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Business Strategy

“Eli Broad Pledges Majority of Fortune to Charity”

“Eli Broad is Los Angeles’ biggest philanthropist, who has given away over $2 billion, but he and his wife Edythe pledged on June 16 to do even better in the future by distributing 75 percent of their total wealth, currently standing at $5.7 billion, “during and/or after our lifetimes.”

“In announcing the pledges, Broad joined two of America’s wealthiest philanthropists, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, in their so-called “The Giving Pledge,” which urges wealthy Americans to donate at least half their fortunes to charitable causes.”
“Born into a “liberal Jewish household” of Lithuanian immigrants in New York City, Broad, now 77, moved to Los Angeles in 1961, making an initial fortune as mass homebuilder, and a second through the giant financial services company SunAmerica.”
Full article here:

Israeli-Developed Boiled Potato Batteries May Provide Cheap Power

It sounds like a headline from the Onion, but it’s not.

You can read the full story in Ha’aretz Online.

This new high-tech Potato Battery was developed at Hebrew University, and Negev Direct is the list broker and manager for the American Friends of Hebrew University.

Potatoes also happen to be Israel’s biggest agricultural export.

That’s great synergy.


Mini box campaign | Cartype

Source: via Carlos Segura

This more of an ad campaign than a direct marketing campaign, but it’s original and it created a lot of social media interactions so I thought I would re-post this for our readers.

Mini box campaign | Cartype

“The life-size Mini boxes among the refuse is the creation of a campaign by Ubachs Wisbrun JWT of Amsterdam showcasing how Mini falls into the category of affordable presents.”
“The Mini package was a real eye-cathcher, with the public immediately embracing it, and as everyone took countless pictures and videos, it created a YouTube sensation, with over 107,661 views in just the first six days.”

Posted using ShareThis

Israel Joins OECD

May 10, 2010: an important day for Israel’s economic future as we are admitted as a member of the OECD.
For the full details, check out PM Netanyahu’s remarks.

Tips on Marketing your Products and Earning a Profit in a Tough Economic Climate

“Jonathan Levav is an Associate Professor of Business at Columbia Business School. He has authored numerous articles published in trade journals, focusing on consumer culture and market research. His areas of expertise lie in: Consumer Behavior, Consumer Debt / Credit Cards, Consumer Savings Behavior and Consumer Spending.”

“How do you market your products in a global economic crisis? Professor Jonathan Levav analyzes the consumer fear that grips the market place and fuels lower sales, creating a cycle of downturn. Levav keys us into some tips and tricks of the trade in trying to market your products and earn a profit in a tough climate.”

A Production of and ; The European Jewish Congress and its President Moshe Kantor.

The Cleantech Group on Israel

Your’re probably asking yourself just what the Cleantech Group does.

So we’ll let them tell you in their own words:

Since 2002, the Cleantech Group has been providing investors, entrepreneurs, and Fortune 1000 global corporations with the latest industry market intelligence through subscription-based research, global industry networking events, and world-class consulting services. By focusing entirely on innovation in clean technologies, Cleantech Group helps its clients make critical business decisions that foster growth, reduce cost, and meet consumer and government demands for improved environmental quality.

Sounds like a good thing to me.

Cleantech has just posted an article entitled “10 Reasons Israel is a Cleantech Leader”, in which they refer to Israel as the Silicon Valley of Water.

If you are interested in Israel or environmentally-clean technology, it well worth the read.

Israel’s technology focus is expanding to include the clean-water, solar and biomedical fields as well as computer hardware and software.

It’s a big breaking story and a great talking point that can be used by fundraisers for many pro-Israel non-profits.

Don’t miss the opportunity.


AJC & AJC To Merge and Form New AJC?


I’ve had a standing offer open for the past 15 years.

If anyone can cogently explain the difference between the American Jewish Committee and the American Jewish Congress I will donate $100 to any charity of their choice. Excluding these two organizations, of course.

The reward remains unclaimed, and as of today the offer is officially withdrawn.

Rumor has it that the AJC and the AJC are on the verge of a merger.

Read the full story in the Jerusalem Post.

To the alphabet-soup world of Jewish organizations this can only be a good thing.

My suggested name for the new combined organization: the American Jewish Consolidation.


Marketing Tips from the Inc. 5000 Conference

“Zingerman’s founder Ari Weinzweig and other top entrepreneurs at this year’s Inc. 500 Conference offer their marketing secrets.”

