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We want to thank the many AJFCA and IAJVS agencies that participated in the JFNA public policy survey. As you are likely aware, JFNA's annual public policy survey helps to create JFNA's yearly public policy priorities, which dictate the issues and direction on which JFNA advocates. Agencies' participation in this year's survey will ensure that the priorities of human service providers continue to be included in JFNA's policy agenda. 

To view the AJFCA/IAJVS specific results of the survey, please click here. If you have any questions regarding the survey, how the results were calculated, or our public policy advocacy, do not hesitate to contact Liz Leibowitz. We look forward to working with you in 2017 to advance these priorities. 

The steering committee is excited to announce that the NJHSA "Launch" Conference will take place in Chicago at the end of April 2018. There will be much more information to follow, and we will need lots of help planning this conference, so stay tuned for more information. Thanks to Paula Goldstein, CEO of Jewish Family and Children's Service in Philadelphia, for chairing the Launch Conference Committee and to Howard Sitron, CEO of Jewish Child and Family Services and JVS in Chicago, for hosting.
In a similar vein, NJHSA will be hosting a meeting October 28-30, 2017, for Agency Executives, at the Arizona Biltmore. This will be the first formal time for all 140+ Executives to gather. While there will be serious networking for all, there will also, of course, be compelling content. Stay tuned for more on this.

Last, many AJFCA Executives, who are on Facebook, have enjoyed the AJFCA Member Agency Executives (closed) FB page. Execs post questions or thoughts for others to see and respond to.  (The latest was, "I just had an interesting call with a colleague who is doing very forward thinking strategizing and coalition building and supporting around the issue of what is next vis a vis a change in the executive administration. His good point/question is where is NJHSA on this. My agency has barely done anything. Have others done things to gather people, reassure, assess, etc.?".) This has been a quick and easy way to communicate and share resources and ideas and concerns to further our work and network. This now is an NJHSA Member Agency Executives (closed) FB page. If you're on Facebook and want to be part of this group, click here and request to "Join Group." And then...use it!

Invitation: Legislative Update Webinar
What to Expect in 2017 From Washington, DC
Thursday, January 12, 2:30 pm EST 

A new Congress and Administration are about to take office, leaving human service agencies around the country wondering what to expect from the Federal government in 2017. To help agencies prepare, we are excited to invite you to join us for a legislative update webinar on Thursday, January 12, from 2:30 - 4:00 pm EST. The webinar will provide an opportunity for social service providers to hear from a number of speakers on the policy forecast for 2017. 

To RSVP, please email, Liz Leibowitz, Director of Government Affairs, with your first and last name, title, and agency. You will receive log-in information for the webinar once you have registered. While questions will be permitted during the webinar, participants are encouraged to also send questions along with their RSVP.

Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies

The International Association of Jewish Vocational Services (IAJVS) and Association of Jewish Family & Children's Agencies (AJFCA) have been meeting for over two years to form what is now called the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies (NJHSA).

The NJHSA will not be a merger but instead the creation of a vibrant international association to help all Jewish Human Service agencies to serve their constituents more effectively. In order to help accomplish our task, you guessed it, we’ve created lots of committees and subcommittees that are doing the heavy lifting. To guide the whole ship we have a Steering Committee comprised of:

  1. Kim Coulter, President & CEO, JVS, Toronto
  2. Paula Goldstein, CEO, Jewish Family and Children’s Service, Philadelphia
  3. June Gutterman, Co-chair, CEO, Jewish Family Service, Columbus
  4. Judy Halper, CEO, Jewish Family and Children’s Service, Minneapolis
  5. Danielle Hartman, CEO, Rales Jewish Family Service, Boca Raton
  6. Jim Kahn, Co-chair, Immediate Past President AJFCA and Jewish Family and Children’s Service, Philadelphia
  7. David Marcu, CEO, Israel Elwyn
  8. Perry Ohren, CEO, Jewish Family Service, Detroit
  9. Larry Reader, President AJFCA and Past President of Jewish Family and Children’s Service, Houston
  10. Leah Rosenbaum, CEO, JVS, Detroit
  11. Jerry Rubin, CEO, JVS, Boston
  12. Howard Sitron, CEO, Jewish Child & Family Services, Chicago
  13. Judy Freundlich Tiell, Executive Director, Jewish Family & Career Services, Louisville

The Steering Committee has been working very closely with consultants from Conscient Strategies, Hannah Romick and Nancy Kaplan. And all of us have working very closely with Genie Cohen, Chief Executive Officer, IAJVS, and Irv Katz, Interim Chief Executive Officer, AJFCA.

There are subcommittees in the following areas, most of which are currently working, some of which are done and some which will begin their work in the near future:

  1. Launch Conference
  2. Communications and Member Retention
  3. Executive Search
  4. Finance
  5. Fundraising
  6. Programs
  7. Organizational Culture
  8. Governance and Board Structure
  9. New Members
  10. Advocacy
  11. Revenue Research and Modeling
  12. Legal
  13. Name
  14. Location
  15. Structure, roles and responsibilities

These groups are populated by Steering Committee members along with executives from other IAJVS and or AJFCA member organizations. There’s a lot of activity going on in almost all areas, specifically CEO Search, Launch Conference, New Members, and Fundraising. We are pleased to report that we are on schedule to be operational in 2017. We will be reporting progress every other week as well as answering questions and concerns that arise.

NJHSA Update
November 23, 2016

Update from the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies Steering Committee

The members of the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies Steering Committee are excited to report that much progress has been made in its CEO Search and we are hopeful that an announcement regarding the Network's new CEO will be forthcoming shortly.

The AJFCA membership vote took place on November 14th. Over 70% (of 125 members) of the membership was represented. It is our pleasure to report that the resolution to ratify the merger between AJFCA and IAJVS passed overwhelmingly with no opposition and two abstentions. Please remember that this is a merger as a legal matter only. The reality is that the IAJVS Board, the AJFCA Board and now the AJFCA membership have voted to create the new Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies. This action clears the way for the Steering Committee to file the necessary legal documents with the Attorney General's office of the State of New York, where both agencies are incorporated.

Last, in joining forces to create the new Network, the Steering Committee wants to reassure this readership that the finances of both associations have been examined and each have been deemed to be in solid financial shape, making it easier, financially, to move forward.

NJHSA Update
November 8, 2016
AJFCA & IAJVS Boards Vote "Yes"

Many IAJVS and or AJFCA members are wondering about dues for next year and moving forward...

A large part of the impetus for the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies has been the reality that dues paying membership associations are becoming anachronistic. Toward creating a modern association that is not (as) dependent on dues, much discussion has happened and much activity still needs to happen. The NJHSA wants tocreate revenue streams, within its collective areas of expertise and experience, in order to provide valuable service and gain revenue from these, e.g., it’s possible that the NJHSA will sell market rate strategic planning services. Further, the NJHSA wants to form partnerships with entities in the for-profit world, creating win-win situations, e.g., a drugstore chain might partner with the NJHSA to provide geriatric care management for its customers. These are just
two illustrations of what is possible. At this time, however, this is aspirational, and will be worked on, in full force, during 2017. For the time being the Steering Committee is asking all agencies to budget neutral for the next year, i.e., whatever you paid (or will pay) for 2016 is what the NJHSA will need for 2017. After 2017, it is fully anticipated that dues will be somewhat alleviated by alternative revenue streams.

Lots of people have wondered what will be happening to the current Boards of Directors of IAJVS and AJFCA...
These Boards have worked hard, have been kept apprised of the NJHSA’s progress at regular intervals, and met on October 30th to approve the creation of NJHSA. Once NJHSA is officially/legally formed, both Boards will be sunsetted and can celebrate their accomplishments. The NJHSA interim Board of Directors will be comprised of the current Steering Committee members. However, soon after its creation a new Board will be formed (per the NJHSA’s bylaws) and will look different than either of the current Boards of Directors of IAJVS and AJFCA. While there may be
some executives and or lay leaders from our agencies on this Board it will also want/need to include other interested stakeholders, e.g., professional staff from interested foundations, business leaders whose businesses are interested in the work of the NJHSA, etc. In order for NJHSA to be much more than the sum of IAJVS and AJFCA, its Board needs to be populated by new thinkers who come from different places, backgrounds and industries, and who care deeply about the agencies where we all work.

Finally, on October 30, the IAJVS and AJFCA Boards met separately and both ratified the proposal to officially create the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies. Of course both Boards have greenlighted the activities over the last two years that have led to this momentous decision, but this makes it (almost) final. As the AJFCA is a member association, there needs to be a member vote, which will be happening on November 14. Pictured are members of both Boards. It’s really happening!.

Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies (NJHSA) Update
October 14, 2016

NJHSA - The new VIBRANT association to assist Jewish Human Service Agencies serve our constituents more effectively, through collaborative initiatives and collective impact.

Thank you for responding to the recent survey.  We appreciate your time and input.  We plan to address some of the key issues raised in the survey in our next few bi-weekly newsletter emails.

1. What is the plan is for the spring conferences that each association holds annually?

With NJHSA launching in early 2017 and with a new CEO coming on board around the same time, it was agreed that we will not be holding a spring conference in 2017.  We are hoping to hold Regional Meetings in the fall of 2017.  Stay tuned for the official announcement of the inaugural NJHSA conference in the spring of 2018. 

2. What will happen with the existing activities and opportunities that currently exist in each of the associations?

The steering committee has been working through issues such as how best to communicate with members, managing the legal transition to the new entity, assessing the financial viability of the new entity and beginning to research alternative revenue streams. At this time, we plan to continue all of the activities and opportunities that member agencies currently receive. This includes activities such as networking, learning, professional development, best practices, sectoral issues, etc.  We want to maintain the wealth of knowledge and sharing across the organizations.  We will review all activities during our first year of operating the new association to determine what will stay, what will go, what will transition, what will be new.   Your input along the way will be crucial.  

3.  What are the legalities of the process? 

For legal purposes we are merging the two associations, however, what we are doing in practice is creating something brand new.  We have a new name, a new vision and mission.  We will be open to many other agencies besides members of IAJVS and AJFCA. Legally we are being practical, organizationally we are excited about our new beginning.


Network of Human Service Agencies Update
September 23, 2016

Tremendous progress has been made in the last few months developing the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies (the Network). From this point forward there will be updates, reporting on subcommittees’ progress, as well as answering questions and concerns that many have brought up in response to the recent survey. To start:

Fundraising: Potential donors are beginning to take notice. The Lodestar Foundation has recently awarded the Network a $50,000 2:1 matching grant, and we are well on the way to obtaining the $100,000 match from other sources. These monies, and other grants from funders with whom we are now engaged, will help build new programs and greater value for our members, as well as allow us to develop permanent revenue streams that will eventually decrease reliance on dues.

CEO Search: The search for a CEO of the Network is continuing. Thank you for all of your referrals. Those referrals and responses to our posts on Jewish Jobs and Bridgespan garnered a wide variety of applicants, representing great diversity in background and experience. As we move from an initial candidate screening to more in depth candidate interviews, we are very confident that we will be able to hire the best of the best to lead the Network.

Transition: Both AJFCA and IAJVS will hold Board meetings the last weekend in October to vote to create the new organization. AJFCA member agencies will also be called upon to approve the new entity by an email vote. We are currently working closely with our attorneys to manage the organizational and legal matters. The plan is to have the Network begin operations early in 2017. In the meantime, we are continuing to integrate the day-to-day work of the two Associations.



On July 6th, with near unanimous support, the House of Representatives passed its version of mental health reform, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2016 (H.R. 2646). There is now unprecedented bipartisan agreement in both chambers of Congress on the need for mental health reform as the Senate is poised to vote on its own comprehensive mental health reform bill, the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 (S. 2680). Both bills contain a number of important provisions that would, if enacted, represent a major step forward in improving the nation’s behavioral healthcare system and would have significant implications for Jewish Federation partner agencies, like Jewish family and children’s agencies. Key elements of both bills include: expanding the resources for community crisis response; promoting the integration of health and mental health care; studying mental health and substance abuse parity; and improving coordination among federal agencies serving people with mental illness.

Please urge your senators to pass the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 without delay. Click here for more information about the mental health reform legislation. For questions on this or other advocacy efforts, please contact Liz Leibowitz, AJFCA’s Director of Government Affairs. 

In late June, JFNA issued an action alert to encourage community action in support of the IDEA Full Funding Act (H.R. 551). This bipartisan bill, which AJFCA also supports, would ensure that the federal government fulfills the promise it made to cover 40% of the cost of educating students with disabilities when it passed the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) in 1975. To date, this promise has never been fulfilled. Click here to learn more about the legislation and how you can encourage your member of Congress to support it.


AJFCA's Legislative Monthly Wrap Up is available. Its contents includes updates on recent developments regarding OAA Reauthorization Holocaust survivor guidance, mental health legislation currently being debated in Congress, and two public policy proposals that AJFCA believes would hurt the very clients our agencies serve. Click here to read about news in Washington, DC.

Crowdfunding is a popular and easy way for supporters around the world to help people in need. Nonprofits and donors need to be aware of the rules of the road-and the potential potholes-when designing and participating in crowdfunding campaigns. Continue reading here.

Understanding Crowdfunding after a Tragedy, June 28, 2016, Nonprofit Quarterly, by Michele Berger & Gene Takagi

AJFCA has much to offer member agencies this summer. Learn more about upcoming calls/webinars, programs and summits by viewing the AJFCA calendar.


Let the memory of all those lost in the attack at Pulse Nightclub be a blessing. May we honor their lives with our love, resilience, and will to build a better world. Add your name to the condolence message for the LGBTQ community of Orlando at keshetonline.org.

Commit to creating a truly LGBT inclusive atmosphere at your organization by joining the Keshet-AJFCA Leadership Project.

Join the Jewish Federations of Canada for an exciting opportunity for professionals and lay leaders to collaborate with colleagues and peers from across Canada on topics relevant to those invested in improving the lives of seniors. Learn more here.


The Executive Leadership Certificate Program (ELCP) - through a unique partnership between the National Human Services Assembly (NHSA), the Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Innovation at Arizona State University, and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs Executive Education at Indiana University-provides the foundation of knowledge a new or potential CEO needs to hit the ground running. It does so in a peer learning environment with an efficient combination of in-person and online sessions to accommodate working professionals. The expertise of the two universities, coupled with the peer cohort, makes the program uniquely valuable for new and promising leaders in the sector. Learn more here.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), commemorated every year on June 15th, is an opportunity to raise awareness, engage new partners, and renew our collective commitment to the cause of elder justice. Each year, WEAAD draws more participants, garners more attention, and moves us closer to our national goals for elder justice. No matter who you are, you can take action and play a part in this effort. Learn how to get involved here.

On June 10th, a new federal interagency task force on Mental Health Parity enforcement will be holding a listening session with Secretary of Health and Human Services, Sylvia Burwell, and Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Michael Botticelli. The session poses a unique opportunity to raise concerns as to whether AJFCA agencies providing mental health and/or substance abuse treatment services are encountering possible violations of the mental health parity law. Agencies that believe they have experienced violations or that know about state parity enforcement activities, are encouraged to contact Liz Leibowitz, AJFCA Director of Government Affairs.

In response to the increasing needs of Holocaust survivors living in the U.S., Representatives Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have introduced a bipartisan and bicameral concurrent resolution (H.Con.Res.129/S.Con.Res.36) that urges the German Government to fully fulfill its financial responsibility to provide for the ongoing needs of vulnerable Holocaust survivors. S.Con.Res.36 is currently circulating in the Senate for cosponsors and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. H.Con.Res.129 was passed out of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on May 18th and could be brought for a vote on the House floor in the coming weeks, though it continues to circulate for cosponsors. AJFCA supports this concurrent resolution as we believe it sends a strong message to the German Government regarding their responsibility to meet the immediate needs of Holocaust survivors. If you are interested in advocating for this resolution, we encourage you to contact your House and Senate members to urge them to cosponsor and vote for H.Con.Res.129/S.Con.Res.36. Senate offices can join as a cosponsor by contacting Matt Williams in Senator Nelson's office. House offices can join as a cosponsor by contacting Casey Kustin in Congressman Deutch's office. For more information, please email Liz Leibowitz, AJFCA's Director of Government Affairs.

On May 18th, the Department of Labor (DOL) released its final regulations that will change overtime pay rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The final rules, which will be effective as of December 1st, increase the minimum salary level for "white collar" employees to qualify as exempt from overtime pay requirements. Compared to the current minimum salary level of $23,660, the final rules state that no employee who has a guaranteed salary of less than $47,476 will qualify as exempt under the executive, administrative, or professional exemptions. Nonetheless, DOL also announced that it would delay enforcement of the rules for providers of Medicaid-funded services to people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in residential homes and facilities with 15 or fewer beds through March 17, 2019. These changes will not impact hourly or other non-exempt workers, who are already eligible for overtime pay. DOL has confirmed that there is no general exemption from overtime requirements for nonprofit employers and has created a fact sheet to aid nonprofits in complying with the new overtime rules. If you were unable to make the webinar on the rules changes hosted by Independent Sector and DOL, please find a recording here. AJFCA will continue to monitor this issue and will provide further information on learning opportunities for agencies as we learn of them. For more information, please contact Liz Leibowitz, AJFCA's Director of Government Affairs.

Heather Klain is the AmeriCorps VISTA member serving with Holocaust Community Services at CJE SeniorLife in Chicago, IL. Holocaust Community Services (HCS) provides social services, outreach and financial assistance to nearly 1200 of Chicagoland's Holocaust survivors. As a VISTA, Heather works to increase capacity and build community partnerships to address the needs of these survivors and many who are on the program's rolling "Wait List" in need of additional services. HCS services have doubled in the past three years, in response to an influx of requests for help from the now-recognized and eligible population of survivors from the Former Soviet Union (FSU). Heather manages the waitlist, tracking needs, and helps to foster relationships to community organizations that accept referrals for services such as food bank visits and pro bono dental work.

HCS aims to provide more than concrete services, and has developed many new socialization and education programs. During her time as VISTA, Heather has assisted in planning "Café Europa" socialization events that have included more than 250 survivors, as well as education events (such as free legal workshop regarding end-of-life planning), birthday and commemoration events. She engages and coordinates volunteers to assist with these events, and helps HCS staff in a myriad of ways each day.


Jewish Federation & Family Services, Orange County is pleased to announce the appointment of Arlene Miller as the new President & CEO effective July 1st. Arlene Miller comes to Orange County after an extraordinary 5 years as Chief Philanthropy Officer of Shalom Austin, an association of organizations that includes the Jewish Federation of Greater Austin, Jewish Family Service, the Jewish Community Center, and the Jewish Foundation of Austin & Central Texas.

There, she led the launch of the Jewish Foundation of Austin & Central Texas from concept to reality, and deepened relationship building and donor engagement as the core principles of the community's financial resource development strategy, among many other successes. She returns to California, the state where she began her career as a Jewish professional with Hillel at UCLA nearly 18 years ago. Miller has earned the respect and admiration of colleagues, donors and volunteers throughout the country. Learn more here.

Jewish Family Services of Delaware will celebrate the long and distinguished tenure of CEO Dory Zatuchni and the grand opening of the new Village Garden dedicated to her. The celebration will take place on June 1st in the garden outside of JFS's Wilmington office.

Dory's 20 years of devoted leadership of JFS is the capstone of a lifetime of service to the community and advocacy for vulnerable populations. Continue reading here.

The Board of Directors of Jewish Family & Children's Service of Greater Mercer County announced that it has selected Michelle Napell to become the agency's next Executive Director.

Ms. Napell will succeed Linda Meisel, who announced earlier this year that she is stepping down on June 30th, after 18 years as Executive Director. Michelle Napell will take over the role on July 1, 2016. Learn more here.

About 1% of the world population has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States. Autism Awareness Month aims to "promote autism awareness and acceptance and to draw attention to the tens of thousands facing an autism diagnosis each year." On April 2nd, World Autism Awareness Day, communities in nearly 150 countries participated in the Autism Speaks Light it Up Blue Campaign

How is your agency working to build awareness in your community? Share your programs and events on the AJFCA Disabilities Service Professionals Facebook page. Learn more about Autism and about Autism Awareness Month.

AJFCA was saddened by the House Judiciary Committee's vote earlier this month to advance H.R. 4731, the Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act, out of Committee. House Leadership must now decide whether or not to bring this bill, which AJFCA believes would have disastrous effects for U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program, to the House floor for a vote. It is vital that constituents who support refugee resettlement reach out to their House members, as well as House Leadership, and express opposition to this bill. Click here to read more about this bill and review talking points for those wishing to express their opposition to it.

Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services (GCJFCS) announced the appointment of Dr. Sandra E. Braham as the organization's new President/CEO, effective March 21st. Dr. Braham will replace Interim President/CEO Eric Feder,who has held the position since January 2015.

Dr. Braham, selected through a national search, brings more than 20 years of leadership experience in the not-for-profit sector. Most recently, she served for 10 years as Chief Executive Officer of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) El Paso del Norte Region, the largest YWCA in the nation. In this role, she led 450 employees, managed an annual budget of more than $30 million and supported a $9 million foundation. Learn more here.

The Board of Directors of Jewish Community Services of Baltimore announced that it has selected Joan Grayson Cohen to become the agency's next Executive Director.

Ms. Cohen, who is currently the Director of Economic Services at Jewish Community Services, has been a staff member of JCS and Jewish Family Services, one of its founding agencies, for 22 years. During this tenure, Ms. Cohen was responsible for the creation and management of a diverse array of programs and services. She will succeed Barbara Levy Gradet, who announced earlier this year that she is stepping down on June 30th after 12 years as Executive Director. 

On behalf of the JCS board of directors, President Ronald Attman said, "The Board is elated that Joan has accepted our offer to lead the agency. Joan is a proven leader who has earned the respect of the board and of the JCS staff through all of the good work that she has done on behalf of the people in our community. We are fortunate to have such an accomplished and visionary leader to guide us into the future. I also want to thank the members of the search committee, chaired by Allison Magat, for the many hours of conscientious work that they did leading to this excellent result."
Ms. Cohen holds a JD from the University of Maryland School of Law and an MSW from the University of Maryland School of Social Work. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker certified by the Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners. Ms. Cohen and her husband are active members of Beth El Congregation and they have 3 adult daughters. In 2009, Ms. Cohen was awarded the Daniel Thursz Distinguished Services Award in Jewish Communal Services by the Darrell Freedman Institute. 


In accepting the role of Executive Director, Joan Cohen said, "I am honored to be selected for the JCS Executive Director position. During my tenure, I have experienced firsthand the impact that JCS services and supports have had on the lives of thousands of individuals and families. The key to the success of the agency has been the outstanding commitment of the Board and Staff along with the tremendous support of The Associated and the Community. I am proud that, in this new role, I will have the opportunity to help sustain and further the mission of the agency." 

Ms. Cohen will begin in the position of Executive Director on July 1st.

Robert Marmor is the new President and CEO of Jewish Family Service of Northeastern New York. Prior to accepting this position Bob was HIAS' Chief Strategic Officer. 

AJFCA is delighted that he continues to dedicate his time to member agencies.

AJFCA and JFNA applauded the passage of the Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act, S.192, in the House of Representatives on Monday, March 21. The House passed version of S. 192, the Senate's version of the bill that passed in July 2015, included language related to Holocaust survivors for which both organizations have long advocated. In advance of the vote, AJFCA and JFNA sent a joint letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce voicing strong support for the legislation.

Because of changes in the House's version of the bill, S.192 will now return to the Senate for a vote. Should it pass there, it will head to the President's desk. We will continue to follow this bill and provide updates. If you have any questions regarding this bill, please email Liz Leibowitz.

Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta broke ground on March 17 to celebrate the start of construction on its Dunwoody campus expansion. Leaders from the community, JF&CS' capital campaign cabinet and generous donors to the campaign attended the ceremony, held on a beautiful sunny day. JF&CS will be renovating and expanding its facility to improve services for all clients as well as to accommodate a growing waitlist for specialized services. The nonsectarian nonprofit just completed an 18-month capital campaign to raise money for the project. The initial goal was $5.1 million, but it ended up totaling $6.6 million, thanks in part to a transformative gift from the Walter and Frances Bunzl Family Foundation that will name the new clinical services wing.

Jewish Family Service of Des Moines is AJFCA's newest member agency. Jody Caswell is the Director of the agency. We're excited to welcome them to the network.

Jewish Family Service of Cincinnati received a $60,000 grant from Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) to help Cincinnati's Jewish Holocaust survivors reduce isolation. The funding will be used to teach a variety of tablet-based programs to stay connected to family and friends.

Jewish Family Service Cincinnati is one of only 23 organizations to receive this funding through the JFNA's Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care, which was recently launched following an award from the United States Department of Health and Human Services for up to $12 million over 5 years to advance innovations in person-centered, trauma-informed services for Holocaust survivors in the United States.

A recent review of this program has shown that Holocaust survivors who have received care management services and participated in the programs offered by the Center for Holocaust Survivors have enjoyed a better quality of life, including timely attention to their healthcare needs, emotional support and encouragement to engage in life review and other counseling to help them deal with loss and memories of trauma. Learn more here.

Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a limited initiative to permit some Medicaid providers, such as long-term care facilities, behavioral health providers, substance abuse treatment centers, and others to connect to health information exchanges. An issue of importance to many AJFCA agencies, additional funding in this area could help some providers move forward in their efforts to coordinate patient care with physicians and hospitals in their communities through the use of health information technology. To learn more, we encourage you to read this memo created by our colleagues at JFNA's Strategic Healthcare Resource Center that provides an initial analysis of CMS' recent announcement.

The Interfaith Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, of which AJFCA is a member, is circulating a clergy sign-on letter for H.R. 3130, the Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act, and S.1520, the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act. These bills would close loopholes that currently allow some convicted abusers and all convicted stalkers to buy and own guns. If you think a clergy member in your community would be interested in joining the letter, we encourage you to share this information with them.

Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts is AJFCA's newest member agency. Maxine Stein, MSW is the President and CEO of the agency. We're excited to welcome them to the network.

On March 7th a group of Ruth & Norman Rales' professionals and one local Holocaust Survivor spoke to a congressional study group from Germany. Florida was their first stop on a three state tour as part of the study group meeting. Ted Deutch organized the Florida portion and that's how JFS were asked to participate. Those from the German group included many current members of the German parliament and three members of congress including Ted, Charlie Dent (PA) and a member from Nebraska.

The meeting with the Congressional Study Group from Germany was an extraordinary opportunity for JFS to have an honest and frank dialogue with members of the German Parliament about the aging Holocaust survivor populations living meeting with the Congressional Study Group from Germany was an extraordinary opportunity for JFS to have an honest and frank dialogue with members of the German Parliament about the aging Holocaust survivor populations living. The focus was to convey gratitude to the German government for the funding we as a nation receive through the Claims Conference but to also stress the vast unmet needs that are prevalent both here and nation wide. In addition to the presentation, the group was honored and humbled to hear the story of 88 year old Holocaust survivor, Norman Frajman, who survived the camps and lost over 120 members of his family in the Holocaust. The members expressed sincere respect and humility in hearing Norman's story and stressed their support in fighting antisemitism in Germany today as well as open to discuss increased funding for those in the most need.

The issue of get abuse, in which a husband refuses or delays giving a Jewish divorce to his spouse, is one of the unique forms of domestic abuse in our community. Educating the next generation about the issue and normalizing the use of the rabbinically approved pre-nuptial agreement will be key to ending this form of abuse.

JWI is developing an exciting and innovative national educational and public awareness campaign, Project Get Smart, for Orthodox teens.

Please complete this brief survey to help JWI learn about your current programs and your interest in participating as a direct service provider. JWI is seeking strong partners around the country to implement this project over the next two years.

On March 1, The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) proudly announced the distribution of $2.8 million in grants to 23 organizations through its Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care. These grantees will provide innovative person-centered, trauma-informed (PCTI) care to Holocaust survivors around the U.S. Grants were made possible by a public-private partnership between JFNA and the Federal Government, which selected JFNA to receive an award of up to $12 million over 5 years from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Community Living. In partnership with AJFCA and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, JFNA will provide technical assistance to the 23 grantees and more. To read further about the Center and the 2016 grant recipients, please read JFNA's press release and a Washington Post article on the announcement. Should you have questions regarding this topic, please email Shelley Rood, the Center's Director.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) continues to be tight-lipped about the status of the proposed regulations released last summer that would require employers to pay overtime wages to employees making $50,440 or less per year. Reports continue to indicate that DOL is diligently processing over 250,000 comments received and plan to release final regulations this summer with an effective date prior to the end of the calendar year. Learn more here. For more information, contact Liz Leibowitz.

In honor of the late CEO and his legacy of integrated healthcare innovation, the Governance Board and Executive Team at Jewish Family and Children's Service of Phoenix are pleased to announce the naming of the new state-of-the-art Catalina Health Center as The Michael R. Zent Healthcare Center.

Arizona Public Service awarded a $250,000 lead gift to JFCS Phoenix. The fund went toward the purchase and build-out of JFCS' Catalina Health Center, a new 24,000 square foot integrated primary medical and behavioral health clinic located in the Maryvale neighborhood of Phoenix. The new Catalina Health Center will serve 8,500 children, adolescents, and adults.  


HIAS's animated video, HIAS: For the Refugee was just announced as a finalist in the annual DoGooder Awards competition.

The DoGooder Video Awards spotlight the best and brightest videos for social good. Hosted with YouTube, the DoGooder Awards attract participants from across the globe and support social causes and organizations making change in the world. HIAS' video is one of only four finalists for Best Nonprofit Video of 2015, selected from more than 120 entries.

Voting is now open to the public and you can vote once per day, every day until March 21. The winners will be announced March 25. Cast your vote and help spread the word!

DoGooder Award winners are covered in major media and blogs including Fast Company, Mashable and the The Huffington Post. By voting for HIAS: For the Refugee, you will help HIAS and the message of welcome for refugees get noticed by millions of people across the web.


CityBiz List (an online publication geared toward business professionals) posted a two-part "Video Conversation with Barbara Levy Gradet, LCSW, Executive Director of Jewish Community Services of Baltimore."

Part one shares general information about JCS and part 2 focuses on the workforce development efforts. A link to the interview has been posted on the JCS Facebook page. You can also see the videos on the CityBizList website.  

Join AJFCA for a dynamic and informative conference full of networking opportunities and engaging speakers in sunny San Diego.  

Discuss trending topics with colleagues at this year's Networking Luncheons. Learn more here.

AJFCA's Director of Older Adult & Disabilities Services, Liz Woodward, was honored to be among the more than 100 attendees at the White House Convening on Inclusion of Americans with Disabilities in the Jewish Community. The meeting included speeches from Matt Nosanchuk, Associate Director & Liaison to the Jewish Community, Maria Town, Associate Director & Liaison to the Disability Community, both at the White House Office of Public Engagement, and Judith Heumann, Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the U.S. Department of State who discussed how far disability rights have come and how far we have yet to go both in the Jewish and general community. Opening remarks were followed by a panel discussion on the state of accessibility and inclusion with leaders from JFNA, Hillel International, Anachnu, and the Jewish Association for Developmental Disabilities with additional input from members of the audience. A major theme throughout the convening was the importance of listening to and partnering with those with expertise and experience in facing and overcoming barriers to access the Jewish community. By working together to take on the responsibility of being inclusive and sharing the expense of resources that make our communities more accessible, all members of the community benefit.

If your agency has an inclusion committee or coordinator please share details with Liz.

On February 9, the Administration released The President's Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017. The Budget contains a number of increases in programs of vital importance to the AJFCA community, including an
increase of over $28.4 million over the FY2016 enacted levels for the Administration for Community Living (ACL). ACL's programs serve older adults, people with disabilities, and their caregivers. To learn more,
click here and here. Of particular note, the President's Budget includes $2.5 million for Holocaust Survivors. If you have specific questions regarding the Budget, please email AJFCA's Director of Government Affairs, Liz Leibowitz.

On response to the escalating number of seniors struggling to put food on the table, Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger has launched the second year of its Solutions to Senior Hunger in partnership with the Association of Jewish Family & Children's Agencies. The initiative is designed to help low-income, food-insecure seniors get the nutrition assistance they need. Jewish Family & Children's Service in the greater Phoenix area is participating to help local seniors.

Solutions to Senior Hunger, which is generously funded by the Walmart Foundation, is designed to reduce the barriers that keep vulnerable seniors from enrolling in the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Learn more here.

Arizona Jewish Life, January 21, 2016

Click here to read articles published by AJFCA partners and 2016 Gold Sponsors, Mutual of America and CliftonLarsonAllen. Visit them in the Delegates' Lounge at the 2016 AJFCA Annual Conference in San Diego, May 15th and 16th.

AJFCA was proud to be among the co-sponsors of the 2016 JDAD on February 10th. During the meeting over 140 professionals and advocates from across the country came together to learn about and advocate for legislation impacting persons with disabilities and caregivers. Participants learned about disability policy in the Obama Administration, listened to a panel of experts discuss competitive integrated employment, received policy briefings on the Transition to Independence Act (S.1604), the Lifespan Respite Care reauthorization Act (H.R.3913) and the RAISE Family Caregivers Act (H.R.3099) from policy experts at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and AARP, enjoyed a luncheon featuring speeches by members of Congress, and spent the afternoon in advocacy meetings with members of the House of Representatives. Use the following links to read the legislative briefings for H.R.3099, H.R.3915 and S.1604 from the Jewish Federations of North America.

Imagine a world in which high performing, high potential university graduates are recruited to work in Jewish communal institutions with the same attractive and compelling packages offered to their classmates going into finance or law or corporate work. Continue reading here. 

Compensation and the Jewish Question, February 9, 2016, eJP, by Dr. Hal M. Lewis

International Women's Day, March 8th is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. International Women's Day (IWD) has been observed since in the early 1900's - a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies. 

Good management habits are the foundation of great leadership. They grow at the intersection of knowledge, skills and desire. Leaders are passionate about acquiring the knowledge available and marshaling the skills needed to get the job done right. Read the entire article here.

Good Management Habits are the Foundation of Great Leadership, January 29, 2016, SmartBlog, by Bobbie Goheen

Since 1918, Jewish Family Service of San Diego has empowered San Diegans to build better lives. While their purpose has remained constant, the way they work and communicate evolves along with their community. Today, they are proud to introduce you to the inspiring space where they will pursue their mission, and new branding that reflects their agency's energy and commitment to partnering with the community. 

The Joan & Irwin Jacobs Campus is the special place where their vision and values come alive. Learn more here

Member Agency Executives attending the 2016 AJFCA Annual Conference will have an opportunity to tour this new building. 

by Beth Huppin, Director, Project Kavid, JFS Seattle
I grew up in Spokane, down the street from my grandparents. They were early 20th century immigrants from Eastern Europe who arrived at a time before the term "refugee resettlement" had been coined. My grandfather, who fled the Ukraine because of pogroms, arrived in America as a teenager with his mother, joining his father who came earlier. My great-grandfather had established a small store but died of a burst appendix within a few months of the family's reunification. My 17-year-old grandfather was left to run the store and support his mother and an infant brother. 

Even though the store was quickly bankrupt, the local non-Jewish Russian-speaking lumberjacks found a way to buy the inventory and then gift it back to my grandfather so he could keep the business going. Why did those non-Jewish lumberjacks help my grandfather? Read the entire article posted on January 7th here

On January 27th, Jewish Family Service of Cincinnati promoted 
International Holocaust Remembrance Day on their Facebook page, via Twitter and in their monthly email sent to nearly 8,000 recipients.

JFS Cincinnati spent $5 to boost the International Holocaust Remembrance Day post for one day on Facebook and the response was amazing. In a day it reached 9,975 people, and got 586 likes, 37 comments, and 163 shares. And, 15 more likes to their page. Great engagement around a topic of critical importance.

This February, Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh is partnering with several Squirrel Hill organizations and the Chinese community of greater Pittsburgh to invite all Pittsburghers to a two week celebration of the Lunar New Year.  

This year's Lunar New Year is also known as the Year of the Red Fire Monkey. This family-friendly event is free and open to the public and will ring in the Lunar New Year with cultural performances, demonstrations in Asian arts and crafts, a parade and a taste of authentic flavors from Squirrel Hill's acclaimed Asian restaurants and eateries.

"JF&CS is looking forward to being a partner in bringing Pittsburghers together to celebrate Squirrel Hill's incredible international diversity," said Jordan Golin, Chief Operating Officer at JF&CS. "Many people think of Squirrel Hill as the 'Jewish neighborhood' of Pittsburgh, but Squirrel Hill is also home to a growing and diverse Asian population, so it's only fitting that we should come together to host this important and exciting cultural celebration." 

The ongoing global refugee crisis continues to draw attention to the experiences of refugees and what it is like to start life over in a new country. Jewish Family & Community Services of East Bay's Director of Refugee & Immigrant Services, Amy Weiss, was recently featured in a Huffington Post article detailing some of these stories. 

Learn more about their Refugee Resettlement and LGBT Refugee Services programs on their website.
Last month, Executive Director Avi Rose was featured in KQED Radio's Perspective series, speaking about the moral imperative to welcome refugees. "Now is the time for us to act on the best of our values." Listen here

Jewish Family and Children's Service of Minneapolis has been certified by Points of Light as a Service Enterprise. A Service Enterprise is an organization that fundamentally leverages volunteers and their skills throughout their organization to successfully deliver on its social mission. Less than 15 % of organizations nationwide can be characterized as Service Enterprises. Learn more here.

