First and foremost, we would like to express our deep gratitude to all those who answered our call and donated to the project and helped disseminate the Campaign. YOUR SUPPORT IS TRULY APPRECIATED. Thank you letters and gifts will be mailed shortly.
Our” Half-Shekel” campaign was launched on September 1st 2015 and lasted for four months. The Temple Mount Sifting Project is all about involving the community, and this campaign was the first time we invited the public to partake in helping fund the project. We chose the crowd funding approach, even though we didn’t know what to expect. This kind of platform, when used by non-profit organizations, is often used to help fund and promote social, medical or political causes, and usually not used for scientific research, let alone for archaeological research although many people find interest and value in it, they still prefer to donate to other causes.
We produced a video with an attempt to tell the story of the sifting project in an interesting and touching way for those who are less-acquainted with the story of the Temple Mount, its history and archaeology, as well as for those who are well acquainted and even for trained archaeologists. We knew that a short video would be essential for it to become viral, but we weren’t successful in finding a way to consolidate the story of the project in addition to explaining our financial needs to the non-aquatint in less than 7 minutes although we managed to have the Hebrew version shorter (5 min).
Eventually the Hebrew video became viral to some extend on Facebook and managed to reach 20 thousand people quite quickly with almost no paid promotion (a total of 27 thousand on both Facebook and YouTube). The English version, which was also available with translation subtitles in many languages, was less successful and eventually reached 50 thousand people (16 thousand people have visited the Half-Shekel Campaign website and more than 270 of them have donated. During the time of this campaign, we eventually managed to raise $35,440. The donations came mainly from English speaking countries and from Israel, but also from distant parts of the world such as Brazil, Chile, Singapore and other places.
A short while after the inception of the campaign, the political conflict concerning the Temple Mount became a hot topic in the media, and we weren’t sure if it detracted or motivated support of the campaign. We prefer avoiding politics as much as possible, especially since we are dealing with the most politically sensitive site in Israel, although certain aspects of our research may unavoidably have some political implications. The website has also been translated into Arabic, and attracted a relatively large percentage of visits from Arabic speaking countries, surprisingly, we received only few malicious comments, while hundreds of visitors shared the website and clicked like. Perhaps the scientifically oriented nature of the text helped to some extend to reduce the conflict fed by decisive and ignorant historical claims.
We are still far from reaching the project’s needs, and our funding efforts will proceed. This website will be maintained as a permanent funding website, and we will continue promoting it in various other ways.
You are all invited to continue supporting the project by sending a recurring donation and by sharing the websites of the Temple Mount Sifting Project.
With much gratitude,
Gabriel Barkay and Zachi Dvira