.
This law, decreed by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, states that anyone wishing to fundraise in the emirate needs to get prior approval from the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department (IACAD) through one of its registered charities.
Meaning, any money donated from now on will be controlled and audited correctly through fundraising efforts to ensure such moneys reach their acquired title and purpose.
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Failure to gain prior approval from the IACAD can result in a jail sentence of up to on year in prison, or a AED 100,000 fine. The aim of the new law is to give donors peace of mind that their cash and efforts are going towards reputable causes. There are of course, many questions, as the law poses uncertainty about what is and isn't legal when it comes to charity in the Emirate.
The law states that any fundraising activity, whether it is money or items and the advertising for it should have prior approval through charity organisations licensed by IACAD. More information may be found on their website www.iacad.gov.ae. This also includes persons who are, for instance, running a marathon - you must get prior approval by getting in touch with one of the licensed organisations. Which in turn, will guarantee that the money is collected and delivered in the right way. If your children at school are wishing to fundraising, it is up to the school to contact a licensed charity organisation to get the necessary approvals.
It must be made clear, that these laws cover fundraising whereby calls are made publically to donate money to a particular cause or event.
To ease the implementation of the law, gaining prior approval via the IACAD is relatively easy, and accessible via a number of the charity's platforms, including: 'Emirates Charity', smart App or by sending an email to [email protected].
The application is free of charge, and applicants can expect a response no longer than two weeks - but responses can be given after three days providing all relevant information was given at the time of submission.
During your application you must provide information on the following:
- What is the purpose of the fundraising activity
- Locations for collection donations
- The names of people authorised to collect donations
- The method used to collect the donations
- The time period for the charity campaign
- The group that will benefit from the charity
- The amount hoped to be raised
The aim of these regulations is to protect the money of donors and make sure that the money goes where it is intended, while also providing a legal and safe environment for giving to charitable causes and support groups. It will also set an end for the duplicating of charitable activity.
While the implementation of this new law may at first discourage people from carrying out charity activities, please don't allow it to stop your efforts completely. If anything, the issuance of the decree will enhance the transparency in the charitable and humanitarian work in Dubai and the UAE, so it will encourage benefactors to give more as it guarantees their rights.