Israel Reawakened

by Yonatan Ben-Dor

There is a revolution happening in Israel, have no doubt about it. It won’t end in bloodshed and probably won’t bring down a government, but it is going to change the face of Israel. Get ready, because it’s going to impact you too.

We Israelis all know what we don’t like about our country, and many of us in the non-profit sector work tirelessly to change those things. For many, many years, we tried to tell the public that things could be changed, could be made different. But they didn’t believe us, or were too tired to help us create that change. It is not a secret that the Israeli non-profit sector has been cut off from the public for too many years, and that our jobs were often thankless and lonely.

Now, all this has changed. For the first time in too long, the public is willing to believe: that Israel can and must be a better country, and that THEY have the power to make it so. I believe that this is going to dramatically affect the way the public sees non-profit causes, and relates to non-profit organizations. I believe that there will be a new openness and optimism for change, and a feeling of civic empowerment that we have not experienced in a long while. And I believe also that non-profits must be prepared, not only to deal with this change but to change the way you, as a non-profit leader, market your cause.

The public believes that they can create change; You want the public’s support. So, instead of saying how much impact YOUR ORGANIZATION makes, change your language and tell the public how much change THEY can make by working with and supporting your organization. Present yourself as THEIR agent for change, and talk about the impact THEY will make by donating to your cause.

It’s semantics, but it’s a critical difference that you must recognize and implement: the public feels empowered and need the tools to create change. Be THEIR tools. Give them hope, and show them how through you, they can change their country.

For our friends outside of Israel, now is the time to step up and support Israel’s civil society organizations. We are reinvigorated and hopeful, and we’re ready to be agents of change. But to create nationwide impact, we need financial resources. This is the time for an “Emergency Campaign” if there ever was one. We’re not at war, but the battle for Israel’s future has indeed begun.

Yonatan Ben-Dor is the director of IsraelGives.org, the main website of Israel’s non-profit sector.