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

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Money Musings: Why Local NPOs Should Fundraise Locally First

Welcome to the first of a new style of video posts, “Money Musings,” which will cover issues and challenges inspired by conversations with nonprofit professionals.

In this episode, I discuss 2 reasons why local nonprofit organizations should fundraise from their constituents first. While the video specifically describes a nonprofit operating in Israel, the principles are true for any charity in any country.

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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.

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Defining a Chevrah LeTo’elet Hatzibur [Public Benefit Company]

"Pumping It Out" by Wolfgang Schlegl“What do you mean that Israeli charities can be registered as companies?”

That was the question someone asked me last year that that had me thinking to myself, yet again, that Israeli charity legal/tax structure is a language onto itself and should require its own Ulpan.

Towards this end, I hope to clarify in this post the somewhat contradictory concept of a Chevrah LeTo’elet Hatzibur [Public Benefit Company]. Continue reading

The Weekly Balance Sheet: August 30

A compilation of the great articles that I read and posted to Twitter between August 23 – August 29, 2010.  This week’s categories include: Governance, Strategy & Fundraising; Social Media; Jewish & Israel (Nonprofit) News; and Economy & Finance. Continue reading

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]? Continue reading

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