Top 5 Must Haves for International Fundraising: Shamoon College Provides Best Practice Model


I have identified five best practice principles for international fundraising: attract the donors, interest the donors, invest the donors, impress the donors, and inform the donors.

Sami Shamoon College of Engineering provides a best practice model for international fundraising in Israeli higher education.

As the fastest growing college in Israel, Sami Shamoon College of Engineering focuses on the nation’s most underserved students, enabling them to get a high tech science education.

Boasting among their graduates 11 Ethiopian engineers (the most of any Israeli college or university) and the only female Bedouin engineer in the the nation, Shamoon College should be considered a hot philanthropy prospect for anyone who cares about Israel.

I’ve identified Shamoon College as a best practice fundraising model for the following reasons. Their:

  1. Stellar website
  2. Great promotional video
  3. Clearly articulated mission statement and goals
  4. Proven track record, even it its early days
  5. Established American Friends office

Keep reading to find out why Shamoon College is a best practice model you can learn from.

1 . A Stellar Website Attracts Donors
You can’t get anywhere in international fundraising if you don’t show a great face to the world. Shamoon College’s website is emblematic of their scientific focus with one-click menus to desired destinations, web content available in PDF format, and an overall feel of user friendliness.

2. A Great Promotional Video Interests Donors

A high quality promotional video enhances your professionalism and shows that you are serious about your role as a fundraising organization. Shamoon College’s video gives a strong idea of the school’s mission, thanks its donors– who it mentions by name, and shows high profile Israeli politicos, such as Prime Minister Olmert, smiling and hugging the eponymous Sami Shamoon.

It could well be argued that in an age of compact schedules and scant free time, a video would do more to interest a potential donor than sheets of text.

(To see the video, go to the college’s website and click a flag at the bottom of the screen.)

3. A Clearly Articulated Mission Statement and Goals Invest Donors

This is the first statement on the American Friends website:

“Sami Shamoon College of Engineering provides the educational bridge that inspires and transforms the youth of southern Israel into the engineers driving the region’s economic growth.”

What do we learn from this simple statement? That the college is located in southern Israel and focuses its interests on local students. That it is an engineering college and that its ultimate goal is to promote economic growth throughout the region. That engineering is driving the growth of the area and that the college plans to play a central role. That is a lot of important information for one sentence and it gives you a good sense of the college’s priorities, even before you get to Sentence Two.

Reading further, the website tells us the college’s fundraising goals, whom the money will benefit, and how. We are told that the college intends to raise $12 million by 2012 (nice symmetry), and from everything we have learned about the organization so far, we think it is completely doable.

4. A Proven Track Record, Even in the Early Days, Impresses Donors

Given the youth of the college, which marked its founding in 1996, we look at what they have to offer, what they intend to accomplish, and how effectively they present themselves and think: no problem.

From their own mouths, here is what they have successfully undertaken:

  • 77% of graduates stay employed in southern Israel– THIS IS HUGE and completely against current trends
  • Partnerships with major Israeli enterprise and graduates employed throughout the high tech sector
  • The only Israeli university of higher education with green engineering and recipient of the Ministry of Environmental Protection’s first ever Green Campus Award (2007)
  • Scholarships for Arab-Israelis, Bedouins, and Druze students, who comprise 15% of the student body
  • Special attention to the needs of soldier students, Israeli-Ethiopians, and single mothers (reminder: this is a school of engineering and they are thinking about disadvantaged women: kol hakavod lachem)

5. An Established American Friends Office Informs Donors

Established? Well, the website is functional and looks great (see #1). We know that there is an office and that it is operational, and we know how to get in touch with them. We know that there is a fundraising arm in the States if you want to give. These facts alone are more than many established Israeli and other international institutions have managed.

Conclusions: What Have We Learned from this Best Practice Model of International Fundraising?

What have we learned from the Sami Shamoon College of Engineering as a best practice model for international fundraising? What does it teach us by example?

The website and video provide us a point of entrance into the organization and interest us. The mission and goals invest us in the college’s values. The track record impresses us. And the American Friends branch tells us how to give and who to contact for more information.

Make your own organization a best practice model in international fundraising by investing in these five steps and capital is sure to follow. Remember: attract, interest, invest, impress, and inform.


10 Responses to Top 5 Must Haves for International Fundraising: Shamoon College Provides Best Practice Model

  1. Maya,
    Thank you for the accolades. My friend asked me if I wrote it, and I told him I never could have. As you know our program is still less than a year old, so to read your praise of our work is very gratifying. Of course Shamoon College itself has been growing steadily for a decade and plans to double in another five years are well underway.
    And the work we are doing here in the States to support Shamoon College is just beginning.
    I also had the chance to check out the rest of your blog and now have it on my regular reading list. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and wisdom on such an important subject.
    Much success and many blessings in the coming year.
    Shana tova,
    Joshua C. Karlin, Executive Vice President
    American Friends of Sami Shamoon College of Engineering

  2. […] If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed or sign up for email notification of new posts, under my picture, to the right. Thanks for visiting!Thank you to Maya Norton for her praise of our work on behalf of Shamoon College of Engineering. Maya blogs about her passion, and mine, Jewish philanthropy. I don’t know how Shamoon College came to her attention, but she wrote a beautiful piece holding it up as a model for Israeli organizations fundraising in the United States. You can read it here: Top 5 Must Haves for International Fundraising: Shamoon College Provides Best Practice Model « The … […]

  3. […] “Top 5 Must Haves for International Fundraising: Shamoon College Provides Best Practice Model&… […]

  4. […] I suppose it should not be a surpirse. I am doing a good amount of fundraisng for charities in Israel. In fact, there is a great reveiw of my work as a model for raising funds for Israeli charities on Maya Norton’s blog on Jewish Philanthropy at:… […]

  5. Hey, cool tips. Perhaps I’ll buy a glass of beer to the person from that forum who told me to visit your site 🙂

  6. Perhaps you have by chance considered having more videos to that blog articles so that it will keep the readers more interested? Simply put i suggest I only do read via the entire content of yours and also this was really nice but yet due to Im just a graphic learner

    • Maya Norton says:

      Thanks for the suggestion, Kristeen. I’m not actually blogging at The New Jew anymore, unfortunately, so there are no more new posts. I have to tell you that I have mixed feelings about video as a method of content delivery: they serve a different purpose than text. That being said, I do try to add them when relevant and accessible and appreciate your suggestion. I do hear what you’re saying about being a graphic learner.

      Take care,

      ~ Maya

  7. Norman Kabak says:

    Maya- Found your blog site via EJewish Philanthropy.
    Our problem in New Zealand is that we are a tiny community of 7,000 Jews in the entire country. We face what may be one of the great tragedies along with The Netherlands in the removal of kosher slaughter. We are fighting the NZ government and so far the cost is nearly $1,000,000 with more to come.
    It would seem that because we are at the bottom of the world, no one cares. How can we raise the money outside of our poor Jewish community? We have very few “Machers”.

  8. Shelby says:

    Hi! Someone in my Myspace group shared this site with us so I came to look it over.
    I’m definitely loving the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers!

    Terrific blog and wonderful style and design.

    Our blog page about technological innovation: Shelby

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