Useful Information for Giving

Effective philanthropy often involves a number of components, from the decision to establish an organizational entity to manage and distribute grants, to practical tools such as legal contracts with the funding recipients, forms for monitoring and reporting on grants, points to consider when evaluating nonprofits, setting guidelines for how communication with the funder will be conducted, convening meetings with the organizations, establishing a website, and hiring employees or consultants, among many others.

There is no single formula that can help funders optimally manage their philanthropic activities – one that takes into account their unique character, goals, scope of funding and amount of time at their disposal.

With JFN’s advisory services, we are pleased to help you understand your needs and options, the tools and frameworks that will serve you best, and the easiest and most appropriate way to organize your philanthropic activities.

It is important to emphasize that JFN is a professional, objective organization, with no underlying agendas. As such, our goal is to listen to the funder and assist them in building the best possible giving strategy that suits their unique needs. We believe in the power of collaborations between funders to maximize impact. JFN is a nonprofit organization and not a commercial entity.

One of the most outstanding advantages we offer is the power of a funder’s network – as an organization of members operating with a diverse, professional, and broad network of philanthropic funders from around the world, we use our most important asset – our members, to make essential information, experience and knowledge accessible.

Furthermore we evaluate, analyze and adapt the knowledge and available information to the scale of investment and desire of the funder, to help them maximize their giving.

As a first step, we have listed the main recommended stages, together with a sample range of factors to consider. If you are interested in receiving personalized guidance, please contact us to set up an appointment.

  1. As a first step towards building and implementing your philanthropic activity, we recommend examining the motivation and set of values that underlie your philanthropic mission, and the spheres and areas of interest where you would like to make an impact. JFN offers funders and their families personally designed workshops to help them examine and identify these basic elements as a step towards determining a philanthropic giving strategy.
  2. After identifying the desired area for investment and a “vision statement” for the funder, a number of questions need to be answered before proceeding. Not every funder needs to answer every question, but these questions help define the sphere of operation and the focal point for social impact.

Sample questions include:

  • Do you intend to reach out proactively to potential funding recipients operating in your area of interest? Or will you respond to requests that come in from the field?
  • Do you wish to establish a new initiative? Or do you prefer to strengthen existing activities through existing entities?
  • How many years do you intend to provide funding?
  • Is your funding intended for projects or general support?
  • Will you provide many small grants? Or a small number of large-scale grants?
  • To what extent do you want to be involved, in addition to providing financial assistance?
  • How will you define “success,” and how will it be measured?
  • Is philanthropic collaboration something you would consider?
  • Is there a specific target population you want to support? For example, a particular age group, geographic area, population sector, type of profession, etc.

We at JFN work with funders to articulate and answer the relevant questions – in the appropriate manner, scope and timing, to help them develop an optimal giving strategy.

  1. A One-Pager on your Foundation – we recommend creating a document that describes in a few lines who you are and your philanthropic goals. This will serve as a “calling card” to present to other funders, professional organizations, and naturally, with nonprofits that are seeking funding. And because it clearly states what your foundation is looking for, this document can help screen out inquiries that are not consistent with your goals.
  2. The legal entity through which you will operate – Even though a foundation is not a legal entity in Israel, as it is, for example, in the United States, there are a number of platforms in Israel for philanthropic activities. In this document, you will find the main organizational platforms for distributing grants in Israel. Note that this document is intended for guidance only and is not a substitute for professional advice from an accountant or lawyer, among others.
  3. After these stages, we recommend considering the funder/foundation’s giving process – whether it should be ongoing throughout the calendar year, with clear benchmarks for receiving applications/distributing grants, etc. A properly developed giving process includes a number of official forms for grant applications and progress reporting – at this point you can ask yourselves if you would want to use existing forms, and what they would include. JFN can demonstrate and explain a range of options, then help you create the most appropriate forms to suit your needs. Not all giving has to be based on formal, bureaucratic procedures, but the intention is to maintain an orderly process and help the funder optimize how they manage their giving to maximize its impact, with clear communications with the field.
  4. Legal issues – There are many legal aspects to philanthropic giving that arise over time. This document features some of the points we recommend you consider throughout the process, although we recommend that in any case you receive counsel from a lawyer specializing in philanthropy.
  5. Who are you and how do you want to be perceived in the field? The way a funder interacts with the organizations it funds, with other funders, and with the authorities or government, characterizes you and to a large degree. These relationships are complex and often demand great sensitivity and a thorough understanding of the other side. We at JFN help you navigate these complexities and give you the tools to work optimally in the different philanthropic spheres. For additional reading please see this document.
  6. Evaluation and measurement of your philanthropic impact – This is a complex and challenging issue. Every funder wants to be sure that the resources they invest are indeed producing the desired impact. In the field of social change, the measures for evaluating impact are complex and demand a thorough understanding of the field and a realistic definition of goals. JFN can help every funder according to their field and type of investment, to evaluate and define goals and evaluation methods, and measures to assess the impact of their efforts.