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

Weekly Must-Reads: April 26

A list of the essential articles that I posted to Twitter from April 11 – April 24, 2010.  This week’s topics include: Strategy & Governance; IRS Trends; Social Media & Fundraising; Jewish Nonprofits; Israel Economy & Finance; and Potpourri. Continue reading

Are “American Friends of” Organizations a Thing of the Past?

International organizations have been highly successful in raising funds from the United States through U.S. based charities commonly referred to as “Friends of” organizations. These charities are registered in the States and have 501(c)3 tax-exempt status, allowing donations to these essentially foreign organizations to be tax-deductible.

As you can imagine, many charities registered outside of the United States consider an “American Friends of” organization as a vital part of their fundraising strategy.

Jewish causes, especially those based in Israel, are no exception to this rule. A recent report compiled by Dr. Nissan Limor estimated that foreign donations to Israeli charities from sources outside of Israel stood at 2.165 billion dollars in 2007, with much of that coming from the United States (although, he didn’t stipulate how much). There are about 1,000 new Israeli charities [amutot] created every year and it would hold that many of these organizations will seek to create an “American Friends of” supporting charity.

Hence, recent conversations I have had are causing me to worry. Continue reading

Can my Israeli Nonprofit have a Credit Card?

The Answer

The answer should hopefully be “yes,” nonprofit organizations can use credit cards.  Credit cards have become an integral part of running any kind of business; whether it be a not-for-profit or a for-profit corporation.   Credit cards are safer than cash and are the preferred method of payment when shopping on the internet.  Not to mention, the ease of an itemized monthly billing statement.  Nonprofit governing agencies should love credit cards and promote their use whenever possible.

But, alas, in Israel the answer is no…kind of.  Cryptic, but true. That is to say that in my experience as a banker, I have both ordered credit cards for charities that wanted them and canceled credit cards for charities that were told it was “illegal” to have them. Continue reading