A UAE-based crowdfunding platform is hoping to transform the way people in the emirates raise and donate charitable funds.
YallaGive.com is the country’s first legal digital platform for individual fundraisers and charities within the UAE to post appeals and collect donations for approved causes. To date it has raised more than $1m and it is ambitiously targeting $1bn by 2030.
The site also provides a facility for Muslims to calculate and make zakat and qurbani payments to approved charities - and in the future, its creator, Abdulla Al Nuaimi says it will offer options to donate via cryptocurrency, reducing transaction costs and improving transparency.
“I’ve been involved in local fundraising for a number of years and I noticed a real gap in the market for this type of platform,” said Syrian-born Al Nuaimi, who is also the GCC director of the International Fundraising Consultancy (IFC), a voluntary sector consultancy group.
“At the moment when people put their money into a collection box, they don’t always know where it is going,” he said. “But we are providing more information about where money goes and how it is spent. It also helps charities reach new audiences.”
YallaGive was licensed in late 2018 and launched the following April. In February this year, it unveiled a new-look website with additional functionality, following a funding boost from an Innovation Impact Grant programme run by Dubai’s Expo 2020 body.
A smartphone application for the site is under development and is due to be launched in time for Ramadan, and the site, which currently hosts more than 135 fundraising appeals, is in talks with leading local charities and a couple of regional development banks about future collaborations.
YallaGive is also planning to offer the chance to make payments via a cryptocurrency called AtaaCoin. (‘Ataa’ means ‘gift’ in Arabic). The idea, Al Nuaimi said, is to reduce overheads associated with traditional bank charges – especially in changing currencies – and make the process more transparent because all transactions will be registered on a blockchain.
The plan is to peg the coins to the Swiss Franc and register them on the Ethereum cryptocurrency platform. This means buyers – or receiving charities – have protection against wildly fluctuating values, and Al Nuaimi said eventually organisations would also be able to create their own coins on the site for people to buy and donate.