Lesson 5 : Shared Resources

A Case Study: Are Your Donations Going Where You Think?

I am sharing this article. It is about a case study about fundraising transparency in non profit organizations. The name of the organization is Aish International. This case incites us  to consider how open an organization needs to be about the specific recipients of the funds it raises.

According to this article, it appears that Aish International failed to implement some of the ways to be transparent from the National Council of Non profits. “Be honest in solicitation materials and truthful and clear in communications with donors about how their gifts will be or have been used” . Ultimately, this case study shows us that mismanagement of funding, lack of transparency  and accountability lies in the hand of the board of directors but it can also lead to questioning the integrity of the executive director.



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6 Responses to Lesson 5 : Shared Resources

  1. r.daniel1 says:

    I believe the non profit world is filled with this sort of lack of transparency. A board of directors or an executive director are equally capable of being corrupted and of collusion to siphon funds from donors. This happens alot which is why I use charity navigator to check the quality of an organization before I make a donation. Thanks for bring up this topic.

  2. c.shkedy says:

    I definitely agree this is an example of lack of transparency, but also of accountability. Clearly the board of directors was not accountable to the organization and to their fiduciary responsibilities. The ED must have known also and therefore their integrity is questioned too.

    At the end of the article it says “Much of the debate over transparency has focused on whether or not the identities of donors need to be made public.” I’m not sure if donors have to be made public – perhaps some would be offended because it would basically cause any other organization to solicit them. Im not sure if that transparency would connect to donors… I’m curious of your thoughts?

  3. r.beiderman says:

    How is this not criminal? I clicked on a couple of the other links in the article, and I still can’t find any mention of where the money actually went. While I agree that there are lessons in transparency that can be addressed, this article seems to imply that Aish International participated in downright theft.

    The Board of Directors has a duty of obedience, to make sure that their organization is following the law. I would imagine that every member here might want to contact a very good lawyer.

  4. o.kushnir says:

    I am familiar with AishHaTorah and I know some people who participated in its programs in Jerusalem. Thank you for sharing this article, which does not come as a surprise to people who have been skeptical about Aish International for a few years. One observation I have is that this is occurring within a fairly discrete and insular community: the vast majority of donors to Aish International are conservative or orthodox Jews who want to support international Jewish education. I wonder whether this is a key factor that influenced what appears to be unethical fundraising behavior by Aish International. It could be that the organization’s leaders and fundraisers thought that everyone in the community is very trusting and share the same broad goals, so there would be little risk of anyone questioning the legitimacy of where donations were going. In contrast, humanitarian organizations that solicit contributions from a broader spectrum of society likely feel more accountable by default because various stakeholders are implicated and are more likely to speak up in response to wrongdoing or corruption.

  5. k.leiser says:

    This sounds like quite the case! Not only are nonprofits untruthful about where their donations are going, some are able to twist the truth and get away with it unfortunately. For example, I know that many fundraising galas often state “100% of your donation goes to support our programs.” Nonprofits can get away with this because they claim that their board of directors “underwrites” all of the costs of the event, therefore the individual donors get to put their gifts directly to the cause – is this truly the case, though? As a fundraiser, it’s unfortunate that we have nonprofits like Aish International that make the entire sector as a whole appear untrustworthy.

  6. jp045134 says:

    Thank you for sharing this article! This made me think about the accountability that non-profits should have to other non-profits and the sector as a whole. Cases like this one give the sector a bad name and make people even more skeptical about giving their hard earned money to charities that are out there doing great work and truly deserve the donations. People fear that most of their donation is actually used to cover extravagant salaries and perks for upper management (I have come across some articles which highlight how much of a $1 donation actually goes to the people an organization claims to help), but this case goes one step above that, with the money never reaching the intended organization.

    On a separate note, thanks to Rozaan Daniel for mentioning Charity Navigator. I’ll be sure to check that out.

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