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Meeting of 8th August 2013

Meeting of 8th August 2013

                                              Meeting of August 8th 2013

          Speaker:  Danni Franks who works for the charity Myisrael


Danni Franks is the daughter of our member David Franks. She told us that she first went to Israel on an organised school trip when she was 13 and felt that she had arrived home. She vowed then that this would eventually be her long-term home.

9 years ago Danni left a good job with Disney in London. She worked in Marketing for Disney, and before that for Sky, and travelled a lot in Europe but decided to give up this life and go to Israel for 6 months. She got off the plane in Israel thinking that Israel was waiting for her and that she could bring her experience and knowledge and easily find a good job.  Danni went to several job interviews and was unsuccessful; even trying Disney which she found only employed 4 people in Israel. She found that salaries were very low.

Danni went on a camping trip with an American woman called Caryn Green who ran an English speaking centre for troubled children. This centre, Crossroads, reached out to help 750 – 1,000 children and cost approximately $200,000 per annum to run.  Danni thought that this was a small amount of money to raise and found that Caryn was getting no funds at all from the UK.  Danni realised that this was because the UK Jewish community, that gives so generously to support Israeli charities, simply didn’t know about Crossroads and Crossroads didn’t have the resources or manpower to reach the UK audience.

The way that Danni found she could help Caryn’s and other similar organisations with fundraising was to set up a non-political, non-religious charity called Myisrael  through  which people could fund small organisations and find the right way to make donations. It currently supports 15 small charities including a centre for elderly people to create craft packs for sale to shops and businesses, a rape crisis centre in the South of the country  and a free dental clinic for Jerusalem’s poorest children. The biggest problem is dealing with middle-eastern culture which is very different from England. She also has a few rockets flying overhead to deal with but really enjoys her work.

Myisrael helps to contact an international audience that these small charities do not know how to reach. They raise money separately to run Myisrael and there are about 15 donors who provide money for this charity’s own running costs. Last year Myisrael raised 2.2 million Euros for the small charities that it supports.

There were a number of questions from our club members:-

Vicki – How do you raise money; do you run ‘Events’?

Danni – Yes! We run quiz evenings and similar events in the UK. Most charities get 95% of their money from very few donors but we find that we need to inspire people to become fundraisers. For example, David Franks walked 5 kilometres after having both knee joints replaced and raised £3,000. Some people raise money from celebrations like 70th birthdays or Bar Mitzvahs by asking their friends to make a donation rather than giving a present. It’s particularly important to try to get kids involved.

The important thing about how Myisrael raises funds is that they always aim to let donors know the importance that every donation makes. They set fundraising goals for specific items and programmes. Danni learned from working in a charity, after graduating from university, that donors want and need to feel that they made a difference. A general mail shot that was sent out, asking for donations for an old people’s home, received £5k. Six months later, a letter asking for £65 to put a TV set into each of the resident’s rooms, raised four times that amount. Donors felt that they could positively impact another person’s life. Myisrael only does mailings on email, to save costs, and conveys real life examples wherever possible.

Vicki – How do you find the charities that Myisrael supports?

Danni – Caryn Green recommended some initially but now we get about 2 requests per week and have to really investigate each charity’s projects carefully. Sometimes we find that the budget contains a very large salary for 1 person e.g.  in one charity teaching young people to cook, a husband and wife and their 2 children were all taking salaries; this was just a family business with 2 unnecessary employees. They helped about 20 young people but could have helped 100 with the money.

The meeting closed at 4.0pm