For more information on Service Enterprise certification contact Jennie and/or join AJFCA for Service Enterprise: How to Integrate Volunteer Engagement into Your Agency's  Strategic Plan & Use Service to Better Deliver on Your Social Mission at AJFCA's Annual Conference in San Diego this May.

The Senior Resource Connect Incentive Program is off to a great start! 25 agencies received a discount to the 2016 AJFCA Annual Conference by becoming Friends of Senior Resource Connect by the end of 2015. New agencies are always welcome to join and existing Friends of SRC can climb the incentive ladder to get more rewards at the annual conference. Learn more here and get involved!

AJFCA VISTA members both led and engaged in volunteer activities on MLK Day. Two VISTAs worked to support projects aimed at impacting food insecurity for community members living in poverty. See pictures and read more here.

The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) and Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization of America, Inc., are joining forces for the second year in a row to raise visibility during January - Human Trafficking Awareness Month. This effort is designed to unify a collective Jewish voice, online and on-the-ground in communities nationwide, to energize grassroots involvement and spur community action to #EndJHumanTrafficking. Learn more about AJFCA's participation here.

Janet Arnold wears two hats at Jewish Family & Children's Service of Phoenix; besides being the senior concierge, she provides help to seniors in need who seek to enroll in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the food stamp program.

This comes about through a partnership with MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, which on Dec. 1 announced it was continuing for a second year its Solutions to Senior Hunger program, conducted in partnership with the Association of Jewish Family & Children's Agencies and funded by the Walmart Foundation. The local JFCS is one of 13 agencies nationwide that is participating this year. Read the entire article published in the JewishNews, on Decmeber 16th here.

2015 was an especially accomplishing year for Project Extreme, an AJFCA member agency that provides unique, innovative and individualized attention and services to teens at-risk, their families and communities. In addition to our ongoing year-round programs, Project Extreme celebrated the one year anniversary of Miryam's House, a supportive living shelter for young women, 18 years and older. Miryam's House offers a safe and growth oriented home for those seeking additional encouragement, life skills, and healthy communication skills. Learn more here.

Jewish Child Care Association as a new look and new tagline. The agency decided to change their name to JCCA to more accurately reflect who they are and what they do. They have been known as Jewish Child Care Association since 1940. While the name accurately reflected their work and the population they served then, it does not fully reflect their work and the population they serve now. Of course, they continue to serve Jewish children in a range of programs and remain committed to Jewish continuity, but they also serve a large population of African-American and Latino children, and young people with a range of needs, from foster care to mental health services. They have chosen to use JCCA, the acronym by which they are generally known, as their official name.

The White House has released their report for the 2015 Conference on Aging. This past July the Administration held the 6th White House Conference on Aging, which was intended to focus attention on the issues and needs confronting seniors and those who serve them. Click here to view the report.

People with disabilities have many gifts and talents to share, as well as the need for community, support and comfort provided by Jewish organizations.

Participating in Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month in February gives your organization the opportunity to engage your entire community in the important work of ensuring that ALL Jews, without regard to ability, have access to Jewish life-to work, live, love, play, learn and worship as they choose, where they choose, and to contribute to this wonderful place we call our Jewish community.

The Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month Guide provides many resources and ideas to assist you in programming, whether in your own organization or as community-wide initiatives.

Please share your plans for JDAIM with the AJFCA network via the AJFCA Disabilities Services Professionals Facebook page.

The Interfaith Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, of which AJFCA is a member, will host a briefing call on Thursday, January 21st, at 12pm EST for coalition members, clergy, and lay leaders to learn more about the intersection of domestic violence and guns, as well as current legislation that has been introduced to deal with this issue. The call will feature a policy expert and a clergyperson. To sign up, click here.

Click here to learn more about how you can contribute to Repair the World's National Campaign to act for racial justice. Please note that if you are interested in applying for the 2016 AJFCA/Repair the World Young Ambassador Program, you'll want to be sure you are engaging with the campaign. Please don't hesitate reaching out to Jennie if you have any questions.

On September 30 of this year, Congress passed a short term continuing resolution (CR) that kept the government funded through December 11. It was hoped that members of Congress would be able to pass legislation this week, known as an omnibus spending bill, to set funding levels through fiscal year 2016. Unfortunately, as of Thursday, December 10, members in the Senate and the House have still been unable to agree on certain aspects of the legislation. 

On Thursday afternoon, the Senate passed a five day CR, and it appears likely that the House will pass the measure as well. This CR would give lawmakers until midnight on December 16 to finish work on the fiscal 2016 omnibus spending bill. One of the biggest roadblocks that Congress will have to overcome is the desire of some members to include controversial add-ons, known as "riders," to the bill to advance major policy objectives. The most high-profile rider debate has focused on whether or not to include language that would restrict entry of Syrian refugees into the United States. 

AJFCA encourages members of Congress to reach a final agreement by December 16 and to not include divisive riders that could lead to a government shutdown.

The German Bundestag decided on May 21, 2015 that former Soviet prisoners of war should receive a symbolic payment in recognition of their time in German detention. Members of the Soviet armed forces who were detained as prisoners of war by Germany in the Second World War may receive a one-time payment. Learn more here.

Each year the Jewish Federations of North America, a network of Jewish nonprofits across the United States and Canada, raises more than $900 million, much of it from women. The Federations established the Lions of Judah, a key component of its women's philanthropy program, 45 years ago. Today's Lions contribute at any of nine different giving levels ranging from $5,000 to $250,000. The nonprofit offers a variety of other programs to attract female donors at lower levels as well. Learn more here.

How One Charity Engages Women Through Events, December 2, 2015, Chronicle of Philanthropy, by Margie Fleming Glennon

Jewish Family Services of Milwaukee has hired Tom Martin, former President & CEO of Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin (FSNEW) in Green Bay, WI as an Interim President/CEO of JFS starting January 1, 2016.  Martin will 
fill in for current President/CEO Sylvan Leabman, who is retiring at the end of December. 

Martin retired from FSNEW in March 2014, after serving the agency for 27 years as Executive Director. Under his leadership, the organization grew from seven programs and 89 employees to more than 35 programs and a staff of nearly 400. 

The JFS Board's Transition Task Force is continuing to search for a permanent replacement and while that process continues the Board wanted to  assure that executive leadership was in place so that there would be  no gaps in service to clients and the community.

Hanukkah begins at sunset Sunday, and there will be six menorahs to light at Paula Goldstein's house.

"So we actually could set a nice little fire," said Goldstein, 58, president and chief executive of Jewish Family and Children's Service of Greater Philadelphia, a $13 million organization celebrating its 160th anniversary this year.

"One menorah somebody gave us, one we got when we were married, and then my children each have their own menorah, so we light them all," she said.

Jewish life is central to Goldstein, and in an unexpected way, her volunteer work helped her rise from social worker to chief executive. Read the entire article here

In response to the escalating number of seniors struggling to put food on the table, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger has launched the second year of its senior hunger initiative to help low-income, food-insecure seniors get the vital nutrition assistance they need. More specifically, Solutions to Senior Hunger™, which is conducted in partnership with the AJFCA and generously funded by the Walmart Foundation, is designed to reduce the barriers that keep vulnerable seniors from enrolling in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Learn more here.

It is reported that the United States Department of Labor will delay the implementation and may make some modest changes to the final regulations on overtime pay. According to DOL officials, the earliest they expect to issue final regulations will be late 2016 (toward the end of the Obama Administration).  DOL is currently wading through over 250,000 comments on the proposed regulations. There is speculation that the salary threshold may be lowered slightly from the $50,400 proposal.   Representatives from the charitable community have been attempting to set a meeting with senior DOL officials to discuss the implications of the proposed rules on the sector.

Infographics are all the rage these days, and not just because they're pretty. The popularity of infographics reflects some core truths that nonprofit communicators know well:

  • Your supporters want information that's easy to understand
  • People are bombarded by messages, and there's limited time to grab and keep their attention
  • Humans process visuals much easier and faster than text
  • Images and graphics are more memorable than words

Learn more here. 

Your Plan at a Glance: Visual Communications for Strategic Planning, November 18, 2015, NTEN, by Mark Miller

Efforts on the parts of a wide range of Jewish community groups to provide assistance to certain refugee groups in the Middle East have moved to a new level.

While plans are still being formulated, and not all the groups that have indicated a willingness to get involved in one way or another seem to know how it is that they might contribute, we are able to report movement in a number of areas.

Foremost among these is the incredibly successful fundraising effort initiated by the newly formed group, Winnipeg Friends of Israel, that has resulted in over $120,000 being donated toward the specific cause of bringing in Yazidi refugee families who are currently confined to camps in Turkey. Continue reading here.

Last year, more than 27,000 organizations in 68 countries came together to celebrate #GivingTuesday, which has inspired world-wide giving and generosity. 

This year all donations made to Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles on #GivingTuesday, December 1st, will be generously matched. That means your gift will make twice the difference in helping those in need! Watch JFS's video here.

Raleigh-Cary Jewish Family Service's Senior Connections program provides social work services to older adults and their families including assessment of needs, development of a plan to meet these needs, exploring options with a focus on quality aging, as well as linking older adults to resources to maintain their highest level of independence and dignity while remaining safe. Visit AJFC's Marketing Bank to view their brochure.

As a result of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, members of Congress return to work this week to decide how federal funding will be spent in 2016. AJFCA and JFNA are advocating for additional funding for the Older Americans Act (OAA), which will help invaluable programs that serve seniors and keep them healthy and at home. Because of inflation and previous cuts, OAA's current funding is insufficient to meet the needs of vulnerable seniors around the country. Furthermore, we are asking for members of Congress to include $2.5 million in funding for the Holocaust Survivors Assistance program, which will help secure funding for the new Holocaust Survivors Initiative. We encourage you to call your representative and senators to tell them why increased funding for these programs is important to you and your community. Please let AJFCA's Director of Government Affairs, Liz Leibowitz know if you have any questions or updates.

RespectAbility's new National Leadership Program will attract college and graduate students with or without disabilities who wish to enter the disability advocacy field. The program will offer hands-on work experiences and coaching over a period of at least nine weeks in a supportive environment. Fellows participating in the National Leadership Program will learn public policy, advocacy, and strategic communications techniques from top professionals through hands-on work. Learn more here

If you haven't yet nailed down your #GivingTuesday plan, you might feel like it's too late to have a successful campaign. Even if you have a campaign plan in place, you might feel a little stressed that #GivingTuesday is only 2 weeks away. Ok, maybe a lot stressed. Read more here.

Last-Minute #GivingTuesday Tips & Help, November 16, 2015, Network for Good, by Caryn Stein

On Monday evening, November 16, Lee Sherman and Shelley Rood attended the Blue Card Annual Benefit Tribute in New York City. It was a privilege to be present for the recognition of Elie Wiesel with the Richard C. Holbrooke Award for Social Justice, as well as our partners Alpha Omega and Henry Schein Cares receiving a humanitarian award for their Holocaust Survivors Oral Health Program, in which they are working with a number of our member agencies. We were also beaming with pride as Rachel Rosenberg, a participant in AJFCA's 2014-15 AmeriCorps VISTA program, received the Blue Card Young Leadership Award. And, both Matt Nosanchuk, from the White House Office of Public Engagement, and Vice President Joe Biden, in a video message, thanked us for our work on behalf of  Holocaust survivors through the VISTA program and our public-private partnership. We understand that the recognition that AJFCA receives is possible only because of the incredible work being done by our member agencies each and every day to bring dignity and respect to the Holcocaust survivors in their communities.  

by Ben Aase 

Summary - Conventional strategic planning is not likely to sustain your nonprofit financially. You need to link strategic thinking to your organization's capital needs.

Capitalization and financial sustainability are vital for nonprofits. 

The key question is how to achieve the capitalization necessary to deliver services, grow, and ensure financial endurance. 

There are two main reasons capitalization efforts may fall short: under funding of infrastructure and growth, and unintended penalties for the accumulation of flexible cash. But most nonprofit leaders know that capitalization and sustainability can be achieved in part by:

*    Building a stronger balance sheet

*    Encouraging liquidity 
*    Paying attention to depreciation and debt

*    Increasing financial literacy - particularly with boards
Continue reading here

MAX Interpersonal Career Coaching is an innovative, fully-inclusive, program for young Jewish adults within the Workforce Development department at Jewish Family Services in Columbus. MAX serves individuals with Social Cognitive deficits, and has recently celebrated 2 years in operation; through the generosity and vision of local philanthropists. 

MAX has successfully placed 19 individuals into full time, benefited employment, and 8 individuals into part time employment while completing school. That's 27 people employed, through a very nontraditional approach, in just 24 months! Most remarkably, after 1 year on the job 100% of MAXers are still working! MAXers are not just getting jobs, they are keeping jobs... and breaking so many stereotypes! Check out the video here.

The good news: more nonprofits are taking performance measurement seriously. We had a standing-room-only crowd for our workshop on "Demystifying Performance Measurement" at the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network conference. Whether we're drawn into it by the public fascination with "big data," by pressure from funders, or-ideally- because we genuinely want to understand how we're doing and how we could do better, the conversation is getting real.

Stephen Pratt, Partner, Director of Advisory Services presented with Marc Jacobs, CEO of Jewish Family Services of Metrowest. Continue reading here. 

You're on the Performance Measurement Train. Now what? November 16, 2015, rootcause.org, by Stephen Prat

After more than 70 years in obscurity, the diary of a Polish teenage girl which was found at Auschwitz in 1945 has been revealed for the first time.
Originally published by the Jewish Family & Children's Services of San Francisco's Holocaust Center in partnership with Lehrhaus Judaica, the newly edited and revised edition of Rywka's Diary has now been published by Harper Collins in the U.S. The book has also been translated and published in many other countries. See the press release about Rywka's Diary.

The newly discovered diary, written in the Lodz ghetto during World War II, is an astonishing historical document and a moving tribute to the many ordinary people whose lives where forever altered by the Holocaust. Accompanied by rich background materials, the book is destined to become an important source of inspiration for students of the Holocaust around the world.

Read more here.

Observed annually on November 20th, Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), was established fifteen years ago as a day set aside for remembering the lives of those gender expansive and gender non-conforming individuals who were viciously murdered for being themselves. Please join Keshet in advancing transgender inclusion in your Jewish community by observing Transgender Day of Remembrance. Resources and events taking place across the country can be found here.

Are you still trying to decide whether your organization should dive into a #GivingTuesday campaign? Each organization is unique, and you need to be realistic about your resources and your donors, but don't let the idea of doing two campaigns in one month scare you away. We've seen that organizations who kick off the year-end giving season with a #GivingTuesday campaign raise more overall in December than organizations who focus on the last-minute push alone. So, having a successful #GivingTuesday as well as a year-end push can be done. (Even by organizations with a small staff or a small list.) Learn more here.

#GivingTuesday and Year-End Fundraising: How to Do Both, September 22, 2015, The Nonprofit Marketing Blog, by Caryn Stein

The Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities honored five individuals and Jewish Family Service of Richmond for their work at its annual Richmond Humanitarian Awards Dinner on Thursday. The organization honored two judges, a college professor, a newspaper publisher, the head of the agency on aging and a 167-year-old agency started to help Civil War orphans.

The awards include three humanitarian awards, a distinguished merit citation and the Distinguished Virginian Award. Learn more here.

The Pittsburgh Business Times announced the winners of their annual list of the Best Places to Work in Western Pennsylvania. For the 10th consecutive year, Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh was named on that list. We are honored to be named among those selected for the award!

Additionally, JF&CS earned a place earlier this year on the annual Pittsburgh Post-Gazette list of Top Places to Work for the fourth consecutive year. The results of both awards are determined by the results of an anonymous survey of employees of companies and nonprofits throughout the region.

Travel to San Diego, Sunday, May 5th - Tuesday, May 17th for AJFCA's 2016 Annual Conference;  2.5 day interactive and informative experience for professional and lay leaders from AJFCA Jewish human service agencies. Share common experiences in leading Jewish family service agencies and learn interesting and innovative ideas from the field.   

San Diego embodies laid-back California culture. Breathe in the fresh ocean air at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, then enjoy a fresh fish taco in La Jolla. The naval aircrafts at the USS Midway Museum will have you standing at attention. A free Sunday concert at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion is the perfect way to unwind after a Saturday evening in the Gaslamp Quarter.  

Secure your room at the WESTIN SAN DIEGO (400 West Broadway | San Diego, CA 92101 | 619.239.4500) before April 26th under the AJFCA group block. The room rate is $209 and will be honored May 12th - May 20th on a space available basis.

On May 3, 2015, 'Right In Our Backyard' was the proud recipient of AJFCA's 2015 Goodman Award, which recognizes programs that are creative, sustainable and responsive to a community problem. Being the honoree entitled Samost Jewish Family & Children's Services to make a 90-minute 'train the trainers' presentation to colleagues at the AJFCA Annual Conference in Miami, Florida. The presentation focused on the creation and development of the addictions awareness program, and provided JFCS with a valuable opportunity to draw attention to a grassroots attempt to combat a growing, national problem. The education succeeded in fostering considerable interest in 'Right In Our Backyard' from AJFCA member organizations located outside of South Jersey.  

As a result, this year, in addition to local programming, JFCS is joining with other agencies to bring this critical information to their communities. On October 27th, in collaboration with Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties, and the Kulanu School of Jewish Studies, JFCS will be presenting Right In Our Backyard at Congregation Beth Israel, in Northfield, New Jersey. On November 8th, in conjunction with Jewish Community Services of Baltimore and Congregation Oheb Shalom, JFCS will be presenting in Baltimore, Maryland. Inspired by the JFCS program presentation in Florida, Jewish Family Service of Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren Counties created their own model of 'Right In Our Backyard', and will be presenting it to their community on October 28th. Click here to learn about The Drug Addiction Epidemic in Suburbia- Community Awareness Program:  'Right in Our Backyard'

The value of sharing resources among the AJFCA network is visible through programs like 'Right in Our Backyard,' which has proven to be a sustainable, replicable and most needed program.

How does a social service agency like Jewish Family Service of MetroWest, Massachusetts measure impact? It's a question we hear from constituents and Board members, donors and foundation leaders and it's a challenging question to answer. 

We can and do track all the pertinent numbers- client visits in homecare, test scores at Framingham's Wilson School, visits to our in-house food pantry- to name just a few. Yet none of these measures can provide a cumulative understanding of the impact of services and programs within the Metrowest community.

This year JFS Metrowest has begun a multi-year program to devise and implement a performance measurement and management system that will function as both a planning and evaluation tool. 

It will be used across the entire agency to answer the questions, 'What works?" and "How can it be changed if it doesn't?" Click here to view the report.

Jewish Family Services Portland, Maine, the social services arm of the Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine, is the first pantry in Maine to become a member of the National Diaper Bank Network

Diaper need is defined as the struggle to provide babies with clean, dry diapers. On average, a baby could go through 6-10 diapers in a day, costing approximately $936 a year. Diapers are not covered by food supplement programs and are an essential need in maintaining a baby's health and well-being.  

JFS Food Pantry specifically focuses on the needs of families and young children in the services provided, and has seen a steady increase in need among families for diapers and other non-food baby essentials. By joining the National Diaper Bank Network, JFS has the opportunity to purchase diapers in bulk at a significantly reduced cost to distribute not only to the JFS consumer base, but to dispense to other local pantries feeling a similar pressure to provide much sought after items. All diapers are provided free of charge.

Medicare Open Enrollment is October 15th  - December 7th. A patient's health needs change from year to year and their health plans may change benefits and costs each year too. That's why it's important for all Medicare beneficiaries to evaluate their coverage choices each fall. Encourage your patients to compare their current plan to new options so that they can see if they can lower their costs or find a plan that better suits their needs. Open Enrollment is the one time of year when ALL Medicare beneficiaries can see what new benefits options Medicare has to offer and make changes to their coverage. Learn more here.


Laverne Cox in Orange is the New Black, Caitlyn Jenner in Vanity Fair magazine, British boxing legend Kellie Maloney on tabloid covers - the "T" word has certainly found its way into mainstream media. Big time. Read the entire article here.

Trans is the New Gay: Acknowledging the "T" in LGBT, October 15, 2015, eJP, by Surat-Shaan Knan 

September was a record-setting month for charitable donations in response to the Syrian refugee crisis, according to officials at several aid organizations, the result of heavy media coverage. Still, the scale of the Syrian conflict and others, which have created a record 60-million displaced persons worldwide, coupled with years of donor silence, means resources are insufficient. Learn more here.

September a Record-Setting Month for Donations for Refugee Crisis, October 8, 2015, Chronicle of Philanthropy, by Megan O'Neil

by Rick Krueger, CliftonLarsonAllen

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that employers, insurers, and health care exchanges report certain information to the Internal Revenue Serce (IRS) in early 2016. Health coverage providers, including certain employers, will file information returns with the IRS and furnish statements to individuals in 2016 to report group health coverage information for calendar year 2015. Reporting is optional for calendar year 2014. 

The IRS requires reporting to determine whether employees have been offered affordable, minimum essential coverage, and whether the employer is subject to shared responsibility payments under the Internal Revenue Code. Continue reading here.

During the past few years I have made an effort to reconnect with former students and old friends. Many common themes arose over the course of these conversations, including a topic rarely discussed in public Jewish spaces.

I have lost track of the number of times I've sat down with a friend, a former student, or a parent of a former student, and heard about their struggles with mental illness - either their own illness or the illness of a loved one. No age is exempt, from children in grade school to grandparents. Continue reading Beth's blog here.

September 17, 2015, by Beth Huppin, Director, Project Kavod/Dignity, JFS Seattle

Mr. Brian Prousky has been appointed Executive Director of Jewish Family and Child Service of Greater Toronto effective January 4, 2016.
Brian comes to JF&CS with significant experience as a Social Worker, manager and director having worked predominately in the area of child welfare. Brian was a Social Worker at Jewish Family & Child for five years earlier in his career. He has held progressively senior positions, leading to his current role as Director of Services with Durham Children's Aid Society. A passionate advocate of children and families, Brian brings a client centered approach to his work that is collaborative and strategic.

During the month of October AJFCA will share pieces pertaining to Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Click here to read the what our agencies are sharing with their communities as they raise awareness surrounding Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
If your agency has a piece to share with the network please email Megan.


Dear Ally, a program of Jewish Family & Children's Services of Greater Philadelphia, is an anonymous online question and answer forum for Jewish lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) youth, parents and family members of LGBTQ individuals, professionals, and anyone else in need of support or with questions surrounding sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. We can learn from others' questions. Submit your letter anonymously and a response will be sent privately as well as posted on the Dear Ally page without identifiable information for others who may be in need of support.

In addition, JFCS has free postcard holders with Dear Ally postcards that they are offering to partners, to display in an office or resource/community space. Learn more here.


Sun Sentinel, October 1, 2015

Ruth and Norman Rales Jewish Family Services - the Boca Raton-based Jewish social-services agency - announced that the Norman & Ruth Rales Foundation has extended its commitment to the agency with a second $2.4 million gift.

The latest gift will be used to enhance the programs and services of the Center for Families & Children at Jewish Family Services  - which was established in 2014 through a grant from the foundation - as well as to create a new program at the center for children with special needs.

Danielle Hartman, JFS president and CEO, stated: "We are extremely grateful to the Norman & Ruth Rales Foundation for renewing its commitment to fund the Center for Families and Children - which was originally created to address unmet needs of families and children living in South Palm Beach County.


Marking the 2nd anniversary of the release of the 2013 Pew Research Center's Portrait of Jewish Americans, a highly diverse group of thought leaders from all around the United States has framed a "Statement on Jewish Vitality," advocating strategic responses to respond to the challenges to the Jewish future. American Jewry now stands at a crossroads. Our choices are stark: we either accept as inevitable the declining numbers of engaged Jews, or we work to expand the community and improve the quality of Jewish life going forward. Learn more here.

Strategic Directions for Jewish Life:  A Call to Action, October 1, 2015, eJP


It is with the deepest sadness that I share the news of the passing of our dear friend, mentor, and colleague, Bert Goldberg, z"l. Bert was the CEO of AJFCA for twenty-five years, during which time he built the foundation for the thriving network that is AJFCA today.
Bert loved his work in the Jewish social services sector and his influence is felt across North America and beyond. Most recently he was on the faculty at Rutgers University, sharing his wisdom and experience with a new generation of social workers. His legacy will continue.
All of the staff and board of AJFCA express our deepest condolences to Bert's wife Lorri and his children. May his memory be for a blessing.

Please contact Zahava for Bert's address.


On Tuesday, October 27th, AJFCA brought together professional and lay leaders from across the country for the 2015 AJFCA Advocacy Day in Washington, DC. The day started with policy briefings from JFNA, MAZON, and HIAS, followed by a meeting with White House officials from the Offices of Public Engagement and Management and Budget, as well as the Domestic Policy Council and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Attendees enjoyed lunch in the U.S. Capitol,

where they met with Members of the Senate and House of Representatives. Visits to Members' offices were held throughout the afternoon so our agencies could discuss policies impacting their work. Attendees advocated for the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, protecting social services from sequestration by passing a long-term budget deal, and protecting Social Security Disability Insurance. With news of the proposed budget deal on the table just the previous night, it was an exciting time to speak with Administration policy experts and Members of Congress about the policies that have impact on the AJFCA network. Read the AJFCA policy briefings here and view AJFCA's Facebook page to see pictures from Advocacy Day.

It is with great excitement that we are announcing the award by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services of the grant for support of services to Holocaust survivors. This almost $2.5 million grant also requires almost $1.6 million in matching funds, bringing the total value of the grant to $4M. The grant is renewable for four more years, pending availability of funds. The grant has been awarded to the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) in partnership with AJFCA and other Jewish communal organizations. Ninety per cent of these funds will be available in sub-grants for local communities and agencies to provide person-center, trauma-informed services to Holocaust survivors. Learn more here.


More than 20 Holocaust survivors from the New York City area were among a group of nearly 100 people in need receiving hearing aids Wednesday at an event at Yankee Stadium. The Starkey Hearing Foundation is providing the customized, digital hearing devices with backing from the New York Yankees, the Minnesota Vikings, the Wilf Family Foundations and the Jewish Federations of North America. Read the entire article here.

Yankees, Vikings Help Holocaust Survivors Receive Hearing Aids, September 29, 2015, USA Today, by Tom Pelissero


JIAS Toronto is a Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH) with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) with a mandate to welcome and support refugees seeking protection and refuge in Canada. With the situation in Syria at critical levels and millions of Syrians homeless, we are working with synagogues, community groups and individuals to sponsor Syrian refugees to the GTA. To date, we have signed memorandums of understanding, one with a private family and one with a local synagogue, to bring two Syrain refugee families to Toronto and reunite them with their families here. Learn more here.  


On August 10, Jewish Child & Family Services of Chicago welcomed 16 domestic violence professionals to its Skokie office for the first Association of Jewish Family & Children Agencies (AJFCA) Domestic Violence Professionals Fly-In. The participants came from all across the country, including Los Angeles, Cincinnati, West Palm Beach, Boston, Cleveland, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Washington D.C. and Detroit.

As this passionate group of colleagues energetically shared ideas and described the breadth of programming that is being accomplished, I couldn't help but reflect on how much has changed. Continue reading Amy Rubin, Senior Director of Community Services reflections here.     

Jewish Family Services of Delaware is proud to be named one of The News Journal's 2015 Top Workplaces in Delaware - an honor bestowed on Delaware companies based on surveys of staff members. JFS ranked 10th among small companies and received the Special Award for Job Meaningfulness.

"I love the work that I do and the positive impact that it has on the clients," wrote one of the employees.

"Counseling, youth advocacy, care management for families and older adults, and the JFS Food Pantry are all part of a holistic approach that meets our clients' needs."   

AJFCA sees each Member Agency as a Thought Leader. You are the informed opinion leaders and the go-to people in our fields of expertise. You are trusted sources who move and inspire people with innovative ideas. You turn ideas into reality, and know and show how to replicate your success.

During the month of September AJFCA will share your reflections with the network as we work together to raise awareness surrounding National Recovery and Hunger Awareness months. Click here to view AJFCA's archives to learn more about National Recovery and Hunger Awareness months from the AJFCA Network.

If your agency has a piece to share with the network please email Megan.

The National Human Services Assembly (National Assembly) submitted public comments on the Department of Labor's (DOL) proposed rule to update the exemptions to the overtime pay requirement under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). As you may know, the proposed rule, published on July 6, 2015, would increase the minimum salary threshold to approximately $50,000, below which employers would be required to pay the overtime wage rate for work in excess of forty hours per work week. Learn more here.

Update: The National Assembly Submits Comments to the Department of Labor on Overtime Pay Requirements, September 9, 2015, NHSA

The National Resource Center for Supported Decision Making, operated by Quality Trust, an ACL grantee, is expanding its library of supported decision-making resources. Supported decision-making empowers older adults and people with disabilities by ensuring that they are the ultimate decision-makers in their  lives. In addition, the model is flexible enough to allow people to receive support from others in some areas of their lives, while still maintaining overall self-determination and control.

Supported decision-making tools can include durable powers-of-attorney, advance directives, health care proxies, representative payee regimes, direct bank deposit systems, and peer support programs. Please submit materials to Shirley Bondon, Quality Trust's Health and Aging Policy Fellow.

AJFCA is seeking workshop proposals that present new and innovative information directly related to the operation of a Jewish human service agency. Successful proposals will be interactive, clear, and well-organized, with concrete take-aways for attendees. Sessions should examine challenges and present lessons learned measurable positive impact, and strategies for excellence. Replicable and engaging program ideas are preferred in the follow tracks.
  • Executive Team Leadership
  • Agency Services 
  • Fund Development & Marketing
  • Board Leadership
  • Volunteer/Young Adult Engagement
Prior to submitting, please carefully review the RFP Guidelines. This document contains important information on the Conference and detailed guidelines for each of the areas of focus. WORKSHOP PROPOSAL FORM. PROPOSAL DEADLINE: SEPTEMBER 25, 2015. Please email Zahava with questions. 

The 2015 AJFCA Advocacy Day will take place on Tuesday, October 27th in Washington, DC. Learn about public policies affecting your work, and advocate for your priorities at meetings at the White House and on Capitol Hill (lunch included). Register here.

Reserve your room at the Renaissance Washington, DC Dupont Circle Hotel (via the link) by calling 888-803-1298. Please identify yourself as part of the AJFCA group when making your reservation. The group rate is $219.00 per night, plus tax. Reservations must be made by October 3rd. Please contact Zahava at 410-843-7487 with questions.

The Steering Committee of the AJFCA CEO Council has drafted the following position statement to reflect our network's concern over events that have occurred and sadly continue to occur in cities across the globe.
We know that the power of our collective rests on joining our voices and our actions to promote social and economic justice. We invite all AJFCA members and partner agencies to share this statement and to act in support of justice using the list linked below.

"It is not your responsibility to complete the work, neither are you free to desist from it."
Pirkei Avot (Ethics of our Fathers) 2:16

As a people who have experienced and understand the implications of being a minority, it is a defining value to speak out on behalf of the disadvantaged and work toward justice wherever possible. In the daily work of Jewish social service agencies, we serve many people who struggle with poverty, hunger, and lack of opportunity. Events that have occurred throughout North America and globally in the past year inspire us, once again, to raise our voices in support of social and economic justice. We believe that every person carries a divine spark within, and as such deserves dignity and respect. We believe that the path to a stronger community rests on building connections among us that promote collective strength, not isolation. This is the time to grow in understanding and compassion, and to act to address these concerns. Together, our actions will take root so that poverty, hunger, and prejudice no longer have a place in our communities. As members of AJFCA there are many ways that you can act locally to address these concerns.

Generously supported by the Hadassah Foundation, Jewish Family Service of San Diego's Girls Give Back engages teen girls in fun, positive leadership and team-building activities and gives girls the opportunity to explore the community through hands-on service learning and advocacy projects.

Girls Give Back promotes Jewish values and the importance of Tikkun Olam while developing social-mindedness, critical thinking, healthy self-esteem, and empathy in high school girls.

In the past year, Girls Give Back teens:

- Volunteered more than 1,800 hours, earning the President's Gold Volunteer Service Award.
- Organized a middle-school girls empowerment program, Girls Unite!, for Jewish tweens in grades 6-8.
- Created a 50-foot mural for the San Diego Airport on the historic and contemporary struggles facing women and girls.
- Designed an advocacy campaign around the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and successfully secured three co-sponsors, including Susan Davis.
- Participated in a week-long experiential learning about homelessness and poverty in San Diego.

- Teens volunteered with eight different service providers to distribute food, work in shelters, and empower vulnerable teens.
- Hosted two community screenings of the award-winning documentary Girl Rising. More than 150 attendees learned about the importance of girls' education across the globe.

The Hadassah Foundation, which invests in social change to empower girls and women in Israel and the United States, has given $150,000 in grants to five American organizations that strengthen the leadership develop skills and capabilities of Jewish girls and young women. Jewish Family Service of San Diego was awarded $35,200 to strengthen leadership development opportunities for young Jewish women.
Learn more about Girls Give Back here. Read about the Hadassah Foundation's new grants for leadership development for Jewish teens and young women here.


Tracing the 120-plus years of Seattle's Jewish Family Service to the current day, Carolee Danz shows its uninterrupted history of giving and sharing in the book Shards of Light.

From its beginning as the Ladies' Hebrew Benevolent Society in 1892 to the current day, Seattle's JFS has taken the lead in helping those less fortunate. Pushing the definition of community beyond the close and familiar, JFS has served many outside its religious borders-immigrants from around the world struggling to understand their new home in the United States, people dealing with gender issues, Puget Sound residents seeking the expert counseling services of JFS staff, and more.     


Five of the Most Important Facts Everyone Gets Wrong About Social Security

Social Security has been around for 80 years, but it's still hard to get all of the facts straight. Only 28 percent of people passed a 10-question true or false quiz on Social Security benefits, according to a study by MassMutual Life Insurance Company. Learn more here.

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Click here to access Senior Resource Connect and stay current on the latest trends in older adult services.

AJFCA launched our new older adult services website, Senior Resource Connect this summer. The website aims to leverage the expertise of Jewish family services agencies assisting older adults in the community, increase referrals to member agency programs, streamline referrals between agencies, and act as an information hub on all matters of senior services.

Share this great news with your community. 

Quick-when was the last time you thought twice about a ramp outside a public building? How about a wheelchair-accessible bathroom? Do you even blink when you see a closed-captioning enabled TV? Most of these things are so common today that we barely remember how much has changed in the past 25 years. Read the rest of this op-ed on the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act written by William Daroff, JFNA's Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Director of the Washington Office here.

ADA Disabilities Law: A Dream Worth Celebrating, But Not Fully Realized, August 5, 2015 the algemeiner, by William Daroff

The new reforms proposed by the U.S. Department of Labor concerning overtime are meant to address issues for all employers-but nonprofits have to remember that they too are affected, and they ought to be prepared to weigh in or adjust. The new proposed DOL regulations expand overtime protections by doubling the minimum salary of white collar workers before they would be considered exempt from being paid time-and-a-half wages for working in excess of 40 hours, raising the minimum from $23,660 (or $455 a week) to $50,400 ($970 a week).

The Debate over Reforming Overtime Regulations, July 29, 2015, Nonprofit Quarterly, by Rick Cohen


This month has been a whirlwind of exciting activity and announcements for the Administration on Aging and the Administration for Community Living as a whole.  We celebrated the 50th anniversaries of the Older Americans Act and Medicare and Medicaid and the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which together with Social Security (which will celebrate its 80th anniversary in August), help enable older adults to live their later years in the homes and communities they choose.

This month, we also celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Area Agency on Aging network at the annual conference of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging.  And, of course, July included the sixth White House Conference on Aging, which brought together an unprecedented number of older adults, aging advocates, state and federal partners, community organizations, foundations, and private companies to address the needs of seniors and their families today and into the future.  The conference, along with the Healthy Aging Summit earlier this week, also gave us the chance to share updates on a number of programs with our partners in the aging network. Learn more here.

Recap: WHCOA, Healthy Aging Summit, July 31, 2015, Administration for Community Living


Thirty-six personal accounts of experiences during the Holocaust have been captured in To Tell Our Stories: Holocaust Survivors of Southern Arizona, a new book edited by Raisa Moroz and Richard Fenwick. Proceeds from book sales support the Holocaust Survivors Program (HSP) at Jewish Family & Children's Services of Southern Arizona.

"In 2009, I began asking my Russian-speaking clients to write stories about their lives, but I quickly realized that their stories would not be widely appreciated because of language barriers," says Moroz, who is a Russian immigrant and the manager of the Holocaust Survivors Program, which offers case management, home care, financial assistance and social opportunities.

In 2010, Fenwick, a poet and a retired United States Air Force Russian linguist, volunteered to curate this collection of stories and visit with Russian-speaking survivors. He translated stories written in Russian, transcribed verbally recorded stories as the project expanded, and reviewed stories written in English by Survivors from other parts of Europe.

Moroz and Fenwick's partnership continues with an open invitation to other Survivors in Southern Arizona to tell their stories. To date, 10 more Survivors have asked to be included in a second volume.

