Jewish National Fund is First Jewish Nonprofit to Eclipse $1 Million Online in One Year; 28 Percent of Online Donations Came From New Donors in 2003

NEW YORK , Jan. 19, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- End of year data for 2003 collected by Jewish National Fund (JNF), the No. 1 Jewish online fundraiser, showed that 28 percent of all people who gave to JNF online were new to the organization -- proof that JNF is at the technological forefront among nonprofits.

"These results are extremely encouraging. More and more people are comfortable with making purchases on the Internet and JNF has always been a leader in e-commerce and e-fundraising among nonprofits," according to Ken Markus, manager of Internet business technology at AOL Time Warner and Internet chairman on JNF's marketing committee.

Of the 19,100 donors that gave online, nearly 60 people gave more than $1,000, including three who gave $5,000 and one who donated $10,000. In addition, a strategic change by JNF in the last two weeks of December that allows donors to designate an action area for their donation accounted for contributions equaling 41 percent of the year's general online donations. Also, JNF's email database increased by 106 percent in 2003 to more than 100,000.

"It is clear that electronic fundraising is the future," said Ronald S. Lauder, JNF president. "We are giving people a way to connect with Israel 24 hours a day."

When JNF raised $325,000 online in 2001, the organization ranked second among Jewish charities for online philanthropy, based on a survey published in The Chronicle of Philanthropy in June 2002. In calendar year 2002, JNF raised $663,000 online, a 104 percent increase over 2001, placing the organization first among Jewish philanthropies for online fundraising. By applying e-commerce applications, JNF is ahead of most nonprofits, and has the potential to save its donors hundreds of thousands of dollars in administrative costs.

"JNF continues to lead philanthropic organizations with its use of the Internet. It has become an important part of the group's overall marketing strategy, and its leadership in e-commerce is a testament to its ability to keep abreast of trends and stay ahead of the curve in the fast-paced world of the Internet," Markus said.

In 2003, JNF began using Convio ( software to drive its Web site with personalized and customized content. Convio offers JNF a combination of e-philanthropy techniques, including localized emails to its 100,000-plus email database, and a sophisticated online store. Tracking features enable JNF to see how many email newsletters are opened, who donates and how much is donated as a result of the email, and which links in the emails are the most popular with recipients. JNF email newsletters are opened at a rate of 34 percent, significantly higher than the industry standard.

The JNF Web site is receiving an average of 67,000 hits per day since the new site launched in early February 2003, a 10-fold increase over the previous year, creating many more opportunities to raise awareness about JNF's work and to raise money through e-philanthropy. The average length of a visit to the Web site is about 10 minutes, with an average of three page views per visit. Seventy-four percent of all visitors to the JNF Web site are first-time visitors, while those who come back average three visits. Visitors to the site can order JNF's signature Blue Boxes (charity collection boxes), purchase a tree or other JNF products, obtain information about JNF missions to Israel or order special occasion invitations.

While many nonprofits are struggling to raise dollars and awareness online, few have kept up technologically, according to an article in the May issue of the Harvard Business Review. According to the article, co-authored by consultants from McKinsey & Company, Web-based fundraising could save significant sums of money for nonprofits like JNF that have a clear message.

JNF has a proven track record that includes a clear mission statement, guaranteed results, accomplishments, and a time-tested product in the tree certificates, which can be ordered online in honor of or in memory of a loved one or for a special occasion.

About Jewish National Fund

Jewish National Fund is a nonprofit organization founded in 1901 to serve as caretaker of the land of Israel on behalf of its owners - Jewish people everywhere. During the first half of the 20th century, JNF set out to achieve its goal by purchasing the land that would become the State of Israel. Following the successful establishment of the state in 1948, the organization has evolved to meet Israel's most pressing needs, including the current security crisis, ongoing water shortage and other environmental challenges. Over the past century, the organization has planted more than 240 million trees, built over 150 reservoirs and dams, developed over 250,000 acres of land, created more than 400 parks and educated students around the world about Israel and the environment. For more information on JNF or to plant trees in Israel, call 1-800-542-TREE (8733) or visit To contact a local office, please call 888-JNF-0099 or visit

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