MinistryWatch Guide To Giving To Support Israel
The horrific scenes coming from Israel – and news that at least 4,000 people have died – have caused many of our readers to ask: How can I help?
This request does not surprise me. When crisis hits around the world, especially in Israel, where many American Christians have visited and many millions more feel strong ties, Christians are often first in line to help. That’s a very good thing.
However, there’s a reason the Bible tells us to love God with our mind as well as our heart. At times like these, we should engage both. Far too many “bad actors” will use a disaster or crisis to fill their coffers. That’s why the need to do something, and to do something now, must be tempered with wisdom and discernment.
Below are a few principles and tips to keep in mind as you give to Israeli relief efforts. We also have our assessment of some ministries that are raising funds to help.
The Old Rules Apply. Just because there’s a crisis, that doesn’t mean a ministry that has been poorly run suddenly becomes well-run. In fact, often a crisis causes a weak organization to break. That’s why even in the midst of crisis and urgent appeals, take an extra moment to do your homework. MinistryWatch gives ministries a Donor Confidence Score, a Financial Efficiency Rating, and a Transparency Grade. (You can search on a ministry and check their scores here.) Don’t give money to poorly rated ministries, or to ministries that do share enough information to produce a rating.
Beware of “Matching Gifts” or “Challenge Gifts.” These sorts of giving schemes can be legitimate, but in times of crisis, they are often used to heighten the sense of urgency. Educate yourself about Challenge Gifts and Matching Gifts by clicking here.
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Boots on the Ground. When crisis erupts in a far corner of the world, it is too late to establish a presence there. Ministries that are the most effective are those who have already been operating there. They have “boots on the ground”: personnel, partners, processes, and infrastructure. Give to these ministries.
Ask Where The Money Is Going? Ministries with a real plan should be able to tell you where the money is going. If the fundraising appeal doesn’t specifically say so, ask. If the ministry doesn’t respond with clear and specific answers, it’s possible it is just using the crisis opportunistically, hoping for a financial windfall.
Ministries Recommended By MinistryWatch
We have compiled a list of ministries that have deep expertise in relief and development efforts, and who have high ratings from MinistryWatch. All of the ministries on this list have a “Give With Confidence” score from MinistryWatch.
Anglican Relief and Development Fund is fairly new, but gets high marks for financial efficiency, transparency, and overall effectiveness. It recently started an Israel War Relief fund.
The Joshua Fund was founded by best-selling author Joel C. Rosenberg and his wife Lynn in 2006, The Joshua Fund (TJF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to “blessing Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus, according to Genesis 12:1-3.” It works with Jews, Arabs and Palestinians living in Israel, the West Bank and neighboring nations (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria & Iraq). The Joshua Fund is one of MinistryWatch’s highest rated ministries.
Israel in Crisis Fund—International Christian Embassy Jerusalem – USA. The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was established in 1980 in recognition of the biblical significance of all of Jerusalem and its unique connection with the Jewish people. Today, it represents millions of Christians, churches, and denominations to the nation and people of Israel. It has set up an Israel in Crisis Fund. ICIJ has a Donor Confidence Score of 92, one of our top scores. You can give to this organization with confidence.
Middle East Bible Outreach. MEBO works closely with Middle Eastern Christian leaders on a multi-track mission to strengthen the witness of the Church in the Middle East. The family of ministries are six, locally-led, faith-based ministries united under the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development including the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, Dar Manhal Al Hayat publishing house, the Beirut Baptist School, SKILD Center (Smart Kids with Individual Learning Differences), Baptist Children and Youth Ministry, and MERATH (Middle East Revive and Thrive). MEBO has a Donor Confidence Score of 84, “Give With Confidence.” It is a member of the ECFA.
Mission Eurasia has created an iCare-Israel fund to designate gifts for Israel relief and support. Mission Eurasia is one of MinistryWatch’s top rated ministries, with a Donor Confidence Score of 97 out of 100.
One For Israel is an initiative of native-born Israelis on the forefront of high-tech media evangelism, proclaiming salvation to Israel, raising up spiritual leaders through One for Israel’s Bible College and equipping them with the tools they need to transform our communities. One for Israel is one of the highest rated ministries in the MinistryWatch 1000 database.
Operation Blessing has our top Financial Efficiency Rating (5 Stars) and an A Transparency Grade. You can give to this ministry with confidence that the dollars will go where they are supposed to go.
Samaritan’s Purse. Samaritan’s Purse has been active in Israel for years, and it has significantly stepped up efforts in the past few weeks. Samaritan’s Purse has some board governance issues we wish it would fix, but that is a conversation for another day. Among evangelical organizations, SP has unmatched experience in conflict zones.
World Vision is working in Israel in a variety of ways, and has been for decades. World Vision has a Transparency Grade of A, 4 out of 5 Stars for Financial Efficiency, and a Donor Confidence Score of 78, or “Give With Confidence.
Ministries We Wish We Could Recommend, But Don’t
Other ministries have been quick to respond, but because of a lack of transparency we are not enthusiastic about recommending them. The include:
Bridges For Peace. Bridges for Peace is working to build relationships between Christians and Jews and encouraging the church about its rich Biblical history and heritage. They assist Jewish immigrants and the poor in Israel by providing food baskets, blankets, and medical assistance. Unfortunately, this organization does not release its Form 990 to the public, which keeps us from giving it an unqualified endorsement.
Israel Relief Fund – The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. This ministry has a high Donor Confidence Score, but it does not release its Form 990 to the public. For that reason, and because there are so many other worthy alternatives, we recommend the other ministries on this list first. Give to this one only if you have a relationship with it and are confident you know where the money is going.
Jewish Voice Ministries International. This ministry also does not release its Form 990 to the public.
One Mission Society USA. This ministry does good work in the Middle East, but it does not release its Form 990s to the public, and it already has massive storehouses of money. It should deploy some of the resources it has before we can feel confident recommending this ministry.
International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. We have written about this ministry in the past, and we have serious recommendations about this ministry. It is not a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. It is not a Christian organization. It spends far too much money on fundraising.