Music will soon fill the air in Naples, Florida for elders living with dementia. Jewish Family and Children's Services of Southwest Florida will be offering an exciting new program called "Music Makes Memories" to the members of its two weekly programs for people with various forms of dementia. Specialized music therapy will be provided to participants in the Men's Group, an Early Memory Loss program for gentlemen and in Better Together, a Group Respite program for people with more advanced dementia.

These two dementia-specific programs are based on the Brookdale Early Memory Loss (EML) and Group Respite models. The EML model includes memory enhancement and compensatory skill-building components, as well as a peer support element. Both models emphasize building on a member's strengths and abilities, and on providing meaningful, adult-appropriate activities. Teepa Snow's Positive Approach to Dementia is also incorporated into day-to-day activities and care of the program participants.

On August 14th, the Social Security Administration will celebrate 80 years of service to the public. As part of Social Security's 80th anniversary celebration, faith-based organizations are invited to participate in the SSA's Faith Week of Action, August 2nd-8th. This week will highlight America's most successful poverty prevention program and encourage the public to take advantage of Social Security's financial planning tools, including the online my Social Security. During this week agencies can host an event, share information about Social Security with their communities, and encourage clients to sign up for my Social Security.  See the toolkit here to get started.

In September VISTA member Adrienne Ognibene will be transitioning into a full-time position as the Jewish Social Service Agency's new Volunteer Coordinator. In this position Adrienne will be working with the Holocaust Survivor Program to coordinate all socialization events as well as the friendly visitor program and the Himmelfarb Mobile University program for the Senior Services Department.

Adrienne has been an invaluable resource for the organization during her year of service and the new position has been built largely on the work she conducted during this time, a true testament to the value of these efforts. AJFCA is thrilled to welcome Adrienne as a professional member of our network! 

Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley has collected gifts through their wildly successful Embrace-A-Family program for many years using up to 20 display boards like the one pictured here, mounted on easels throughout the community. Individuals take a tag, purchase the gift listed, and bring the unwrapped gift to the JFS office to be gifted to clients in need. They have also begun to use Amazon to maintain a list of gifts, allowing donors to make their purchase online and ship directly to the JFS office.
This program has become a huge outreach vehicle for their agency and the result each year in terms of publicity, gift donations, and donations has grown dramatically year over year. Their volunteer committee is always looking to build on the success of the program and are currently seeking examples from other agencies of what displays they might utilize in similar gift drives, hoping to gather some ideas to improve their display board template. If you have an interest in learning more about this model or have a similar program and would like to compare notes, please reach out to Lori Cinnamon, Coordinator of Volunteer Engagement at 408-357-7467.   

Member Agency Senior Service Professionals are invited to attend AJFCA's Midwest Older Adult Services Meeting on August 30th & 31st at Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit. Registration to those outside of the Midwest will open on July 1st. Click here to learn more.

The 2015 White House Conference on Aging will be held on July 13th. The conference will bring together government officials, members of the public, caregivers, older Americans, business leaders, and community leaders to discuss a vision for aging in the next decade. Click here to learn more.

Jewish Community Services of South Florida's 15th Annual Meeting on June 4th featured the results of an extensive study JCS commissioned from the Washington Economics Group (WEG) which determined that for every dollar in donations and funding spent to produce JCS programs, JCS generates an annual economic Impact of $32.47 for a total of $434 million. As J. Antonio Villamil, Founder and Principal of WEG, related in his keynote speech, the report details how JCS' highly efficient operations and low operating budget through partnerships with funding agencies, community organizations and local leaders continuously strengthen its outreach and expand its social and economic impacts with successful program outcomes.

"The importance of investing in our community's future by investing in JCS can't be overstated," said Fred Stock, JCS' President and CEO.  "Our programs bridging the gap between those who are struggling and those who are self-sufficient has a very positive economic and social impact on South Florida. A dollar invested in JCS today pays dividends for years to come in countless ways, such as moving people from dependency and taxpayer assistance to gainful employment; enabling seniors to continue to live at home rather than in government-subsidized healthcare facilities; building support networks that alleviate the economic and social consequences of addiction and violence; and providing kosher food and other assistance so that families can resume their productive place in society."

I believe it is every stakeholder's (including employees and members) responsibility to provide financially for the success of their organization. I also believe that there are many different ways to financially support your organization. One opportunity ... would be to bring the financial/business issues out of the back room. Read more here.

The Importance of an Open-Book Policy, June 26, 2015, eJP, by Yoram Samets

The word "training" is often synonymous with "professional development." While a training session can be quite useful for a professional, learning is by far the more enriching experience. Learn more here.

Training vs. Learning: A Different Conception of Professional Development, June 29, 2015, eJP, by Abigail Dauber Sterne

Jewish Family Service of Northeastern Pennsylvania (JFS NEPA) celebrated their 100th Annual Meeting on June 16, 2015.  The meeting was held at The Colonnade in Scranton, PA. Officers were elected.

Officers nominated to serve a one year term include (from left to right) Seth Gross (Treasurer), Jay Landau (President), Sheila Cutler (Secretary), Natalie Gelb (3rd Vice President), Elliot Schoenberg (2nd Vice President) and Eric Weinberg (1st Vice President)(not pictured).

Incoming President Jay Landau focused on increased attention to fundraising and branding for JFS during his speech. The evening was attended by over 125 people. Over $36,000 was raised from sponsorships.  


Great things are happening at Jewish Family Service of San Diego. On June 8, 2015, the Hadassah Foundation, headquartered in New York, NY, awarded the Bernice N. Tannenbaum Prize to Jessica Nare, Director of Leadership Programs JFS, in a ceremony at the UJA-Federation of New York. Learn more about the prize here.

United Way of San Diego County has award JFS a $450,000 grant to support the launch and implementation of the Linda Vista Kindergarten Readiness Network, beginning in July 2015. The grant is part of a nearly $2 million funding package that United Way has awarded to four community partnerships working to help the youngest San Diegans and their families succeed. Learn more about the grant here.

In 1965, President Johnson signed legislation to establish Medicare for the elderly and Medicaid for low-income adults, children, pregnant women, and people with disabilities. Since then, these programs have transformed the delivery of health care in the United States. They have greatly reduced the number of uninsured Americans and have become the standard bearers for quality and innovation in American health care. As part of the 50th anniversary celebration for these programs, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is collecting stories of how Medicare and Medicaid have made a difference for everyday Americans. Please click here to share your Medicare or Medicaid story.

World Refugee Day is held every year on June 20th. According to UNHCR, there are more than 50 million refugees around the world, half of which are women and children. This day is held in recognition of refugees around the world to celebrate their resilience and strength. For years, many countries and regions have been holding their own Refugee Days and even Weeks. Click here for World Refugee Day Events and ways to get involved in your own community!

Member Agency Domestic Violence Professionals are invited to attend AJFCA's Domestic Violence Professionals Fly In on Sunday, August 9th & Monday, August 10th at Jewish Child & Family Services of Chicago. Member agency domestic violence professionals will discuss engaging Jewish Institutions in education and policy development,  reaching out to the Orthodox community, long term outcomes and clinical and community work. There will be time for networking and facilitated discussions on key topics. We hope you will join your colleagues for this informative and energizing day. Learn more here.

AJFCA VISTA Project member Joyce Ofori at Samost Jewish Family & Children's Services of Southern New Jersey was nominated for and awarded the Schreibstein Award for Emerging Community Leadership offered through the Jewish Community Foundation, Inc. The Schreibstein Award and scholarship is designed to recognize an emerging volunteer or professional associated with the Jewish community.

The award is intended to provide the residents of Camden,Gloucester, or Burlington counties of New Jersey the opportunity to develop and enhance leadership skills for their volunteer or professional involvement.

Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services held its semi-annual gathering and luncheon for Holocaust Survivors, Café Europa, at B'nai Torah Congregation last week. Over 350 people comprised of Holocaust Survivors and their spouses or aides attended the event. Like the previous Café Europa, many new Holocaust Survivors joined JFS from northern Broward County and the Boynton/Lake Worth in addition to the Boca Raton and Delray Beach areas.

Attendees were treated to a luncheon while the Holocaust Survivor Band provided entertainment. At times there were large crowds on the dance floor as couples and groups of circle dancing occurred throughout the event.

The highlight for many came later in the program where survivors connected with other survivors from their home towns in Europe. This season's event matched people from Berlin, Odessa and Lodz among others. During previous events, survivors have found long lost friends whose friendship was made while in the same concentration camp. In most instances, they did not even know if the other survived.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was launched on June 15, 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations. Learn more here.

AJFCA is proud to support agencies that make education about elder abuse a priority. At the 2015 AJFCA Annual Conference representatives from JFS agencies in Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Ottawa presented their work on the Pan-Canadian Elder Abuse Awareness and Education Program for Ethnocultural Communities incorporating socio-drama performances. Learn more about this creative program on the AJFCA conference page.


Emerging Adulthood: Successful Transitioning from School to the Adult Community  
Deborah Fisher, Strategic Change Consultant at Jewish Foundation for Group Homes, will present on the elements of a program that promote transitions of young adults with disabilities from the safety and familiarity of their schools to the adult community. The Meaningful Opportunities for Successful Transitions (MOST™) program that addresses the growing needs of adults who either do not fit into existing programs, or who preferred to take time to focus on a particular skill or skills will be highlighted.

Emerging Adulthood
Wednesday, June 17th - 1pm EST - REGISTER HERE

Refugee and Migrant Sharing Platform 


The Red Cross, a 2015 AJFCA Annual Conference sponsor recently launched HumanitarianCommunity.com, an information sharing platform for refugee and migrant programs/organizations. More than 35 organizations actively participate by submitting content they'd like to share with the larger refugee and migrant community. Content can include blogs, newsletters, reports, event information, social media content, volunteer opportunities, etc. Submission are due the second Friday of each month. Subscribe here. Learn more about HumanitarianCommunity.com during a 45-minute conference call designed specifically for AJFCA member agencies.

Refugee and Migrant Sharing Platform
Thursday, June 25th - 2pm ET - REGISTER HERE
PresenterLiz Corrigan, International Department at American Red Cross

Disabilities Services Discussion Call:  Vocational Services
Join AJFCA professionals for an exploratory discussion call on vocational services and how new federal policies will impact the provision of these services to persons with disabilities. Liz Leibowitz, Senior Legislative Associate at the Jewish Federations of North America will share information on key policy changes related vocational services and assist in guiding a discussion. Plan to share your programs, experiences, outcomes, ideas and questions with other network members.

Vocational Services
Tuesday, July 7th - 2pm EDT - REGISTER HERE


Domestic Violence Professionals Fly In

Member Agency Domestic Violence Professionals are invited to attend AJFCA's Domestic Violence Professionals Fly In on Sunday, August 9th & Monday, August 10th at Jewish Child & Family Services of Chicago. Member agency domestic violence professionals will discuss engaging Jewish Institutions in education and policy development,  reaching out to the Orthodox community, long term outcomes and clinical and community work. There will be time for networking and facilitated discussions on key topics. We hope you will join your colleagues for this informative and energizing day. Learn more here.

Midwest Older Adult Services Meeting
Member Agency Senior Service Professionals are invited to attend AJFCA's Midwest Older Adult Services Meeting on Sunday, August 30th & Monday, August 31st at Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit. Registration to those outside of the Midwest will open on July 1st. Learn more here.

My name is Natasha Torres and I am an AmeriCorps VISTA serving at Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services in Boca Raton, FL. My agency's primary goal was for me to help sustain programs that have recently been established for our Holocaust Survivor clients. I work with 4 social workers who provide services to over 300 Holocaust survivors in our catch man area. Each is given a program to coordinate. I help sustain, organize, and improve these alongside them.

I work on the development of our Dental Assistance program for Survivors of the Holocaust. We launched DASH this year, partnering with dentists in our community who are willing to provide pro-bono services to our Holocaust survivor clients. In one year our agency has recruited 17 dentists and has saved over $50,000 in pro-bono services.

As I've settled into this agency I became further involved in our socialization programs for our survivors. Socialization is very important to our survivors; many of them constantly mention looking forward to our next socialization event, even while leaving from one. It makes us realize how important it is for their quality of life to be given opportunities to socialize with one another as well as with other members of our community. As a result, our agency has made it a priority to provide numerous socialization events alongside The Jewish Federation and Donna Klein Jewish Academy.  We have developed programs such as From March to Miriam, connecting our Holocaust survivor clients to High School students with the purpose of strengthening the bond between different generations, while promoting culture and education. We also host our Nosh & Nachas, a quarterly, mini Café Europa for Holocaust survivor clients of our agency to eat and schmooze. In addition to our Nosh & Nachas, we manage numerous other events with local synagogues and schools in order to educate, socialize, and perform mitzvoth between our holocaust survivors and our community.


My name is Loni Kaye and I'm an AmeriCorps VISTA serving at Bet Tzedek Legal Services in Los Angeles, California. The primary goal of my year of service is to expand Bet Tzedek's capacity to assist Holocaust survivors whose U.S. public benefits are threatened, reduced, or terminated. Tragically, up to 30% of all U.S. survivors live at or below the federal poverty level. Thus, many survivors rely on Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, and other U.S. government benefits to meet their basic needs. According to federal law, U.S. government agencies must disregard Holocaust survivors' reparations payments when determining their eligibility for need-based benefits. Unfortunately, U.S. agencies often mistakenly include Holocaust reparations in eligibility determinations, which can trigger a termination, reduction or over payment of vital benefits and result in unnecessary confusion, fear, depression, anxiety, and extreme financial hardship for survivors.


During my year of service, I have helped Bet Tzedek create trainings and materials on public benefits matters for advocates who are part of Bet Tzedek's Holocaust Survivors Justice Network (HSJN). The HSJN is a nationwide initiative created in 2008 that links social service agencies across the nation with law firms to provide free legal assistance to Holocaust survivors. Members of the Network can access a private "pro bono" website which includes a host of advocacy resources, such as training manuals, sample advocacy letters, and advocacy forms. If you are an attorney or social service provider and would like to join the Network, please call Bet Tzedek's Holocaust Program at 323-549-5883. In addition, please visit our website.

Thanks to our many AJFCA colleagues for your outreach to inquire about JFS and the Houston community. Until this morning we did not have power and connectivity and were limited in our ability to respond.

The floodwaters which rose quickly Monday night were devastating to an area in Houston which has the greatest concentration of Jewish residents in the city and many of our Jewish institutions. Three synagogues were flooded. It is estimated that 4000 homes took on water and many lives were lost. JFS is located in the heart of this area but gratefully did not become flooded. The JFS staff itself provides a snapshot of the impact. Seven staff members had water damage in their homes, including the home of our CEO who,  in a lighter moment, referred to the event  as "an equal opportunity flood", devastating property for people of all incomes and stages of life.

More about the impact of the flood on the Houston community can be found here.

We have learned that in these situations the news keeps the spotlight on for just a couple of days but the work continues long after. There are four ways people can help.

  • Able to give? Donate at www.houstonjewish.org/houstonflood
  • Able to provide physical labor (no training necessary)? Email Jfsvolunteer@gmail.com
  • Able to give gift cards for $50, $100, $200 or $500 good at groceries, pharmacies like Walgreens or CVS, big box stores like Target, Walmart, Lowes or Home Depot? Please drop them off or mail to:  Jewish Family Service at 4131 S. Braeswood Blvd., Houston, TX 77025. M-Th, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., F, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.   
  • If you have a contact in a business that can offer significant resources such as housing (especially needed) , furniture, mattresses, appliances, moving assistance and so forth, please email Adele at acroft@jfshouston.org to build database of resources for the coming months.

Those who need help can call JFS at 713 667 9336 or email  jfsstormhelp@gmail.com.

Thank you for all your heartfelt offers for help, many of which we are accessing. We are grateful for organizations dedicated to emergency responses such as Nechama which has already sprung into action. We are proud of the cooperative spirit of our Jewish community and moved by the many examples of neighbors helping neighbors.

For more information on the flood, click here.

Lee Sherman, AJFCA's CEO and Shelley Rood, JFNA's Senior Legislative Associate represented the Jewish social service network and federations at "Living with Dignity," a two-day conference calling for the benefits Holocaust survivors get not to be taxed and counted toward other benefit programs because it reduces their ability to qualify for low income programs. Learn more about the event held in Prague here.

Holocaust Meeting Calls on Nations to Do More for Survivors, May 27, 2015, ABC News, by Karel Janicek


The Naples Senior Center and Jewish Family & Community Services of Southwest Florida were featured on the PBS News Hour. Click here to view the Friday, May 22nd segment.

Click here to view the PBS website photo essay presenting a more in-depth look into the lives of the Naples Senior Center members featured in the story.  As one member says, "Without them (JFCS) we would be starving".

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) people, and their Allies, all across the country celebrate LGBTQ Pride in June. Pride events can be a great way for Jewish family and children's services agencies to show their solidarity with LGBTQ individuals within their communities! Using our shared Jewish values as a framework, Keshet will start the conversation by highlighting the importance of LGBTQ inclusion within a Jewish context.

Celebrating WITH Pride
Wednesday, June 10th - 1pm ET - REGISTER HERE

This year's May is Mental Health Month Campaign and Toolkit will use the theme B4Stage4 and will focus on how people can address their mental health early, rather than at "Stage 4" - when symptoms are more severe, and recovery a longer process. Learn more about Mental Health Month here.

A community is a place where people of similar background come together, a place where you don't have to go at life alone, a place where you're supported by those around you. The Jewish Abilities Alliance (JAA) is that community for individuals with disabilities and their families. No matter what stage of life you're in, the JAA connects people to resources and services within their community. Explore JAA here.To learn how to bring JAA to your community, contact Liz.

Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles is in the midst of what leadership is describing as a "new era," a $36 million capital campaign that will result in the renovation of its Freda Mohr Multipurpose Center and the relocation of its headquarters there.

JFS plans to take the senior-focused site just north of the bustling intersection of Fairfax Avenue and Beverly Boulevard and more than double the facility's size to 28,000 square feet, transforming it into the state-of-the-art JFS Lois and Richard Gunther Center deep in the heart of Jewish Los Angeles.

The lead gift for the campaign came from the local philanthropic couple after whom the new facility will be named. Lois Gunther previously served as JFS board president and is a longtime supporter; her husband is a board member of Americans for Peace Now and New Israel Fund. Learn more here.

Eva Kor, Holocaust Survivor, forgiveness advocate, and revered public speaker, told her story of survival and forgiveness, at AJFCA's 2015 Annual Conference Sunday Opening Plenary Lunch on May 3rd. Powered by a never-give-up attitude, Eva emerged from a trauma-filled childhood as a brilliant example of the human spirit's power to overcome.
Stu Jaffe, LCSW at Collat Jewish Family Service of Birmingham recently read a great book co-authored by the father-daughter team of Desmond and Mpho Tutu. The Book of Forgiving describes forgiving as a process for which we have to prepare and through which we have to move, in order to emotionally reach a new place. Read his blog, Our Forgiveness in Collat JFS's May 2015 Counselor Corner.

Representatives from AJFCA member agencies and Lee Sherman attended JFNA's Health and Long-Term Care Summit, which explored building alliances between providers, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and innovations at the state and federal levels of government.  The Summit took place at the Global Center for Health Innovation in Cleveland, Ohio. It provided an opportunity for Jewish family service agencies and Federations to network with healthcare providers and learn about ways they can partner and innovate to bring sustainable long-term care solutions to their communities.

AJFCA recently launched our new older adult services website, Senior Resource Connect. The website aims to leverage the expertise of Jewish family services agencies assisting older adults in the community, increase referrals to member agency programs, streamline referrals between agencies, and act as an information hub on all matters of senior services.

Has your agency gotten involved? Don't miss the chance to be listed as a member on this new platform. Make sure we have your information and contribute your resources for older adults and their caregivers to the site by emailing Liz.

May is Older Americans Month, and the Administration for Community Living is recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act (OAA) with the theme Get into the Act! Use this opportunity to educate your community, the media, and your elected officials about how the OAA helps seniors stay independent. Congress is in recess May 23-30-a great time to invite your lawmakers to see the OAA in action at your organization. Obtain resources and learn more here.

The National Human Services Assembly recently released the policy report, Breaking the Cycle of Poverty in Young Families: Two-Generation Policy Recommendations. The report identifies what needles need to be moved on federal, state, and local levels based on extensive dialogue with direct service providers and national policy advocates. It also addresses critical capacity building needs for organizations. For more information, please contact NHSA directly at policy@nassembly.org.

Liz Woodward, AJFCA's Director of Older Adult & Disabilities Services' blog, Embracing The Challenge Of Inclusion was featured on May 7th on the Ruderman Family Foundation's website. Click here to read her insightful message.

The 2015 AJFCA Annual Conference was a success thanks to the hospitality of the host community, Jewish Community Services of South Florida, our talented speakers and presenters and enthusiastic attendees and supportive sponsors. Please complete the Conference Evaluation Survey. Your feedback is valuable as we use the survey to help plan for next year. Click here to read Lee's conference message, access the attendee list, session presentations, and continuing education credit forms. Conference photos can be seen here.

Debby Perelmuter, LCSW, Vice President of Services in the Jewish Community at the Jewish Child Care Association and AJFCA Board Member will retire at the end of this month.

Debby has been on the staff at JCCA since 1998. Debby oversaw the Early Childhood Programs, Ametz Adoption Program, Compass Program, Two Together, Partners in Caring, the Bukharian Teen Lounge the the Kew Gardens Hills Youth Center.

Debby's retirement will enable her to visit with family scattered around the country, and allow her to focus on other interests and hobbies. Debby can be reached at perelfive@gmail.com. AJFCA wishes Debby all the best.

Feeding America released its annual Map the Meal Gap report with state, county, and congressional district data on overall and child food insecurity rates. The report also includes data on food cost variation by county and congressional district and the percent of food insecure populations likely eligible for federal nutrition programs. If you would like to share this data with your networks, we have sample blog posts and newsletter articles you can use. For more information and resources, please click here contact Eleni Towns, Policy Analyst.

The White House Conference on Aging released a policy brief on healthy aging, a key focus area for the 2015 Conference. The Policy Brief on Healthy Aging examines how Americans can enjoy long and healthy lives by maximizing their physical, mental, and social well-being. Members of the public are encouraged to share their thoughts in the comments section of the brief. By providing input, you'll be contributing to the 2015 Conference in a meaningful and concrete way.

AJFCA is gearing up to launch our new older adult services website, Senior Resource Connect. The website aims to leverage the expertise of Jewish family services agencies assisting older adults in the community, increase referrals to member agency programs, streamline referrals between agencies, and act as an information hub on all matters of senior services.

Has your agency gotten involved? Don't miss the chance to be listed as a member on this new platform. Make sure we have your information and contribute your resources for older adults and their caregivers to the site by emailing Liz.

Volunteers from Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services participated in International Good Deeds Day, this past Sunday, March 15th. International Good Deeds Day is an annual, global tradition that includes countless good deeds being done all around the world. Last year, over half a million participants in 50 countries worldwide gave over 2 million volunteer hours, making Good Deeds Day the largest and most far- reaching day of good deeds. People from all backgrounds, cultures, and ages have united around the simple idea of Good Deeds Day, and many continue to volunteer all year round.

Participants delivered Passover items to clients of the Jacobson Family Food Pantry, a program of JFS, which serves residents in need in the Boca Raton, Highland Beach and Delray Beach areas.  The March 15th effort alone impacted over 100 clients. The balance of deliveries to the remainder of Food Pantry clients will be made by JFS over the next 1-2 weeks.

Event Co-Chairs for the Good Deeds Day event were Lisa Goodman, Patti Jacobs and Robin Siegal.  Siegal, who delivered packages with her family commented, "As a volunteer I believe you get more than you give.  We had memorable experiences with our deliveries and we are grateful for the opportunity we have been given through JFS."

"We are very proud to have been part of Good Deeds Day," said Danielle N. Hartman, President and CEO of JFS.  "The timing could not have been more perfect.  Although we make bi-weekly deliveries to our Food Pantry clients, it was great to have kicked off our period of special Passover deliveries on Good Deeds Day.  These packages include many additional items above and beyond the regular allocation that are special for Passover, which begins April 3rd."

Jewish Family Service of Cincinnati is excited to announce that new funding will allow Cincinnati Holocaust survivors to receive significantly more aid in 2015.

A true collaborative effort among Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, Jewish Family Service of Cincinnati, and the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education ensures the survivors receive care and that their stories of strength are not forgotten.

In addition, the Claims Conference increased its allocation to Jewish Family Service by nearly 150%, earmarking most of this funding for homecare, the social service priority. Learn more here.

Jewish Family Service is hosting an information session on compensation and restitution issues for Jewish Holocaust survivors.

Ms. Deborah Kram, the Claims Conference's Client Outreach Manager, will guide a discussion on the Claims Conference's compensation programs from 10:30 am - 12 pm on Thursday, April 16, 2015 at the Mayerson JCC, 8485 Ridge Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45236. Adult children and grandchildren of survivors are welcome to attend. Learn more here.

CMS reminds health care professionals that March is National Nutrition Month®- a time to "Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle" with informed food choices now and throughout the year. This year's theme encourages consumers to adopt a healthy lifestyle that is focused on consuming fewer calories, making informed food choices, and getting daily exercise in order to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of chronic disease, and promote overall health. Learn more here.

Recently, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded $150 million in Section 811 Project Rental Assistance funding to help low-income people with disabilities remain in community settings and avoid homelessness. The funding was awarded to 25 State Housing Agencies to support permanent affordable rental housing and needed supportive services for nearly 4,600 households, many of whom are hoping to transition out of institutional settings back to the community. Read the HUD announcement and list of states receiving funding here.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services, is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2015 "Now is the Time" Project AWARE-Community (Short Title: NITT-AWARE-C) grants. The purpose of this program is to support the training of teachers and a broad array of actors who interact with youth through their programs at the community level, including parents, law enforcement, faith-based leaders, and other adults, in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) or Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA). Read the entire grant announcement here.

Repair the World's second Turn the Tables national campaign is now underway. The new campaign is tied to Passover and will focus on the issues of gentrification and neighborhood change. We had a great deal of momentum around our MLK Day Campaign, and this campaign allows us to continue to grow the Turn the Tables brand and connect it to the important work Repair is doing in our communities. Please get involved by promoting the campaign.

  • Spread the word. Engage your community in the campaign. (Click here for sample messaging, tweets and Facebook posts.)
  • Host a discussion and/or take action. Consider leading a conversation at your Passover seder (or another dinner in April) and/or taking action through weekly challenges that will follow the Passover kick-off.

Click here for more information.

The Jewish Federations of North America will hold its 7th Annual Health & Long-Term Care Summit May 20-21, 2015 in Cleveland, OH. This is the first time the summit will be held outside of Washington, DC and the first time registration is open to a larger audience. Lay and professional leaders from Jewish family service agencies are invited to attend. During the two days of the Summit, you can expect to walk away with a stronger base of knowledge in these areas: 

  • Community Collaboration in building healthcare alliances
  • Best Case Practices from visionary healthcare Leaders in the non-profit sector
  • Trend Forecasting from top Long-Term Care Experts & Analysts
  • Positioning your provider to take advantage of new funding streams
  • The role of Healthcare Foundations in supplementing government funding & private philanthropy
  • Government Officials who have profoundly impacted the health and long-term care landscape

Click here for the agenda. Register here.

The Honorable Ronald E. Richter, former Commissioner of New York City's Administration for Children's Services, has been chosen by the Board of Trustees of Jewish Child Care Association as the new Chief Executive Officer.

Currently a New York State Family Court Judge, Mr. Richter brings more than two decades of experience in child and family services and is highly regarded in the field. He will assume his responsibilities on May 18, 2015. He succeeds CEO Richard Altman who is retiring after 35 years of devoted service to JCCA and a total of 45 years in child and family services.
Peter Hauspurg, President of JCCA's Board of Trustees, said, "Ron Richter brings great expertise to this position and is an innovative and strategic thinker. He has a deep commitment to improving the lives of the vulnerable children and families we serve."

According to Mr. Richter, "I have worked with Richard Altman and JCCA for 13 years and respect their reputation for excellence. JCCA is an organization that puts young people first, taking some of the toughest cases and transforming lives. I want to build on that reputation and help shape city, state and federal policy on such critical issues as managed care, mental health and best practices for children and family services."

In the past 12 years, the number of JCCA programs has doubled to 40, the budget has doubled to $110 million, the staff has doubled to 1,400 and JCCA helps more than 16,000 children and families annually. JCCA serves vulnerable children of all backgrounds. Programs include foster care, mental health and preventive services, residential treatment, services to recent immigrants, education and early childhood services, and services to children with special needs. Its work is motivated by tikkun olam - the value in Jewish tradition that calls upon all of us to repair the world.


Volunteers from Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services will be participating in International Good Deeds Day, this Sunday, March 15th. Participants will be delivering Passover items to clients of the Jacobson Family Food Pantry, a program of JFS, which serves residents in need in the Boca Raton, Highland Beach and Delray Beach areas.  The March 15th effort alone is expected to impact over 100 clients. The balance of deliveries to the remainder of Food Pantry clients will be made by JFS over the next 1-2 weeks.  The food purchase and bagging of over 400 units have been completed and was donated by Addison Reserve Country Club.   Event Co-Chairs for the Good Deeds Day event are Lisa Goodman, Patti Jacobs and Robin Siegal.

by Mary Blake

Although the economy is starting to bounce back, searching for a job is still not easy, especially if you have a disability or any barrier to employment. But there are things that you can do to improve your chances of getting a job.
Here are a few tips to help you in your job search:
Get help - We all need a helping hand from time to time and luckily there are many resources, both public and private, that can be of assistance.  Click here for a few local resources and to read the entire blog.

Disability insurance and transportation needs were Wednesday's top agenda items as disability advocates from across the country converged on Capitol Hill for the fifth annual Jewish Disability Advocacy Day. The Jewish Disability Network's members and advocates met with congressional representatives to convey the necessity of passing Social Security Disability Insurance and disability transportation programs. Learn more here.

The Ruderman Family Foundation has announced the launch of the fourth annual Ruderman Prize in Inclusion global competition. The Prize aims to recognize organizations around the world who have demonstrated their commitment to the full inclusion of people with disabilities into the Jewish community through innovative programs and services. The $250,000 prize will be split equally by five organizations. Learn more here.

Ruderman Family Foundation Announces $250,000 Global Innovators in Inclusion Competition, March 3, 2015, eJP

Shalom Bayit means peace in the home. The Shalom Bayit Program provides short- and long-term assistance to those facing physical violence, or emotional or sexual abuse in their families or intimate relationships. We strive to prevent abuse and to mobilize the Jewish community to create the social change needed to end domestic violence. We provide educational programming, advocacy and consultation, and we work to dispel the myth that abuse does not occur in Jewish homes. Learn about Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta's Shalom Bayit program here.

JFS Volunteers will be participating in International Good Deeds Day, March 15th, to do good for the benefit of others and the planet, putting into practice the simple idea that every single person can do a good deed, be it large or small, to improve the lives of others and positively impact the world.

Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services is coordinating the effort of delivering Passover items to clients of the Jacobson Family Food Pantry which serves residents in need in the Boca Raton, Highland Beach and Delray Beach areas. The effort is expected to impact between 125 and 150 clients. The food purchase and bagging will be done in advance and donated by Addison Reserve Country Club. Event Co-Chairs for the Good Deeds Day event are Lisa Goodman, Patti Jacobs and Robin Siegal.

Good Deeds Day is an annual, global tradition that includes countless good deeds being done all around the world. Last year, over half a million participants in 50 countries worldwide gave over 2 million volunteer hours, making Good Deeds Day the largest and most far- reaching day of good deeds. People from all backgrounds, cultures, and ages have united around the simple idea of Good Deeds Day, and many continue to volunteer all year round.

Millions of viewers across the globe learned about Good Deeds Day through joint campaigns with MTV Global and ABC Network, In addition, NASDAQ honored the day in its Closing Bell ceremony.

Jewish Family Service of Colorado is partnering with Calvary Baptist Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mile High United Way, and Rose Medical Center on the second annual Easter/Passover Denver Community Food Drive to benefit the JFS Weinberg Food Pantry. The food drive will run March 21-29 at various synagogues, churches, and businesses throughout the Denver metro area that are joining this interfaith effort. The goal is to collect 10,000 pounds of donated food to feed the hungry at a time of year when food donations are traditionally low.

The Weinberg Food Pantry serves people of all faiths. It is the largest food pantry in southeast Denver and an important source of food and sustenance for people who have nowhere else to turn.

[The following article was written as a response to media attention to recent issues at a few Jewish social service agencies in New York City. We want to express that these particular instances are not representative of the financial health and outstanding work of other Jewish social service agencies in NYC, like our members the Jewish Board of Family & Children's Services and the Jewish Child Care Association, and across North America.]

Recently, with media attention to the closing of one New York Jewish social service agency and the potential closing of another, a number of articles have expressed concern over the continued viability of social service agencies that originated in and have supported their Jewish communities for generations.  While some clients may face disruption in service, there are Jewish agencies across North America that are present every day to care for and inspire their existing clients and those who will need their services in the future.

Jewish social service agencies today are complex organizations. They receive funding from multiple sources, including government, foundations, federations, individuals, and fees for service, all of which contribute to strong and stable balance sheets.  These agencies, through their skilled leaders, have weathered the Great Recession and recent government cutbacks, and continue to grow and expand, serving increased numbers of clients with new and innovative services.  Jewish traditions and values are core to the mission of each agency and its service to clients of all backgrounds.  Our local communities and the Jewish community globally need the work of these agencies.  Fortunately, they have the ability to continue to support their work and sustain them for future generations.

Many vital Jewish social service agencies belong to networks like the Association of Jewish Family & Children’s Agencies (AJFCA). AJFCA has 125 members including two in New York City.  Their connection to one another through these networks provides a forum to share ideas, information, and resources, leveraging the good work of each agency to strengthen the others.  In addition to providing the professional support that helps agencies thrive, AJFCA promotes a strong lay/professional relationship by providing support to member agency boards on issues ranging from executive oversight to strategic planning to fiscal responsibility.  Board leaders, especially those new to their role, find in the broader network the support and guidance they need to be good stewards of agency resources.

The networks provide a focal point from which to connect broadly in the Jewish community, bringing additional support and issue area expertise to the work of member Jewish social service agencies.  In this way national Jewish advocacy organizations reach community-based Jewish human service agencies to extend their work fighting hunger, isolation, and trauma on a local level.   Additionally, we join together with Federations and public action agencies to advocate for policies that are consistent with our shared Jewish tradition and values.  Fortified by their long history of service and deep awareness of society’s issues, Jewish human service agencies are especially well-suited to advocate for a just society in accordance with our traditions.  Our agencies are continually forging collaborations and connections that can strengthen the service delivery of Jewish human service agencies more broadly.  

B’yachad, together, we are there for those caring for aging relatives.  We are there for members of the community suffering illness and loss.  We lift up the unemployed and find meaningful ways to include people with disabilities in the fabric of our community.  Together, we grow and strive toward our vision of resilient families and stronger communities.  

James R. Kahn, Board Chair
Lee I. Sherman, President/CEO
Association of Jewish Family & Children’s Agencies

During the last blizzard, Delores Paredes trudged through the snow to look after an elderly couple she helps as a personal care homemaker for Jewish Family Service of MetroWest. On her day off, the Framingham resident bathed Ramon Camilo, a 101-year-old new citizen from the Dominican Republic, prepared meals for his wife and him and ensured they had enough food to get through the storm.

That mix of "professionalism and personal involvement,'' doesn't surprise Damaris Medina-Hernandez, home care manager for JFSM, who supervises Paredes and 21 others. Read the entire article here.

The Board of Directors of Agence Ometz announced that Howard Berger, Co-Executive Director, will retire effective April 30, 2015.

Since 2001, Howard has held leadership roles in Agencies providing critical services to the Jewish Community in Montreal.  As Executive Director for Jewish Employment Montreal (JEM - formerly Jewish Vocational Services) Howard built a strong and respected organization dedicated to helping native Jewish Montrealers and new arrivals hone their job seeking skills and to reaching out to the business community to secure employment opportunities for those so eager to work.  
Gail Small will remain in place as Executive Director. Continue reading here.

During the month of February, Jewish Child & Family Services of Chicago celebrated Jewish Disability Month (JDAM) and North American Inclusion Month (NAIM) by joining forces with agency affiliates to offer community-wide programs that raised awareness and responded to the needs, strengths, opportunities and challenges of people with disabilities and their families across the lifespan.

"Jewish Disability Awareness Month is the perfect time to showcase the depth of our year-round programs, events and services that continually build inclusive communities for children and adults with disabilities and their families," said Elizabeth Wyman, JCFS Senior Director, Services for People with Disabilities.

JCFS offers a variety of services and resources  including respite, community workshops, inclusive camps and recreation, assessment and testing, residential support for adults, education and support groups, and speech, occupational and developmental therapies.

Events throughout the month included:  "Policy, Advocacy, and You! Success in Community Living for People with Disabilities" highlights successful community living that is happening in the midst of dramatic changes in national and state polices impacting people with disabilities and seniors. This program is beneficial for people with disabilities, older adults, their family members and the professionals who work with them. Featured speakers include self-advocates as well as policy experts from Access Living and Health and Medicine Policy Group. Read more here.