By Inc. Staff | Dec 16, 2009

Bad Marketing

We’ve all seen it.

But every once in a while a particularly egregious example crosses our desk.
So let’s learn a lesson from someone else’s mistake.
Let’s say that you are about to launch a new magazine. No small project these days. Print media is in trouble, so you had better have a really good idea.
How about a magazine about Jewish history? Top writers, not too academic, lots of full-color photos and covering a time range from Biblical to recent.
OK, the concept is sound, if not a guaranteed success. So now what do you do?
You have a stated launch date of April 13th and lottery prizes for the first 1,000 subscribers.
You send out an insert in Jewish newspapers: 10 panels, full color, with several excerpted articles and lots of good photos and charts. Costs you a bundle, but hey, you need to spend money to make money, right?
I’m sold and ready to subscribe. I go to the website and…
I guess they blew all of the money on the brochure because the website looks cheap at best. I hit the subscribe button and I get an email form. I have no idea how much the subscription costs, if the magazine will be bi-monthly or an annual. There is no form to fill out.
I log out. As Jerry Seinfeld would have said, “What’s up with that”?
The moral of the story, dear marketer is this: if you’re going to do a job, then do a job.
Not half a job.
If your selling magazine subscriptions for the premier issue, spend some money on your subscription site.
It’s like sending out a direct mail appeal with no return address and no return envelope.
Maybe worse.

Your Organization’s Spokesperson

Who represents your organization to the public?
You can hire a spokesperson. I hear that Tiger Woods has more free time lately.
Or you can invent a persona: Betty Crocker and The Man in the Hathaway Shirt come to mind.
Or become your own brand. Anyone remember Dave Thomas of Wendy’s fame?
But to most of your customers and clients, your spokesperson is: the envelope please…
The person who answers your phone!
True, today many people are introduced to your organization through your website or via a social networking site.
But eventually, someone is going to want to talk to you. Maybe they want to donate some money, or put you in their will or hire your firm and pay you a lot of money. Whatever it is, they will eventually call.
So if the person answering your phones has a “couldn’t care less” attitude, that reflects poorly on your organization. If they are friendly and sound happy to talk to you, well, they’ve just made my day, so let’s do some business.
What do you think your phone operator’s job really is? To answer the calls and direct people to someone else? To put you on hold and let you listen to your organizations’s promotional recording a gazillion times?
Then you would be wrong.
Their job is to be the spokesperson for the company. The point man for recruiting new customers and making old one’s feel welcome and appreciated.
You don’t have a phone operator anymore? Why pay a salary when you can install a computer-based system that will answer the phones and direct calls as long as you know the proper extension and if you don’t you can just put in a few letters of the person’s first name and somehow end up disconnected or talking to the janitor?
As a client that tells me that you don’t care. I may need to talk to you but you’re not there for me. You can’t be bothered to take the time. I’m just insulted and I’ll take my $50,000 donation or my business and go elsewhere.
So hire an operator, or use volunteers or answer your own phone. It will be worth your while. Your clients will know that you are there for them. Your donors will love you all the more when you address them warmly.
Human relationships are still important, and they start with the person who answers your phones.

Negev Direct Acquires M2J

Negev Direct Marketing recently acquired the Jewish direct marketing company

The acquisition enables Negev Direct Marketing to add to our portfolio even more targeted Jewish email and postal lists to help make your next direct marketing campaign a success.

Both companies specialize in data and list services for Jewish audiences.

“M2J is a leading provider of data and list services to the religious Jewish market – one of the fastest growing segments in the Jewish world,” said Chana Rubin, president of Negev, in a statement.


You could sit in meetings all day or you could get some actual work done.

Unfortunately we know way to many Jewish non-profits that prefer to sit in meetings all day instead of actually getting off of their chairs and doing some actual fundraising!

 Thanks to the guys at37Signals for putting this clip together. You can pre-order a copy of their new book called

What’s Your Higher Purpose?

Profit and or donations are a necessary outcome, but how you get those dollars could be the difference between success and failure.

Are you building trust in your community, with your donors and with potential donors?

