What are donations?

Funds collected in cash or in-kind, movable or immovable, including the national currency, foreign currencies, bonds, deeds, and stocks, and in any form, for spending on charitable causes or providing charitable or humanitarian services and assistance.

What are the main objectives of issuing fundraising regulation law?

  • To establish a giving culture and charitable work.
  • To maintain donor funds securely and protect them from exploitation.
  • To ensure that donations reach the rightful beneficiaries.

What are DCD responsibilities with regards to fundraising?

  • Organizing and permitting fundraising activities in Abu Dhabi in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.
  • Developing a comprehensive framework for the fundraising process in Abu Dhabi, in cooperation with its strategic partners.
  • Monitoring and supervising fundraising activities in Abu Dhabi.

Is a natural person permitted to collect donations from the public?

The law prohibits natural person from collecting donations from the public, due to the difficulty of monitoring and supervising them, whether in terms of monitoring the sources of donations or the beneficiaries from them; and to avoid exposure to fraud or exploitation.

What is the difference between licensed entities and permitted entities with regards to fundraising?

Licensed entities: Charitable associations, federal and local bodies and institutions that are granted by laws, decrees, and decisions to collect, receive, and provide donations.

Permitted entities: Legal entities who are authorized by the appropriate authority in accordance with the provisions of Federal Law No. 13 of 2021 regarding the regulation of fundraising.

Why is fundraising restricted only by charitable organizations and licensed entities?

Collecting, receiving, and providing fundraising is an essential work for licensed charities due to their vast experience and capabilities in carrying out such tasks.

What are the fundraising channels stipulated by law?

  • Fundraising Bank Accounts
  • Automated Teller Machines of Licensed Banks in the UAE
  • Monthly Instalment from Contributor Bank Account
  • Social Media Channels
  • Various Marketing and Promotional offers
  • Direct Deposits into Bank Accounts
  • Various Media Channels
  • Concerts, Markets, Fairs, Auctions, and Charitable Events
  • Paid-in Boxes, Coupons, or Cash Donations Against Receipts
  • Text Messages
  • Digital Platforms Approved by DCD

Is it permitted to convert in-kind donations into cash? And why?

The law permits the conversion of in-kind donations into cash whenever necessary, according to a set of controls and procedures. This is done to preserve these donations from damage or loss of value, and to benefit from their monetary value and spend them on charitable and humanitarian needs.

What are the controls and procedures in place for receiving donations from outside the country?

Regulating the process of collecting or receiving donations from abroad is one of the pillars on which the fundraising regulation law was based on to preserve the reputation and position of the country globally, and to prevent the misuse of these donations or the support to any illegal activities or projects. Accordingly, the competent authority must be fully aware of the source of those donations and the purpose of them. The law refers to the executive regulations for the establishment of regulatory controls and procedures in this aspect.

(Cabinet Resolution No. (96) of 2022)

What are the controls and requirements in place for delivering donations outside the country and what is the purpose of it?

The law refers to its executive regulations, the establishment of rules and procedures regarding delivering donations outside the country. Mainly, these regulations must include means of proof, especially towards providing donations to the beneficiaries or spending them for the purposes specified for them. Additionally, the UAE legislator aims to set these regulations to protect the donors' funds and ensure that they reach the beneficiaries and not be used to support or finance any unauthorized organizations.

(Cabinet Resolution No. (96) of 2022)

Are there specific conditions for international financial transfers from donations bank accounts?

The law includes regulatory conditions and procedures for international bank transfers from donations bank accounts, and the executive regulations will include details of those conditions and procedures in coordination with the concerned authorities in the country.

(Cabinet Resolution No. (96) of 2022)

What is the list of entities that are licensed and approved by DCD to collect, receive, and provide donations in Abu Dhabi?

At the level of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, there are 9 licensed and approved entities by DCD to collect, receive and provide donations, as follows:

  • Authority of Social Contribution – Ma'an
  • Emirates Red Crescent Authority
  • Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation for Humanitarian Works
  • Zayed Bin Sultan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation
  • Faraj Fund
  • Emirates Nature Association - WWF
  • Make a Wish
  • Operation Smile
  • Cancer Patient Care Society – Rahma
  • SEDRA Foundation for Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities

What is the penalty for violating the provisions of the Fundraising Law?

Shall be punished with imprisonment and a fine of not less than 200,000 dirhams and not more than 500,000 dirhams, or one of these two penalties would be imposed on whoever receives donations, grants, gifts, or subsidies from any person or entity from outside the country, in accordance with the controls and procedures of the laws and legislation in force in the country.

  • Shall be punished with imprisonment and a fine of not less than 200,000 dirhams and not more than 500,000 dirhams, or one of these two penalties would be imposed on anyone who trades in donation money, engages in financial speculation, or distributes revenues and returns to members or employees of associations.
  • Shall be punished with imprisonment and a fine of not less than 200,000 dirhams and not more than 500,000 dirhams, would be imposed on anyone who commits any act while collecting, accepting, or presenting donations that may harm public order, national security, or public morals, or encourage any sectarian or ethnic disputes, or racial, religious, cultural or illegal purpose, in accordance with the legislation in force in the country.

In all cases, the court orders the confiscation of the donations that were collected in violation of the provisions of this law, and the deportation of the foreigner after he has executed the sentence imposed on him.

Are there any sanctions or penalties if donations were used for purposes other than those for which they were collected for?

The point number 2 from article 36 of the law stipulates that anyone who violates any of the provisions of the law or uses the donation funds for purposes other than those for which they were collected for will be punished with imprisonment and a fine of not less than 150,000 dirhams and not more than 300,000 dirhams or one of these two penalties.

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