The Horvitz YouthAbility Program of Jewish Family Service Association of Cleveland (JFSA Cleveland) builds positive relationships between at-risk and special needs youth, ages 14-22, through both the performing arts and volunteerism. The goals of the program are multi-disciplinary: through their experiences participants boost their self-esteem, develop leadership skills, strengthen their personal talents, develop communication and job skills, and explore possible careers. A unique feature of this program is the combination of at-risk and special needs youth as its primary membership. At-risk youth learn to mentor and connect with special needs youth, placing them in a leadership position they may never have experienced before.

YouthAbility participants represent a wide range of abilities, ethnicities, religions, socio-economic backgrounds, legal status and life experiences. Participants are referred from schools, vocational service associations, mental health facilities, police departments, juvenile court, counseling centers, county agencies, service centers for the disabled and individual families. Forty percent of the participants have developmental disabilities including Downs Syndrome, Autism, Spinal Bifida, blindness, jfsa clevelanddeafness, development disability, emotional disturbance, bi-polar, depression, personality disorder, stroke survivors, cancer survivors, complex medical conditions, narcolepsy, and catatonia. Sixty percent of the participants are at-risk teens facing challenges such as truancy, juvenile offenders, suspension or being expelled from school, foster care or disrupted foster placements, or disrupted adoptions.
At the core of YouthAbility is "PLAY!" (Perform, Learn, Affirm Yourself).  Each year participants explore, research, write, produce and perform a play centered on empowering youth by using a positive theme and message. The play is performed throughout the Greater Cleveland area at schools, religious and community organizations and taken on tour during annual out-of-state field trips. Not only do participants benefit directly from engaging in the artistic process of creating their own play, but community members who attend their performances learn more about and begin to appreciate the abilities of special needs and at-risk youth. In 2014, over 300 youth participated in YouthAbility, engaging in over 10,000 hours of arts programming.

The annual out-of-state field trips teach participants important life skills and resiliency. Some participants have never traveled outside of their own neighborhoods and this becomes an aspirational goal for many. To date, YouthAbility has performed at the International Friendship Festival in the Buffalo/Niagara area, Chicago, Philadelphia, Israel and New Orleans. In 2015, the group will travel to San Francisco. They have also lobbied members of Congress during a learning trip to Washington DC.

Before each trip, participants learn about the history and culture of their destination.  Each field trip provides participants with a unique learning experience that stays with them well after the trip is completed.

YouthAbility provides a safe and supportive environment where youth feel comfortable, allowing them room for growth. By providing access to positive activities, such as arts, travel and volunteering, youth begin to see alternatives to risky behavior. Adults working with YouthAbility (staff and volunteers) act as mentors. Because of the low-risk atmosphere, teens feel comfortable talking with the adults. The model used with this program differs from traditional social services because the youth are engaged in providing services, rather than receiving them. A key component to the philosophy is that through positive engagement, the participants' perceptions of themselves will change and improve.

A quarter-century ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act became the law of the land. That's 25 years of progress, of advances that have improved the lives of people with disabilities beyond what was previously possible. The Jewish community has joined in those efforts and sought to bring accessibility and awareness to the forefront. This February marks the seventh annual Jewish Disability Awareness Month, or JDAM. Read the entire article here.

Op-Ed:  Speak Out to Make U.S. More Inclusive for Disabled, February 23, 2015, JTA, by William Daroff & Lynne Landsberg

Please join AJFCA in signing a statement about the President's Executive Action on immigration. This statement, signed by national and local Jewish organizations, welcomes President Obama's executive action on immigration and urges Congress to enact meaningful reform to repair our immigration system. Agencies may read the letter and the list of current signers through this link.

If a client enrolled in a health plan through the Marketplace in 2014, they will receive Form 1095-A in the mail from the Marketplace by early February. It includes basic information that they'll need to know about their household's enrollment, premium payments, and premium tax credit amounts. Clients will need this form for filing taxes in order to fill out new Forms 8962 (Premium Tax Credit Form) and 8965 (Exemptions). If a client didn't have health coverage for all or part of 2014, their income taxes could be affected. They may have to qualify for a health coverage exemption or pay a fee with their federal income tax return. Learn more about exemptions here. 2014 Fees are $95 a person ($47.50 per child) or 1% of yearly household income. For more information about fees click here. Additional information about how the Affordable Care Act can impact taxes can be found here.

Jewish Family & Community Services of Jacksonville, Florida has identified a common challenge within its community:  lack of awareness and/or meeting the needs of children with disabilities who are students in their private day schools. Additionally, JFCS is working to open the door to families who desire to have their special needs child educated in a Jewish Day school but heretofore found a lack of support, special curriculum and/or counseling, all necessary for a positive outcome.

JFCS tackled the challenge head on by partnering with the Jewish Day Schools in their community by  hiring a school counselor, special education teacher, and providing teacher training to deal with the needs of students with disabilities. JFCS has found that education and support for parents of these talented children helps reduce the stigma associated among special students, unaffected siblings, parents, general population students, staff and the community. JFCS's involvement is the first time the needs of students with special needs have been addressed in the Jewish community, leading to rapid growth in sensitivity among school staff, families and importantly, identifying these students.
The program was developed after JFCS conducted a comprehensive needs assessment that identified a lack of knowledge, awareness and support for children in the Jewish Day School setting. In fact, according to Gail Furman, Manager of Jewish Services at JFCS, children with disabilities in Jacksonville receive little support in the private school setting, with schools forced to accept as little as 30 minutes to one hour of support per week. Therefore JFCS has tapped the Jewish Community to rally support (including financial) to provide these vital resources. The program, which launched this year, has made solid gains in identifying students who require extra support, which concurrently increases their chances for success, not only in school but as independent members of the Jewish community and society at large.

JFCS is working to increase awareness and acceptance within the community via education events and discussions with community members. Several community synagogues have begun developing inclusion committees and are increasing accessibility in their synagogues. The agency is sponsoring community events to raise awareness and support inclusion in their community throughout 2015 with a February Jewish Disability Awareness Month kick-off that offers a support workshop for siblings of children with disabilities. JFCS  is also sponsoring an inclusion panel discussion and subsequent sensitivity training for Jewish Day School students led by Batya Jacobs, Director to the Center for Inclusion and Special Education of Yachad/NJCD. JFCS has also partnered with Nemours Hospital Bright Start Reading Program to introduce to the community a nationally recognized speaker, Jonathan Mooney for another February event on "Growing Up Dyslexic."

To learn more about the work being done at JFCS Jacksonville to support children with disabilities contact Cindy Land, Community Inclusion Coordinator.

Hannah Mandel is the AmeriCorps VISTA member serving at Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles. With around 10,000 Holocaust survivors in Los Angeles, Hannah has completed a community needs assessment, identifying the most important issues affecting the different survivor communities including survivors from the Former Soviet Union, child survivors, and older survivors. Hannah has used this assessment to develop three new programs for JFS as well as created a manual on how to best work with survivors, which she uses to train volunteers in these programs.

For the first program, Hannah applied for and received a $10,000 grant from the County of Los Angeles to place iPads in the homes of homebound, socially isolated survivors. Hannah approached the LA Museum of the Holocaust and is partnering with their 3rd Generation group, having its members visit survivors at their homes bi-weekly to teach them how to use the iPads, helping them become technologically literate, learn to use applications such as Skype to communicate with family that may be in another state/country, and provide them with routine socialization. This year-long program addresses a population in dire need of new programming.

Secondly, Hannah connected JFS with Nachshon Minyan, a congregation in the San Fernando Valley, where 16 families volunteered to be paired with 16 survivors in the Valley, adopting them into their family for a year (though she expects the relationships will last much longer). These survivors were selected because of their homebound status, social isolation, and/or lack of family in the area. The families will visit the survivors once a month, call bi-weekly, and bring the survivors to services, establishing routine socialization, which will subsequently improve their health.

Furthermore, Hannah developed a monthly art therapy class for survivors, providing another outlet for the survivors to express themselves and socialize with one another. Hannah is honored to be working with the survivor community in Los Angeles, developing relationships with survivors that have changed her life and relationships that will continue well after her time in AmeriCorps VISTA.

The Board of Directors of Jewish Family Services of Northeastern New York has appointed Scott Hollander as Interim Executive Director. Scott has spent over 40 years in the Human Resources and Quality Management fields working with start-up companies and those undergoing rapid and dramatic change.

After his retirement, Scott was the Interim Executive Director of the Sidney Albert Albany Jewish Community Center for nine months. He has served as a volunteer and Board member with several nonprofit organizations in Albany County, New York and in Berkshire County in Massachusetts. He has been a Board Member at the Albany Jewish Community Center and also Congregation Ohav Shalom in Albany.

Kathy Brodsky has decided to retire from the Jewish Child Care Association at the end of February after 28 years, 6 as a consultant and then 23 years as Director of the Ametz Adoption Program.

Kathy has developed and grown the Ametz Adoption Program almost single-handedly and is recognized in New York, and around the country, as a leader in the field. Her knowledge, expertise and devotion have made Ametz a model for high quality, sensitive and individualized service. Recognizing her contribution to the field, she was named an Angel in Adoption by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption in 2011.

In light of Kathy's retirement, the difficult and changing world of adoption and the need for JCCA programs to be sustainable and mission central, JCCA's CEO Richard Altman and the JCCA board have made the difficult decision to close Ametz at the end of February.

Click here to REGISTER! View session descriptions and learn more about the Sunday evening Host Community event, Monday optional luncheons and Tuesday post-conference CEO Council here.


Over twenty years ago JFCS Greater Philadelphia, along with the Board of Rabbis and the Jewish Learning Venture, developed a program called "Gam Yahad" (meaning "all-together") for people with profound disabilities to foster participants' connection to the Jewish community during Jewish holidays in the five-county Philadelphia area. These Sunday afternoon celebrations were hosted by area synagogues and included enjoying Jewish music, singing, praying, crafting, socializing, and partaking in festive holiday foods. In its original form, the program was not inclusive in nature and provided holiday celebrations only for people with disabilities. Many of the participants lived in boarding homes or group homes, and for most this program was the only positive connection to Judaism and a community.

Recently and upon reflection, JFCS took the initiative to recreate, re-brand, and revitalize Gam Yahad by incorporating inclusive values and ideals into the essence of its structure. To begin, JFCS changed the name of the program to "In-JOY!" Inclusive Jewish Occasions Year-round. This new name reflects the refined mission, to facilitate inclusive community holiday celebrations. In-JOY now provides an avenue for people with disabilities to be included in mainstream Judaism's most important times of the year. Conjointly, JFCS's new mission of "inclusive holiday celebrations" includes working with host synagogues to invite their members, youth groups and lay-leaders and offers sensitivity and awareness training to these congregants, underscoring the core Jewish value of caring for all community members. Youth groups, college students, and young adults are particularly targeted as JFCS is committed to nurturing inclusive values for a whole new generation of future leaders and community members.

The end results have been phenomenal with 100 + people in attendance at each event from the five county Philadelphia area including:  people with disabilities living independently, with their families, in boarding homes or in residential settings, Repair the World fellows (a national post college Jewish volunteer organization), Philadelphia Federation Renaissance Group participants (a young adult Federation leadership group) college students, high school students participating in synagogue leadership programs, synagogue members, and community and JFCS volunteers of all ages.  JFCS has received enormous positive feedback. One participant said, "This was great. Next time, I'm bringing all my friends." A young adult remarked, "It was so amazing to see everyone smiling and dancing together for the Purim holiday." One new volunteer said that "it was so meaningful for her that she wants to come to each event from now on." To learn more about In-JOY email Lisa Ney.

The Jewish Week in partnership with the Ruderman Family Foundation is looking for your help in our identifying outstanding business employers in the North America who hire, train and support people with disabilities. "The surest path to full inclusion in our society comes from meaningful employment. People with disabilities are the most excluded members of our society because they are unemployed at the rate of seventy percent." Click here to learn more.

As you may recall, last week we informed our network and issued a press release that the Older Americans Act (OAA) Reauthorization, S. 192, was reported favorably by the Senate HELP Committee. We have just learned that the OAA may receive consideration on the Senate floor in the near future. Learn more here.

A new funding opportunity has been made available by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) for a Social Innovation Fund (SIF). The SIF grant will be awarded to programs aligning with CNCS' three focus areas: 1) Youth Development, 2) Economic Opportunity, and 3) Healthy Futures within low-income communities.  For more information about CNCS and their mission, please click here.  More details about the SIF grant can be found here.

Jewish Social Service Agency most vulnerable Holocaust survivor clients will be the beneficiary of a new eye care program that is being established through the outstanding generosity of community donors under the leadership of Dr. Michael Berenhaus.

Eyeglass lenses will be fabricated through donated optical lab services, and donated frames will be fitted at no cost to the survivors in five pre-selected Maryland/Northern Virginia "eye care sites." Medicaid and Medicare will cover the eye exam; the new eye care program will cover all other charges. Learn more here.

Jewish Family & Community Services of Southwest Florida is set to expand its senior center this month to 6,800 square feet thanks to grants from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, Patty and Jay Baker, the Brookedale Foundation and others.

Jaclynn Faffer, president and chief executive officer of JFCS, announced the organization has raised the $150,000 necessary to meet challenge grant from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation in less than five weeks.

The combined $300,000 is targeted for an extensive expansion at the organization's Senior Center, the first of its kind in Collier and southern Lee counties. Construction is scheduled for mid-January and will encompass approximately 6,800 square feet upon completion. Continue reading here.

Jewish News|by Shari S. Cohen

Getting older is challenging enough for many individuals, but for the dwindling number of Holocaust survivors, the aging process can be especially difficult. Survivors are more likely to be financially needy and often have few family members to help them. While their numbers dwindle each year, their needs often increase as they become frailer.

Fortunately, Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit has received a 106 percent increase in funds to help Holocaust survivors from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, known as the Claims Conference.

The $2.5 million allocation, compared with $1.2 million allocated to JFS for 2014, will be used  primarily for home care including housekeeping, cooking, dressing and bath-ing assistance for survivors. Continue reading here.

In observance of Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month, which aims to raise awareness and support efforts to foster inclusion in the Jewish community, AJFCA will be highlighting member agencies that promote inclusion of people with disabilities in their communities.

Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region-Committee on Inclusion and Disabilities

The Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region took a huge step towards supporting the inclusion of people with disabilities in the Jewish community in 2010 with the creation of the Committee on Inclusion and Disabilities (CID), a grassroots committee developed by professionals and parents in the Sacramento region with grant funding from the Federation. In 2011, CID became a formal committee under Federation's Jewish Family Service program with the mission of leading and promoting full participation in Jewish life for people with disabilities and their families within the Jewish community by increasing community awareness, removing barriers, changing negative exclusionary attitudes into a climate of acceptance and support by helping the community to think differently about persons with disabilities, promoting and developing models and champions of barrier-free life, and  developing new initiatives to promote inclusion.

Over the past five years in operation CID has developed numerous events and projects that raise awareness and educate community members about the needs, opportunities, strengths and barriers of people with disabilities in their community by featuring films, stories and activities that highlight people with disabilities at community events. The group has also increased access to information and activities in their community. For one such event, CID partnered with Sacramento's local public radio station affiliate for a transition panel called "My Child with Special Needs is Turning 18: Now What?" The panel included parents and professionals discussing conservatorships and special needs trusts, supportive living, transition from school-based services to Regional Center-funded services, and other related topics. CID has partnered with local agencies for calendaring events and to brainstorm about outreach strategies to reach more Jewish families in the Sacramento region. CID's current project is creating a Lending Library of various equipment for people with disabilities. In 2014, CID was honored for its efforts at the annual Inclusion Celebration, organized by Supported Life Institute, which "offers educational and training opportunities to assist individuals and organizations in the work of improving the quality of life for people with disabilities."
To learn more about the work being done at the Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region, email Elissa Provance.

Jewish nonprofits expressed both appreciation and disappointment as President Obama and his Administration revealed their FY2016 budget. The Jewish Federations of North America voiced concern over the limitation of the charitable tax deduction and funding cuts for important security and emergency programs, while expressing appreciation for the budget treatment of key programs for Holocaust survivors, older Americans and people with disabilities. Read the entire article here.

Jewish Federations Applaud Administration Commitment to Holocaust Survivors and Older Americans, February 2, 2015, JPR Wire, by Max Samis Rabinowitz

The Coalition on Human Needs is asking your organization to sign onto a new letter urging congressional leaders to take action to provide four years of renewed funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Last fall, we sent a similar letter to Hill leaders in support of a CHIP funding extension that was signed by an outstanding list of 1,200 state, local and national organizations, with representation from every state in the nation. Click here to learn more and sign on.

The Board of Directors has appointed Eric Feder as Interim CEO of Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services. Eric was the COO of Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg for 13 years, and is an accomplished healthcare executive with extensive experience in all areas of hospital and non-profit operational administration. He has served as a volunteer and Board member with several not for profit organizations in Pinellas County, including Habitat for Humanity and the Urban League.

Jay Miller, Board Chair of Gulf Coast JFCS thanks everyone at AJFCA for their support and commitment to the agency. The mission continues and will always be to provide essential human services to individuals and families in times of need.

Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans is pleased to announce it has hired a new Executive Director, Roselle M. Ungar, CFRE. Ungar brings more than three decades of experience to the social service agency whose mission is dedicated to preserving, strengthening and enhancing the well-being and self sufficiency of individuals and families.

A native of New Orleans, Mrs. Ungar is a highly accomplished non-profit professional with an extensive background in development, management, leadership training, community outreach, donor relations and event planning. Her most recent positions include Owner and Consultant for Strategic Nonprofit Consulting, LLC since 2013, and Director of Community and Philanthropic Affairs for Crescent Bank and Trust for the preceding 6 years. Learn more about Roselle here.

Wednesday morning the bipartisan Older Americans Act was reported favorably out of the Senate HELP Committee. The OAA, S. 192, contains language in support of Holocaust survivor services. We will work closely with our Senate allies for swift passage in the Senate and advancement on to the House. Thank you sincerely for your advocacy. This has been years in the making, and we are pleased that the OAA reauthorization was the first legislative priority of the HELP Committee in this new 114th Congress.

Please thank your Senators on the HELP Committee for supporting this legislation; and please urge Senators outside of the HELP Committee to cosponsor S.192 before it reaches the Senate floor. Increased co-sponsorship will help ensure swift passage through the Senate.

Bill Text (Holocaust survivor language is at bottom)
Cosponsor List
AJFCA/JFNA Endorsement letter
JFNA Press Statement

If you have any questions, please contact Shelley Rood.

Around 300 survivors of the Auschwitz death camp were gathering on Tuesday to mark 70 years since its liberation by Soviet troops, joined by world leaders for a commemoration held in the shadow of war in Ukraine and a rise in anti-Semitism in Europe. Tuesday's gathering in southern Poland marks perhaps the last major anniversary that survivors of the Nazi German camp will be able to attend in numbers, given the youngest are now in their 70s. Some 1,500 attended the 60th anniversary.

Auschwitz Survivors Ask If Holocaust Lessons Learned on 70th Anniversary of Liberation, January 27, 2015, The Forward, by Wiktor Szary & Wojciech Zurawski

The Board of Directors of Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta announced that Gary Miller, Chief Executive Officer of JF&CS for 24 years, will step into a strategic advisory role effective July 1, 2015. 

Rich Aranson, who has served as the Chief Operating Officer for the past eleven years, will assume the role of CEO on July 1, 2015.

Gary's  vision and leadership has resulted in the transformation of this organization demonstrated by tremendous growth in service capacity and delivery, resource development and talent management. The organization is recognized as a leading national model in the human service arena. Read the entire announcement here. Click here to read a message from Gary.

Growing up in this day and age is not easy.  As a pre-teen, there are growing pressures at school to be the best student, to fit in amongst peer groups, to please parents, to be involved in the community, and to put your best foot forward at all times.  It seems that as they prepare to leave high school, the stressors only continue to mount and can be difficult to navigate. Our young people are constantly striving to find balance and harmony as they embark into their pre-teen schooling and young adult work lives.

Samost Jewish Family & Children's Services in Cherry Hill is providing some curriculum this February that may help ease the stress and help local youth find a clear path through it all, by offering two new groups:  "This is Me" for pre-teen girls, and "This is My Life", a group for young adults in transition ages 18-25. Continue reading here.

Jewish Family & Children's Service of the Suncoast, Inc. was awarded a three-year $993,000 grant by the Administration for Community Living (ACL) as part of an Alzheimer's Disease Initiative: Specialized Support Services Project. JFCS will increase system of care efficiencies and fill existing service gaps for people living in the community with Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders or ADRD. Working collaboratively with community partners, JFCS will expand support for those living alone with ADRD, expand services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities with ADRD or at risk of ADRD, and enhance behavioral symptom management training and support for family caregivers. Read the entire press release here.

As an Americorps VISTA sponsor site, AJFCA professionals were proud to participate in the 2015 National Day of Service on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Click here for photos of them in action. VISTA members across the country were encouraged to participate in their own communities. Michael Eisinger gave a lecture on Black/Jewish dialogue and the work that he is doing at JFS Detroit to approximnately 80 people at a local Methodist Church on January 18th. Sahelit Bahiru of CJE Senior Life in Chicago joined community members at a gathering organized by the local JCRC.

February is Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month. JDAM started 7 years ago when a small cadre of Jewish Special Education International Consortium colleagues decided to create a unified effort to raise awareness and promote inclusion of people with disabilities in Jewish life. Since then JDAM has united Jewish communities worldwide to raise awareness and champion the rights of all Jews to be included and to participate in all aspects of communal life. Download the JDAM Program Guide here. To learn about how to recognize and celebrate in your community and more, click here. If your agency is sponsoring an event or program please share it with Liz.

Lisa Budlow, AJFCA's Chief Program Officer and 13 AJFCA member agencies who participated in the Solutions to Senior Hunger program through MAZON:  A Jewish Response to Hunger convened this week in Los Angeles, CA to round out the 2014 project year.  Discussions surrounded what was learned through the program and ideas and steps for continuing the important work of senior SNAP outreach. Click here to view additional photos.

Olga Semenova, a Program Coordinator and Certified Marketplace Navigator at Jewish Family Service of Detroit, has been accepted to the Brandeis Jewish Leadership Incubator. Ms. Semenova started the program with a four-day seminar at Brandeis University last week.

The Brandeis Jewish Leadership Incubator is a 12-month fellowship that strives to nurture a cadre of effective Russian-speaking Jewish communal professionals, fortified by superior management skills, Jewish knowledge, systematic understanding of the Russian-speaking and American Jewish communities, and commitment to the future of the Jewish people. The fellowship combines distance learning with residential seminars at Brandeis University and in New York City along with an overseas mission.

The program is designed for Russian-speaking professionals with up to five years of experience working at Jewish communal organizations in the U.S. and Canada. Ms. Semenova is a member of the first cohort of fellows. For more information, please visit the BJLI website.

Jewish Family Service of Seattle received a major grant from The Covenant Foundation to support a new educational initiative that will recharge connections to the organization's Jewish values-driven mission. 

The $109,245 grant, over three years, allows JFS to design, develop and implement Project Kavod, providing staff, board members, volunteers and others with opportunities to examine the Jewish roots of the organization's work and enhance their capacity to serve the community.

"Jewish is in our name, but that is no guarantee that the Jewish values that historically guide our work are discussed and reflected upon," said Will Berkovitz, JFS Chief Executive Officer.

"For people to process what they are doing within a Jewish framework, it is important that Jewish values are infused into the DNA of our agency. Project Kavod gives us a structure to launch this critical conversation."

Broadly, Project Kavod will create the organizational space for JFS officers, employees and stakeholders to discuss religious, philosophical and cultural concepts and texts with each other, within and across all levels of the organization's structure, and to create a shared language and consciousness. In its first year, the program is expected to directly involve approximately 300 people and will reach 7,000 households through the agency's communication platforms.

by Avi Rose, CEO, JFCS East Bay

On the first night of Chanukah, I was glad to join a large and spirited public gathering of Jews. We greeted old and new friends, we sang, we prayed, we heard words of wisdom and inspiration about this holiday of resistance and rededication . . . and then we marched together in the cold and rainy San Francisco night, calling out for justice for African American men and boys. We said Kaddish for those whose lives were ended far too early, and we stood in a silence that reverberated powerfully in the middle of Market Street. It was a proud, sobering, and altogether fitting start of this year's Chanukah season.

There are so many reasons why hundreds of us gathered together in the rain that night. Continue reading Avi's blog here.

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) and Hadassah are partnering on a Jewish Day of Action on Tuesday, January 13th, to raise awareness about this issue utilizing social media. NCJW and Hadassah will hold a special Twitter Storm from 1-2pm ET that day, of course, you are more than welcome to post your own tweets and resources. And, if you're looking for other ways to highlight human trafficking during the month of January, check out NCJW's 18 Ways to Combat Sex Trafficking. Feel free to share this resource with your members and networks. If your agency is interested in joining the twitter storm and/or the Jewish Day of Action please contact Jody Rabhan. Learn more about human trafficking here.

February is Jewish Disability Month. We mark February 25, 2015 as our fifth convening of Jewish Disability Advocacy Day. Professionals and lay leaders are invited to Capitol Hill to raise awareness of their work and passion relating to individuals with disabilities and their families. It is also an opportunity for participants to celebrate passage of important legislation, to learn about relevant public policy issues, and to advocate on these issues with their elected officials. Click here for registration details.

On the first day of the new Congress, Republicans symbolically bound themselves to what is certain to be a controversial reform of the federal disability insurance program, which would probably occur near the height of the 2016 presidential campaign. Continue reading here.

Social Security Disability Payments Will Be Cut by a Fifth If Congress Doesn't Act, January 7, 2014, Washington Post, by Max Ehrenfreund

ReelAbilities: Houston Disabilities Film Festival (February 8-12, 2015), hosted by the Jewish Family Service of Houston's Alexander Institute for Inclusion in collaboration with Houston's Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities is a city-wide film and arts festival which uses the arts to promote inclusion and celebrate the lives, stories, and artwork of people with disabilities - making impact that lasts far beyond the week of the festival.

A robust and exciting array of films, special events, and extraordinary speakers from around the country are being featured this year. Check out the festival trailer here. Tickets go on January 15th here. Questions? Contact Jess Faerman, ReelAbilities Coordinator.

Being the sibling of a child with a disability can be overwhelming and difficult at times. For all children, and especially these siblings, additional support and attention can make a significant difference in their lives.

Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta is thrilled to announce a new addition to PAL! PAL has extended their services to meet the needs of Jewish families in the community. PAL will now be serving siblings of children with disabilities by matching them with a Big Brother or Sister in a one-on-one mentoring relationship.If you know a family with children between the ages of 5 and 17 that may benefit, please connect them to the PAL program by contacting 770.677.9390. Read more about the decision to offer these expanded services here.

Elderly Jewish Holocaust victims in the Baltimore area, the last of their generation to have endured the horrors of the Nazi genocide, will receive significantly more aid in 2015, announced Julius Berman, President of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference). 

In 2015, the Claims Conference allocation to Jewish Community Services of Baltimore will be $1.4 million, an increase of about $600,000 (70 percent) over 2014 funding, with most of the increase earmarked for homecare, the top social welfare priority for these survivors. The Claims Conference is also allocating $65,000 to Ahavas Yisrael Charity Fund for its food program for Holocaust victims. Learn more here.

Repair the World is launching an initiative to continue the conversation and take action with Turn-the-Tables.org, an MLK Day campaign dedicated to providing a platform for discussion and service-based action on racial inequality. Repair the World is encouraging everyone to use Friday, January 16th as an opportunity to break bread and reflect on racial injustice issues. If your agency would like to participate please contact David Eisner for a kit, which will include conversation starters, thought-provoking activities and Swag. Additional materials can be found here including social media aids.

Enterprise Risk Management: Where Risk and Reserves Meet

(editor's note: Financial Matters is a regularly column designed to provide insight and tools to assist with nonprofit financial management. AJFCA's corporate partner, CliftonLarsonAllen, an accounting and consulting firm with offices across the country, provides the commentary for this Financial Matters column.)


by Ryan Robinson

All organizations face inherent risk and uncertainty: an economic slowdown, regulatory changes, increased competition, and failure to innovate and meet public demands, to name a few. The challenge for management is to determine what level of risk to accept, what costs to incur to effectively manage and mitigate risks, and what reserves should be in place to cover the organization in the event of financial difficulties.

We are seeing trends in how organizations are rethinking their financial reserves in the context of risk management. Rather than saying, "three months of expenses sounds about right," they're taking the time and effort to articulate, quantify, and translate their risks into activity-based reserve targets. They're also developing practical tools to use on an ongoing basis to revise their reserve targets based on changing operational and environmental risks and variables. The dialogue about risks and uncertainties is much more nuanced, and now includes:

*    Probabilities

*    Sources of protection, whether reserves, insurance, or litigation

*    Concrete dollar amounts

*    Factoring methodologies recognizing that not everything is going to happen at once

When all of these issues are rolled up into an Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) strategy, organizations are armed with a financial reserve philosophy, approach, and tools that are dynamic enough to stand up to realities that vary in severity and business impact.

To read CliftonLarsonAllen's full report on enterprise risk management in the nonprofit sector, visit their website.

Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services' sound fiscal management practices and commitment to accountability and transparency have earned it a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America's largest independent charity evaluator. This is the first time that JFS has earned this top distinction.

"JFS' coveted 4-star rating puts it in a very select group of high performing charities," according to Ken Berger, President and CEO, Charity Navigator. "Out of the thousands of nonprofits Charity Navigator evaluates, only one out of four earns 4 stars - a rating that, now, with our new Accountability and Transparency metrics, demands even greater rigor, responsibility and commitment to openness. JFS supporters should feel much more confident that their hard-earned dollars are being used efficiently and responsibly when it acquires such a high rating."

"In the current economic environment, it's important our donors trust that we're using our funding wisely in order to accomplish our mission of offering hope, help & humanity to those who need it most through our comprehensive range of programs and services, " said Danielle N. Hartman, JFS President & CEO. "Our 4-star Charity Navigator rating demonstrates to our supporters that we take our fiduciary and governance responsibilities very seriously." Read more here.

Jewish Family Service of Milwaukee recently opened another licensed outpatient mental health clinic in the Jewish Home & Care Center/Chai Point apartments. Due to the economic downturn there has been a large increase in demand for services at JFS. The number of sessions in all JFS clinical program activities increased by 36% from 2010 to 2014. In recent years, JFS has increased its accessibility in the community by offering services at a variety of locations. The braodened access to JFS may be viewed both as an impetus to the recent increase in demand for those services, and as part of the agency's response to that increased demand. Continue reading here.

Joining MAZON in the Colorado outreach is Jewish Family Service of Colorado, which serves the Denver and Boulder metropolitan community. Jewish Family Service of Colorado is one of 13 JFS agencies in the seven states who are taking part in MAZON's senior hunger initiative. Continue reading here.

A new federal report shows declines in 16 of 20 indicators of civic health, including falling rates of volunteerism and engagement with community organizations and flagging trust in public institutions. Read the entire article here.

Americans' Engagement With Organizations Wanes, Report Says, December 17, 2014, Chronicle of Philanthropy, by Megan O'Neil

Slightly more than two-thirds of Americans say they plan to give at least as much to charity in 2014 as they did last year, according to a new national survey conducted by the Polling Institute at Saint Leo University. Read the entire article here.

Two-Thirds of Americans Plan to Maintain Steady Giving by Year's End, December 16, 2014, Chronicle of Philanthropy, by Rebecca Koenig

Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services' sound fiscal management practices and commitment to accountability and transparency have earned it a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America's largest independent charity evaluator. This is the first time that JFS has earned this top distinction. 

"JFS' coveted 4-star rating puts it in a very select group of high performing charities," according to Ken Berger, President and CEO, Charity Navigator. "Out of the thousands of nonprofits Charity Navigator evaluates, only one out of four earns 4 stars - a rating that, now, with our new Accountability and Transparency metrics, demands even greater rigor, responsibility and commitment to openness. JFS supporters should feel much more confident that their hard-earned dollars are being used efficiently and responsibly when it acquires such a high rating."

Funding Provides Homecare, Medical Care, Food and Other Help in 47 Countries
Elderly Jewish Holocaust victims, the last of their generation to have endured the horrors of the Nazi genocide, will receive significantly more aid in 2015. Learn more here.

The ABLE Act, which would help people with disabilities save for college and retirement, has passed Congress with broad bipartisan support. On Dec. 3, the bill passed the House of Representatives, 404 to 17. On Dec. 16 the bill passed the Senate as part of a bigger tax package. The aim of the ABLE Act is to remove bureaucratic obstacles to help Americans save their own money to help pay for long-term care. There is $2.5M in the spending bill allocated for support of Holocaust survivors. Continue reading here.

ABLE Act:  How One Bill Offers Hope on Congress's Biggest Problem, December 17, 2014, CSMonitor, by Gail Russell Chaddock

The Kresge Foundation has made a significant grant to the National Assembly to continue on their path to reframing human services. The National Human Services Assembly (NHSA), the association of leading national nonprofit human service networks and organizations, launched a discussion in 2011 on why human services struggle for adequate funding and are little discussed or understood in the public square. The discussion led to the notion of "reframing human services," applying what has been learned in the social sciences about presenting the concepts and messages of an endeavor in ways that reflect reality and that resonate with the public (in an apolitical way). Read more here.

AJFCA partners with the National Human Services Assembly to provide our members access to the PurchasingPoint® program.  PurchasingPoint® is an exclusive discount program for nonprofits that leverages group buying power to get access to significant savings from your everyday vendors.  The program is designed to help nonprofits reduce overhead costs by providing access to discounts on a vast range of products and services including, but not limited to: office supplies, shipping, copiers, postage equipment, furniture, cleaning supplies, promotional merchandise, car rental, cell phones, and more.  Discounts in the program are negotiated with vendors based on $24 billion in annual collective buying power, more than any one nonprofit could do alone.  As a result, the program provides nonprofits access to a level of pricing typically reserved for Fortune 100 companies.

PurchasingPoint Discount Program Webinar
Tuesday, January 20th, 2pm ET - REGISTER HERE

Jewish Family Service of Colorado had the highest-grossing Real Hope fundraiser in JFS history, raising a record $566,000 when Sheila Bugdanowitz and Sheryl Goodman were honored. Real Hope supports all programs of Jewish Family Service (JFS), including mental health counseling, senior and adult in-home care, disability and employment services, and family safety net services.

More than 550 people attended the 19th annual JFS event at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. During the elaborate cocktail reception, guests posed for photos on the red carpet, enjoyed cocktails and decadent international food stations and passed hors d'ouevres by Epicurean. A surprise highlight during the cocktail reception by Frequent Flyer Productions included stilt walk dancers, silk rope aerialists, and an object manipulator. Read more here.

Agency Honored for Management Practices, Flexibility and Responsiveness

Jewish Family Service of Detroit is honored to be among the four finalists in the Crain's Detroit "Best Managed Non-Profit" competition for 2014.
The competition recognizes non-profit organizations that implement effective financial and programmatic management practices, while demonstrating innovation in pursuit of their missions. JFS was lauded for its Health Care Navigation program, an outgrowth of the agency's highly-successful Project Chessed, which connected more than 1,800 uninsured adults to pro bono medical services donated by local health care providers. 

On December 11th, the Jewish Family Service of Dallas Foundation held a reception thanking the individuals and families who have contributed to or established a fund with the JFS Foundation. Established in 2012, the JFS Foundation supports the long-term viability of the mental health and social services of JFS through planned giving and endowments. Now over $1.5 million in revenue, the Foundation recently granted JFS with $40,000 for mental health services. Since last September, JFS has served 500 children and 635 adults in all of our mental health services including play therapy, individual and family counseling, family violence intervention, support groups and special needs services. 

The House of Representatives on December 3rd passed legislation to create tax-free savings accounts for people with disabilities. AJFCA has advocated for passage of the ABLE Act for the past six years and is hopeful that The Senate, where the legislation has 70 co-sponsors, will soon pass this important legislation.Passed by a vote of 404-17, the bill known as the ABLE Act is intended to help Americans with disabilities pay for the associated expenses, including medical costs and finding employment.

House Approves New Savings Accounts for People with Disabilities, December 3, 2014, The Hill, by Cristina Marcos


Nonprofits and cultural institutions have often raised large gifts by offering perpetual naming rights to their buildings in exchange for financial support. Perpetuity has now become "a matter of negotiation" according to attorney William D. Zabel, which allows organizations to garner additional financial benefits after the terms of the original agreement expire. Continue reading here.

With Naming Gifts, "Perpetuity" Is a Matter of Negotiation, November 27, 2014, New York Times, by Sam Roberts


Understanding this new wealth and its philanthropic leanings continues to be the subject of great interest overall, but especially in light of this region's two realities: escalating wealth and steadfast poverty. Many feel that a place with this much wealth should be closer to tackling its local social problems. So it begs the question: Who are these new donors? How do they think? Continue reading here.

Philanthropy's New Release, December 2, 2014, Stanford Social Innovation Review, by Kimberly Dasher Tripp


AJFCA staff paid a visit to Miami earlier this week to better familiarize themselves with the Hilton Miami Downtown, site of AJFCA's 2015 Annual Conference. CEO, Lee Sherman and Director of Communications, Membership & Events, Megan Manelli were pleased with the hotel accommodations and conference space. The two also joined JCS Miami CEO, Fred Stock at the site of the Conference's Sunday evening Host Event which is sure to bring out the animal in you. Check out AJFCA's Facebook page for more pictures and stay tuned for an email announcing the venue.