This Quote is a repost from the SVN blog

“Survival and profit are fine, but if you don’t have values or “higher purpose” at the heart of your business, you may be losing out in the battle for the hearts and minds of customers, suppliers and employees…

[Jason Fried] recently broadcast a 100-character challenge to his 24,000 Twitter followers: “What’s missing most from business today? Not sales. Not service. Not technology. Answer: A point of view.”…

A company known for having a point of view and commitment to community generates a payback worth more than money: Trust.”

Rick Spence in What do you stand for? [Financial Post]

Seth Godin: Quieting the Lizard Brain

We love Seth Godin. This video is about the push and pull involved in starting something important and finishing it.

The bit on the lizard brain starts at the 10:00 minute mark.

Snail Mail – Not Dead Yet

At least according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.

They call it Snail Mail in the article, a term that I have come to loathe, but am willing to overlook when I hear this sort of good news:

“Looking to cut costs amid the recession, Alicia Settle initially thought it would be a good idea to eliminate her company’s annual direct mailing. Spending about $20,000 on the personally signed letters, which offered customers a discount on early orders, seemed indulgent for Per Annum Inc., which sells city diaries, albums, and planners in the struggling corporate gift market. But after swapping snail mail for email last year, Ms. Settle saw a 25% drop in early orders compared with the same period the previous year.”

“We realized we had made a huge mistake,” says Ms. Settle, president of the New York firm.”

And Ms. Settle is not alone.

Lots of non-profits stopped sending direct mail prospecting in 2008-2009 to cut costs.

Lately they have been back in force, perhaps with a bit more caution than before, but with the realization that if you don’t go out looking for donors, they are unlikely to come to you by themselves.

And as trite as it may sound, you can still hold a piece of mail in your hand, sit down, read it at your leisure and write a check.

It may be a bit old-fashioned, but it still works.





The new must read book by my well respected high school friend, Jason Fried of the Chicago based software design firm 37Signals. The book is not in stores yet, but you can get a really good idea of what all the buzz is about here.

The book is aimed at entrepreneurs but I think there are some important lessons in the book that non profit employees, board members and for that matter any type of manager will learn from as well.

This book covers topics such as: Productivity, Promotion, Culture, Hiring, Competitors, Damage Control and Progress.

The book was also given a fantastic review by one of our favorite marketing geniuses Seth Godin…

“Ignore this book at your own peril.”

– Seth Godin

This book will make you uncomfortable.

Depending on what you do all day, it might make you extremely uncomfortable.

That’s a very good thing, because you deserve it. We all do.

Jason and David have broken all the rules and won. Again and again they’ve demonstrated that the regular way isn’t necessarily the right way. They just don’t say it, they do it. And they do it better than just about anyone has any right to expect.

This book is short, fast, sharp and ready to make a difference. It takes no prisoners, spares no quarter and gives you no place to hide, all at the same time.

There, my review is almost as long as the first chapter of the book. I can’t imagine what possible excuse you can dream up for not buying this book for every single person you work with, right now.

Stop reading the review. Buy the book.–Seth Godin

Here’s the link to pre-order a copy from The book will be released on March 9th, 2010.


“Google and Facebook Skip Presents, Parties in Favor of Giving”

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

December 22, 2009

“The Internet giant Google is forgoing its annual round of gifts to major users of its advertising platforms, instead donating $20-million to charity on behalf of its ad partners, reports TechCrunch.

A message sent to all users of Google’s AdSense and AdWords products states that the firm “decided to do something a little different this year” and includes a link to a Web page with a brief holiday message and a list of 25 organizations that will share in the gift, including Feeding America, Harlem Children’s Zone, and World Wildlife Fund.

TechCrunch also reports that some Facebook staff members are skipping a holiday party in favor of philanthropy. The social network’s communications and policy staff sent messages to would-be invitees with virtual tokens good for $25 donations at the school-aid site”

BGU Looks At Israel’s Nonprofit Sector

Remember the good old days of fundraising?
That’s right, I’m talking about 2007.
The following report summary on Israeli non-profit fundraising in 2008 was put together by our neighbors down the road at Ben Gurion University and featured in today’s Business In Briefsection at Haaretzonline.
The year 2008 was a grim one for Israel’s nonprofit organizations, which raised 31% less in donations than in the previous year. A survey of 225 charities conducted by Ben-GurionUniversity of the Negev for the Israel Gives organization found that 4% of the NGOs that had participated in the previous year’s survey had disappeared and about a quarter are cutting back on personnel. Half, however, reported raising more money this year as the global economic crisis receded, while 17% reported an increase in demand for their services. (Lior Dattel)

Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

We’ve seen a significant upturn is mailing and emailing acquisition during the second half of 2009. And we expect that to continue.
Many Jewish organizations had panic attacks when the economic storm hit in late 2008. They responded by cutting back on services, staff and fundraising all at once to save resources. Now many are seeing that not being in the mail, not being in touch with their donors and doing acquisition for new donors is not a good long-term fundraising strategy.
It may save money in the short run, but down the road when you have 20,000 less donors on your file, you are going to feel it.
Donors also had their own panic attack and many cut back on donations or stopped giving altogether.
Now, with the economy starting to show signs of a turn-around, people are starting to give again and non-profits are starting to mail again.
We’re looking for an even bigger return to direct mail in 2010 and also increased usage of email blasts.

The 25 Most Effective Givers of 2009

Ever Wonder who the worlds most effective giver is? If you answered yes like us, then this post is for you.

With money tight last year, effective giving has replaced quantitative giving as one of the new giving trends.
“With the recession squeezing donors and charities alike, it’s more important than ever to make sure your giving really makes a difference.

Ideally, each dollar you give will transform itself into $3 or $4 of benefits for your chosen causes — from improving local schools to easing world poverty. That’s high-impact giving, and some philanthropists are raising it to a high form of art.”

“Nearly 20% of the list is from donors overseas, like Indian telecom entrepreneur Sunil Mittal, a big supporter of schools. Though America has long stood out for its philanthropy, the tradition clearly is taking root around the world.

Some of the top 25 are true celebrities, like Brad Pitt and Magic Johnson, while others are people you’ve probably never heard of before, like John Wood. The former Microsoft executive distributes a book every three minutes to children in nine developing countries.

The two philanthropists we think are having the biggest impact happen to have each made their fortune at eBay, the giant flea market. Pierre Omidyar, No. 1, and Jeffrey Skoll, No. 2, have similar missions, too: They focus on supporting the work of other philanthropists and providing them with networking and leverage opportunities. That is a hallmark of a high-impact practice known as venture philanthropy.”

Here are the second and third place finishers. If you want to see the entire list, click on the “Full article here” button.

2. Jeff Skoll, Skoll Foundation

Skoll, eBay’s second employee, makes sure in his giving that “the positive social returns vastly exceed the amount of time and money involved.” He’s done that for 10 years by awarding unrestricted three-year grants to 59 entrepreneurial groups trying to build a more peaceful and prosperous world. The results can be stunning: One of this year’s grant recipients has trained armies of large rats to sniff for landmines in Africa, remnants of brutal civil wars there.
Class in Session: Founded a center of social entrepreneurship at the University of Oxford in England.
Auteur: His Participant Media produces Hollywood films such as The Soloist, which highlights homelessness.

3. Chris and Jamie Cooper-Hohn,
The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation

As the manager of one of Britain’s largest activist hedge funds, Chris Cooper-Hahn has earned the label “ruthless.” The children of India and Sub-Saharan Africa sure wouldn’t know it. Chris sends a good chunk of the fund’s profits and fees to a foundation run by his wife Jamie, swelling it to $2.5 billion in assets. The foundation then uses leverage of another kind, aiming, for instance, to save kids by saving their mothers.
Helpful Friends: Foundation piggybacks on work of Bill Clinton, Elton John and others.
Best Advice: “You have to be able to define what success looks like,” Jamie says.”

Full article here

No Time for Facebook and Twitter?

From the Wall Street Journal – Small Business Column – Oct 1st 2009


Entrepreneurs Hire Consultants to Promote Business on Social-Media Sites, but the Extra Cost Is Big Question.

“Sylvester Chisom began paying a consultant last summer to blog on Twitter, post status updates on Facebook and run marketing campaigns on both sites for his auto-detailing business.

He thinks the service, which costs $450 a month, is worth it. “It’s just better having somebody else dedicated to thinking of stuff to put up,” says Mr. Chisom, co-owner of Showroom Shine Express Detailing LLC in St. Louis.

Some small-business owners, overwhelmed by the time commitment required of marketing their products and services via social media, are hiring consultants to lend a hand. But the price of such support can vary widely based on the extent of work involved, and many entrepreneurs with already meager resources for marketing and advertising may be need to think carefully before taking on the extra cost.”

Full article here

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