6 Reasons “Friends of” Organizations Should Bank Abroad

LEGO Globe Europe Africa by AmazingBrickCreations.comThe fiscal responsibilities 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. Continue reading

Advertisements

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

"Fighting the fire in Israel's North, 3.12.10" by The Prime Minister of IsraelJews 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.

Continue reading

Guest Post: Lessons from Starting, then Closing, My Non-Profit within 4 Months

" Revolving Door Exposure" by verminincChana Mason was born in Colombia and grew up in South Florida. She has a degree in Theatrical Directing and Engineering from Dartmouth College. She has worked in management consulting, high school education, and high-tech. Since moving to Israel in 2003, she has been involved in a number of Israeli non-profits.

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 [school focusing on religious studies] 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. Continue reading

3 Dangers that Money-Changers Pose 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.

Continue reading

Dear Mr. Foundation, Please Reject My Application

Four separate times in my life, I have hit the proverbial pavement looking for a job.  I remember very clearly the two types of rejection that I received:

  1. The “Outright” No – Painful and deflating but leaving no doubts. I moved on, hoping the future had something better in store.
  2. The “We Were Very Impressed but Need Time to Decide How Best to Employ You” No – Slow and dragged out.  A lot of positive energy and upbeat words professed.  Encouraged, I even stopped looking at other prospects. Yet, despite all the enthusiasm, in the end no position was offered or available.

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. Continue reading

An Employee’s Small Gesture Can Send a Big Message

I experienced this incident first-hand about a month ago. I think it illustrates how even small gestures can have large (and sometimes negative) consequences.

I was interested in registering for two events that were being run by a nonprofit organization.  I checked the website but was only able to find details about one of the events.  I emailed the organization (at the email address provided) to register for the  events and to check if the second event was even taking place:

Continue reading

Today’s US Dollar & How it Affects Your (Nonprofit’s) Budget

Summary of US Dollar’s Recent Activity

The peaks in the dollar/shekel exchange rate this past year and a half make me more nauseous that the merry-go-round at the local playground (and they really make me queasy). The dollar tanked and leveled out against the shekel at an 11-year low in late May of 2008, trading for 3.24. As if to prove itself, the dollar then proceeded to rise faster than analysts had predicted, peaking a little less than a year later in Mach of 2009 at 4.25. Since those glory days of March, the dollar has plummeted against all of the world’s currencies. Specifically, the last six months have seen the dollar drop against: the Pound, 7.2%; the Shekel, 8.9%; the Euro, 8.7%; and the Yen, 10.6%. With world markets (and charities financed by donations in US Dollars) hanging on the dollar’s every move, things are, once again, looking just a tad scary. Not monster-in-the-closet terrifying, mind you, but enough to make me bite my nails more often than I should. Continue reading