Can You Resist Kiva’s Siren Call? (I Hope Not)

May 12, 2011


Dear Friends,

Tomorrow you will see a new entry on The New Jew, but tonight I have a special present for you. This is my first week as a lender-donor on Kiva and I’ve found it to be such an interesting, fulfilling experience. I want you to join me.

The Offer

So here’s my offer, I will give a Kiva gift card worth $25 to the first three people who comment here and say they want to try micro-lending for the first time. My only conditions- and I won’t hold you to them, it’s only a contract you are making with yourself- are that:

  1.  If you like the experience of lending, you write and tell me why
  2.  You give a gift card to someone whom you think would likewise enjoy it

So who are my top prospects right now? I’m looking at Medhi, Evelyn.

Meet Mehdi (Salam Wa Aleikum, Mehdi)

Mehdi has one day left on his loan- at time of writing, $250 is needed- to help him expand his fruit and vegetable  business. He is interested in expanding his offerings, and hopes the loan will help grow his business, and therefore help him better support his family, whom he cares deeply about.

Here’s how Kiva gets you with the urgency (see graphic). 

Note:

Funding Mehdi was my first longer term loan. Up until now, I have strongly preferred loans that are coming due in the short term (i.e. this fall). Something you should know is that all lenders are refunded at the same time, incrementally. You don’t get one final amount back at the end, but you’re refunded small amounts according to the borrower’s payment schedule, which is outlined in detail at the bottom of the screen.

— Keep Reading: Meet Evelyn; Will You Say Yes? —

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5 Powerful Fundraising Videos (and Two Bonus)

November 20, 2010

What makes you stand up and take notice- or sit down and listen for three minutes? Here are five powerful fundraising videos that are best practices models.

You may be asking how I can call these “fundraising videos” if not a single one asks for money? My answer is that each one is a powerful motivator that brings you to a new place in your thinking about the issue, the organization, and the mission after watching. Friend-raising comes first; fundraising follows.

Other than this introduction and the source information, this is a textless entry. I encourage you to share your own favorites in the comments section or by posting at The New Jew: Microblog on Facebook. I look forward to adding a best practice sections to both this site and the microblog shortly.

Note of Exclusion:  Unpacking the White Knapsack

I chose not to include videos which feature:

  • A white spokesperson for a cause in the developing world
  • Celebrities
  • Focus on poverty and not people

For me these three items detract from the issue at hand. The point isn’t to relate to a person you’re familiar with (pretty woman, middle class white man), but to go beyond and connect with the real people whom the issues affect. I’ve chosen here films that support sustainable community growth and empowerment- and lay the gauntlet forth in doing so. Many a strong contender was excluded for an overemphasis on a Western or white perspective.

* For more information read Peggy McIntosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” (PDF, 4 pages).

Videos

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies present “The Shelter Effect” (3:57, 2,850 hits)

The Girl Effect presents “The Girl Effect” (2:23, 676,500 hits)

Companion video: “The Clock is Ticking” (3:05, 209,500 hits)

—   Click Through to See Most Best Practice Videos   —

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ROI, I Love You, But…

July 9, 2010

Broken Heart of Social Media

This could have been my love letter to ROI.  But it’s not. I’m frustrated. ROI, you can do better and I want to lay out a basic outline of how.

Social Media Bonanza

If you’re not familiar with ROI, this organization is focused around an annual global summit of young Jewish innovators. It is supported by a PR company that does advance media, a blog, a Facebook page, a YouTube channel, a Flickr account, and a Twitter feed as well as hashtag– all linked here.

So what could I possibly be complaining about? They have all their bases covered, right?

Well, no. I don’t think they fully practice what they preach– and I’m saying this as a 2009 ROI fellow as well as someone who has been in contact with ROI offering them my support on numerous occasions with regard to social media and web content. I’m saying this out of love: ROI, you can do better.

What’s the Problem, Exactly?