Good Deeds Day, held on March 15th celebrates doing good for the benefit of others and the planet. All over the world, hundreds of thousands choose to give of themselves, putting into practice the simple idea that every single person can do a good deed, be it large or small, to improve the lives of others and positively impact the world. Good Deeds Day, held March 15, 2015. Learn how to organize a project in your own community and activate your goodness.

Good Deeds Day Webinar
Thursday, January 15th, 12pm ET - REGISTER HERE

One of the Jewish Social Service Agency's Hospice volunteers recently wrote a piece about her (and Leo's) experience as pet therapy volunteers. The piece was published by a local community's magazine, Inside Fallsgrove. Read the entire article here.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has released a webinar highlighting certain provisions in the recently published Supportive Housing and Services for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities: Implementing Statutory Reforms Proposed Rule. Click here to learn more about the proposed rule and listen to the webinar.


A measure to overhaul a child care grant program is headed to President Barack Obama's desk, 18 years after the program was last reauthorized. The Senate agreed 88-1 to concur in the House amendment to a bill (S 1086) that would create new health, safety and educational standards for the Child Care and Development Block Grant program, which helps low-income families pay for child care. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, cast the lone vote against the measure. Continue reading here.

Child Care Grant Overhaul Clears Final Vote, November 17, 2014, CQ Roll Call, by Sarah Chacko

Do you have a compelling story to tell about the Holocaust? Enter your screenplay or treatment and you could win $40,000 to make your short film. The Holocaust Film Competition's deadline is March 15, 2015. Click here for details.

Do you have a compelling story to tell about the Holocaust? Enter your screenplay or treatment and you could win $40,000 to make your short film. The Holocaust Film Competition's deadline is March 15, 2015. Click here for details.

AJFCA was delighted to partner with JFS Columbus for the 2014 Older Adult Services Midwest Meeting on November 16th and 17th. The gathering was a huge success, with over thirty Jewish Communal Professionals hailing from ten different AJFCA member agencies, including, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Cleveland, Toledo, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and Louisville.

The meeting commenced on Sunday, November 16th with a casual networking gathering at Latitude 41's bar, located inside of the Renaissance Columbus Downtown Hotel. Despite the cold and snow, the meeting kicked off first thing on Monday, November 17th at JFS Columbus with a warm welcome from JFS Columbus's CEO June Gutterman and AJFCA's CEO Lee Sherman. AJFCA appreciated the attendants' enthusiasm as they shared information and knowledge on a range of relevant topics including but not limited to Caregiver Support, Senior Transportation, Caring for Holocaust Survivors, Geriatric Care Management, Building Community Collaborations and the impact of the recent switch to My Care Ohio. Continuing Education Credits were provided. 

The Wexner Field Fellowship Program is an opportunity for promising full-time Jewish communal professionals who are seeking professional development. In partnership with the Jim Joseph Foundation, three Wexner Field Fellows will be accepted as part of incoming classes of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship/Davidson Scholars Program. Watch this video for more information on the Field Fellows program. To learn more about the eligibility requirements and awards, and to submit a pre-application for the Field Fellowship, please click here.

The concept of peer-to-peer fundraising for a cause is nothing new. Many of us have been asked to sponsor a friend in a walk or run. Kids have raised money for charities for their mitzvah projects for years. Adults have asked friends to make donations in lieu of gifts for big birthdays and anniversaries. Is there a more worthwhile way to celebrate a milestone event?

JF&CS is leveraging technology to make it easier than ever for our supporters to help us raise additional funds. Moving beyond the traditional appeal letters, our peer-to-peer fundraising platform provides the bar mitzvah boy or birthday girl with a tool to turn his or her passion into action, complete with the ability to reach out to a network of friends through email and social media and to illustrate what their donations will support. If you want to make an upcoming milestone more meaningful, consider the power of peer-to-peer fundraising and the difference it can make. Learn more here.

Jewish Family Service of Greater Dallas and UNT Health Sciences present When the War Comes Home: Trauma and the Military Family, a community presentation and professional conference featuring Dr. Harold Kudler, Chief Consultant for Mental Health in the VA Central Office, Washington D.C. As the military downsizes, over 26,000 veterans are expected to settle in North Texas over the next 3 to 5
years. Reentry back into civilian life can be full of challenges. Many veterans find themselves unemployed and even homeless. Trauma experienced during their service, and even preceding their enlistment, underlies mental health needs, family violence incidents and even  thoughts of suicide.

The 18th Annual Janis Ablon Professional Conference is one way that JFS is collaborating to meet the needs of these veterans and their families. Open to the entire community, including mental health professionals, veterans and their families, business and organizational leaders and interested community members, professional speakers and panelists will address the difficulties adjusting to everyday life that veterans and their families may face upon returning from the military. These include challenges may include unemployment, traumatic stress, depression, substance abuse, family conflict, and physical and emotional health. Continue reading here.

Jewish Family Service of Houston is pleased to announce that the Neighbors 4 Neighbors Network (N4NN) has officially been approved as a Community Service Program of JFS. N4NN is an innovative project for seniors who want to remain in their own homes. It connects neighbors; facilitates access to a variety of supportive services, cultural and social activities; creates an active caring neighborhood community; and provides volunteer opportunities.

This program is a volunteer-based, self-governing organization within a specific geographic boundary.

"Combating Food Insecurity: Tools for Helping Older Americans Access SNAP," a joint toolkit from FRAC and the AARP Foundation, offers practical tips and examples to help organizations of all sizes address food insecurity in all types of communities with a goal of increasing senior SNAP participation. The toolkit walks through the basics of SNAP, and then provides practical resources to help organizations craft successful programs of education, outreach, and application assistance. It includes real examples of collateral and messages that have worked in communities across the nation, and offers strategies on how to measure success. Click here to access the toolkit.

Join the Administration for Community Living for two discussions on transportation issues and solutions for older adults and people with disabilities. Click here to learn more about the webinars below.

Cultural and Ethnic Diversity in Inclusive Coordinated Transportation Planning: Garnering the Support of a Diverse Range of Stakeholders in Human Services Coordination
Tuesday, November 18th, 3pm ET - REGISTER HERE

State & Local Experts Discuss How 5310 Works To Enhance Seniors' Mobility  
Wednesday, November 19th, 2pm ET - REGISTER HERE

We're in a new age of collaboration, where foundations and organizations are joining together to design and effect strategies for social change. When our organization, the Garfield Foundation, first began exploring a collaborative approach more than 12 years ago, we felt like an outlier in a philanthropic sector that loved individual theories of change, developed in-house and handed down to grantees. Now we get three or four calls a month from groups that want to engage in and support impact networks. It's inspiring to see the growing awareness that indeed, if you want to go far, you have to go together, and that experts can't solve today's adaptive challenges solo. Continue reading here.

Building Our Collaborative Muscles, November 7, 2014, Stanford Social Innovation Review, by Rick Reed, Ruth Rominger, Jennifer Berman, & Kate Wing

The Akron Urban League is a non-profit social service agency, National Urban League affiliate, and United Way affiliate, which seeks to improve the economic, cultural, social, educational, and recreational conditions affecting all citizens of Summit County, particularly African Americans, other minorities, and those most in need.

Women of Power Awards are granted to women who have made a difference in the organizations where they work and also to the community at-large.

Gizelle Jones has been employed by Jewish Family Services of Akron for 13 years and had been the Executive Director for the past three years.  Under her leadership, she has developed and implemented case management, counseling and community education services for seniors and their families.  Her newest initiatives include outreach services for LBGT seniors and a financial program to help seniors avoid scams and fraud. Continue reading here.

The Bay Area, as well as the country as a whole, is facing a crisis in dementia care. Estimates are that one of every two people 85 and older in the Bay Area has some form of dementia, and that by 2020, the region will experience a 49% increase in residents with Alzheimer's disease, not to mention other forms of cognitive impairment. Fortunately, Jewish Family and Children's Services of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties' Seniors At Home, the largest provider of senior care, is leading the charge for enhanced support for people with dementia-related conditions, as well as for their families and caregivers, with the opening of the new Center for Dementia Care. Continue reading here.

An alarming numbers of U.S. senior citizens (including many throughout the tri-county area) are either unaware of - or ignore - governmental support they are eligible for to get the food they need to alleviate their hunger and stay healthy..

This issue has reached a critical point as 10,000 "Baby Boomers" turn 65 every day with 56 percent of U.S. retirees having outstanding debt. One in three seniors is "food insecure" ("having limited access to adequate food") and/or disabled. Thirty percent must choose between food and medicine.

According to Abby Leibman, president/CEO of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, one in six seniors lives in poverty and 65 percent of seniors eligible for Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) funds do not use them.
MAZON is the only national Jewish organization focused exclusively on issues of hunger and is considered one of the leading anti-hunger organizations in the U.S.
Continue reading here.

One hundred years ago, Theodore Roosevelt advised us that “the best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” With all due respect to President Roosevelt, this is easier said than done.

Why delegating is important

A recent study by the Institute for Corporate Productivity found that nearly half of all companies surveyed were concerned about their employees’ ability to delegate work – and with good reason. When organizational leaders don’t delegate, they become overworked, stressed and unhappy. But they’re not the only ones affected; failure to delegate properly adversely impacts an entire organization. Because leaders who don’t delegate lack time to spend on “big picture” responsibilities, no one has time to ensure that the mission of their organization is being fulfilled. Further, by insisting on doing everything themselves, these leaders create a bottleneck, which slows down everyone they work with. Worst of all, the organization’s staff lose out on opportunities to gain new skills and experiences. When these sorts of growth opportunities aren’t available, employees feel undervalued and inadequate, and often leave the organization altogether.

Why don’t we delegate?

Despite the importance of delegating, that same Institute for Corporate Productivity study found that only 28% of all the companies surveyed offered any sort of employee training on how to properly delegate. Proper training is key because delegating can be scary! According to the Harvard Business Review, some of the most commonly cited reasons for failure to delegate are:

    Perfectionism: “It’s easier to just do everything myself.”
    Self-enhancement Bias: “My work is better than everyone else’s.”
    Insecurity: “Delegating work will make me less important.”
    Low Self-confidence: “I don’t want to be upstaged by subordinates.”

How to delegate

Having heard these and countless other excuses during my years as a mentor to leadership executives, I developed the “Boomerang” technique of delegation. Imagine a boomerang: when used correctly, a boomerang returns to the person who threw it. A good manager operates on a similar principle. First, the manager throws the boomerang by delegating a specific responsibility to an employee. The boomerang returns to the manager when the employee reports back after the completion of that task. The cycle then continues with the employee being given additional tasks and continuing to boomerang back to the manager for progress reports and additional responsibilities.

I have taught this management technique for a number of years to students at the William Davidson School of Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary. It is a particularly valuable tool for these graduate students because, as young leaders often just beginning their careers, the Boomerang technique defuses some of the fears associated with delegating work by requiring regular check-ins and keeping leaders consistently apprised of the status of ongoing projects.

Don’t chuck it

You can’t just chuck a boomerang – or odds are it will wind up landing somewhere other than back in your hand. Similarly, in order for the Boomerang technique to be successful, a leader needs to take certain initial steps. Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo, tells managers to “Give people a vision, rules about how to get there and deadlines.” This advice is the basis for the “Four D’s,” which make up the initial steps to Boomerang management:

    Detail. Clearly articulate goals and discuss how the finished product will appear. It is important that your staff understand the “big picture” so that they understand the purpose of their work and become invested in the project.
    Divide. Chunk the project into clearly defined tasks. Breaking goals into manageable tasks helps to empower staff and makes large projects feel less overwhelming.
    Delegate. Enumerate several clear tasks that need to be accomplished. Meet with your staff and discuss who will be completing certain tasks.
    Deadline. Give a short but reasonable deadline to return with the tasks completed. The goal is for the employee to be given adequate time to independently complete whatever task they have been assigned, but not so much time as to be inefficient.

Boomerang like a pro(fessional)

Let’s take a look at a case study in order to see the Boomerang technique in action. Consider the following facts:

The Aleph Agency hosts an annual staff recognition event. Traditionally, this event was a very formal affair with expensive food and polite clapping. In prior years, the CEO had honored only a few employees for their outstanding contributions to Aleph Agency, and while those employees who were honored did feel modestly appreciated, the overwhelming majority of employees who were not mentioned felt unappreciated. Aleph Agency’s CEO Chana has a new vision for this year’s staff recognition event: a more informal gathering with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, and some stand-up comedy for entertainment. CEO Chana wants to make sure that every employee feels appreciated at the event, so her vision also includes presentations by each department head, group awards for each department, a few outstanding individual recognition awards, and gift cards for each employee to take home. CEO Chana asks VP Vered to work on the staff recognition event.

Sending out the boomerang: CEO Chana articulates her vision for the staff recognition event to VP Vered, who agrees that it would be good to try to do something different. Chana then outlines the planning of the event to Vered and assigns Vered the following tasks:

    Ask the other VPs and department heads for their input on the new event.
    Suggest at least 3 different venues for the event and check on the prices of those venues.
    Check Aleph Agency’s calendar and propose possible dates for the event.
    Ask Aleph Agency’s CFO for the amount budgeted for this year’s event, and for the amount actually spent on last year’s event.

Chana asks Vered to report back in a week after he completes these tasks.

In this scenario, Chana has just sent out the boomerang for the first time. By starting with small steps, particularly at the beginning, Chana can ensure that Vered is not overwhelmed by the scope of the project.

The boomerang returns: Vered comes back in a week and reports in to Chana. Most of the senior management team was positive about trying something new, however there was disagreement about whether spouses and partners should be expected to attend the event. Vered found 4 different suitable venues and presented Chana with a spreadsheet of prices for space, food and drink. Vered looked at the calendar and found two possible Sunday evenings for the event in the spring if spouses were included; he also found two weekday evenings that could work if the event was employees-only. Vered reported that the total spent on the event last year was $8,500, but that this year, because of the recession, only $7,000 had been budgeted for the event.

Here, Vered has completed the tasks he was given and reported back to Chana; thus the boomerang has returned to her. By checking in on a frequent basis, Chana can correct any missteps or miscommunications early in the project, thereby ensuring that the final event is successful and true to her vision.

Sending the boomerang out again: CEO Chana reviews VP Vered’s work and thanks him for his hard work on the staff recognition event so far (providing positive reinforcement is key!). Chana then asks Vered to complete the following tasks:

    Compose a questionnaire to be sent out to the entire company polling the employees on whether they would prefer to come to a Sunday evening event with spouses/significant others, or an event held on a weekday evening that was limited to Aleph Agency employees.
    Call some similarly-sized companies in the area and ask about their staff recognition events. Ask about the typical gift that was given to the staff.
    Compile a list of suggestions for a 5-person committee to work on the details of the staff recognition event.

Chana asks Vered to send the questionnaire to her Personal Assistant, Polly, by the next day, and complete the other tasks by the end of the week. They schedule a follow-up meeting for the following Monday.

Having successfully completed the first round of tasks, Chana sends the boomerang out of a second time, delegating slightly more complex work to Vered while still maintaining stewardship of the event. By reviewing and complimenting Vered’s work on a frequent basis, Chana can provide a sense of rapid accomplishment and success.

The boomerang returns again: The following Monday, Chana and Vered meet to discuss his progress. Chana had already tweaked the language of the questionnaire that Vered composed, and then Personal Assistant Polly sent the questionnaire out to all of Aleph Agency’s employees. Vered presented the results of his calls with similar companies, reporting that two of the companies had no recognition events but were intrigued by the idea. The other three companies that Vered contacts had annual recognition events similar to what Aleph Agency had held in the past, with a few employees being recognized with $1,000 bonuses. One of those companies reported that these bonuses did cause some tension, but also helped to promote some healthy competition. Chana agreed with 4 of the 5 names that Vered proposed to work on the staff recognition event committee; she switched one name in order to ensure that all levels of Aleph Agency would be represented.

Here, Vered has once again successfully completed all the tasks he was given and reported back to Chana.

Throwing the boomerang farther: Having successfully used the boomerang technique to delegate these previous tasks, CEO Chana can now feel more comfortable handing off increasing levels of responsibility to VP Vered, while checking in less frequently. Moving forward, Chana should give Vered larger tasks (e.g. preparing a budget, developing non-monetary awards that could be donated from various sources, working with the event committee, etc.) while continuing to check in via weekly emails. The goal is for Chana to ultimately be able to leave the project in the hands of Vered and the event committee, while having the recognition event retain her imprint.


The boomerang technique allows leaders to delegate work, while retaining stewardship of large projects, thus ultimately allowing organizations to accomplish as much as possible. Because employees are overseen more heavily at the beginning of a project, any errors or miscommunications can be cleared up early, ensuring of a successful final product, while creating a positive learning experience for the employees involved. So, when the opportunity arises, stop holding on to every piece of a project – try letting go of some responsibility and allowing your staff to boomerang back to you instead.

The Key To Success? Don’t Do It All Yourself! November 4, 2014, eJP, by Cheryl Magen

I have met so many young professionals, the lifeblood of the Jewish community, who want to be affiliated with Jewish organizations, but the language and concepts of the past do not resonate with them.

[This article is the ninth in Advancing Jewish Leadership: A Series on Jewish Context and Professional Practices. Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership is currently marking its 90th anniversary with the launch of the Center for Jewish Leadership. In this series, faculty, mentors, graduates, and staff of Spertus Institute’s graduate degree, certificate, and professional programs share valuable insights relevant to all those working for and with Jewish organizations.]

My journey as a volunteer leader began back in the 1970s. I started on my synagogue’s board which led to my appointment decades later as the President of the Women’s Board of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. In the early years, training wasn’t even a consideration. As someone who was connected to the business world, I heard the buzz of leadership gurus and eagerly sought out the popular literature. I took seminars and workshops and got a degree in Applied Behavioral Science. All of this was critical in my role as a business owner, but I believed it would also be valuable in my work with various organizations. As I became more involved in the volunteer world, I wanted to bring these skills and lessons to my charitable work.

When I took on the Presidency of the Women’s Board in June 2010, I knew I wanted the board to grow and develop, but also knew I needed to enhance my abilities in order to lead a group of committed individuals toward a common, community-oriented goal. My personal goal was to develop future leaders, a mission I took very seriously. How I was to do this wasn’t entirely clear.

My first inspiration came in a book by Dr. Hal Lewis, President of Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, where I serve as a Trustee. From Sanctuary to Boardroom: A Jewish Approach to Leadership became my bible. I didn’t just read this book. I studied it, I dissected it, I struggled with it. I took it to heart. I saw myself in a new light, in a role Dr. Lewis describes as a “servant leader.” In sharing new-found kernels of wisdom with my Executive Board, I learned a humbling lesson: some of the people, some of the time might be interested and many will not. All I could do was offer my gleanings and then it was out of my control.

After my first year of a two year term, another inspiration came again when Spertus partnered with Northwestern University to offer a Certificate in Jewish Leadership and I enrolled as a student. At first, the prospect of going back to school seemed daunting. I wondered if I would be able to keep up with the rigorous demands of post-graduate education – the long reading lists, the challenging essays, the research. What finally motivated me to enroll, however, was the knowledge that my enduring success as a lay leader would depend on more than just my business acumen. To bolster the techniques, skills, and best practices I acquired from my years of fundraising and administrative work, I needed credibility and certification. In other words, I needed academic validation of what I knew to be intrinsically true. I came into the Spertus program expecting to receive just that. I came away with so much more.

In the Spertus Certificate program, the most important thing I learned was how much I didn’t know. I had always considered myself a capable leader. I had proven myself time and time again as a confident decision-maker, a clear communicator, and a competent, organized manager. The Spertus Certificate program acknowledged these aspects of my managerial style, validating, in essence, what I already knew about the way I lead.

It also taught me an incomparably more valuable lesson: it exposed me to the things I could not do. It shined light on the gaps in my knowledge, gave me a context for my management style, and challenged my perspective on everything from Jewish history to business ethics. By participating in classes taught by men and women who are respected leaders in the world of Jewish leadership, I developed the ability to recognize weaknesses in my leadership style, to accept – even embrace – these weaknesses, and create a plan to deal with them most effectively. I became a better leader; certainly a more humble one.

As a “seasoned veteran” of the nonprofit Jewish world, I became aware of something very important about the younger people seeking meaningful charitable involvement.

I have met so many young professionals, the lifeblood of the Jewish community, who want to be affiliated with Jewish organizations, but the language and concepts of the past do not resonate with them. I was motivated by the concepts of tzedekah as a mitzvah, a commandment. It was incumbent upon me to carry on the traditions; I was part of the legacy of the Jewish people, a link to the past and future. These words do not hold much meaning for younger generations and, in fact, they can even alienate.

Today’s Jews are dedicated to contributing to their Jewish communities in practical, rewarding, and hands-on ways. They strive to change old models – and they expect this new, more personal kind of support to be embraced. They want to call their own shots. They value participation and want, even demand, that their participation makes a difference.

If true leadership is training and developing future leaders, then we face the challenge of doing so within the context of Jewish values and principles and by finding a language that will touch and inspire those we mentor. As I attempt to understand this new emerging leadership, I try not to become defensive or a champion of the “old ways.” I have made a concentrated effort to do more listening and less talking.

As an eternal optimist, I feel that with continued 21st-century training and our support, guidance, and love, today’s nascent Jewish leaders will blossom and thrive. As we encourage people to be authentic, creative, and innovative, they will grow to champion and advance both existing and new Jewish organizations, serving and ensuring the vibrancy of tomorrow’s Jewish community. AMEN.

Jewish Leadership Training: Insights from a Lay Leader, November 4, 2014, eJP, by Deanna Drucker

Launched in 2010, the Jim Joseph Foundation’s Education Initiative has supported the development and expansion of 18 degree and certificate programs as well as leadership institutes at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute for Religion (HUC-JIR), The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), and Yeshiva University (YU).

The Jim Joseph Foundation provided the resources needed for program development, staffing, student tuition assistance, and marketing/recruitment activities. The investment was substantial – each institution received $15 million over a period of up to six years. As part of its independent evaluation of the Education Initiative, American Institutes for Research (AIR) assessed how well the three grantees not only delivered high quality programs, but also how well they planned to sustain these programs into the future after the Jim Joseph Foundation’s investment wound down.

As part of its activities, AIR researchers reviewed the institutions’ financial sustainability plans for each of the programs supported by the Education Initiative. Financial sustainability requires careful planning, typically using a dynamic document that is reviewed and revisited periodically. Such a document – the financial sustainability plan – describes strategies to contain costs and to cover them through fundraising and program revenues.

Informing Financial Sustainability Plans Through Break-Even Analysis

A common tool in financial planning is break-even analysis, which identifies the circumstances in which costs and revenues are balanced. We developed a program-level Break-Even Analysis Calculator, allowing program administrators to project revenues and expenditures by changing variables such as tuition, numbers of students, and staffing levels. [1] This interactive tool can be used to:

    Identify the resources required to implement a program, including personnel, facilities, equipment, and materials, whether they are paid for directly or contributed in-kind, and subsequently to calculate program costs.
    Explore ways to reduce costs.
    Identify the effects of different levels of tuition and scholarships.
    Calculate fundraising needs and demonstrate to potential funders why their help is needed.

Review of Financial Sustainability Plans

We created benchmarks for reviewing the financial sustainability plans submitted by each institution. The four criteria described below are based on the assumption that financial sustainability is a process, not an end. In other words, although the process aimed at achieving financial sustainability may not yet be completed, the financial sustainability plan helps develop a road map so that programs can follow into the future.

Assessment Criterion I: Key Informational Elements

We saw financial sustainability plans as facilitating communications and planning within an institution. For this purpose, we expected each program plan to articulate its rationale – how does the program fit into the vision of the institution in its efforts to support the field of Jewish education? How consistent is the program with the institution’s view of current needs and anticipated future trends? Similarly, we expected each plan to identify how long the program should be continued (we do not assume every program will last forever) and we expected a timeline for anticipated fundraising activities. In our feedback to the grantees, we recommended that each financial sustainability plan includes a detailed budget, budget assumptions, and analysis (e.g., break-even analysis) that spells out the calculations and assumptions on which current decision-making is based.

Assessment Criterion II: Feasibility

It is critical that the financial sustainability plan is feasible. For example, if the break-even analysis identifies a break-even point, but the circumstances under which this will be achieved are unreal, the analysis will not serve its purpose. To make the case for the viability of long-term plans, authors should include as many specifics as possible. Projections of philanthropic contributions should include names of funders, projected amounts, and at the very least, an overview of fundraising plans. Projections of tuition revenue should include enrollment estimates, market demand assumptions, and description of strategies to align tuition discounts with measurable student needs (rather than using blanket across-the-board tuition discounting policies). Finally, plans should include an assessment of organizational capacity (e.g., the availability of qualified staff with relevant expertise), which is key to successful implementation.

Assessment Criterion III: Need

Higher education institutions sometimes choose to run programs at a loss, as a service to the field or as a marquee program that can promote institutional capacity and reputation. But financial sustainability plans highlight the costs of such a strategy, allowing institutional leaders to better judge the level of their investment and the return. To ensure that such decisions are based on valid assumptions and consensus among chief officers in the institutions, effective financial sustainability plans should address the need for the program along multiple dimensions.

Assessment Criterion IV: Commitment

Programs can be sustained over the long-term when institutional leadership (the president, provost, and the dean) are committed to support the program through allocation of funds, sharing of infrastructure, and active participation in targeted fundraising efforts. Additionally, financial sustainability planning benefits from use of proven strategies and processes for ongoing review and revision of the financial sustainability plan.

Supporting the Continuation of Higher Education Programs in Jewish Education

HUC-JIR, JTS, and YU developed financial sustainability plans that took into account multi-year projections of costs and revenues. This involved hard work and time – and many of the questions we asked them to address were new to academic leaders who have not often been held to financial standards. All three grantees of the Education Initiative were torn between offering their very best to the field of Jewish education and making promises they were likely not going to be able to keep within the limitation of financial resources. This is understandable.

But spending money and time to ensure the financial health of programs over the long-term is something that grantees need to do. Crafting implementation plans that can be sustained over the long run is a new and difficult task that grantees must increasingly face – and it is something that the Jim Joseph Foundation is committed to, in order to make sure their philanthropic investments produce long term results.

Making Philanthropic Investments Last: The Role of Financial Sustainability, November 3, 2014, eJP, by Dr. Mark Schneider & Dr. Yael Kidron

Do your clients need health coverage? The Health Insurance Marketplace is the place for them. Having trouble finding health insurance that fits your clients' needs and their budget? Look no further than the Health Insurance Marketplace. All plans in the Marketplace cover essential health benefits, pre-­-existing conditions, and more. To find the latest, most accurate, information for your clients about the Marketplace visit HealthCare.gov. Continue reading here.


Financial sustainability requires careful planning, typically using a dynamic document that is reviewed and revisited periodically. Such a document - the financial sustainability plan - describes strategies to contain costs and to cover them through fundraising and program revenues. Continue reading here.

Making Philanthropic Investments Last: The Role of Financial Sustainability, November 3, 2014, eJP, by Dr. Mark Schneider & Dr. Yael Kidron

Because of the rich and varied lives my clients have lived, I often reflect on the Jewish experience. It's deeply sobering that so much of our collective history has involved trauma, but we are a remarkably resilient and productive people considering our stories.
It was my privilege to participate in the Visions of Remembrance, Voices of Hope project at JFS. My task was to formulate the text accompanying the photographs in the gallery and, in order to do that, I listened to each survivor's taped story for that one small piece of truth that expressed something about his or her individual spirit. It was difficult to choose the words because so much of the testimony was compelling, and I was limited to a paragraph. I felt like each person's voice occupied a sacred space inside me and with every name, every location, every date, I became more a part of my history. In order to make sure dates and spellings were correct, I had to research them all, forcing my way through the inevitable images that accompanied the articles I read. In the end, it was the film footage of pre-war Jewish villages and neighborhoods that stirred me most deeply - the innocence of ordinary life before the storm. This clip is from one of our survivor's village in Hungary; she is likely one of the singing school children. Continue reading here. 

Each year, more and more Americans are caring for a loved one with a chronic condition, disability, or the frailties of old age. According to the Caregiver Action Network (CAN), there are as many as 90 million family caregivers in the U.S. today. Caregivers are often caring for their aging parents while raising a family of their own. Becoming effective advocates for themselves and their loved ones is one of the first steps to making their lives more manageable. Family caregivers need to become empowered, proactive, creative, and resourceful in acquiring the information and the help they need. Visit caregiveraction.org and the National Family Caregiver Association website to learn more about National Family Caregiving Month.

If you are in the Sandwich Generation, caring for a parent, a child and sometimes even a grandchild, Jewish Community Services of Baltimore offers resources and services that can help. Their specialists in gerontology provide up-to-date information, expert advice and senior-focused services to help you in planning and caring for yourself and your family members. For information click here

Also, on November 3rd, JCS is offering a program on this very topic. See the Stuck in the Middle? Click here for details.


Good Deeds Day, held on March 15th celebrates doing good for the benefit of others and the planet. All over the world, hundreds of thousands choose to give of themselves, putting into practice the simple idea that every single person can do a good deed, be it large or small, to improve the lives of others and positively impact the world. Good Deeds Day, held March 15, 2015. Learn how to organize a project in your own community and activate your goodness.

Good Deeds Day Webinar
Tuesday, November 25th, 12pm ET - REGISTER HERE

To assist members in their transition to electronic record-keeping, AJFCA has partnered with Foothold Technology, entitling AJFCA agency members to a discount on Foothold's software and service package. Learn more about the changes facing nonprofit agencies at the webinar, The Three A's of a Successful Agency: Accountability, Accessibility, Affordability.This online session offers specific strategies for using technology and metrics to help agencies operate more efficiently and economically while improving their quality of care.

The Three A's of a Successful Agency
Tuesday, December 9th, 2pm ET - REGISTER HERE

Presenter:  David Bucciferro

On October 24th, Jewish Family Service of Dallas hosted their 4th Annual Diaper Shower Benefiting the Community at the JFS Food Pantry. Collecting diapers and wipes for families in need in their community, this event was their most successful year ever! Thanks to donations from all over the Greater-Dallas area, they collected 45,305 diapers (15,000 more than in 2013) and 48,037 wipes (12,000 more than in 2013).

1 in 3 families struggle to afford diapers and 39% of Dallas residents are in asset poverty. Security-net programs such as SNAP (food stamps) and WIC do not cover the cost of diapers, so the JFS Food Pantry has these items to help supplement the 120+ families they see each week in the JFS Food Pantry.


Carlos A. Hernández, MA, LCSW, CPHQ has been named president and CEO of Jewish Family and Children's Services of Southern Arizona. Jill Rosenzweig, chair of the JFCS Board of Directors, announced the appointment after a national search.

"We welcome Mr. Hernández and the leadership he will provide to our 73-year-old social and human service organization. His experience covers the gamut from services for children, adolescents and families, to community collaborations that bring psychotherapeutic counseling to children and caregivers, all with sensitivity to the needs of our multi-cultural community," said Rosenzweig.

Hernández, a resident of Tucson and most recently the Director of Family and Community Partnerships at Child-Parent Centers, succeeds Shira Ledman in a position she held for five years and Jeanne Anderson, who served as interim president & CEO since November 2013.

Hernández has served as director of quality management with Pantano Behavioral Health Services in Tucson, research project coordinator with Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, a part-time social work consultant, a program supervisor with the Association House of Chicago's Independent Living Program, and a case manager for that organization's foster care program.

He holds a Bachelor's degree in sociology and social work from the University of Wisconsin and a Master's degree from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He is a former member of the Pima Council on Aging Board of Directors and serves as adjunct faculty at Arizona State University's School of Social Work in Tucson and with the Pima Community College Social Services Department.



Carlos A. Hernández, MA, LCSW, CPHQ has been named president and CEO of Jewish Family and Children's Services of Southern Arizona. Jill Rosenzweig, chair of the JFCS Board of Directors, announced the appointment after a national search.

"We welcome Mr. Hernández and the leadership he will provide to our 73-year-old social and human service organization. His experience covers the gamut from services for children, adolescents and families, to community collaborations that bring psychotherapeutic counseling to children and caregivers, all with sensitivity to the needs of our multi-cultural community," said Rosenzweig.

Hernández, a resident of Tucson and most recently the Director of Family and Community Partnerships at Child-Parent Centers, succeeds Shira Ledman in a position she held for five years and Jeanne Anderson, who served as interim president & CEO since November 2013.

Hernández has served as director of quality management with Pantano Behavioral Health Services in Tucson, research project coordinator with Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, a part-time social work consultant, a program supervisor with the Association House of Chicago's Independent Living Program, and a case manager for that organization's foster care program.

He holds a Bachelor's degree in sociology and social work from the University of Wisconsin and a Master's degree from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He is a former member of the Pima Council on Aging Board of Directors and serves as adjunct faculty at Arizona State University's School of Social Work in Tucson and with the Pima Community College Social Services Department

In 2013, Guidestar, BBB Wise Giving Alliance and Charity Navigator wrote an open letter to the donors of America explaining that "overhead ratios" are a poor way to understand nonprofit performance. The nonprofit sector was hungry to dispel this "Overhead Myth." The field's extraordinary reaction to the first letter has thunderously affirmed that belief. Join together with a second letter, suggesting a set of steps nonprofits can take to help us all move beyond the Overhead Myth. It will take a shared effort to focus donors' attention on what really matters: your organization's efforts to make the world a better place, an Overhead Solution

Less than 1 percent. That's the portion of overall foundation giving that went to leadership development between 1992 and 2011. Foundations ask a great deal of the organizations we support-to strengthen community, meet urgent needs for services, solve complex environmental problems, influence public policy, and build and sustain movements for change. In short, we hope grantees will deliver transformational results for the people and places they serve. So it's striking how seldom we back that up with funds to help organizations develop and strengthen the ability of their leaders to meet those high expectations. Continue reading here.

Investing in Leadership to Accelerate Philanthropic Impact, September 11, 2014, Standford Social Innovation Review, by Ira Hirschfield

In an effort to constantly raise awareness of domestic violence, AJFCA member agency domestic violence professionals publish pieces locally. Click here to view a compilation of AJFCA member agency domestic violence professionals' original publications addressing domestic violence in their communities in an effort to raise awareness of this devastating epidemic. 
 National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month

AJFCA member agencies work every day to support persons with disabilities through a myriad of services including advocacy, vocational assessments and training, work experience, and job search support.

Held each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. The theme for 2014 is "Expect. Employ. Empower."

As they age, their teeth can end up at the bottom of their health care to-do list. But some Palm Beach County Holocaust survivors who need urgent dental interventions are getting essential fixes, thanks to 10 dentists and specialists who have volunteered to treat them at no charge. In a new program coordinated by the Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services in west Boca, survivors who are agency clients are linked with dentists who agree to do free cleanings, root canals, bridge work and other needed treatments.
The program, called Dentists Assisting Survivors of the Holocaust, began in May and has already treated five patients. The family services hopes to enlist 20 dentists, prosthodontists, endodontists and oral surgeons for the program, so all the 300 survivors helped by the agency can get treatment if needed.

Many survivors, who are mostly in their 80s and 90s, suffered from severe malnutrition and other maladies in World War II concentration camps that affected not only their teeth but caused other long-term physical issues, said Danielle Hartman, family services president.

"Because of conditions in the camps, we see poor health more often in survivors than in other senior populations," Hartman said.

Hartman said the family services decided to start the program after hearing about similar successful programs in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Broward's program, started last year, has treated 48 clients, with 26 dentists and specialists offering free care, said Patti Sinkoe, a case manager at Jewish Family Service of Broward County. Continue reading here.

Quarterly Domestic Violence Call:  Reaching Out to the Orthodox 

Each October Jewish Family Service & Children's Center of Clifton-Passaic's Project S.A.R.A.H. runs their "Many Voices/One Message" campaign. Join Outreach Coordinator, Rabbi Michael Bleicher and domestic violence professionals for a 60 minute discussion surrounding the orthodox community, how they fit into the rest of the Jewish community and how JFS&CC works with the orthodox through "Many Voices/One Message." Click here for more details.
Reaching Out to the Orthodox
Tuesday, October 28th, 2pm ET - REGISTER HERE 
Economic Check Up: Helping Older Adults Find   Programs to Boost Their Economic Security

Nearly 23 million older adults in the U.S. are economically insecure-either living in poverty or one "bad break" away from it, and lacking the resources to support their basic health, nutrition, housing, and daily needs. In this webinar, participants will learn about progress to date and lessons learned from a holistic approach to economic assistance that involves a new way of thinking about service delivery at the community level, and www.EconomicCheckUp.org, a new online consumer tool from the National Council on Aging, that can empower low-income seniors to assess their needs and seek assistance.

Economic Check Up
Thursday, October 30th, 2pm ET - REGISTER HERE
A Jewish Communal Response to Addiction 

This 2014 AJFCA Annual Conference session is geared at approaching, treating and educating about addictions within the Jewish community.  Leaders in the field of addiction treatment, engagement, and preventive services will explain their modalities and techniques. Techniques such as:  Abstinence model, community re-engagement, counseling, and harm reduction will be discussed, as well as prevention through education.  Additionally stigma, shame and other addiction treatment barriers will also be reviewed.

