Two year ago, this female colleague applied for an Executive Director (ED) position at a particular charity knowing that the organization was facing a 500 thousand shekel (approximately $130 thousand) deficit. After about nine months on the job, the nonprofit was back on track and on the road to a surplus for the following year. What was this ED’s technique and how could other nonprofits benefit from her experience?
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.
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.