The two primary problems I identify are as follows:

  • There’s a disconnect between the Summit and the rest of the year, and
  • A disconnect between those actively participating in the Summit and those on the outside

With all the excitement generated for the Summit, there’s no carry through for those who aren’t participating. The ROI blog is updated minimally and there don’t seem to be many blog posts coming from participants– which makes sense because they’re really, really busy.

The primary way to follow the Summit is via ROI’s hashtag, which is #roicom. But how much can you really say in 152 characters? Well, I believe that you can get your point across quite effectively, but it has to be a concerted effort: not just comments but actual commentary.

— Now you have an idea of the problem. Keep reading to hear the solution. —

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Jewish/Israel News: All the News That’s Fit to Tweet

October 21, 2009
Source: Flickr, Just.Luc

Source: Flickr, Just.Luc

The air is popping, molecules are dancing, you can practically feel the crackle in the air– alive with energy in the world of Jewish philanthropy and innovation. The New Jew is here to bring you the news that can’t be missed.

Israel

  • Israel President’s Conference— Today is the first day of the 2nd annual President’s Conference, founded by President Shimon Peres. This year’s theme is “Tomorrow’s Future.” To get live updates on Twitter, click on this link where I have collected all the relevant resources for you

(Flickr photo link via Just.Luc, Creative Commons)

In the Media

TNJ_ReportsWOBordersIndex_20Oct09

  • Free Press Index— Israel’s Free Press Rank plummets on Reporters Without Borders’ index due to tightened government control over the media during Operation Cast Lead (Gaza 2008/2009) and during the elections. Israel dropped 43 places to #93. (The US is #20, up from #40 last year)
  • Human Rights Watch: Anti-Israel— In this New York Times op-ed, Robert L. Bernstein, former chairman of HRW criticizes the group for repeatedly singling out Israel for human rights violations without holding other Middle Eastern countries to equivalent standards
  • Shalom, Al Jazeera— An Egyptian newspaper broke the story that Israeli billionaire Haim Saban was set to acquire the Arab world’s news station. The story is yet unconfirmed
  • Palestinian Jews? It’s not Pre-State Deja Vu— The Wall Street Journal’s James Woolsey asks if we have Israeli Arabs why can’t there by Palestinian Jews?
  • Our Israel? — A raging debate between The Forward’s Jay Michaelson and the Shalem Center’s Daniel Gordis centers on the question of how we perceive Israel as a Jewish state and as our state. Michaelson complains: “My love of Israel has turned into a series of equivocations,” in reference to his stance toward Israeli politics, peace, and Palestinians. Gordis counters, “But you know what I love about this place, Jay?  I love that all the political baggage is mine.” (Don’t forget to read the comments as well)

Jewish Connectivity

TNJ_Birthright.LogoSquare_20Oct09

  • Assessing Birthright Israel— It’s been 10 years. Where does Taglit-Birthright Israel stand after a decade of hard work? Here are the statistics: Birthright has brought 200,000 young Jews to Israel so far– 10,000 will come this winter. Philanthropic  dollars: $80 million raised: 55% from individuals; 22% from Jewish communities and the Jewish Agency; 23% from the Israeli government

— Interested in Jewish Connectivity, Israeli Technology & the Environment, Israel’s Economy & the Jewish Community Landscape, Innovation & Education? Read on. —

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Israeli Environment: New Mall Seeks to Green the Negev

July 7, 2009

New B"S Mall [Image: YNetNews]

“The Future of Israel lies in the Negev.”
~ David Ben-Gurion, first prime minister of Israel

If you aren’t intimately familiar with Israel, you may not realize that the country is divided into two cultural and geographical spheres: the Center and the Periphery.

The Center, composed of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and their environs, are densely populated hubs of activity. The Periphery: the Galilee, Golan Heights, and Negev Desert, are more agricultural areas outside of the Center’s reach. This segmentation is critical to understanding the Israeli mindset when it comes to how we perceive each other.