A Jewish Communal Response to Addiction
Thursday, November 6th, 2pm ET - REGISTER HERE
Good Deeds Day Webinar  

Good Deeds Day, held on March 15th celebrates doing good for the benefit of others and the planet. All over the world, hundreds of thousands choose to give of themselves, putting into practice the simple idea that every single person can do a good deed, be it large or small, to improve the lives of others and positively impact the world. Good Deeds Day, held March 15, 2015. Learn how to organize a project in your own community and activate your goodness.

Good Deeds Day Webinar
Tuesday, November 25th, 12pm ET - REGISTER HERE

Sharsheret was selected for a multi-year cooperative agreement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to amplify their tailored breast cancer programs for young Jewish women. Collaborating with more than 40 national Sharsheret partners, they will work to serve more than 40,000 women and caregivers, enhancing the quality of life for young breast cancer survivors. For more information, read the complete grant announcement.  

Jewish Family & Child Service in Portland, OR is  an active member of the local SAIV Chapter.  SAIV, the Spiritual Alliance to Stop Intimate Violence, is a world-wide organization co-founded by Riane Eisler, JD, a Holocaust survivor, author, attorney, and activist, see www.saiv.org for details of this remarkable organization.  As JFCS Disabilities Inclusion Specialist, Corinne Spiegel has been the voice at SAIV-Portland for some of the most vulnerable victims of domestic violence, those with physical and mental health challenges.

Corinne has participated in a community presentation, reading the voice of a Jewish victim of domestic violence in a "Women's Voices" event early in 2014. Corinne has represented the Jewish community at community events, including a special appearance by Rick Santos in September.  Rick is the CEO and President of IMA World Health, whose presentation on "Broken Silence" was a remarkable call to religious and community leaders to take action on the issues of domestic violence.

On Thursday, December 4th, Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta will hold the third annual ArtWORKS Gala Reception from 5:30-7:30pm at the Art Institute of Atlanta in Decatur, GA to celebrate "All Things Bright and Beautiful, and All Creatures Great and Small" with ArtWORKS clients. The reception will feature close to 200 works of art to choose from, all developed as part of the pre-vocational program within the disabilities division of the organization. 

ArtWORKS gives JF&CS clients a therapeutic and creative outlet with art while also introducing a commercial element as clients learn to market and sell their art.  This award-winning program is highlighted every year in an annual art show.  Proceeds from art sales go back into the program for supplies as well as to clients as income.  To learn more about ArtWORKS, visit the website at artworksatl.com.

For nonprofit organizations to realize their potential for social impact, they need more than a good program and ambitious leaders to expand it. They need good managers who adopt approaches that make the most of opportunities, anticipate threats, develop talent, and produce strong results.

Fortunately, many management tools and tactics exist to help leaders make good, informed decisions to these ends.

The challenge is to understand what tool can help deal with a given problem, how it’s best applied, and, most critical of all, which ones have most often led to positive results.

Twenty years ago, the global management consultancy Bain & Company created a survey titled "Management Tools & Trends." It led to what has become a biannual consumer report offering guidance to corporate leaders on the best approaches for their organizations.

This year, the nonprofit Bridgespan Group, which was incubated at Bain & Company, is collaborating with The Chronicle of Philanthropy to start an analog for the social sector.

This new project will ask a wide range of nonprofit leaders to provide insight on the use and effectiveness of 25 top tools, and to voice their opinions on the importance of 21 major trends affecting the sector.

Bridgespan interviewed more than two dozen nonprofit leaders and other experts to identify the tools that they believed were among the most important currently available to nonprofits.

The tools focus on five major areas, such as clarifying goals (including doing scenario and contingency planning and devising a "theory of change") and managing success (including seeking feedback from beneficiaries and evaluating programs).

To help leaders gain deeper insight about the tools, we are offering an online reference guide that describes each one, its methods, and its application, along with a bibliography of articles and cases that illuminate the use of that tool. Our hope is that this guide will allow nonprofit leaders to learn more about the approaches, even before seeing the survey results in January. Readers will get an early look at what we’ve learned in The Chronicle’s first issue of 2015.

But management advice doesn’t matter unless it has context, and that is why we also are asking questions about the most important trends in the nonprofit world. Among the issues related to those trends: whether nonprofits are betting on technology innovation to increase their impact or whether they might participate in pay-for-success initiatives or social-impact bonds in the next three years.

We anticipate that the survey will reveal both points of pain and instruments of hope, much as the Bain & Company survey has for corporate managers. For example, in the early 2000s, after sales of the much-hyped customer-relationship management systems had dropped and many believed that interest in the tool was waning, Bain discovered a dramatic uptick of interest in such systems among the business leaders who responded to its survey. That insight helped focus attention both on the specific perils of CRM tools and on how companies could avoid pitfalls and use CRM to serve the needs of their businesses most effectively.

The survey report will not only help nonprofit leaders who want to understand what their peers are doing and what tools might be most valuable to their organizations, but it should also aid philanthropists who want to assess the impact of their current or potential donations, as reflected in the performance of charitable organizations.

The first "Nonprofit Management Tools & Trends Survey" will establish a baseline and provide a snapshot of which tools and approaches are being mostly widely used and by whom. However, the greatest value from the survey may become clear as it is re-administered over time—illuminating trends, showing how tools are working or falling short, and helping philanthropists and other nonprofit leaders understand their own impact on nonprofit management practice and performance.

If you are a leader of a nonprofit, we invite you to participate in the survey. And we look forward to sharing, in January, what we’ve learned about how managers are using the tools and driving trends.

New Project Will Identify and Share Best Nonprofit Management Tactics, October 5, 2014, Chronicle of Philanthropy, by Paul Carttar & Chris Lindquist

There are many ways we compromise as nonprofit leaders. Our time, our budgets, our resources…all for the greater good of our organizations and the communities we serve. But when is compromise necessary? And, more importantly, when is it the right thing to do?

It was recently announced that the Lancaster Museum of Art and the Demuth Museum, both located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, will consolidate as one entity while maintaining their separate locations. The reason for the merger is to maximize resources, specifically staff and governance. (For a deeper discussion of the two museums, their histories, and their artistic missions, see Eileen Cunniffe’s newswire here.)

Sometimes the term “merger” has the connotation of failure. Contrary to that, many merger cases symbolize strength and vitality, especially when encouraged and endorsed by invested parties, such as elected officials and foundations. The National Council of Nonprofits refers to these nonprofit mergers as “collaborations,” “strategic alliances,” or even “partnerships” to defer any negative significance a merger could represent. In Lancaster, the museum merger has been approved both by a local foundation and the city’s mayor, furthering the positive impact this action will have on the community as a whole. So in this case, the merger is not due solely to a lack of resources, but to an outpouring of community attention and affirmation.

A strategic alliance allows for growth and sustainability through cost-effective and low-impact measures. The Lancaster-Demuth merger demonstrates the need for shared resources and capacity-building efforts to enhance the mission and continuation of these two major community assets. But who really benefits from this consolidation—the organizations, the community, or both? There are many reasons to merge (such as financial struggles, governing resources, etc.) but the community that is served is essential to any nonprofit’s success. The community is why a nonprofit exists.

In a 2012 article from the Nonprofit Quarterly entitled “Creating Fertile Soil for the Merger Option,” Judith Alnes identifies the realities of major motivations of mergers. Ninety-three percent of organizations merge to increase service delivery and to ensure the long-term financial stability of at least one of the merging groups, while 75 percent do it to save programs and services that might otherwise be lost without the merger. These statistics demonstrate that the community component has a heavy influence on whether or not an organization should merge with another.

Though mergers are often set in place to the community’s benefit, there are some instances when obstacles arise—not all mergers conclude with a happy ending. If mergers are intended to give communities and audiences a more well-rounded and stable experience, then organizations planning to merge should exhaustively examine all data that may affect the merger. One example would be to investigate audience overlap statistics, which can be identified as a cost-saving mechanism, as was the case with the Sacramento Philharmonic and Sacramento Opera merger in 2010. The merger was meant to address gaps in spending, and the small overlap provided partial justification for the organizations to merge to cover certain costs. The reality demonstrated that this overlap was not enough to sufficiently increase revenues; a merger was not the answer.

There are many lessons to be learned from nonprofit mergers, and a variety of both success and failure cases. Clearly, the good of the community should be the result of any merger, as it is at the crux of any nonprofit organization. Why do we continue to strive and thrive as nonprofits? To give back and serve our communities. Alone, we are a voice; as a collective, we are a force. Whether that force acts for our community of nonprofits or for our supporters and patrons depends upon the ambitions and goals of the unified, merged organizations and their anticipated plans for the future.—Jennifer Swan

What It Means When Nonprofits Merge, September 26, 2014, Nonprofit Quarterly, by Jennifer Swan

Imagine this scenario: A supporter clicks the “donate” link in one of your emails and gives to your organization through the website. Afterward, the supporter tweets her support and gets an enthusiastic re-tweet from your organization’s Twitter handle. She also receives an automated gift acknowledgement email from your donation system, as well as a mailed “Thank You” letter from your development department the following month.  Through this seemingly simple interaction, the donor has touched your communications, IT, and development departments.  

Even though members engage with your organization through multiple channels and interact with different departments, they desire the same level of communication and customer service across the board. If one of the three separate “thank yous” to your donor addresses her by the wrong first name (It’s Katherine not Katie, thank you very much), the donor will not assign blame to the communications coordinator who proofread the text; the whole organization may take a hit in her eyes for this lack of attention to her personal details.

Have you heard these comments before?

“I know I already changed my address in your system!”

“No, I haven’t had that job title for three years.”

“Our company categorization is wrong on your website.”

“Why are you sending me information on conference X—it’s nowhere close to my field?”

While you may view your organization as a collection of distinct, perhaps even siloed, departments, your member sees you as one entity and expects consistency and efficiency. For this reason, the member or supporter experience must be consistent organization-wide.

Understanding how your organization’s member data is collected and stored is the first step to achieving this aim.

For example, if someone updates their mailing address with your membership department and the membership team updates their record in the AMS, does this information ever make its way to the lists run by your marketing team? What about any of the demographic data you collect when people register for your events?

In a perfect world, departments throughout your organization would join forces in kumbaya fashion to provide a consistent member experience that recognizes the member’s entire identity, not just discrete interactions with one department. In reality, this task is often fraught with technical difficulties—how often have you requested a seemingly simple transfer of business intelligence only to be told, “But the systems don’t talk to each other.”  

If there is no one-click solution to updating the organization’s marketing lists or sharing demographic information collected elsewhere by the organization, disparate departments should work to find “out of the box” ways to pass this enhanced member intelligence onto other teams. While this may be a laborious process that requires some skill in data manipulation, it’s worth the effort to ensure that you make a consistently good impression with the organization’s members and supporters.

Using this data to tailor member engagement leads to a better member experience.

No matter which team engages with a member, a personalized interaction wins every time. Personalization is achieved when an organization utilizes the available information to make service efficient and to make members feel valued.

Once an organization commits to tearing down its informational siloes, all sorts of member insights emerge. By examining information and patterns of behavior on an organization-wide scale, you will get a fuller picture of your members by connecting the data dots you likely already have on hand. These insights can feed into the delivery of a more customized member experience.

Say that a supporter subscribes to your advocacy-focused digital publication and is a member of several committees focused on areas of legislation that are overseen by different departments in your organization.  Combining all of this engagement data yields a clear picture of a member who is very interested in advocacy. Instead of sending him general emails about every organizational webinar and event, you can tailor your offerings and messages to align with his values. Would he appreciate an invitation to your D.C. fly-in day? Absolutely. Does he want to know Five Tips For Landing a Job in Field X? Eh, maybe not.

This tailored messaging and engagement sends positive signals to members and supporters. Not only are you addressing your member by the correct first name and title, you are tailoring the content your member receives to his past behaviors and preferences. Instead of appearing like an unfeeling robot monolith, your organization is sending signals that say, “We remember you,” “You matter.”

Breaking down data siloes results in a staff that is more in touch with member profiles and member needs. By making member data-sharing an organization-wide priority, you will retain satisfied members and supporters. Additionally, as this approach pushes organizational goals to the forefront, you might just discover opportunities for growth and revenue that you never even knew existed!

Are You Sending Mixed Messages to Your Members? September 16, 2014, NTEN, by Marissa Maybee

One of the simultaneously most rewarding and most difficult aspects of nonprofit work is the reliance on community members to support an organization’s cause. It can be challenging to communicate the importance of a nonprofit’s work in a way that motivates action in others; however, when an organization does successfully reach those people, whether they be volunteers or simply curious parties, the results can be tremendous in terms of both generosity and support. For your group to see this kind of impact, you need to place an emphasis on helping outside individuals establish a personalized relationship with the cause at hand. The best time to create this one-one-one dynamic and instill a stronger connection with the issues at hand is your organization’s events. Fundraisers present valuable opportunities to generate a stronger understanding of and commitment to the given cause within the attendees. This may sound like a daunting task, but it all comes down to maximizing the available data and integrating it with existing customer relationship management (CRM) systems like Blackbaud to enhance the event experience for each individual.

The many uses of data for enhancing an event can be broken down into three categories: before, during, and after.

Planning the event

The planning and promotion of an event is your first opportunity to begin gathering valuable information about your invited guests. It’s your first point of contact with the attendees and, as we all know, a lot can be gained from a first impression.

As you collect the registration data, there are several beneficial methods of segmentation that can be implemented based on the information you receive. For example, has the attendee come to this event in the past? Better yet, has he been coming for the past several years and knows more about the event that the presenters? If this is the case, use that information to put a personalized touch on his event materials. He doesn’t need the background about the event itself, but might appreciate something more along the lines of a “Welcome back!”

Gaining this kind of valuable information ahead of time is simply a matter of asking the right questions. Initial submission and interest forms offer the opportunity to ask far more than simply names and titles. Use the chance to learn about an attendee’s background and goals, and you’ll be able to make strong connections with the right people before the event has even started.

At the show

When it comes to asking the right questions, it’s not all about learning how you can improve the pre-event experience; you can also use that data to personalize the event itself.

While larger components such as keynote speakers or auction items are often set in stone before registration data comes in, there are smaller finishing touches that can be put in place with less advance notice. Are some of your attendees vegan? They might appreciate some appetizers that reflect their dietary needs. Does someone go by her middle name? Show you paid attention by putting that on her nametag. Is there a group of people who spend their weekends hiking? Work your recent experience on the Appalachian Trail into the conversation when you introduce yourself.

The devil is in the details, and people will respond to that extra effort, or lack thereof. For nonprofits that run on the generosity of others, both in terms of time and money, personal connections can make all the difference. Data will open the doors to these more impactful gestures, which can lead to memorable nights for your attendees across the board.

The wrap-up

Your chance to put data to use isn’t over when the last guests leave. In the same way the pre-event registration questions create opportunities for customization, a well-crafted post-event questionnaire can be a valuable commodity. Your attendees appreciate personalized efforts before and during the show because it shows you’ve taken the time to appreciate their contributions; a survey following the event that asks for honest feedback — and then acts on it — demonstrates the same genuine interest and gratitude.

Which speaker was most well-received? What auction item motivated attendees to contribute their highest bids? Once your event data is fully integrated with your existing system, you can check which attendees are repeat donors, and whose average donations increased following the event. This information can help you gain a much clearer understanding of what worked and what didn’t, allowing you to reduce costs on unnecessary initiatives and ultimately improve the event’s overall effectiveness and return on investment. More importantly, these are the kind of highly beneficial adjustments that will result in even happier attendees the following year. Happy attendees are the same attendees who recruit their friends to come to the next event, and in the nonprofit community, that kind of word of mouth is the most valuable resource available. When you combine these sorts of customized touches before, during and after the event, you ensure your event becomes cost-effective and highly optimized to be more than just buzz; it becomes a catalyst for results. And all you need to make that happen is the right data.

Putting Data to Use for a Successful Nonprofit Event, September 15, 2014, NTEN, by Matthew Wainwright

Many boards never understand and utilize the potential each member has to invest in the organization. Having committed to a board, new members are often “on-boarded” out of any fresh, innovative, or challenging ideas they might have. Instead of grooming members to fill the usual skillset, I work to build stronger boards through understanding the value each member brings to the table.

As board members, we can work on building strength through a diversity of new members and a balance of ideas. I’m talking about bankers, artists, architects, techies, and venture capitalists just to mention a few. If we build our board from individuals who have different lenses on the world, who bring thought diversity, we will be able to approach our challenges from new perspectives.

I often remind organizations that board members made a commitment to the organization. Strength comes from honoring those commitments and listening for the interest and value each member has brought to the team. By listening to new members instead of telling them how we operate, I have found we are able to open our board up for change, to see the potential as well as new directions.

The Technique

I apply community-building techniques that re-examine the views and skills each member brings to the table. The method includes asking clarifying questions, active listening, and building understanding before approaching the challenges we face as board members. And, the technique has brought real impact. Through using it, one organization increased donations in one year by 400 percent. It all hinges on learning about each other, respecting our differing methods, and being open to new possibilities. Balancing the thought leaders on our board and allowing them to take ownership for their commitment to the organization builds real strength.

In the BLF session I will be leading on Building a Stronger Board, the participants will work in groups to explore this method. By asking clarifying questions and through active listening, the exercise helps uncover the value each member brings to the team. Commitment, diversity, perspective, and skills are explored in a more personal way that allows each member to get to know the other.

Part of strength also comes from solidifying commitment. Each board member may be able to contribute a range of skills. Each also has a number of commitments they balance. Understanding this ebb and flow can help increase the value your board members can bring to the organization. I have found it also helps in determining when a member should transition off. This type of personal examination can help members understand on their own when it’s time to move on.

How the board views and tells your organization’s story can also bring strength. What is it the board doesn’t know about me as a member? What value could I offer that has not been tapped into? The value and perspective each member has can enrich the way the organization’s message is relayed. As ambassadors for the organization, it’s important that we understand the organization’s story, but it’s equally important that as board member, I can own our part of it. Understanding how each member views the organization’s work will help us shape a stronger message.

The Method

The method I present is more about looking at board process and structure, not about solving problems like scarcity, need for funds, better leadership and how others should change. It focuses on replacing advice with curiosity and exploring an issue from all sides. It is in this search for deeper understanding that we are able to lift the cover on the root of our challenges. To learn what core issues are and how people outside the organization may see them. It leads to building a stronger board.

Are You Listening to Your Board Members?, September 25, 2014, Board Source, by Peter Zehren

Numerous recent studies and articles have pointed out the critical role of philanthropy in communities—not only in supporting the social sector, but also in creating a culture of civic engagement, caring, and trust. But how do you actually build a culture of philanthropy in a community?

I had been working in the nonprofit sector in New York for years when my husband suddenly received an incredible job opportunity in Las Vegas, Nevada. At the time, I knew nothing of the social sector in Vegas—after all, when you think about Las Vegas, the first thing that comes to mind usually isn’t philanthropy.

We moved, and I soon joined the Moonridge Group, a catalyst organization that connects nonprofits and philanthropy, and facilitates community-wide initiatives. Our work focuses on growing philanthropy, building capacity in nonprofits, and ensuring that we increase collaboration and minimize duplication, particularly in Las Vegas. So far our greatest challenges have been community engagement, and building a culture and a legacy of philanthropy.

Las Vegas is a fascinating example of a big little town. It’s a city that essentially exists because of tourism, yet it’s also a thriving city with 2.2 million residents. It was one of the hardest hit by the recession and real estate bubble—and although the economy has rebounded, there are deep wounds. Like many other cities across the United States, Vegas has deep social needs and a low density of nonprofits. It is highly transient and, due to it’s relative youth, does not have an ingrained culture of philanthropy.

Over the past year, I’ve learned a lot about how you can build a culture of philanthropy, and we have refocused our organization as a result. Here’s what we know about what works:

1. Everything begins with engagement.

In communities where there isn't an established culture of board participation and volunteerism, it’s important to start by creating opportunities for fulfilling engagement. One specific thing we did was to create a better pipeline of volunteer leadership. We did this in a few ways. First, we launched a “board matchmaker” tool, which helps pair organizations that need board members with executives who are looking for a way to get involved and give back. We also wanted to make existing philanthropy more strategic and visible. We formed something called the Greater Good Council, which brings together individual and family foundations to engage in strategic, collective impact-like giving. Finally, we began guiding nonprofits toward creating structured volunteer opportunities for individuals and groups, knowing that once someone volunteers, they often develop a vested interest in supporting that organization into the future.

2. Although philanthropy should be strategic, it’s fundamentally personal.

Of course we all want philanthropists to engage in high-impact giving, but when you are starting off trying to build a culture and tradition of philanthropy, it’s most important to inspire people to give. We find that storytelling—sharing personal pathways to giving—works well. We implemented an annual Philanthropy Leaders Summit, where 150 community philanthropists engaged in conversations about how and why they give. We are also starting a video series featuring local leading philanthropists who share what inspires them.

3. You have to reach Millennials directly.

It’s also critical to reach out to and engage the next generation of philanthropists. We helped several nonprofits launch youth philanthropy groups, which focus on volunteering, personal experience, and professional development. We also involve youth in our Philanthropy Leaders Summit.

4. It’s important to help nonprofits better engage with the philanthropy community.

As the tide of philanthropy rises in a community, it’s important to ensure that nonprofits are equipped to accept and effectively steward contributions. We collaborate with other community organizations to create a spectrum of capacity-building services for nonprofits. We also work directly with organizations to develop clear communications with donors (for example, providing information such as “investment updates” to donors so that they can see how organizations are using their funds). We also launched a series of community roundtables to help nonprofits better understand the funding landscape—for example, this fall we will organize a summit with the Nevada Corporate Giving Council (which we helped form) and the Nonprofit CEO Advisory Council (convened by the United Way of Southern Nevada). There are always misconceptions on both sides in terms of funding needs and availability; this is just one step in the direction to better communications and collaboration.

Building a culture and tradition of philanthropy for an entire city is a massive undertaking, but it is vital. Like many communities across the country, Las Vegas has deep social needs, and it is up to all members of the community to help support their neighbors. It’s so inspiring to see a rising tide of national philanthropic efforts (such as the Billionaire’s Pledge)—but it all starts at home, in our communities.

Building a Culture of Philanthropy, September 19, 2014, Stanford Social Innovation Review, by Anna Pikovsky Auerbach

On the evening of September 30th Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden hosted a reception at their home for Jewish Community leadership. Lee Sherman and Shelley Rood were honored to be among the 100 guests and to represent the work of the AJFCA network. In his remarks, the Vice President spoke about his strong commitment to ensuring that Holocaust Survivors live their lives in dignity, and acknowledged the great work of Aviva Sufian, U.S. Special Envoy for Holocaust Survivor Services, and the supports being provided by our Jewish human services agencies. Click here to view photos. 

As the general elections approach on November 4th, there is increased scrutiny over the activities of charitable organizations. While we encourage relevant policy questions of elected officials and those seeking office, there are distinct lines in which we may not cross. This memo offers guidance from The Jewish Federations of North America. Please contact Shelley Rood if you have any questions.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the first Day of Unity observed in October, 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The intent was to connect battered women's advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children. Click here to view a compilation of AJFCA member agency domestic violence professionals' original publications addressing domestic violence in their communities in an effort to raise awareness of this devastating epidemic.

Project Build! at Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit helps people remain safe in their homes by providing pro bono repairs and renovations for JFS clients through partnerships with local builders, remodelers and suppliers. Project Build! Assists older adults and other home-bound community members through the construction and installation of access ramps, grab bars and other modifications designed to aid mobility and improve safety.

These renovations reduce the danger of falls and allow JFS clients age in place. Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries, but these accidents can be prevented through targeted interventions like home modifications. Click here for more information.

Project Shalom, a program of the Jewish Family Service of Houston's Disability Services for Jewish Families with Special Needs, was established to help those with chronic mental illness maintain a connection to the Jewish community. For over a decade, this special program has provided a place for these individuals to increase their social skills and reduce the likelihood of hospitalization.

Group Weekly Activities
Weekly meetings offer group members a sense of belonging, support and friendship. Facilitated by a master's level therapist, each meeting includes a hot kosher lunch and a planned therapeutic/educational activity such as:

*Cooking demonstrations
*Arts and crafts projects
*Dance instruction
*Music therapy
*Day trips both in and out of Houston
*Jewish and secular holiday celebrations

Counseling and Family Therapy Provided
In addition to group meetings,supportive individual and family counseling is provided to group members.When the family of group members are available,they are invited to participate in family sessions.

Psychiatric Evaluation and Medication Management
Psychiatric services, consultation and medication management are available at JFS to clients of Project Shalom.

Learn more here.

Jewish Family Service of Dallas is pleased to announce the 2014 Diaper Shower Benefiting the Community on October 26th. Now in its fourth year, the JFS Diaper Shower collects diapers, wipes and other baby items for the families in our community in need. One in three families struggle to afford diapers, and safety net programs such as WIC and SNAP (food stamps) do not cover the cost of these items. 

An adequate supply of diapers can cost over $100 per month, and for families in asset poverty (39% of residents in the greater-­-Dallas area living paycheck to paycheck), this expense can be devastating. In order to help make a difference in the lives of families, the JFS Food Pantry offers these items to the community, and the JFS Diaper Shower helps make this happen. In 2013, the JFS Diaper Shower collected over 30,000 diapers and 38,000 wipes. The JFS Food Pantry sees over 120 families each week. With the recent SNAP benefits.

On Monday, September 22nd, AJFCA professionals visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in D.C. alongside VISTA Leader Nicole Escoe, JSSA VISTA Adrienne Ognibene and Adrienne's supervisor Ellen Blalock, Holocaust Survivor Program and Volunteer Coordinator, Senior Services at JSSA. Ellen organized the outing as well as a debriefing at JFNA's DC office with the JSSA home care and hospice staff on how to use the information learned to build an effective cultural competency training for working with Holocaust Survivors. Following the debriefing, the AJFCA VISTA team met to further the conversation on how lessons learned through the 10 VISTA communities might be shared with the entire AJFCA network. If you have any questions regarding the AJFCA VISTA project or have resources on Holocaust Survivor Services you'd like to share, please be in touch with Liz Woodward.

A subtle vibe of negativity can spoil an otherwise effective workplace. I've seen this impact even the most capable of teams. The dynamic can bring a group of talented contributors to a slowed, encumbered pace. The team becomes snagged on issues that fail to drive performance — and the collective energy of the group fractures and dissipates. We might feel that we personally lack the resources to affect levels of happiness in our workplace. However, we have more ability to do so than we might have previously acknowledged. Research has shown the inherent power of a positive mind set has far-reaching potential to enhance not only psychological well-being — but the achievement of valued workplace outcomes.

Positive psychology explores, and attempts to capture what is "right" within our lives. It shifts the emphasis to experiences that help us build a positive foundation, so we can meet issues and challenges. The psychological resources of hope, self-efficacy, resilience and optimism (Think HERO), can influence how we approach our daily work lives. These resources — which together form the construct of psychological capital — can be integral in affecting our behavior.

As managers, team leaders or individual contributors, taking an active role to encourage a more positive workplace can prove to be a worthy investment. Take a moment to take stock of your own psychological resources and those of others around you. Do you feel capable of meeting the demands of your work life? Do you feel the team possess the tools to meet the challenges that lay before you at work? Does the group feel confident and hopeful? What needs to change to create a more positive environment?

A few ideas to encourage a more positive workplace. (These are simple — yet in practice, we often need a reminder.):

Express gratitude. Recognizing others for their contribution is a powerful resource builder. I've seen talented contributors who were tempted to leave an organization, simply because they misjudged their own value. Routinely expressing gratitude can set a powerful and positive tone of deep respect. Remember that two simple words —"thank you"— can have a long-standing effect on work-life happiness.

Take every opportunity to align work with strengths. Utilizing our strengths in the workplace is key to building confidence. This involves routine discussions with your team members, to evaluate if their skills are being tapped. For yourself, make every attempt to incorporate the areas in which you excel, into everyday work life. When weaknesses take center stage — work life can become a miserable experience.

Value the work of others. You may not agree with every idea or plan presented, however respecting what others bring to the table is key. We all work hard to make a difference — try not to rob others of the feeling of satisfaction that comes with contributing.

Communicate, even when it is challenging. Next to public speaking, engaging someone in a difficult conversation, is likely one of our greatest workplaces fears. However, happy workplaces rely on open, diplomatic conversations. So, if you are hesitating to share something important or you are avoiding conflict — think twice before sweeping it under the carpet. (A few ideas for that here.)

Emphasize feedback. Offering (and seeking out) honest feedback is critical to our work lives. However, we must remember that we differ in terms of our feedback requirements and capability to both absorb (and apply) the information. Be cognizant of the individual differences among team members.

Bring balance to the negatives. As human beings, we have the tendency to dwell on negative information (quite possibly an evolutionary byproduct). Often we find ourselves obsessing about a goal we didn't fulfill — or a relationship that is strained. Build resilience by refocusing your energy on successes, when you feel disappointment or stress.

Practice "flexible" thinking. When considering a new challenge, be sure to explore potential obstacles and generate alternative pathways to effectively manage them. This exercise builds feelings of efficacy in the face of an unexpected turn of events—a common occurrence in our work lives.

Acknowledge the small steps that lead to successes. Often we focus on lofty, larger goals that may take an extended amount of time to accomplish. Identify and celebrate incremental goals along the way, to help bolster energy levels and maintain focus.

How do you create a positive work environment at your place of business? Share your strategies here.

How to Build a More Positive Workplace, September 9, 2014, LinkIn, by Dr. Marla Gottschalk

Social Fresh TipsThe number of tools, services and software that we use for marketing these days has increased exponentially. From publishing to analytics to creating images and lead generation and plenty of other categories.

Really quickly there starts to be some overlap and we start accumulating logins and monthly fees for tools that we don’t necessarily need or use. And some tools just don’t work out, and need to be replaced.

Every year I do an audit of the tools and software I am using. The goal is to identify the tools that are working and force you to deal with the ones not quite making the mark.

As we went through the process this year, I realized this is something a lot of marketers and businesses need to do more often. If you have never done a software/tool audit for your marketing or even just for the management of your business, you should do one now.

1. Add Tools
First add all the tools and software you are using to a spreadsheet, free and paid. I used some dummy tool and software names in the spreadsheet layout I use to review the tools we use for Social Fresh. Here is the template if you want to use it yourself.

2. Include Context
After adding in the tools, work out all your monthly and yearly costs, how often you currently use each tool, and the category of the each (to help find overlaps).

3. Decide the Tool’s Status
Label each tool as either 1. Keep (what’s working), 2. Replace (we need a better option), or 3. Drop (no longer a need, failed test). Focus on finding the Keep and Drop tools first.

That middle part, Replace, is always the challenge, when you decide you still have a need but your current solution is not getting it done, it takes some work to find an alternative. And sometimes, there just is not a great alternative.

Don’t be scared to label a tool as Replace though. It does not mean you have to replace it overnight. It might take you a while to find an alternative. But starting to look is the first step.

Pay special attention to tools that you are spending too much money on, tools that overlap with others (eliminate one), tools that you simply are not using enough, and tools that are not producing results.

4. Set Next Steps
After you finish with labeling each tool, decide what your next action is for each. Some of the Keep tools might need some changes. The Drop tools need to be canceled. And your Replace tools need some research. Add these to do items to your calendar or task manager and get to work.

This simple process can be completed in a couple hours but it will save you time, save you money, increase the success of your marketing, and give you a little more sanity.

Are You Using Too Many Social Media Tools? August 19, 2014, Social Fresh, by Jason Keath

“Our board is so engaged in fundraising, we can’t imagine how they could possibly do more.”

Wait … what? Why is it so rare to hear nonprofit leaders making this kind of statement? Well, it’s because very few people think their board members are doing enough to attract, retain, and deepen the commitment of major donors. According to the oft-quoted Underdeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising, depending on organizational budget, only 18-35% of respondents said board members were “sufficiently” engaged, while 0-7% said they were “very sufficiently” engaged. One development director likely speaks for many peers when she said:

"It is really, really difficult to motivate the board and get them to see the value of what we do. We have people who renew their term, but these are the very same people who will not pick up the phone, will not attend board meetings, will not come to a donor meeting or partner with the executive director, which is a huge, huge obstacle."

Whenever I hear comments like these, my first question is to ask about board giving – and not just if they give, but how their gifts are solicited. Because there’s one simple rule that, when applied well, can dramatically increase board involvement in fundraising:

If you want board members to engage with major donors, engage them as major donors.

Think of it as the Golden Rule, Fundraising Edition. No matter how many trainings, tools, and resources you provide, board members will not fully understand the value of donor-centered conversations and other touches until they experience them firsthand. This is not a trait unique to board members; it’s how all humans learn. Consider showing, not telling board members why their participation in the work of major gifts promises such a strong return on investment.

Is making a gift one of the very first things you ask a new board member to do? While it’s true that 100% board giving should be a built-in expectation, if you treat their donations as a “given,” you’re missing out on a huge chance to show them how to reach for that personal, meaningful stretch gift. Take the time to ask new members why they chose to serve, what excites them about your program, and what more they want to know. In turn, they’ll understand that fundraising is a journey that leads up to, rather than begins and ends with, “the ask.”

Are your board members handed pledge forms and envelopes at a meeting, and told to return them as soon as possible? Or maybe they just get a letter in the mail? While collective board giving matters to other donors, remember that your board’s commitment is deeply personal. Have face-to-face meetings with each board member, assign solicitation teams, and determine request amounts with the care and strategy you would use for your top donors. They’ll grow to understand that donor conversations are much more about shared values, hopes, and dreams for the community, and much less about dollars and cents.

Are your board members regularly thanked for their specific contributions of time and money? While they may be close to the organization, every board member will still be grateful to hear about the impact of their giving. Consider developing a stewardship plan that includes quarterly touches from your senior executive, development director, board chair, and the Development Committee chair if you have one. A board member who has received a thoughtful note is more likely to understand the significance of signing or sending one.

So that’s the secret: treat board members like you’d like them to treat major donors. The results will be “golden!”

The Golden Rule of Board Engagement, September 3, 2014, eJP, by Barbara Maduell


Can an established nonprofit still be innovative? It's a question that any "blue chip" company has to be ready to respond "yes" to in order to ensure continued growth. So if being innovative is viewed as being critical to a for-profit company's success, why wouldn't such a standard also apply to nonprofits?

Today's philanthropic environment encourages nonprofits to be more innovative than ever before, especially as there is increased focus on measuring impact. This push to stimulate the development of creative solutions to addressing the needs of the community helps to challenge nonprofit organizations to constantly reconsider their program models. In this way, nonprofits move beyond their comfort zone to embrace new and innovative strategies for realizing the impact of their mission. Being "innovative" does not mean deserting an organization's history, but rather leveraging what's been done to achieve new and greater impact. Like "blue chip" companies, established nonprofit organizations often have the staff and resources to take risks and pilot new programs or approaches for achieving impact.

How can a nonprofit take the leap toward being innovative? Here are some initial steps that even the risk averse may feel comfortable taking:

1. Establish a culture of innovation: Leadership needs to let staff, clients, and external constituents know that they value the agency being innovative. It's this creation of a culture of innovation that will empower individuals to think critically and creatively about the agency and its programs.

2. Define the need: Development staff should work with program staff, the organization's leadership, clients, and external constituents to identify pressing needs and service gaps within the agency's scope. During this phase, nonprofits should be willing to question the effectiveness of their existing program models while also considering potential complementary areas of impact.

3. Brainstorm: Once the needs have been identified and leadership is on board, the development staff should work collaboratively with program staff to host a series of brainstorming sessions to ascertain potential solutions to the identified issue(s). Often an organization is already home to innovative thinkers who just need to be given the freedom to exercise their entrepreneurial spirit.

4. Draft the concept: Drawing on institutional knowledge, research, contemporary literature, and other sources, the "innovation team" should put together a concept paper that captures the proposed innovation's activities, goals, and objectives. It's this initial document that development staff can then share with external stakeholders who may be interested in supporting the project.

5. Pilot the innovation: Once the nonprofit has developed a proposed model, and if resources allow, it should test that model. In many cases, this test will help to provide potential funders with the early impact data they need to ascertain whether the project is a viable investment.

To some, questioning what's been done may be difficult and adding new innovative projects to an organization's programming could be viewed as unnecessary; however, this culture of innovation is necessary to constantly pushing an organization forward. Once the culture has been established, staff will be able to move through the process from developing innovative approaches to achieving impact knowing that they are supported by their organization's leadership.

Just as new innovations are viewed as being critical to a for-profit's bottom line, so too should it be a valued aspect of a nonprofit's business plan. For-profit companies recognize the need to remain relevant by updating their products and services while also developing new ones, in much the same way nonprofits need to be laboratories for piloting new and creative approaches to living out their missions and serving their communities.

Can An Established Nonprofit Still be Innovative? September 2, 2014, The Huffington Post, by Joseph Amodeo

Maintaining the vibrancy and strength of Jewish communities across the country continues to be a concern for those of us involved, whether professionally or as lay leaders, in the Jewish communal enterprise. How do we ensure that the variety of Jewish organizations that make up the fabric of our communities continue to exist for future generations and are financially stable to meet current and emerging needs?

