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.

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The Real Reason Israelis Don’t Donate

There 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. Continue reading