Today YNet News broke the story that Be’er Sheva is set to become home to Israel’s largest mall. With a projected budget of 700 million NIS (approx. $180.5 million) and a three-year timeframe, the mall aims to be not only a commercial center, but a nexus of social activity. Upon its completion, the mall will house clubs for youths, seniors, soldiers, and feature a children’s play area.

Additionally, the new center will be the first green mall in Israel with the following environmental considerations:

  • Solar paneling on the roof for energy conversion
  • Pools for collecting rain water and condensation from air conditioning to be reused for irrigation
  • Green park to be built near mall with connecting bicycle paths around the mall’s periphery

—– Read more about the mall’s environmental impact and plans for Be’er Sheva’s development—–

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Nonprofits and Social Media: 5 Twitter Highlights for Those in the Know

June 19, 2009

TNJ_Twitter.Logo_18June09

In my few moments of spare time a day, I’ve been experimenting with the effect of Twitter’s microblogging. What have I learned? The primary thing that you need to know is that the world of Twitter is wide open to new participants, whether individuals or foundations. It’s a great way to catch the eyes and ears of people who matter and to drive traffic to your blog.

In the last few days I came across a number of stories that I had to share with you– they are that exciting.

  1. “10 Twitter Tips for Nonprofits” by Heather Mansfield of Change.org (@changedotorg). The only point I disagree with is Mansfield’s advice that you should provide value to your followers instead of ‘chit-chatting.’ As with any social media platform, I believe it is key to imbue your tweets with a sense of  personality so that you readers feel a personal connection and investment with you as an individual. This is also why I advocate that foundation accounts are headed by a single person whose name is cited. People want to talk to people.
  2. “Nonprofit Groups Outpace Businesses in Adopting Social Networking Tools” by Peter Panepento of The Chronicle of Philanthropy (@philanthropy). Among the findings of the UMass-Dartmouth study are that 89% of nonprofits are using some form of social media and that 57% have blogs. These numbers, which may strike some as surprisingly high, are a logical result of the low barriers to entry of social media in this cut to the bone economy.
  3. Jared Cohen (Sourced from Gen-Next.org)

    Jared Cohen

    “State Department Atwitter Over Young, Jewish Tech Tutor” by Allison Gaudet Yarrow of The Forward (@jdforward). The best part of this article is the Stephen Colbert interview with our subject, Jared Cohen, who points out that 60% of the Middle East’s population is under 30, and that they are the most accessible, impressionable, and those with whom we have the greatest opportunity to connect. Interestingly, Cohen’s own Twitter page is fairly average (@Jared_Cohen). I guess when you are the youngest member of the State Department’s Policy Planning Team, self promotion isn’t the first thing on your mind.

    — Keep Reading for Highlights on Young Jews Connecting Through Twitter and Israeli Billionaires, As Well as Quick Hits & Hot Links —
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Adventure’s with Google’s New Philanthropy Search Engine

March 28, 2009

Google Custom Search (Logo)Here’s a quick news alert to make your lives a little easier. Did you know that Google has a new customized search engine for philanthropy? Let’s test it out.

Testing Google’s Philanthropy Search Engine

As an experiment, I type “Jewish” into the philanthropy search engine for the following top five hits:

Not a bad haul, although in the future, I’d like to see a Jewish philanthropy blog getting big hits on the first page. The first blog hit is Philanthropy 2173 at #7. The JTA’s Fundermentalist, authored by Jacob Berkman, comes in as the first Jewish blog reference at a respectable #8, having been scooped by The Chronicle of Philanthropy for last weeks’ coverage of the 2009 Jewish Funder’s Network conference. This, however, does not meet my criterion for an independent blog hit, “independent” meaning a blog not connected to a foundation, and “hit,” meaning a link to the blog itself. So I keep scrolling.

—– What a Cliff Hanger. Read on to Find Out If a Jewish Blog Makes Google Philanthropy’s Top Hit List —–

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