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Promoting a charity drive in UAE? Read this first so you won’t get in trouble


DUBAI – It is a noble cause, but fund-raising for charity or even promoting it in the UAE could actually do you more harm than good if you don’t know the law.

Taking up fund-raising campaigns and activities on your own has been strictly regulated in the UAE, with authorities fearing that such practice could be easily misused.

The Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department (IACAD) has recently warned the public against the practice, after the Dubai Police arrested a Dubai resident for promoting on Facebook a fund-raising campaign for Afghan refugees. The resident, identified as Scott Richards, has been released on bail.

So what does the law say about fund-raising for charity in the UAE?

Decree No 9 of 2015 prohibits collecting donations or advertising of fund-raising campaigns through all forms of media without obtaining prior written approval from the IACAD.

Violators face jail time between two months up to one year and a fine ranging from Dh5,000 to Dh100,000.

Meanwhile, Article No 27 of Federal Law No 5 of 2012 of the anti-cybercrime law states that establishing or managing a website and using any other IT or electronic means to promote the collection of donations without a permit from the specialised bodies is punishable by imprisonment and/or a fine ranging from Dh250,000 to Dh500,000.

So what should you do in case you or an organisation wants to hold a fund-raising event for charity, or collect donations?

You must first approach a registered charity authorised by IACAD and place a request, which will then be forwarded to IACAD for approval within 14 working days. If the approval is not sent out after 14 days, it means it has been denied.

Which charities are registered and licensed to collect donations and oversee charity events in Dubai and Abu Dhabi?

Authorised charities in Dubai

  1. Mohammad Bin Rashid Charitable Humanitarian Foundation
  2. Al Maktoum Foundation
  3. Dar Al Ber Society
  4. Dubai Charity Association
  5. Beit Al Khair Society
  6. Dubai Foundation For Women and Children
  7. Emirates Red Crescent
  8. Noor Dubai Foundation
  9. Dubai Cares

Authorised charities in Abu Dhabi

  1. Khalifa Foundation
  2. Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation
  3. Zayed Giving Initiative
  4. Red Crescent – Abu Dhabi
  5. Nahtam Social Responsibility
  6. Takatof, part of Emirates Foundation

What about people seeking financial help for a medical treatment?

IACAD says they must approach a registered charity organisation in the UAE who will take up the case and then send a request to IACAD. The registered charity organisation will then open a bank account for the patient to receive donations from people.

What about personal donations?

Individuals are free to make personal donations. Donations raised between the family and not made publicly is a matter that IACAD will not interfere with.


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