Endowments, once a luxury, are now an essential element of every Jewish organization’s financial stability strategy. How do we build and grow these endowments so they provide the level of funding needed to compensate for declining annual giving? While at the same time converting our Jewish communal organizations from competitors to collaborators and encouraging our most loyal and committed donors to support these valued institutions at a level many never thought possible.

Legacy giving initiatives are transforming Jewish communities across the country by addressing all of these issues. Not only are they taking advantage of the tremendous transfer of wealth provided by the baby boomer generation, but these efforts engage younger generations in changing the language and landscape of giving.

In just two years, through partnerships with Jewish federations and Jewish community foundations in 12 communities across the country, the LIFE & LEGACY ™ program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation has assisted 183 Jewish organizations in locals, as small as Omaha and as large as Chicago, to secure more than 2,000 legacy commitments with an estimated valued of over $70 million in future gifts. More importantly, these communities are actively engaged in integrating legacy giving into their philanthropic culture, fostering camaraderie and respect among Jewish organizations and providing generous and forward-thinking members with the opportunity to express their passion, purpose, and commitment to sustaining vital programs and services.

One of the hallmarks of Harold Grinspoon’s philanthropic strategy is to inspire other donors. To encourage them, he offers incentive grants to spark conversations which ultimately support Jewish institutions of all kinds. It’s a method that he very successfully integrated into his Jewish camping program to help endow camps across North America. With LIFE & LEGACY, a two-year-old program, he is also realizing gains. His $3 million investment has already resulted in $70 million in future gifts.

So here is what we have found to be the key elements of a successful legacy initiative: a comprehensive training curriculum, ongoing support, a structure which prioritizes organizational collaboration, establishing goals, tracking efforts and most importantly monetary incentives which motivate organizations to make legacy giving a priority and donors to take action during a limited timeframe.

LIFE & LEGACY partner communities are provided matching grants to support the implementation of the program as well as funds to incentivize their local organizations to be successful. Legacy commitment goals are established for each organization and the community as a whole. Matching grants are paid on an annual basis upon achievement of the community goal. Organizational incentives are granted each year as institutions achieve, or in many cases, exceed their individual goals. The receiving organizations have the discretion to use these funds as they see fit. With a return on investment that is more than 20 fold, it’s a formula that works.

Just as matching grants encourage donors to increase annual giving, incentive grants motivate donors to take the necessary action today that will result in after-lifetime contributions to organizational endowments that are critical to future operations. Additionally, as a result of the collaborative structure of the program, we have found that on average donors are making legacy commitments to multiple organizations.

Because each commitment counts toward organizational goals one Jewish professional told me that her greatest joy was calling the professional of another organization to advise them that a legacy commitment was secured. And this cooperative spirit is extending beyond the boundaries of individual communities as evidenced by the development of a network of Jewish professionals who are sharing best practices, brainstorming around challenges, supporting each other’s efforts, and thinking strategically about encouraging legacy commitments to Jewish institutions throughout North America.

Through the mobilization of communities, both big and small, to integrate legacy giving into their philanthropic culture in an incentivized, systematic and collaborative way, we will provide our most loyal donors with an opportunity to support vital Jewish organizations in a way they previously thought impossible, strengthen and maintain dynamic Jewish communities, and assure a strong Jewish future.

Transforming Jewish Communities Through Legacy Giving, September 8, 2014, eJP, by Arlene D. Schiff

Join the National Council on Aging and Jewish family social service agencies across the country in recognizing Falls Prevention Awareness Day on September 23rd to bring attention to this pressing public health issue. Click here to access NCOA Fall Prevention resources.


Jessica Schaffer, 29, a 2007 graduate of McGill University, received the 26th annual Samuel A. Goldsmith Award at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago's 114th Annual Meeting, which took place Sept. 11.

The Goldsmith award is given to exceptional young professionals who have shown outstanding performance in their work at a Jewish agency in the Chicago area. Schaffer, who now resides in Chicago, Ill., is the Safer Communities Project Coordinator at Jewish Child and Family Services of Chicago, where she works to prevent and combat abuse in Chicago's Jewish community.

In that role, Schaffer has developed training curricula for the Safer Communities program which have been critical to helping schools and synagogues implement new safety protocols. Under her leadership, the Safer Communities Initiative has become one of the most comprehensive programs of its kind in the country. Continue reading here.


When Jana Lissiak, Jewish Family Service of Seattle's Polack Food Bank Manager, looked at the 2013 city-wide food bank usage numbers she did a double-take, checked her math and then connected with colleagues in the food bank network to confirm her interpretation of the data.

Years after the official end of the Great Recession, food banks across Seattle continue to see record-breaking use. There were 750,000 visits to food banks in 2013, demonstrating a need that surpassed even the depths of the recessionary years. If the current 2014 trend continues, city-wide usage will blow past last year's record and exceed it by an additional 90,000 visits. Continue reading here.


Jewish Family Service of Greater Harrisburg welcomed new Executive Director, Barry Stein in August.

Barry has experience as a consultant with a focus on enhancing organizational effectiveness and increasing market share. Specific projects included promoting geriatric services, developing training materials for a senior care coaching initiative and analyzing statistical reporting and benchmarking.


If you’re like most nonprofit communicators, you have a list of specific quarterly or yearly goals. No doubt they include growing your e-mail list, acquiring new donors and increasing engagement on your Facebook updates.

But whatever your goals are, make sure they cover these seven tips below:

1. Write it down

A plan is very difficult to follow and measure if it’s not written down. Most nonprofits don’t have content strategy. And based on the limited work I’ve done, they also lack an online marketing strategy that’s written down.

Make a resolution to create written plans for each campaign throughout the year. Your plan should include stated goals, stated messaging, a strategy outline, and finally, tools and tactics. How much detail you include in this document is up to you, but at least include these elements.

Also, check out these three articles on develop a solid online marketing strategy:

2. Practice split-testing

If you’re like most nonprofits, your donor retention rates are less than satisfactory. Improving this starts with fixing the places where you’re converting poorly.

•Begin by split testing your fundraising pages, if you haven’t already. Split-testing helps increase conversions by testing out variations in the content. Some typical areas to start with include headlines, images, button location, button text, button colors, and copy. Check out how the Marine Mammal Center split-tested variations of a call-to-action.
•You should also split-test email subject lines and email content. This will eventually point the way to increased open rates, click-through rates, and eventually conversion rates.
Check out this article on how split-testing raised over $100,000 for WWF.

3. Maximize secondary actions

Make the most of every interaction people take with your nonprofit. For example, when people sign a petition, immediately email them to ask for a donation (says thanks first). This approach uses recency to create momentum towards a secondary call-to-action – essentially killing two birds with one stone.

In fact, maximize any webpage people see after completing a transaction (signing a petition, joining your email list, making a donation, registering for an event). Carefully consider what secondary actions make sense for each transaction. For example, if someone makes a donation, make sure they can easily share that with their friends.

4. See beyond the dollars

All too often, the scope of the supporter relationship is limited to money. But donating money is only one way that they interact with you.

Supporters also share your Facebook updates, sign your petitions and pledges, and re-tweet your blog posts.

Develop a specific plan to encourage these types of actions, remembering that growing a community is like growing a garden. It takes time, care and consideration. Focus on growing your community, both in terms of numbers AND engagement.

5. Be useful

It seems like all the social media experts claim that the key to success to being awesome. But what your community really needs is for you to be useful.

Being useful is much easier than trying to be awesome. Being useful is about putting the needs of your community first, like in this Facebook update from the Museum of Fine Arts:

6. Take risks

New tactics and strategies for using social media sprout up every week, making “best practices” somewhat limited. In fact, I think we should change the term “best practice” to “most commonly used practice that gets average results.”

The fact is, the web and mobile are changing very fast. Those who play it safe get average results at best, while risk-takers adopt more quickly (test, fail / win, learn, repeat). Fail forward, they say.

7. Test and measure

Most nonprofits are not strategically testing or measuring digital media. Yes, data is collected and stored in excel spreadsheets. But the hard questions aren’t being asked: Why are we measuring click-through rates? Why are we measuring our Facebook page fan growth?

Let your strategy dictate what should be measured. This will make your data much more useful. For example, if your goal is to convert more donors via email, then you want to test and measure conversion rates via clicks in those messages. Go back to what I said about split-testing.

Remember to breathe

If you’re like me, you need a fair amount of down time.

You need time to step back, take a breath, and take in the panoramic view of what you’re doing – in work and in life. Pace yourself and be smart about daily habits.

And try to have fun.

7 Tips for your Nonprofit Communications Plan, September 4, 2014, eJP, by John Haydon


The challenge of developing future leaders can loom as a daunting prospect. One reason for this view, is the belief that early career experiences and leadership roles are completely distinct entities. In reality, many of the skills required for success at various organizational levels, may overlap and remain critical over time. If we could approach development as a "layered" phenomenon, likened to the stratum within rock formations — building core strengths over time — we could take a fresh approach to development. Leadership readiness doesn't materialize as the result of completing specific types of projects or a structured development program. Becoming a capable leader is an evolution — a co-mingling of training, coaching, and exposure to the types of challenge that bring both insight and growth.

As discussed in the research of Zenger/Folkman we delay unwisely when developing leaders. While we often begin managing others in our 30's — focused leadership development may not begin in earnest until much later. This creates a precarious skill gap, which can leave an organization both underpowered and unprepared. In fact, we should begin nurturing future leaders much sooner than we have in the past (and reinforce key skills that are acquired along the way). This would address the "layering" of skills necessary to build a strong potential leader bench. Identifying potential leaders in this manner, has a number of key strategic advantages; the first of which is improved succession planning.

Additional research discussed at HBR, illustrates this layered dynamic quite clearly. In fact, some of the skills required to progress through levels of management, may be more stable than previously considered. While specific skill emphasis may change with level — certain skill sets remain front and center for the long-haul. Thinking strategically, for example, is a perfect case in point — as it is often associated with higher level leaders. But, as discussed by the researchers, "...there are a set of skills that are critical to you throughout your career. And if you wait until you’re a top manager to develop strategic perspective, it will be too late."

Testing developing capabilities with techniques such as stretch assignments (aligned with organizational initiatives and coupled with their current role) should also serve as an integral part in development. This offers opportunities test skills on the "open road". However, within modern organizations, retaining talent longer-term, becomes a critical obstacle. Here, transparency and a mutual exchange agreement become crucial. We should consider making a commitment to those with considerable promise (likened to the "Tours of duty" discussed in Reid Hoffman's, The Alliance) — offering the stability they need to hunker down and become emotionally invested.

Here are few other early development topics we could consider:

•Delegating. An often a sticky subject, delegating confidently demands that we strike a delicate balance between time and control. If we don't allow others the opportunity to handle the tasks at hand, we risk squelching motivation.

•Persuasive Communication. Becoming a skilled and powerful communicator remains a core area throughout our work lives. This becomes especially critical as we move toward leadership positions.

•Conflict Management. The capability of facing difficult or uncomfortable challenges, head on — is critical. Developing this skill often takes time and mentored practice.

•Awareness of Functional Links. Organizations are comprised of many moving parts. Becoming keenly aware of the inter-dependencies is a critical skill as we move toward a leadership role.

•Alliance Building. Leading is essentially knowing how to collaborate and build positive, lasting bonds with those that surround you. If you cannot inspire collaboration toward a meaningful goal, your leadership "quotient" is limited, at best.

•Global Awareness. In this day and age, leaders need to consider global reach. Developing a keenly honed industry-wide perspective, is vital to move forward.

•Idea Management and Intrapreneurship. Contributors desire opportunities to explore their ideas and spread their wings. Having a level of awareness to champion the ideas of team members is critical.

What are the challenges your organization faces with leader development?

Leadership Development is All About Layering, September 3, 2014, Linkedin, by Dr. Marla Gottschalk

One of the most useful nonprofit management books of this year is The Brand IDEA: Managing Nonprofit Brands with Integrity, Democracy, and Affinity by Nathalie Laidler-Kylander and Julia Shepard Stenzel.1 As an executive director working systematically at the re-branding of the organization I lead, the authors’ insights into the particular value and role of the nonprofit brand could not be timelier. What I didn’t expect was how much the book’s concepts would challenge me to think differently about the composition and focus of the nonprofit board of directors, including my own. I serve on multiple boards, have numerous boards as clients, and report to a board of directors, yet struggle to define and tap the full purpose of a nonprofit board. I am certainly not alone. Many have written eloquently in these pages in search of the board’s value beyond the fiduciary—David Renz and Judy Freiwirth, to name just two governance thought leaders. Though Laidler-Kylander and Stenzel did not set out to write a governance book, their elevation of the significance of nonprofit brands and their nonprofit-specific framework for brand management may yet provide a very useful way to think about who serves on our boards of directors and what orientation they can best bring to that most ephemeral of leadership roles.

To explore the power of brand as an organizing principle for boards of directors, I have selected three of The Brand IDEA’s core concepts and considered their implications for how we compose our boards and orient their individual and collective work, finding the conceptual elements of brand and brand management to be strikingly germane to what the board as a collective and its individual members need to embody, continuously understand, and extend broadly across an organization’s constituencies.

1.Brand Definition
“An identifier and concept that imparts information and creates perceptions and emotions.”2
2.Brand Value
“We [. . .] have observed [. . .] a paradigm shift in the way nonprofit actors perceive and understand brand. This shift has led to a view of brand not as a fundraising tool but as a critical strategic asset, one that embodies the organization’s mission and values and supports broad participative engagement and collaborations that maximize impact.”3
3.Distinction between Nonprofit and For-Profit Brand Management
“The brand IDEA differs from for-profit brand management in three fundamental ways: first, brand is focused on the mission rather than on consumers; second, positioning is used to gain organizational clarity and to support collaboration rather than to gain competitive advantage; and third, control is replaced by participative engagement.”4
Brand Democracy and the Board’s Purpose

The authors describe brand democracy as in place when “everyone develops a clear understanding of the organization’s core identity and can become an effective brand advocate and ambassador. Every employee and volunteer authentically and personally communicates the essence of the brand.”5 How much time have we wasted in our sector helping board members memorize mission statements, or, more typically, lamenting how long and un-memorizable they are? What if, instead, the request of board members was to deeply understand the current and aspirational brand of the organization and to be the über-ambassadors for it? What if each board member took on the core identity of the organization as his or her own leading up to, during, and well beyond board service?

That is the essence of brand democracy: being part of the core identity of an organization is no longer limited to specific people on an organizational chart or to finite term limits—it can’t be contained that way. So instead of reading reports at monthly meetings about the staff’s communications efforts, for instance, board members would be a part of the data set: blogging, tweeting, and making public appearances themselves. In this vision, the board is an invaluable multiplier of the staff’s voice, and because its members’ skillful ambassadorship is volunteer based, it has a special credibility and resonance all its own. Taking this idea to its fullest, the monthly or quarterly board meeting as the core place where board members “show up” becomes increasingly anachronistic. If board members are the agents and models of brand democracy, their true value is out in the field every day. Perhaps board meetings become focused primarily on equipping members for their fieldwork ahead.

Brand Identity and the Board’s Composition

The authors write, “When the brand is anchored in the mission, values, and strategy, the identity becomes the internal reflection or collective perception of everyone in the organization, and captures the very nature or raison d’être of the organization itself [italics mine].”6 If we really mean everyone—not only paid staff—then the implications of brand identity for board composition are significant. It’s my experience that many potential board candidates will feel aligned with the mission of an organization— able to say with conviction that they care about climate change or youth access to the performing arts, for instance. But what if the request of board members is something much deeper than that? What if the request is not only that you care about the cause but also that you embody the organization’s values and can discern and articulate the particular value of its chosen strategies? If it is the latter, I suspect the potential pool of appropriate board members for a given organization gets quite a bit smaller, and, moreover, I suspect the board candidate screening approach becomes more similar to that of senior staff in the depth of alignment sought than to the classic board recruitment matrix, with its requisite attorneys, accountants, and community power brokers.

Indeed, Laidler-Kylander and Stenzel spend considerable time on the centrality of values to brand and brand identity: “This idea of living the values is connected to how authentic an organization and its brand are perceived to be.”7 This suggests two things: first, that organizational values have to come “out of the closet” and mean something every single day to everyone in an organizational system; second, that a frank discussion of values has to be the first conversation with potential board members—and nonalignment a deal breaker for service—rather than arising from the orientation processes for already appointed directors. I can imagine a more cautious interpretation here—the argument that organizational values are distinct from personal ones. But from the perspective of board members as the ultimate brand ambassadors, I disagree. If an organization’s values feel academic at best or anathema at worst to a board member, how can she embody and express the brand’s identity in all of her organizational ambassadorship? I don’t think she can. If they are academic to her, she will likely avoid any explicit expression of values in the course of her ambassadorship; if they are anathema to her, she might even actively contradict them in the course of her ambassadorship. In either case, the organization’s brand is fundamentally undermined.

As a leader in the midst of re-branding at a forty-year-old organization, to me the authors’ assurance that it is not uncommon for the external image of an organization’s brand to lag behind its more rapidly changing internal brand identity is comforting.8 But here again, from a board composition perspective, what if board members were chosen especially to shorten that lag? What if, in board recruitment, we sought people who were so attuned to the aspiration of the brand that their board membership accelerated the closing of the gap between internal identity and external perception? Given how many organizations across all fields are in states of mild to severe disruption, this becomes an exciting board recruitment criterion: how credibly and enthusiastically would this candidate embody and extend the aspiration of our brand? Imagine the real danger of the alternative scenario: the staff continues to craft the new internal identity and the board propagates itself with members identified with a brand gone by. Given typical board member terms of six years plus, the internal lag in brand clarity could be seemingly interminable and have serious consequences for the board’s utility in strategic thinking and resource development.

Brand Affinity and the Board’s Judgment

The notion that a mission statement “keeps a board grounded” as it contributes to strategic thinking and decision making is in dire need of replacement, and I think brand is extremely useful here. This quote from one of the authors’ interviewees resonated immediately: “We are becoming much more explicit about Breakthrough’s methodology, about our approach, and not just the issues we care about and our end goals, but being clear with ourselves and with others about who we are and how we think, that this is our methodology, this is what we want to do.”9 We gather that their mission, per se, has not changed, but how they approach it has, and thus how they want to be understood has. That is brand. I think of the implication for the board as having to do with the quality of their strategic judgment individually and as a collective.

The authors explain brand affinity as having two elements: “Brand Affinity comprises two sets of actions. First, armed with a clear understanding of the theory of change and brand identity, the organization identifies partners, reaches out, and uses brand to attract them. Second, brand Affinity includes using the brand to enhance the effectiveness of these partnerships in achieving mission and maximizing impact.”10 If a critical element of a board’s job is to identify new partnerships (and here I would include identifying long-term donors and future board members, as well as collaborators), the board members’ judgment in parsing which potential partners are a brand match is essential. I have seen far too many executive directors managing relationships forced upon the organization by a board member who doesn’t respect the notion of nonprofit brand. The request of board members is more nuanced in this vision; their entire network of relationships couldn’t possibly be brand aligned. So the request is that they are continuously discerning what relationships they can forge or steward for the organization that optimize brand affinity.

What about the Money?

I can imagine resistance to this notion of brand as the organizing principle for the board, especially where it concerns money—namely, who is going to raise it and who is going to oversee it. If we are disciplined in composing our boards to brand, will we have enough people to participate in fundraising and to exercise the board’s fiduciary responsibility effectively? Like the board meeting as the board’s primary venue for “showing up,” the beliefs that only power brokers can raise money and only certified professional accountants can achieve real financial literacy are outdated. To be clear, if a power broker or CPA is brand aligned, that’s wonderful, and he or she can be invaluable to an organization; but the idea that status or professional skills should trump brand alignment is, I believe, a costly compromise that organizations have been making for far too long. To take the critically important issue of fundraising, for instance, what Simone Joyaux has written persuasively in the Nonprofit Quarterly is that we are looking for long-term donors: individual giving success is measured in the lifetime value of a donor, not in “one-and-done” gifts.11 I would place my bet on a brand-embodying board member over a dispassionate power broker to identify and cultivate brand-aligned donors, who logically would be more likely to become lifetime donors.

• • •

Looking back over the work my colleagues and I have done together to evolve our organization’s programming and brand, I see all of the elements of The Brand IDEA in play, though of course we didn’t have the authors’ very helpful language for what we were doing. As I write, the board members who have stayed and changed with us are in the process of recruiting a new cohort of board members. The Brand IDEA has given us a powerful framework and inspiration to invite people onto our board with as much passion as we have not only for our mission but also for the particular ways we aspire to achieve it—that is, for our brand.

Our Boards in Our Brands:  An Aspiration, August 29, 2014, Nonprofit Quarterly, by Jeanne Bell


What if we could untether our strategic planning processes from typical constraints? What if we looked at building on our strengths and capitalizing on our opportunities rather than fixing our weaknesses and responding to threats? What if we unlocked our potential to grow, thrive, and evolve? What if rather than sustainability and stability we focused on transformative possibility?

Members of Solomon Schechter School of Queens’ professional development team and Board of Trustees spent a day and a half with Charles Cohen and Ray Levi of PEJE (Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education) in imaginative exploration of the possible. Piloting a generative, creative planning process known as “asset optimization”, we began with a few “rules”:

    No silos allowed – multiple voices identify disparate assets, including human assets, to unleash new potential.
    Thinking must be interactive.
    Change and success must find common ground. We must not view change as an end unto itself, but rather as a vehicle for achieving success. Similarly, we must challenge the potential constraints of success, which can lead us to being stuck in what has worked even though our world is rapidly changing around us.
    The power of imagination must be embraced.
    In order to “connect the dots” in new, innovative ways we must identify dots we might not have even realized existed.
    The Head of School must accept not being the expert.
    The Board must support innovative thinking.

From there, we played. Using a model created by Shattuck-ST. Mary’s School’s President Nick Stoneman as a means of sharing the creative process that transformed his school over the span of a decade of innovation, we first engaged in two rounds of asset optimization using assets from schools other than our own. We worked with a very specific asset in each of six areas: Physical Plant, Faculty and Staff, Brand Recognition, External Relationships, Geography and Region, and Program Offered. Our task was to optimize potential by intertwining assets in these six disparate areas, finding opportunity previously unrecognized by connecting and combining asset categories in new and innovative ways in order to improve in seven specific areas: Faculty Engagement, Student Retention, Increased Enrollment, Facility Expansion, Endowment Growth, Additional Programs, and Alternative Revenue.

Charles Cohen and Ray Levi functioned as our coaches, activating our learning by observing, asking reflective questions to stretch our thinking, and offering feedback on what we might consider. They challenged us to be more specific and less “neat,” freeing us to resist the impulse to tie loose ends together quickly and instead to consider as many possibilities for building on strengths as we could. Working in two separate groups, we strove to optimize assets for two fictional schools, each with seemingly unconnected assets. Through the brainstorming, we crafted narratives of meaning, building on strengths to create schools that are world class – one emphasizing community and character; the other science and social policy. Inspiring us to live with the inherent messiness of creativity, at least for awhile, our facilitators sent us off on round two with two new schools and two new sets of assets to consider. To the delight of our facilitators, we emerged with “messier” packages of potential, and multiple potential directions for the schools presented to us – one a girls’ school emphasizing the arts and expanding into wellness programming and therapeutic arts for students and the broader community, and the other a struggling school in need of substantial intervention with a plethora of possibilities for improvement based on strengths, some of them initially hidden.

With the experience of imagining the possible in connection to fictional schools, with fictional assets, we were ready to identify real assets in our own school; dots we might not have yet even recognized in order to then connect those dots in new, innovative ways. Feedback from our coaches Charles Cohen and Ray Levi on our identification of our own assets was consistent with the feedback they offered in relation to our efforts at optimizing assets in the fictional schools which which we had practiced: be more specific. And so, we went back to work – identifying with much greater specificity faculty members, alumni, programs, and opportunities made possible by our physical plant. Those assets became the raw material with which we returned the next day to engage in multiple rounds of the asset optimization exercise using real assets of our own school.

Prompted by our coaches to think more expansively, more ambitiously, more creatively, more flexibly, and more specifically, we imagined a world class school. We envisioned signature programs and strategic partnerships enabling us to be ever more relevant to our students, preparing them in concrete, innovative ways for the rapidly changing world of work with emphasis in technology, science, and entrepreneurial ventures; infused with commitment to being socially responsible; deeply grounded in the enduring values and texts of our Jewish religious tradition. We described potential ways to build upon global connections stemming from our own multi-national, multi-lingual student and family population. Considering museums, universities, libraries, businesses, organizations, and individuals with whom to develop strategic partnerships, we recognized ways of cultivating connections to benefit our students. We imagined expansive potential for recruitment and facility expansion based on a virtuous cycle of optimizing assets.

Beyond the imaginative ideas, we experienced important shifting of mindset. Possibilities requiring effort, risk, and courage were shared aloud as possible, leading not to a sense of anxiety or outright dismissal, but instead to openness to further exploration. “The toothpaste is out of the tube,” one participant playfully remarked, in reference to our rapidly changing world as well as the possibilities we together imagined.

Ready to leave the limitless world of potential and possibility and return to the more mundane day to day world of the operational and the tactical, we considered next steps that would enable us to build on positive momentum generated. Members of the professional leadership team considered concrete actions we could take to actualize some of the more manageable suggestions offered as well as to lay the groundwork for more ambitious innovation. Most significantly, we considered ways of bringing others who had not participated in the training into the process, primarily our Trustees and our faculty. Recognizing that at this time two days of learning combining theory and imaginative play with a purpose would not yet be achievable or even advisable for our very busy Trustees, or our very busy faculty members, we considered specific ways to infuse the language and thinking behind asset optimization into our work as we seek to shift our school’s mind set to a focus on identifying, cultivating, celebrating, and building on strength and opportunity. While much remains to be done, the conversation and learning has already had a potent impact. The toothpaste is out of the tube!

What If? Perspectives on Asset Optimization, September 1, 2014, eJP, by Shira Leibowitz

AJFCA is supporting H. Res. 707, a resolution that condemns all forms of anti-Semitism and rejects attempts to justify anti-Jewish hatred or violent attacks as an expression of disapproval over political events. The resolution condemns the comparison of Israel to Nazis and supports Holocaust education at home and abroad. During recent meetings between the Special Envoy for U.S. Holocaust Survivor Services and Holocaust Survivors, the Survivors expressed increased anxiety stemming from attacks against Jews in Israel and in Europe. This resolution currently has 99 cosponsors and we hope to raise that number past 100 this week! We are hopeful the House can vote on this in the next week. Please thank the cosponsors and urge your Representative to cosponsor. To see a list of cosponsors, click here

Jewish Family & Child Services of Toronto is pleased to announce that Dr. Jonathan Golden, currently the Chief of Psychology at Kinark Child and Family Centre, has accepted the position of Director of Clinical Service effective Monday September 8, 2014.

As JFCS endeavours to be increasingly client-centred, and to broaden their impact in the community, they look forward to Jonathan's contribution as a member of the JFCS leadership team to enrich and advance their efforts.

Have YOU heard about the Millennial Voices Movement? Jewish Community Services of Baltimore is creating community and connections among young adults and empowering them in finding their personal voice. How? First, they are asking all Millennials to visit www.ifIknew.org/mv and to 'share your truth' by anonymously answering the question: "If you really knew me, you would know..." Next, they're inviting them to join JCS at the Millennial Voices Launch Party on Saturday evening, September 20 featuring entertainment by visual, musical and performance artists, light refreshments and interactive displays.      
Click here for more information about what promises to be an incredible evening of entertainment, connection and truth.

What does 'renewal' mean to you? For the participants at  Project DVORA, it's the process they're in from the moment they decide to call Jewish Family Service of Seattle. Just imagine... You've been living for years with a partner who controls your money. Controls who you see and talk to. Controls how you parent. Controls if and where you work, what you wear, and how you spend your every moment. There may be physical violence, and there is likely the threat of it. Your children are witness to all this and may be in danger as well. And, you are too afraid and ashamed to tell anyone. Continue reading here.


Today AmeriCorps celebrates its 20th birthday with events across the country. AJFCA's own AmeriCorps VISTA members are celebrating by sharing photos from their agency documenting their celebrations. Every AmeriCorps member takes a pledge to "get things done for America." In that same spirit, every citizen can make a difference for our nation. As AmeriCorps marks 20 years of service, show your support by committing to get things done. Whether you're an AmeriCorps alum, current member, relative, fan, or friend -- you can show the world the power of service. Consider visiting this page to learn more about this exciting celebration & to take the pledge yourself! 

AmeriCorps Strengthens the Impact of Our Nation's Nonprofits

Strengthening Nonprofits: AmeriCorps members help tens of thousands of faith-based and community groups expand services, build capacity, raise funds, develop new partnerships, and create innovative, sustainable programs.

Mobilizing Volunteers: AmeriCorps is a powerful catalyst and force-multiplier for community volunteering. Last year AmeriCorps members recruited, trained, and supervised more than 4 million community volunteers for the organizations they serve.

Public-Private Partnership: AmeriCorps leverages substantial private investment from businesses, foundations, and other sources. AmeriCorps has cut costs and become more efficient by supporting more members with fewer federal dollars.

Advancing Social Innovation: AmeriCorps invests in entrepreneurial organizations that have been recognized for their innovative approaches to citizen problem-solving.

Join Jewish Women International's National Alliance to End Domestic Abuse. The Alliance offers monthly lunchtime training webinars led by leaders in the field of domestic violence on a variety of topics ranging from working with special populations (i.e., elderly victims, immigrants, persons with disabilities), responding to children, and exploring cutting edge studies and practices. View a list of past webinars here. Join as an organization ($250, up to 20 participants) or an individual ($150) member. Members can earn 1.5 CEUs per webinar and receive a recording of each presentation. Join now and don't miss the first webinar "Engaging Men to End Violence Against Women" on Thursday, September 18th.

SPECIAL:  If 10 member agencies join within the next two weeks, all member agencies will receive a 10% discount on Alliance Membership. If 20 member agencies join, a 15% discount will be given. 


At the Andrea & Charles Bronfman Philanthropies (ACBP), we have continuously researched spend down organizations since the decision was made to sunset ACBP by 2016.

We have been surprised by the limited content available on the process of how foundations spend down, rather than the more broadly discussed topic of why foundations spend down. (We’re glad to see this starting to change, with resources like Duke University’s online spend down research library).

We therefore went on a mission to consolidate both the process-related experiences of ACBP and other organizations’ research papers and articles relating to spending down. This is the first of two blogs this month that highlights the steps involved and items for consideration that we have organized from our research. This post will highlight strategic priorities, while the next will focus on operational components. We hope these two checklists will help other organizations as they grapple with similar spend down questions.

Let us be very clear from the outset – the spend down process is not a perfect science, nor is there a handbook that can mold a perfect strategy. As GrantCraft often shares, and as is a relevant reminder here, philanthropy and its strategies are not a one size fits all. However, we are of the opinion that by asking the right questions, foundations can make sound judgments about their spend down to make it more meaningful, strategic, and able to achieve goals – rather than being deterred by unneeded challenges. Here’s our guide to asking the right questions:

1. Evaluate overarching programmatic priorities.

    What is the legacy objective, if any? Is it the name of the foundation, the programmatic impact, or both?
    Who will make the legacy decision? The founder(s)? His/her children? Trustees? Staff members? Some combination?
    Will future generations continue the foundation’s legacy or impact objectives through other means?
    If there is a living donor, how will s/he engage philanthropically after the spend down takes place (if at all)?
    How might the foundation need to adjust its current programming to meet the legacy objective?
    Will there be an endowment at the close of the foundation? If so, to whom will it be distributed?

2. Determine when to spend down and how to communicate it.

    Should the date drive the program goals or the program goals drive the date?
    Is the foundation’s lifespan long enough to make appropriate program planning adjustments?
    Who needs to learn about the foundation’s decision to spend down?
    How and when will the spend down be communicated to partners and grantees?

3. Carry out assessment of current programs.

    What types of qualitative and quantitative criteria should be used in the assessment?
    How do those criteria align with the foundation’s present and legacy objectives?
    How might the assessment handle comparisons among grantees and within various funding portfolios?
    Should outside consultants or an evaluation firm conduct the assessment?
    Who should be involved in the assessment? Founders? Trustees? Staff? Grantees?
    Should the assessment be carried out anonymously or publicly?

4. Wind down funding of non-essential grantees.

    Has it been clearly communicated to the grantee that funding will soon stop?
    Is a transparent timeline in place for reduction of funding?
    Has the timeline been communicated with adequate lead time to each grantee? If not, can the foundation consider readjusting the schedule?
    How might the foundation assist with transitional support or attract replacement support from other funders?

5. Enhance capacity and funding for core grantees.

    What steps must be taken to ensure core grantees have the financial and operational expertise to continue after the spend down?
    Will the foundation provide capacity building – monetary or in-kind – to enable grantee sustainability in the areas of:
    Fundraising and donor relations management?
        Financial and organizational management?
        Governance and board management?
        Strategic planning?
        Leadership development and staffing?
    Have actionable fundraising plans been created by grantees with reserves in place in case financial goals are not reached?
    How will the foundation and grantees balance responsibilities to search for new partners?
    If the foundation has incubated grantees, how can the grantee mitigate the “branding” effect that often ensues and onboard new partners?
    Are there merger possibilities for incubated grantees in order to consolidate operational capacities?
    Should the foundation use a dashboard or other tool to track and analyze progress of grantee strength and sustainability throughout the spend down process?

6. Determine if new program initiatives will be considered.

    Will new initiatives invigorate the staff and potentially prevent loss of enthusiasm?
    Is it practical (or necessary) to reduce funding for other grantees to fund new initiatives?
    Can the foundation transition from a grantmaking organization to one that offers non-financial support to grantees through mentorship?

7. Determine closing and post-close strategies.

    How can the foundation spend its time meaningfully capturing lessons learned and networking grantees and funding partners to leverage its investments over the years?
    How should the foundation’s successes and impact be celebrated? If there is an event, who will be invited?
    How will the institutional knowledge created and accumulated throughout the foundation’s lifespan be preserved?
    Where will this knowledge (and documentation) be archived? By a partner or supporting membership organization?

We hope this list will illuminate important spend down considerations and will assist other organizations in thoughtfully examining their own priorities and processes.

Stay tuned for the next post in this series, which will underscore operational practicalities to consider for sun setting organizations.

Steps to a Successful Spend Down: Strategic Priorities, August 31, 2014, eJP, by Mariah Schuknecht

Since going viral the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has raised an unprecedented $82 million (to date), nearly $80 million more than the same period last year. These are enviable results in the history of fundraising, by any accountancy. The ice bucket challenge will be remembered as a legendary campaign, perhaps one that even finances a cure for a horrible disease. The funds continue to roll in, and we’re all still cheering for the ALS Association’s doused inductees. The ingredients of this campaign cocktail are clearly all top-shelf. And, as we all sober up (and perhaps dry off) from the success of the bucket campaign, it’s time to consider, “What made the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ so successful?” What worked?

Here’s your fundraising bucket list:

Keep it Simple

“Donate or douse!” That’s the entire campaign. There’s no dinner, no response card, no environmentally wasteful flyer followed by a glitzy envelope bearing the unavoidable invitation: just a simple challenge over a friendly channel (Facebook) frequented by people who, for the most part, have the means to make a modest, or even generous contribution. The prospective donor, approached by a friend or loved one has a simple choice: contribute or make a public spectacle of yourself and film it. Giving is easier than making a video. (In my case, giving is easier than uploading my video – which is why we need teenagers.) And it would appear that, in most cases, those challenged both donated and doused, which makes the campaign all the more successful – it’s progression is viral. Support A by doing B and/or C; that’s simple.

For your cocktail shaker: The less complicated your campaign activity is, the better.

Make it Fun

The best fundraisers are “friend-raisers.” Encouraging your friends to join you in supporting a cause provides them the opportunity to lift themselves up, in addition to attracting new converts to the nonprofit. In the case of the ice bucket challenge, the appeal is fun and the -raising, be it fundraising or friend-raising, is secondary to the appeal of the campaign. People who’ve never heard of ALS nor learned anything about it since being challenged still doused and donated! Why? Because the campaign’s appeal is purely fun! And it’s not just because a bunch of celebrities participated in it (though surely that helped). The dousing invited creativity and the embrace of community. What creativity is involved in pouring cold water over your head? View one of the Ice Bucket Challenge clip rolls on YouTube and you’ll see.

For your cocktail shaker: Find a way for existing and potential donors to have fun while funding your cause!

Use Social Media the Way It’s Intended

Facebook enables ordinary people to share personal information with their friends, and often reconnect with old friends, by displaying their personal “stuff” on a public platform. The ice bucket challenge is successful across this and other channels because social media was designed specifically for sharing “stuff”. FB built its empire upon recordings of marriage proposals gone awry, cats purring, slips and falls at weddings, links to prescient articles etc. Posting a video of yourself while inverting a bucket of ice water over your head works on this medium. Contrast this with all of the things that don’t get good traction on FB – invitations to miscellaneous events, groups you don’t want to join, etc. and you get the sense that the latter items are all sales pitches as opposed to personal appeals to connect with someone. Social media is for socializing, not soliciting.

For your cocktail shaker: Build your campaign around the idea that friends invite and share information with other friends.

