x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

The benefits of extra regulation

Regulation of charitable fund-raising is necessary, and should in fact increase donations by raising donors' confidence levels.

The clarification of regulations governing charitable organisations and individual fundraisers in the UAE is a welcome reminder. As The National reported yesterday, the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department (IACAD) has cautioned fundraisers in Dubai to follow the department's rules or risk being fined.

It is, for instance, against the law to collect cash for good causes in the emirate without getting prior approval from IACAD, even if the fund itself is intended to be held outside this nation's borders.

Any individual or organisation failing to comply faces possible confiscation of funds and a fine of between Dh2,000 and Dh30,000. Charities outside Dubai are required to register with the Ministry of Social Affairs and follow its own guidelines.

In addition, IACAD-registered charities are required to keep their administrative costs below seven per cent of their total expenses - a step that is meant to ensure that funds raised for good causes don't get swallowed up by excessive day-to-day expenditure.

Such safeguards are important, particularly in the UAE, where citizens of more than 100 nations reside, each with their own good causes and interests to be represented in both their adopted country and their home nations. Clear regulation will help ensure that donations gathered inside the UAE have the maximum possible effect and, by promoting trust, will eventually improve the flow of money into charitable organisations.

Sadly, examples exist around the world of some charitable ventures, launched by well-intentioned and often enthusiastic amateurs, being undone by misappropriation of funds. Only close supervision, regulation and transparency can ward off such behaviour.

Giving money to good causes is one of the best and most rewarding things any responsible citizen of the world can do. IACAD's reminder of the rules governing charitable donations and, indeed, the consequences for failing to observe them, provides all of us with a great deal of security. Such regulations mean any money we donate will get to the people who need it most and will no doubt further stimulate this country's already well-known culture of giving.