Shift occurring in Middle East philanthropy

January 27, 2015       The NonProfit Times      

Fundraisers need to be on the alert for changes in trends anywhere in the world, and that includes the Middle East, where fundraising might not have seemed like a worthwhile project early in this century.

During the 2014 International Fundraising Congress (IFC), consultants Della Weight, Daryl Upsall, Phil Woollam and Christian Schaake said that their 2013 market report showed a big shift in the Middle East. For example, in 2007 they struggled to find very much organized fundraising and fundraisers in the region outside Israel.
Since then, however:

  • Indigenous campaigns such as “Dubai Cares” and Red Cross Zakat appeals are putting charitable giving on the map;
  • A significant number of charities are setting up fundraising teams in the region and externally;
  • Fundraising still remains a challenge in the region, with much of the giving being religious and secretive;
  • The fundraiser must be able to navigate the interconnectedness of government, business and the royal families;
  • It is possible that the development of mobile telephony and mobile banking will help unleash the giving potential of the general population in the region;
  • Turkey, Lebanon, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are on the “developing” list; and,
  • Israel is on the “developing to medium mature” list.