Meet Shai Waxman Abramson
I come from a family of doers. My grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins represented a kaleidoscope of political movements ranging from civil rights activists to Hashomer Hatzair to the unions. They were more likely to be found on the picket line or dredging a malaria-infested swamp in Israel than at home. My father, Henry Waxman, has served in the U.S. House of Representatives for close to four decades, fighting for the rights of the voiceless – the poor, the elderly and the young. My mother, Janet, is a social activist – championing the causes of multiple sclerosis, Syrian brides, women's health and Israel. In our home we were raised to believe that we could make a difference, and that it was our moral duty to do so.
Following the path less taken, I chose Israel as the place I wanted to make my mark. When I came in 1989, the still fledgling nation was bursting with unmet potential, passion, social strife and an indefatigable entrepreneurial spirit. It was exciting, raw, sweaty and inexplicably alluring. The Israeli belief that if you will it to happen it will drove the country to undreamed of highs, while the complex regional politics would unpredictably rear its ugly head and produce a side-swiping blow. In this dizzying environment I found my calling: bringing order to the chaos in my own modest way. It was all about going into businesses, helping them develop their visions, create business plans, hone their branding and communicate who they were to foreign investors.
For close to 15 years I ran the marcom company that I founded, Presentatzia, providing strategic planning and marketing communications solutions for companies such as Teva Pharmaceuticals, Intel, AudioCodes, Israel Aircraft Industries, Israel Military Industries and Koor Industries.
From 2002 to 2005, my family and I lived in Los Angeles, where I ran the Saban Family Foundation for Haim and Cheryl Saban. There I oversaw the allocation of more than $125 million to health, education and social welfare causes, both in the United States and Israel. Some of our major endeavors included the creation of the Saban Center on Mid East Policy at the Brookings Institute, the Saban Research Center at CHLA, as well as the Saban Children’s Hospital and Maternity Ward at Soroka Hospital, Beersheva.
While representing major donors who wanted to give significant support to Israel it became clear that it was imperative to have someone on the ground honing the giving strategy, identifying potential partners, doing due diligence and ensuring that projects proceeded smoothly. It also became increasingly apparent that many Israeli businesses and nonprofits did not have the in-house expertise to develop effective strategies for planning, positioning (branding) and investor/donor communications. With this in mind, we returned to Israel in 2005. I drew together a stellar team from the fields of foundation management, fundraising, marketing, communications, graphics and accounting, then threw open the doors of Shai Abramson Strategic Consulting Ltd (SASC).
Shai Abramson - CEO
With more than 25 years of experience in foundation management, strategic planning and public relations, Shai intimately understands both the needs of the grantee and of the donor. She is best known for her ability to develop inspiring strategies and fundraising plans that deliver bottom-line results. Prior to launching Shai Abramson Strategic Consulting Ltd., Shai headed the Saban Family Foundation in Los Angeles. Today, she continues to manage foundations and equips non-profit organizations with the tools they need to effectively compete in the North American and European markets. Prior to her work in philanthropy, she was the Founder and Director of Presentatzia, an Israel-based public relations/marcom firm representing investment banking firms, NASDAQ companies and much of the Israeli defense industry. She has served on the Executive Board of the Jewish Funders Network and has held numerous advisory positions for non-profits in Israel and Los Angeles. She attended Brandeis University and the University of California, Berkeley.
From halfway around the world, and separated by cultural and linguistic barriers, it can be difficult to feel secure that your philanthropic contributions to Israel are having the intended impact. At SASC, we understand that serious donors often want hands-on oversight. They want someone to be their eyes and ears on the ground, to identify tipping point opportunities, to match their passion with the right project, to engage like-minded donors in the endeavor, and to provide oversight. With our professional team at their side, donors can rest assured.
They say people give to people. True. But they also give because it makes them feel good.
In the nonprofit world, there is no substitute for nurturing donor relations. Fostering an atmosphere of trust and loyalty is paramount for creating the types of long-lasting partnerships that sustain the most successful NGOs. To us, this means establishing a clear vision for your nonprofit and helping leadership to execute this vision efficiently, effectively, and with the utmost professionalism. Of course, we also know that nonprofit work isn't just about business – it's about touching hearts. That's why all our nonprofit services are tailored to reflect your NGO's unique voice and help you reach those specific donors who care the most about your cause.
Branding is the way you answer your phone.
Branding is the appearance of your offices.
Branding is your mission.
Branding is your strategy.
Branding is your call to action.
Branding is the way you treat your clients.
Branding is your relationships with donors.
Branding is your people.
And, yes, branding is the visualization of your organization in your communication materials.
In short, branding is everything. We help our clients find their unique voice, messaging, look and feel, and we help them convey it throughout their organization and to the greater world.
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Tell them who you are at your core: your history, your values, your mission and your goals. Share with them the highs and be transparent about the lows. Demonstrate your leadership skills. Show them that you have built a strong foundation and that you have garnered wide-spread support. Inspire them with your vision and prove that you have what it takes to get there.
This cannot be achieved by simply sending quarterly or annual reports. An effective communications strategy is comprised of a combination of “strokes.” Depending upon what you are trying to accomplish, you will most likely want to have contact with your people at least twice a month. You will need to provide the basics – the annual report and the corporate profile – but you will also want to share your story in other ways. Send them invitations to special events, conference calls or webinars. Share a recent article or press release. Produce a jaw-dropping impact report. What about a YouTube video, a personal email or a fundraising appeal.
Whether you are running a national awareness campaign, a capital campaign or looking for mid-stage investors, having a well thought out communications plan provides the roadmap for deepening the connection with investors though ongoing dialogue and relationship-building communiqués.
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They almost never have the opportunity to take a step back, look at the Big Picture, and create well-thought out business plans, resource development strategies or annual communications plans. Yet this is exactly what they need.
Every major undertaking requires sound planning, including agreed-upon objectives, a well-defined work plan that includes a list of tasks and time deadlines, and a division of responsibility among the players responsible for carrying out each task. There’s no denying that these plans demand a high-level of clarity and purpose, as well as investment of considerable time. But they are critical to every business and nonprofit organization.
“No pain, no gain” only takes you so far in these hectic times. SASC steps in to make the process as painless as possible. We create high-impact strategies that serve as a roadmap. These plans ultimately streamline operations, keep people on track and focused, save time, energy and resources.
Business Plans | Resource Development Plans
Capital Campaigns | Annual Communications Calendars
It’s all about doing the math.
The EU grant application process is like a labyrinth: filled with twists and turns and unexpected speed bumps. For the untrained NGO, this complex system can be a nightmare to navigate. As a result, some of the most deserving organizations and programs simply miss out on this valuable fundraising opportunity. We have the experience to help. As part of our continued efforts to get more philanthropic dollars to Israel, we have invested great time and effort in assembling Israel's only team of certified European Neighborhood Policy grant-writing and reporting experts – a team that has already secured more than € 5,000,000 in grant money for Israeli NGOs. Together, our experts act as your personal compass, guiding your organization through every step of the EU application process, greatly increasing the ability of worthy programs to receive the funds they need to continue serving the community.
Shai Abramson Strategic Consulting Ltd.