Best Practices

KISHOR: Raising Capital – Strategies to Help Your Business Grow or Simply Survive

"Pile of Money" by Jody.Klopp

I spoke recently at the Kishor conference to Women Professionals on Raising Capital. I really enjoyed the challenge of preparing for the talk as the subject was a business term not often used when working in the nonprofit sector.

When priming the presentation for the expected for-profit audience, I was surprised – though in retrospect I shouldn’t have been – by how much holds true when raising funds for either a nonprofit organization or a for-profit venture.

Moreover, after going over the slides, I was amazed how easily I could replace “investor” with “donor” in most of the examples. The fact that the session was attended by professionals from both sectors reinforced this belief, as well.

(The most notable exception to the above is the definition of traction, which is not shared by for-profit and not-for-profit companies.)

Upon further reflection, I was able to gleam three live-or-die principles that span the charitable and capitalist sectors. What follows are the slides of the from presentation and these three takeaways.

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Fundraising as a Journey

I recently read an article that argued that the “fundraising process itself, in particular, donor relationship building, is program building, and not just the means to an ends.” This got me thinking that there are other activities besides fundraising that…

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FONSI: The Changing Role of Money

"Plush California Cotton Bathrobes" by Sunset Inn & Suites Vancouver

Last Monday, February 28th, 2011, I had the privilege and pleasure of presenting a Quickfire (10 minute presentation) at the FONSI (Future of Nonprofit Summit – Israel) Conference in Jaffa, Israel.

In my short session, I attempted to describe how money is changing from an object of secondary importance into a measuring stick and a marketing tool. Furthermore, financials and budgets are now being used proactively to make sure the right message is being conveyed about your nonprofit organization. While the specifics of the sessions are beyond the scope of this piece, I did want to provide those that were at the conference with a link and embed of the PowerPoint presentation that accompanied by speech. (The presentation has been upgraded to clarify some points and include links to the article and tools cited.)

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Beyond Right or Wrong: 3 Lessons from Magen David Adom


Once again, the Israeli nonprofit organization Magan David Adom (MDA) and it’s American supporting charity, American Friends of Magen David Adom (AFMDA), are in the news after all five members of AFMDA’s executive board resigned, stating that they “refuse to abdicate or compromise in any way our fiduciary duty to AFMDA and its donors.”

First, allow me to say that writing this piece is painful; it is disturbing (to put it mildly) that an organization that has such a positive impact on Israel’s daily life is getting such negative press.
Two, which side is right or wrong is of secondary importance. Regardless how the situation plays out in the near or distant future, organizations can learn RIGHT NOW from the very public debates raging between the American and Israeli arms.

Specifically, the core issues — defining roles, trust, independence, and personnel — are the same faced by all international organizations, and, as such, can provide a constructive case-study for nonprofits, their board members, and their donors.

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6 Reasons "Friends of" Orgs Should Bank Abroad

The fiscal requirements of an American charity have become more complicated in recent years. Increased scrutiny from the IRS, more intricate tax documentation, the recent economic crisis, and donors’ need for transparency, are just a few of the challenges facing the sector. When a charity operates internationally these difficulties are only exacerbated. These global organizations are expected to be familiar with regional and global charity regulations, comfortable working in foreign languages and cultures, able to cope with inherent increased expenses, and capable of forging new relationships – all while maintaining a high level of accountability.

A powerful tool in helping a “Friends of” organization cope is an additional account abroad in the country in which it operates. When used to its potential, this kind of account is invaluable.

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The Carmel Fire & Haiti: No Need to Reinvent the Wheel

Jews around the globe are mobilizing to donate to help fight the effects of the recent fire in Israel’s Carmel Forest.

One of the outcomes of the Haiti Earthquake (January 12, 2010) is an in-depth case study in disaster-relief giving. Hence, those donating to Carmel Fire relief efforts need not reinvent the wheel and can rely on the many lessons learned just 11 months ago.

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Guest Post: Lessons from a Short-Lived Nonprofit

Guest Post: Recently, within a matter of months, I opened and then proceeded to close a amutah [Hebrew referring to a registered charity in Israel] here in Israel. I wanted to open up a seminary [religious school] and, with the advisement of experts in the field, decided it would be best for the seminary to run under its own administrative body. Unfortunately, we did not come to this understanding until late into the process of developing the seminary, which meant that we were rushed to register the amutah, file in the tax authorities, and open a bank account. I learned many things in this process that perhaps can help others looking to start their own non-profit organizations.

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3 Dangers that Money-Changers Pose to Charities

In Israel, more than in most countries, foreign currency is an integral part of every facet of the country’s daily economic enterprises – private, business, and public sectors, alike.

A recent released study showed that 53% of financial support to Israeli charities came from abroad. Thus, making foreign exchange exchange fees, rates, and processing times of the utmost importance to Israeli charities.

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Dear Mr. Foundation, Please Reject My Application

Give me the “Outright No” any day of the week and twice in a recession; you win some, you lose some. The second, drawn-out no, is still a no, but wasted my time and got my hopes up over nothing. Why not tell me no from the beginning instead of playing achy-breaky games with my heart?

Unfortunately, nonprofit organizations are being subjected to this same treatment, even more so now after the recession and the Madoff scandal.

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