Sometimes international donors ask us, “Why doesn’t the local Palestinian community give more to support Dalia and other philanthropic efforts?” This question made us realize that to individuals accustomed to a Western model of giving that focuses on cash donations, local Palestinian philanthropy may take unfamiliar forms and thus go unnoticed.
This is not to say that our local contributors don’t make significant donations in cash! Dalia benefits from the generosity of many local financial supporters, including an increasing number of “sustainers” who have pledged to give regularly over time.
Still, for both practical and cultural reasons, a cash donation is not always the most obvious choice for local philanthropy. First, most people here don’t use checks and credit cards, so making a secure cash donation usually means a visit to the bank to make a wire transfer. In addition, most people prefer to give to individuals in need whom they know personally, which is the most common way to give in local religious traditions.
But despite the obstacles, if you look closely, you will discover that local giving is vibrant and extensive. It just looks different than it does in the West.
The most obvious form of local support consists of in-kind contributions. Since our founding, we’ve received tens of thousands of dollars worth of in-kind contributions, from rent-free office space to accounting and legal services to computer equipment and more. But we’ve also become aware of dozens of initiatives in which local Palestinians are finding creative ways to share resources and build community self-sufficiency. This realization has led Dalia Association to the enjoyable task of researching these initiatives and bringing them to public attention. The examples are numerous and inspirational, and we plan to post them here on a regular basis to demonstrate the vibrancy of local giving.