Israel justifiably takes pride at being the most advanced economy in the Middle East. Our standard of living is higher, our start ups are thriving, and every day it seems like another major app is being bought by Google.
Unfortunately, there is one area where Israel’s ranking is nothing to be proud of.
Every year, the Charities Aid Foundation publishes the World Giving Index, an annual report that uses data from Gallup to rank countries according to how charitable their citizens are. The rankings are based on a short survey asking people if they’ve recently volunteered or donated money to a charity.
In 2015 Israel ranked as the 75th (!) most generous country in the world. And it’s not just major economic powerhouses like the US (2), Canada (4) and the UK (6) that are ahead of us, it’s also our neighbors in the region including Saudi Arabia (47), Iraq (38), and Iran (32).
So why aren’t Israelis more generous? For starters, many Israelis aren’t confident that their money is really going to the people it’s meant to help. Many charities are forced to spend an absurd amount of money on advertising and telemarketing just to reach potential donors. Even once they reach a someone, many are afraid of donating to scams and being taken advantage of. Nobody wants to be a “freier” (taken for a fool).
Meanwhile, help is not reaching the people who desperately need it. There are still children who go to sleep hungry in Israel and senior citizens who can’t afford to pay their electric bills. We need to find a way to encourage charitable giving, and not just keep relying on government welfare programs or donations from overseas.
Jgive is a nonprofit founded to address precisely these concerns. Jgive provides a platform for donors to find charities, crowdfunding campaigns, and causes that are close to their hearts. Because only charities that are recognized as tax deductible and have a certificate of good standing from the government are allowed to join, donors know that their money is going to legitimate organizations. Jgive also publishes a “transparency index” for charities on the site, which allows donors to learn more about how the charity is run, including what percent of their donation goes towards helping those in need.
As a nonprofit, Jgive is free to use for both donors and charities.
We have to do a better job of protecting the most vulnerable members of Israeli society. By eliminating the obstacles to charitable giving and philanthropy in Israel, we can improve the quality of life of thousands of our fellow citizens. We can reach the top of the rankings for not only our ingenuity, but for our generosity as well.