The Israeli Nonprofit Sector

Israeli NGOs & Foreign-Government Funding: The Real Story & its Significance

"Flags" by RambergMediaImagesI am donning my Superman cape (doesn’t everyone have one?) in the hopes of accomplishing the near-impossible task of setting the record straight on what could potentially be a turning-point for Israeli charities.

Since early January of this year, the topic of Funding from Foreign Governments to Israeli NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organization) has been making headlines. Two ideas to promote Transparency, though, in very different contexts — a proposal put forth in January and a bill approved in February — have politicians, nonprofits, and European Governments lamenting the destruction of democracy and human-rights in Israel.

However, the pursuant rhetoric, innuendos, politicking, and here-say makes it near impossible to filter out fact from fiction and to distinguish these two very different initiatives.  Read more…

3 Dangers that Money-Chagers Post to Charities

"Zimbabwe Cash" by Jared_OakesIn 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.  Read more…

The Best Way to Reach Israel’s Registrar of Charities

"Hold All My Calls" by furryscalymanThe phone number is clearly listed on its site, yet no one answers when I call.

It is a complaint I have heard from Israeli nonprofits and one that I recently verified — repeatedly.  So the question remains, how can someone get in touch with Israel’s Registrar of Charities [Rasham Ha'amutot]?

Israeli Government Grants: The Broken Promised Land

"Behind Broken Glass" by HzopakObtaining government funding seems to be every nonprofit’s goal, at least in Israel. I have heard countless lecturers, founders, and foundation representatives preach the Darwinian virtues of incorporating government grants into an Israeli charity’s fundraising strategy; after all, the nonprofit is servicing the Israeli public. It is to the Government’s benefit – if not its outright duty – to ensure that this charity’s program continues to exist

Not bad on paper. In practice, however, these Israeli government grants can sometimes be more trouble than they are worth.

For the purpose of this post, as a banker I would like to restrict my focus on the budgetary challenges associated with these grants.  Specifically, the two disadvantages that arise because grant monies are dispersed only after expenses are incurred.  Read more…

The Real Reason Israelis Don’t Donate

"Empty Wallet" by NohodamonThere is debate raging in the United States about tax incentives and the Nonprofit Sector. The U.S. government, by allowing donations to be tax-deductible, is surrendering money “owed” to it for the sake of encouraging charity. Many believe that the two – the rate of deductions and the amount donated to charity – are directly linked. Any decrease in the rate of deductions will lead to a decrease in the aggregate amount of charity donated to nonprofit organizations.

A recent study in Israel advocates the same theory, claiming that Israel’s poor standing in charitable-giving is directly related to the Israeli Government’s comparatively lower tax-deductible incentives.

However, by placing the blame squarely on the Israeli Government – instead of sharing the burden with the nonprofit organizations operating in Israel – these researchers are causing the Israeli Nonprofit Sector to leave a huge well of potential-donors untapped. The charities in Israel are failing to engage would-be donors, and it is this lost opportunity that should really be addressed.  Read more…

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