Identify a Meta-Message

“ALS is bad.” That’s all anyone needs to know when challenged by a friend to join the bucket brigade. When thinking about your organization, try to extract the overarching meta-message from your mission statement, making it as plain and easily transmittable as possible. The point is, identify something about your organization’s mission that everyone can agree with. “We make Jews” for day schools is a concentrated version of mission statements about “nurturing schools” that offer “differentiated instruction” in a “holistic Jewish environment.” Figure out what your meta-message is. Is it something that everyone can get on board with? If so, you’ve found your overarching theme to anchor your campaign.

For your cocktail shaker: Align your campaign to a potent meta-message.

Supporters Recruit Donors

I’m so-and-so and I challenge Ploni (my family member, friend, colleague, comrade-in-arms, celebrity crush) to do the ALS ice bucket challenge. It’s more meaningful if the invitation comes from someone you admire and respect. The bucket challenge went viral because each individual invited two or three people who were likely to take up the cause because they are familiar to each other and on the same “level”. I invited my daughter and two friends; Bill Gates challenged Elon Musk and Ryan Seacrest. Like all good fundraising, the best asks are peer-to-peer.

For your cocktail shaker: Design your campaign around the idea that friends recruit friends.

No Penalty for Not Donating

You can ignore your friend’s Facebook challenge altogether, but because of the social aspect (and all the previous bucket list items), I believe many, many people chose to douse themselves. And while many people contributed in support of the ALS Association, there are, I’m sure, people who used the dousing as an out to conserve their hard earned cash. And what do they get for not donating? They earn virtually the same “celebrity” as those who did donate (and douse). The dousers-not-donors help to advance the cause and are given credit for having done so. Further, there’s every reason to believe that dousers are more inclined to donate in the future because of their newly acquired familiarity, however superficial, with the nonprofit. There’s no downside to giving people a respectable out if they really don’t want to or cannot afford to make a contribution. Offer them an opportunity to be a friend of the organization.

For your cocktail shaker: Make friends, not enemies.

With a Twist

Good bartenders put a personal spin on each cocktail, mixing each to appeal to the culture of their club/clientele. The aforementioned six bucket list items, when combined in just the right proportions, will satisfy your community. Experiment with the mix – the result shouldn’t be shocking like a bucket of ice water over the head. Invite some of your trusted inner circle volunteers to a “tasting” of the mixes you’re considering, to fine tune the “taste.” Eventually you’ll develop a recipe that’s certain to make most people happy and keep them coming back for more.


Mixing a Successful Fundraising Cocktail: Success of the Ice Bucket Challenge, August 31, 2014, eJP, by Lev Herrnson

The issue of how much nonprofits should spend on fundraising has been a topic of heated discussion for a long time, and has given rise to several watchdog groups, such as the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Watch, Charity Navigator, and others. The aim of these groups is to help prospective donors see how much of their money goes to programming and how much is spent on fundraising. Recently, the Nonprofit Federation of the Direct Marketing Association (DMANF) established a new dashboard tool to allow nonprofit organizations to self-report on their fundraising expenses. The watchdog groups swiftly responded, saying the tool is ultimately meaningless.

The Nonprofit Federation is the nonprofit arm of the Direct Marketing Association, a trade association “dedicated to advancing and protecting responsible data-driven marketing.” Last year, the DMANF Ethics Committee and the Advisory Council published a set of fundraising principles, and this new dashboard tool is based on some of the assumptions inherent in the new principles. One of the basic principles is that fundraising and management in general cost money. The principles also suggest that most of the money raised by nonprofits should be applied towards fulfilling the stated mission. So far, there is no disagreement with the watchdog groups, although DMANF does not give guidance as to what an acceptable percentage spent on fundraising might be. (BBB Wise Giving Alliance, for example, suggests no more than 35 percent should be spent on fundraising.)

The real divergence is on the issue of time. The BBB and others measure spending and income annually, while DMANF says that an examination of spending over the course of three or more years provides a better look. Their argument is that the costs to acquire a new donor are relatively high and only pay off over time, as the donor moves to making annual gifts that increase in size. Taken over time, the initial cost to acquire the donor is mitigated. As a result, the dashboard tool asks for three years of information, and so can demonstrate trends.

The dashboard, which comes in the form of a downloadable PDF where information can be filled in, saved, and recorded online, invites the nonprofit to self-report information for the past three years about the mission, total revenue, the number of constituents served, program expenditure, expenditure to acquire new donors, the number of new donors, and more.

Charity Navigator’s Sandra Miniutti, in an interview by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, commented that there is no “independent” oversight of the information being provided in the dashboard. Moreover, it hides how much donors are actually giving, meaning that a lot of money may have been spent to acquire donors who stay at very small giving levels. Therefore, the dashboard seems to have been “written for the groups that oversolicit,” according to Charity Watch’s Dan Borochoff.

Essentially, the DMANF believes the dashboard tool is more reflective of the real expenses associated with fundraising, and then leaves it up to the prospective donor to determine if they are comfortable with the ratios and the trends over time. The watchdogs are saying there must be analysis of the information in order for donors to get any real value from the report. However, the watchdogs themselves often differ completely in judgment of the same nonprofit. As NPQ has reported, one nonprofit—the Wounded Warriors Project—received a poor rating, a decent rating, and a high rating from three different watchdog groups.

There is something commonsensical about a tool that gives quick and easy access to basic information, allowing a prospective donor the chance to review it and make up his or her own mind. However, it is valid to criticize that tool for not providing information about the number of donors at varying giving levels, whether they have increased their gifts, and other related information that would justify acquisition costs. Perhaps, in the end, this new tool needs a bit of refinement.—Rob Meiksins

Mark Vanderbeck is the CEO of ACTS Retirement-Life Communities, which operates 23 continuing care facilities across eight states. These communities serve a total of 8,500 residents, and Vanderbeck says that their consultation has helped him enormously over the years.

Here, he recalls the first time he realized what a depth of wisdom he had at his fingertips:

“There was an early contract which was still in force that made life, especially in the 1980s, almost impossible. Any increases in a given year of the residents’ fees were limited to five percent of the original monthly fee. So it’s not just five percent of the current fee, but of the original fee. So here we are, sitting in the late ’80s, with inflation of 16 to 18 percent. Over time, this community was going to be in dire straits, even though anybody walking by would see this beautiful community and not see the financial problems.”

At that time, the head of the residents’ financial committee was the former chancellor of the New York State University system.

“I went to him and he understood very well what the problem was…. We had several conversations and you know, ultimately, he said, ‘Mark, you can’t keep this as something that’s a management problem. This is ultimately a resident problem.’

“At that time in my life, there was a tendency to keep certain things [quiet]—you wouldn’t necessarily fully communicate certain kinds of issues. He encouraged me very strongly to come up with a plan. It was called the Trustees Plan and it gave people the opportunity to pay at market levels and it was communicated that this was needed.”

Vanderbeck says that this formative experience led him to a deep commitment to transparency.—Ruth McCambridge

Dashboard Confessional: The Value of a Nonprofit Self-Reporting Tool, August 28, 2014, Nonprofit Quarterly, by Rob Meiksins

If you're like me, 24 hours is more than enough time to get everything done that you want to get done in a day. And a five-day work week? That's two days too many. And money? it ain't no thing. There's more than enough to fund all the events, initiatives, and programs I want to do.

Wait. That doesn't sound right.

Most of us are both time- and budget-strapped. We want to stay focused on our mission, but, try as we may, it seems there is always more to do than there is time to do it. Yet, the people we serve and the funders who underwrite our efforts expect us to produce results.

So, what's a time- and cash-strapped nonprofit to do?

Here’s an answer: Automate time-consuming, but necessary processes using modern technology.

How Much Time Did Routine Tasks Take Up Last Week?

Take a second and think about some of the routine tasks your organization does - entering data into systems, transferring that data between systems, getting approvals, promoting content through social channels, etc.

How many hours did your organization spend on those activities last week? Last month? Last year? For example, at StartupLansing.org, we spend time each week on:

•Managing our social media platforms
•Finding content to write about
•Tracking & managing our content calendar
•Curating content relevant to our audience(s)
•Tracking events around Lansing and consolidating them into a single, comprehensive calendar
•Aligning our team around our various organizational goals

The list goes on.

I'm sure you do some (if not, most) of these things in your organization. You know how much work it is. Maybe you avoid these things precisely because it's too much work.

There's A System for Everything - and That's the Problem

So much of the work involved in the tasks described above requires managing multiple systems. For instance, at StartupLansing, we use Trello, Hipchat, Google Drive, Hootsuite, and other tools to accomplish the tasks I mentioned. Each of these systems excels at a specific thing: Trello makes it really easy to work on projects together; Google Drive makes it easy to collaborate on documents; and Hootsuite makes it easy to manage social media.

The problem is that these systems do not natively interact with each other. This leads to redundant work. For example, we use Trello to manage our social media calendar:

As a team, we brainstorm the content we want to share, assign specific tasks to individuals to optimize it and, when the content is ready to be shared, I approve it by dragging the content to the "Approved" column.

This is fantastic for collaboration.

But what about when we want to get the content into, say, Facebook? What should we do? Copy and paste the content into posts? Maybe, if there's only one or two posts per day. But what about Twitter? We typically post 5-9 times/day - should we copy and paste 45-50 pieces of content per week into these platforms? At what time(s)?

You can see how this starts to become onerous, quickly.

Enter Hootsuite. This platform allows users to bulk-upload content to social media platforms for distribution at pre-specified times. All one need do is upload a spreadsheet with data in a specific format, and the content will be published accordingly.

Great. We have a good collaboration tool (Trello) and an efficient way to upload our content (Hootsuite).

Here's the problem...they don't talk to each other, so we still have to copy and paste data from Trello to Hootsuite.

Or do we?

Enter Web Automation

The problem of having systems interact with each other is particularly acute in the modern era. There is software to accomplish almost every task you can imagine. Too often, however, they do not interact with each other.

Tools like Zapier.com and IFTTT.com have emerged precisely to solve that problem. Think of these tools as behaving like old-fashioned switchboard operators — they connect two parties who want to interact.

For example, to solve my social media problem, I use Zapier to send approved Facebook posts to a Google Spreadsheet that we can use to do a single upload to Hootsuite.

Thus, we get the benefit of scheduling our social media in advance, with almost no human effort spent on the task. Instead, our time is spent on finding good content to curate and (trying) to write clever content for our audience (our mission).

Seven Simple Steps

Setting this up is really easy and can be done in just a few steps. For instance, to connect Trello to Google Drive, we simply do the following:

1. Select the two systems we want to have interact with each other

2. Authenticate the first account

(Disclaimer: the reason this says "Cognite Labs Trello" is because my company owns the Trello account)

3. Authenticate the second account

4. Tell the system what to do with the first account

In this case, I tell the system to use the StartupLansing Social Media Calendar board and to "trigger" when new activity happens on the "Approved" list.

5. Tell the system what to do with the second account

Here, I tell the system I want to create a new row in a Google spreadsheet when the activity on Trello is triggered. I specify how fields on the spreadsheet ought to be mapped to Trello.

6. Test it and make sure it works

To make sure you set up the recipe correctly, you can test it before you turn it on.

7. Turn it on!

Once you are satisfied with the test, then turn it on and watch your non-value added work decrease!

So Many Use Cases

I just highlighted a single use case above, but I use recipes for different things:

•Promoting events on Twitter as soon as they are added to the StartupLansing calendar (GCal to Twitter)
•Creating Facebook events when we add a new event to the StartupLansing event calendar (GCal to Facebook)
•Customizing Facebook posts when we publish something new on the blog (Wordpress to Facebook)
•Saving content I read on the web and want my team to curate (Pocket to Gmail)
•… And so much more.

Getting Started is Easy

Admittedly, it is hard to think of what can be automated from the outset. I suggest the following candidates for automation:

•Instances where someone is copying and pasting data between systems
•Instances where a lot of time is spent on data entry
•Instances where you want team members to be able to dump data into a single, shared repository
•Repetitive tasks

Most of us have a lot to do and not enough time to do it. Fortunately, web automation tools like Zapier and IFTTT make it easy to reduce the time we spend on non-value added tasks, when what we really care about is the output or product of those tasks.

I encourage you to think about the work being done in your organization, then check out the recipes on Zapier and IFTTT. I promise you will find ways to reduce work, so that you and your organization can spend time on what really matters: your mission.

Stay (Mission) Focused: A Simple Tool to Help You Save Time and Speed Up Your Organization, August 21, 2014, NTEN, by Jesse Flores


Keshet, a national grassroots organization that works for the full equality and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Jews in Jewish life, has been awarded $250,000 by the Jim Joseph Foundation.

The funding will support the expansion of Keshet’s signature training, The Keshet Leadership Project, to Jewish organizations in New York and Los Angeles over the next two years. The Leadership Project is a multi-service program that convenes, trains, provides resources for and supports Jewish institutions to become more inclusive of LGBT individuals and families, with a particular focus on youth. The Project is designed to impact the policies, programs and cultures of Jewish institutions by supporting the leaders of those institutions to make sustainable change over time.

For over a decade, Keshet has worked with organizations, trainers and leaders within the Jewish community, to gather and test best practices for an impactful training model.

The Keshet Leadership Project is an intensive program, consisting of five phases: Assessment, Learning, Planning for Action, Follow-up, and Evaluation. The Project launches with the Keshet Leadership Summit, an immersive and experiential day-long program designed to build the capacity of individual leaders, such as rabbis, executive directors, heads of schools, camp directors, youth movement leadership and top lay leaders. Each leader and institutional team drafts an action plan with objectives and a timetable for implementation. Following the Summit, leaders receive specialized coaching over the course of a year to help them carry out their action plans. In addition, Keshet Trainers are available for on-site trainings for an institution’s entire leadership, faculty, staff or community members.

The Leadership Project is currently underway with Jewish community institutions in Miami, Boston, and Palo Alto.

You can learn more about the Keshet Leadership Project by visiting the project website.

Keshet Awarded $250,000 for Inclusion Training, August 27, 2014, eJP

Long standing professionals often forget for whom they work. They also tend to forget the importance of their role to nurture leadership and volunteerism. They forget the need to apologize to others, to admit they have erred.

I have been studying the structure of volunteer organizations and analyzing the leadership of their professionals’ leadership styles for a little more than forty years. I have founded a number of synagogues in Europe and the United States, worked as a congregation rabbi and finally served as the exec director of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs (FJMC) for nearly thirty-five years. My work has been guided by the belief that if one wishes to build a community one must empower and invest in its volunteers.

This isn’t always easy and it runs counter to the way most organizations function. The majority of not-for-profit organizations when they wish to develop a community or a project choose to invest in professionals. This, is a logical means of moving forward but it often overlooks the fact that the professional staff is only one part an equation. The second part of that equation is the volunteer culture. The manner in which professionals interact with their volunteers often determines their continuity and the success of the organization they represent. The success of any not-for-profit organization is dependent upon this volunteer/professional relationship.

A large number of professionals assume that part of their position is to create and articulate a vision but the manner and the strategies that the professional employs to empower others with that vision is rarely taken into account.

In order to create a working meaningful volunteer/professional culture the professional or professionals needs to develop a plan that engages and develops volunteers. Too often this fails to occur and tensions between lay and professional leaderships develop.

I often ask newly ordained rabbis, serving in their first pulpit, to define their leadership style in a simple sentence ending with an adjective and a noun. For example, “I am a dynamic leader.” The results are usually very interesting primarily because they have never been asked to consider this question. When I am asked this question, and I usually am, my response is “I am a servant leader.”

Servant leaders help make their volunteers the best volunteers, the best leaders, they can be. Servant leaders places volunteers in the spotlight, and helps them learn how to motivate others. Servant leaders quietly create the roles models we wish to be emulated. They are the ones who help their professionals make decisions. They are the ones that learn how to lead grace after meals so they can teach others.

In order for this to occur, volunteer leaders require backups and partners and the security that they will never fail, because the professional understands that their lives, like ours, are extremely busy and very complicated. Someone will lose a job, or contract an illness, or have something happen to their family which will limit their ability to serve. At times this means that the volunteer leader might not meet some people’s expectations. They might not perform in a position the way someone else would. It might mean two steps forward one step backward. The servant leader helps leadership understand they are doing the best they can and are learning how to be more effective volunteers and possible leaders if they are properly encouraged. In the volunteer world a culture of friendship means that no one ever fails, they just might not succeed as much as they desired. The professional’s job is to create a culture of friendship and trust coupled with the recognition that everyone has different abilities.

I was recently asked by the leader of one of the great teaching institutions in America, how could I run an organization, the only one in the Conservative Movement that is growing and getting younger, with such a small staff? My answer was simple and straight forward. I empower volunteers to coordinate all of the various portfolios. I help them break down positions with tremendous responsibility into small achievable goals and tasks. I place them in positions where they can succeed and I trust them. I help them learn to share, to ask questions and to request help from others. I work hard at teaching them how to work as a team and to divorce themselves from ownership

Too often lay leaders, upon attaining high office, confuse “inauguration” with “installation”. They speak of their legacies and results. Attitudes like these creates cultures of fear and mistrust. When this occurs, organizational directions can be shifted in different directions at the whim of the president. On the other hand, a culture of friendship reflects a venue where incoming, existing and past leadership works together. They stay on course from administration to administration concentrating on previously determined goals.

In many instances the vision of the professional doesn’t always reflect the needs of the organization. This is one of the great pitfalls in the not-for-profit world. A person can be swept up in the perceived glory of becoming an international figure, a world Jew, when in actuality in order to strengthen the organization a different professional direction is needed.

Long standing professionals often forget for whom they work. They also tend to forget the importance of their role to nurture leadership and volunteerism. They forget the need to apologize to others, to admit they have erred. They forget how important it is to be a servant/leader.

Leadership in the Volunteer Community, July 15, 2014, eJP, by Charles Simon

The Claims Conference has successfully negotiated a $250 million landmark agreement with the German government.  As a result of last week's negotiations, a new fund will be established, to be administered by the Claims Conference, for Jewish Child Survivors of the Holocaust. This joint fund will provide support to Shoah survivors around the world who lived under Nazi occupation and will enable them to receive symbolic financial compensation for the traumas suffered during their childhood.  The payment from this fund represents an acknowledgement of the special trauma and hardship endured by children during the Shoah.

Our negotiating delegation emphasized to the German government that because Jewish children were in constant fear of death during the Holocaust, this trauma has overshadowed the rest of their lives. Early traumas are now resulting in late-onset physical and psychological problems that only now are appearing as concrete symptoms in their old age.

Those survivors of the Shoah who were born January 1, 1928 or later – the oldest of those would have been young children when Hitler came to power in 1933 – and who were in concentration camps, ghettos, or for at least six months under Nazi occupation (or 12 months in Nazi Axis countries) in hiding or under false identity will be eligible to receive a special one-time payment of €2,500 (approximately $3,280) because of special needs.

The agreement is subject to approval by the Bundestag and the Claims Conference.  It is envisioned that the fund will become operational on Jan. 1, 2015. Approximately 25 percent of the funding for this program will come from the Claims Conference, with the remaining 75 percent provided by the German government.  These were not easy negotiations - especially given the German government position that these survivors were already receiving pensions and therefore should not receive any additional payments.  Ultimately, these payments represent acknowledgment of the special needs of those who endured the Shoah as children, especially 70 years later.

The agreement reached in the negotiations between the Claims Conference and the German government comes on the heels of the first-ever symposium held in Berlin of Jewish child survivors, held on August 27 at Centrum Judaicum.  The symposium – “Lost Childhood: Jewish Childhood Survivors” – was organized by the Claims Conference, in cooperation with the World Federation of Jewish Child Survivors of the Holocaust and Descendants (WFJCSD) and the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel.  In this context, I want to thank Claims Conference Board members Stefanie Seltzer and Max Lazar Arpels, who have given their hearts and souls to child survivor issues over the years.

During the symposium, internationally recognized experts provided a comprehensive sense of the special suffering endured by Jewish children during the Holocaust and shed light on the particular situation of child survivors today.  This special symposium was the subject of last week’s email message from Greg Schneider.

We are all deeply grateful to Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, our Special Negotiator, who traveled to Berlin specifically for Thursday’s four-hour meeting, and returned to the U.S. that very afternoon.  His dedication to helping Holocaust victims runs extraordinarily deep.  Our thanks also goes to Roman Kent, who has been a driving force in negotiations with the German government, particularly regarding the homecare program, over the years.  Amb. Colette Avital also deserves special acknowledgment for her active involvement in the child survivor fund negotiations.

The Claims Conference negotiating delegation comprises Amb. Eizenstat; Roman Kent, Co-Chair; Holocaust survivor leaders Amb. Colette Avital, Uri Chanoch, Ben Helfgott and Marian Turski; Amb. Reuven Merhav and Rabbi Andrew Baker; and Claims Conference Executive Vice President Greg Schneider and the team of professionals from the Claims Conference led by Greg – including Rudi Mahlo, Representative in Germany, Karen Heilig, Christiane Reeh, and Konrad Matschke – who worked diligently to make this new fund a possibility.

These successful negotiations were a result of the skill of our negotiating delegation and their passion to bring a small measure of justice to those who had their childhoods cruelly ripped away. The Claims Conference continues to press for the liberalization of the criteria of other compensation programs so that every survivor can feel safe and cared-for in the last years of their lives.

Child Survivor Fund Established, September 3, 2014, Claims Conference, by Julius Berman

Jewish Women International has been chosen to participate in the Purple Purse Challenge, the Allstate Foundation's national campaign to get people talking about domestic abuse - specifically financial abuse, which is the primary reason domestic violence survivors stay in or return to abusive relationships. September 2nd through October 3rd, JWI is asking you to give what you can toward this effort. Learn more here.

Alex Varnai, 93, of Delray Beach, like many Holocaust survivors, needed help arranging for basic dental work he had to have done. But, thanks to a new program, Varnai was able to get his teeth cleaned for free.

The new program is called Project DASH, short for Dental Assistance for Survivors of the Holocaust. It started in May in South Palm Beach County, as administered by Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services, an agency of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County. Learn more about the program here.

Jewish Family & Children's Service of Greater Boston has been providing Geriatric Care Management Services since 1999. The program began with start-up money from their local federation, Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP).

Since its inception the program has grown rapidly and in 2008 was rebranded as Your Elder Experts, complete with a separate, sleeker, focused website that gives the program the look of a private practice. The program's credibility is based on the expert care management staff, consisting primarily of Masters prepared social workers and other clinicians all with 10-30 years of experience in providing services to older adults. Your Elder Experts' staff has a wide range of expertise in older adult services including mental health, chronic disease management, medical social work, dementia and long term care.

Your Elder Experts serves an average of 350 clients a year, with referrals coming from within the agency, agency reputation, area professionals including doctors and elder law attorneys and an ever growing number of word of mouth referrals. They have the additional benefit of referrals directly from agency programs such as the Parkinson's Family Support program and the Alzheimer's/Related disorders Family Support Programs. To learn more about Your Elder Experts visit the website or contact the Program Director Karen Wasserman.

Internal Controls - Five Critical Things to Keep In Mind

(Editor's note: Financial Matters is a regular column designed to provide insight and tools to assist with nonprofit financial management. AJFCA's new corporate partner, CliftonLarsonAllen, an accounting and consulting firm with offices across the country, provides the commentary for this Financial Matters column.)

By Harold Parsons

As the end of summer is upon us I always think of returning to school, which would involve about a month as a refresher for what was forgotten over the summer. I always thought I knew the material, I just had forgotten that I knew it. So with that in mind, here is a quick fall refresher on internal controls for your organization:

* People who do accounting, or have access to change accounting records, should not be check signers.

* Pay attention to credit cards -- When we see fraud in an organization, credit cards are almost always one of the ways it occurs.

* All significant accounts and every cash and investment account should be reconciled monthly. There should be a checklist for your monthly close process and every reconciliation should have a second person review it.

* Expect to see a comprehensive set of financial statements each month that includes a balance sheet and statement of activity for the entire organization.

* Budgets are critical for detection of problems and errors, so you should see budget-to-actual reports (month-to-date and year-to-date). If something looks wrong there is a good possibility it is wrong. Make sure explanations make sense and there is follow up - and don't be shy about asking to see support for those explanations.

To learn more about steps you can take to prevent fraud within your organization, as well as other finance and operations topics impacting the sector, visit CliftonLarsonAllen or contact Harold Parsons at 612-397-3058.

Philanthropy is, increasingly, a world of insiders. How many foundation websites explain in no uncertain terms that they do not accept unsolicited proposals, or even unsolicited letters of interest? For nonprofits that aren’t already in the foundations’ circles or don’t socialize with the foundation leaders and staff, it looks and feels like an impenetrable, unscalable, concrete wall. And as government programs like the Social Innovation Fund put government dollars into grantmakers who bring their own predetermined lists of grantees, smaller and newer nonprofits—particularly nonprofits representing the interests and concerns of controversial constituencies—find foundation fundraising an impossible game that could even affect their prospects for some public sector funding. Imagine the sound of a metal gate closing just as you get to the door. That’s where foundations tend to be nowadays.

Does this mean that foundation grantmaking reaches an ever-narrowing range of nonprofits? To an extent, unfortunately, yes. The foundation grantmaking game—remember, we’re talking about some 100,000 foundations—depends a lot on who you know on the inside (or as an intermediary referral) who will bring your nonprofit’s proposal or letter of interest to the attention of someone within the hallowed halls of philanthropy. The barrier presented by foundations that won’t even entertain or read unsolicited letters is a real problem for nonprofits looking for the “risk capital” that foundations are known for. But nonprofits with good ideas, strong experience, and projects and programs worth funding are a hardy lot and sometimes find ways of vaulting over the barriers to present ideas to foundations that they might not otherwise hear or consider—but should.

Brad Smith of the Foundation Center wrote in 2011 that 60 percent of foundations say that they do not accept unsolicited proposals. A 2009 Foundation Source survey of its clients, all family foundations, found that 77 percent would not consider unsolicited requests. Of those family foundation respondents, 72 percent said that they already know whom they wanted to support, 37 percent feared being “inundated” with proposals, and the rest generally wanted to be anonymous.

It is increasingly rare to read a statement such as this from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:

“RWJF seeks out and supports pioneering ideas and innovative solutions to ensure we stay on the cutting edge in our efforts to foster a culture of health in America. We accept unsolicited proposals for pioneering ideas and issue awards throughout the year, with no deadlines.”

It is an implicit recognition by the foundation’s managers that good ideas ferment and bubble up from the field, outside of a foundation’s four walls, and that those foundations that want to be cutting-edge look to nonprofits on the front lines of social change to tell them what they might not know, anticipate, or recognize.

While they all have their reasons, more and more foundations, young and old, are moving toward the rejection of unsolicited proposals as standard procedure. The Case Foundation, founded and run by AOL mogul Steve Case and his wife Jean, builders of a high-tech firm that surely had to leap over barriers to get noticed during its infancy in the business world, makes its position clear:

“The Case Foundation invests its resources in specific projects and initiatives that complement our approach to philanthropy. Our grants and staff time are focused on partnerships that we develop proactively with nonprofits, businesses, and other foundations. We regret that we are unable to review or consider unsolicited proposals.”

Case suggests that unsolicited nonprofits seeking financial assistance check out the websites of GuideStar, Charity Navigator, the Council on Foundations, and the Foundation Center for ideas on where they might go, given the locked door at Case.

Plenty of respected foundations with solid track records of excellent grantmaking have decided to close the door on unsolicited proposals, too. To name a few: the Edward W. Hazen Foundation (because of the decreasing percentage of unsolicited proposals that the foundation is funding altogether combined with the foundation’s desire to focus on increasing the effectiveness of the “emergent education and youth organizing” field, though the foundation said it would on occasion issue RFPs), the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation (because it prefers to “cultivate long-term projects and partner with organizations whose efforts are aligned with our program strategies”); the Marguerite Casey Foundation, and the Rita Allen Foundation (because it “practices proactive grant making and works with a variety of experts in its fields of investment to identify organizations invited to submit proposals”). These are respected, admired foundations, all making it clear that without an invitation, you shouldn’t come knocking. It’s as if being able to submit unsolicited proposals or LOIs has become a quaint, nostalgic practice of a bygone era.

How can nonprofits penetrate the inner sanctums of foundations protected by moats of “do not accept unsolicited” policies? We offer some polite (and perhaps less polite) suggestions for worthy nonprofits trying to tap desperately needed sources of philanthropic capital.

    Get visible to build relationships: Even the non-soliciting foundations show up at conferences—the Council on Foundations, Independent Sector, Exponent Philanthropy (the new name for the Association of Small Foundations), and the programs of regional associations of grantmakers. Remember, as a nonprofit participant, you aren’t supposed to solicit for money at these conferences (although we’ve watched plenty of people who have and routinely do in the most embarrassing way). However, showing up, talking, presenting if you are able to get a slot on a workshop panel, even organizing rump non-conference sessions on your topic opens up your organization to these foundations. Periodically, you’ll see foundation reps at these gatherings snap to attention as they hear something that they haven’t known before and realize is of value to their grantmaking agendas. When you meet the foundation program officers, follow up with materials and information that you think they might be interested in—not the hard sell for your organization, but the soft sell of information that builds on common interests. Some foundations that preclude unsolicited proposals and LOIs will, however, make grants to “new” nonprofits on the recommendation of trustees or staff. You only get to them by building relationships, and you build relationships by being visible, connecting, and interacting.
    Research their boards and staff for connections: It’s often surprising how poorly nonprofits research their potential funders. Go through the target foundation’s entire board for an in-depth review of the bios and resumes of the board members. That means doing solid Google searches on them, checking out their bios on Who’s Who and other directories, checking on the Foundation Directory online for their presence in other foundations, and checking GuideStar for their memberships on other nonprofit boards. You’re looking not just for personal connections, but issue connections. You’re missing the boat if you don’t see whether these people have written or when or where they have spoken out on issues of concern to your nonprofit (a Nexis search for news clips mentioning foundation board members by name is very useful). When you find those topical and organizational intersections, reaching out to those individuals is a way of getting your organization into their foundations’ mental hoppers.
    Send information, working papers, and thought pieces: When you find non-soliciting foundations with issue interests common to your organization’s, send them information that you think will give them new insights and ideas, pique their interest, and stimulate their thinking. When foundations reject unsolicited proposals, they are implicitly saying their existing circle of grantees and information sources constitutes whatever they need to know. The reality, which your organization knows, is that these foundations don’t know all there is to be known and would themselves benefit if they were exposed to new ideas. If foundation program officers find themselves benefitting from your ideas, there’s an opening to be pursued. An even more intriguing possibility is to send think pieces and working papers and ask the foundation for substantive reactions and feedback—that is, shift the dynamic from potential grantor/potential grantee to one of equals engaged in the solution of a shared concern.
    Send an LOI anyhow: The Foundation Center’s Brad Smith suggests that nonprofits not simply send LOIs to foundations that announce they don’t accept unsolicited proposals. His theory is that raising money from foundations is fundamentally a matter of relationship-building, so that should precede any submission of letters of interest or letters of introduction. Smith is correct that relationships are clearly the preferred way of relating to foundations, but for those nonprofits that can’t get around to lots of conferences—especially given the large number of foundations out there that may or may not show up at philanthropic conferences—an unsolicited LOI may be necessary. Rather than sending LOIs willy-nilly, if an LOI it must be, the letters should be aimed at foundations whose grantmaking and interests are compatible with your nonprofit’s. You can determine this by looking at the foundations’ grantmaking, particularly through the grants listing in the Foundation Directory Online.

Sending thought-provoking information is preferable, but a cover letter that verges into an LOI isn’t a bad idea. Look for foundations whose grant guidelines suggest that they “do not encourage,” rather than “do not accept,” unsolicited inquiries. That might seem like a minor semantic difference, but it is worth exploring. However, in order to deal with the foundations’ hypersensitivity to unsolicited “proposals,” don’t send an LOI with a funding request. Use the LOI to establish a relationship on the issue that your nonprofit and the foundation share. Engage the foundations in terms of intellect rather than triggering their all-purpose resistance to requests for dollars. The reality is that many foundation program officers really do want to engage around ideas, but don’t want to be targets for obsequiously false nonprofit suck-ups. Sometimes foundation program officers and trustees see and sense an opportunity to engage on a higher plane and are thrilled at the opportunity be seen as more than a human wallet.

    Work for philanthropic change: Other than the programs of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (FULL DISCLOSURE: This writer was NCRP’s executive director some years ago), there seems to be little occurring in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors promoting change in foundation grantmaking and virtually nothing that challenges the increasingly closed-door approach being adopted by foundations toward grant-seekers. The Foundation Center’s Smith suggested some time ago that even the generally do-not-solicit foundations ought to keep a portion of their grantmaking open for unsolicited proposals. “Foundations receive a tax exemption on their investment income in exchange for contributing to the public good,” Smith wrote a couple of years ago. “One way to do that is to maintain at least a single program area, however small, that invites the public, in the form of nonprofits, to freely apply for grants.”

There are a number of foundations that do maintain open windows for unsolicited LOIs or proposals in specific areas of their grantmaking, consistent with Smith’s recommendation. For example, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation identifies on its grant guidelines webpage which of its program areas are accepting unsolicited proposals (such as energy and climate, Bay Area communities, and performing arts continuity and engagement) and which aren’t (education, global development and population, and philanthropy). The Lumina Foundation’s online grant guidelines indicate that the foundation intends to be proactive in most of its grantmaking, meaning that it doesn’t generally accept unsolicited inquiries, but it notes, “We have allocated a modest amount of grant monies for unsolicited inquiries to encourage innovative ideas that relate to our strategic portfolio.”

Opening the door to unsolicited LOIs and proposals runs counter, it would appear, to the “strategic grantmaking” dynamic that has overtaken so many foundations, designing their own theories of change and generally running their own programs with nonprofits pre-selected to do the work. While debated vociferously pro and con (increasingly con), strategic-grantmaking foundations are frequently functioning more like operating foundations, designing “scripts” in which compliant nonprofits are cast. However, really good strategic thinking requires constantly scanning the environment to discover which nonprofits are making headway on challenging issues. A foundation’s strategy is inherently weak if it exists primarily within the foundation’s internal echo chamber or among a limited circle of foundation staff talking to each other. Foundations that open their eyes and ears to the dynamic work of nonprofits in the field are being truly strategic because they are listening to and looking for the creative ferment that emerges from the best of nonprofits—even if they happen to be little nonprofits not on the foundations’ current radar screens.

To this point, foundations certainly don’t face any pressures on Capitol Hill for changes in areas like foundation payout rates or increases in disclosure and transparency. But beyond that, within the nonprofit sector, there has been less and less outright criticism of foundations for their grantmaking policies and procedures per se other than whether they are making grants to desired causes. Clearly some of the procedural issues reflected in foundation grantmaking practices aren’t matters of legislation and regulation, but as Smith notes, foundations receive a tax exemption authorized by the U.S. taxpayer and should be a subject for advocacy by nonprofits. The nonprofit sector cannot and should not give foundations a grantmaking pass simply because all of us need their dollars.

The importance of nonprofits on the ground, on the front lines of social change, is that they are—or should be—the eyes and ears of philanthropists who want to better understand the nature of the issues they want to address. But where you stand on this issue is, sadly, where you sit. Todd J. Sukol, the founder of an organization called the Do More Mission, was once an impassioned proponent of foundations’ accepting unsolicited proposals.

“Did you know that three fourths of America’s 950,000 public charities have annual budgets of $500,000 or less? […] Among them are some amazing folks doing remarkable things at relatively small amounts of money—if you’re turning everyone you’ve never heard of away because the inbox is clogged with junk, you’ll never be able to meet enough of the best players to decide who is most deserving of your support,” Sukol wrote. “You could easily miss the chance to make your most important gift. Think for a minute how far a relatively low cost extra pair of hands (with brains attached) could take you in terms of making your charitable giving a whole lot more impactful—and more rewarding.”

As of February 2014, Sukol became the executive director of the Mayberg Family Charitable Foundation, located in Bal Harbour, Florida and Rockville, Maryland. According to Sukol’s LinkedIn profile, through Do More Mission, he had been a philanthropic advisor to Mayberg prior to becoming its ED. According to Mayberg’s profile on the Foundation Center’s Foundation Directory Online, Mayberg “contributes to only preselected organizations.”

Hopefully, Sukol will reintroduce the Mayberg Family Charitable Foundation to the “impactful” and “rewarding” environment that ensues when a foundation accepts unsolicited proposals. He will be helped along on that path if nonprofits speak to institutional philanthropy—established foundations—and press them to open the window to the fresh thinking and creative ideas of nonprofits by accepting unsolicited LOIs.

Scaling the Wall: 5 Ways to Get Unsolicited Proposals Heard, August 11, 2014, Nonprofit Quarterly, by Rick Cohen

Under the watchful eye of seasoned fundraisers, students in the Development Summer Internship Program at the University of Michigan attended the program’s annual etiquette dinner, where they nibbled on salad and sipped sparkling white grape juice as they were instructed in the proper way to pass a bread basket, which fork to use, and how to decide whether it’s appropriate to use their smartphones to share photos of the fancy food on In­stagram.

For a fundraiser of the millennial generation—someone born after 1979—a blunder with a smartphone could turn off a donor and lose a charity crucial support.

But focus on etiquette helps fledgling fundraisers learn how to handle such an episode gracefully, says Katy Wallander, who, as assistant director of student philanthropy in the university’s development office, helped preside over the table-manners lessons in June. "Even if the donor or the person of interest—the reason you’re there—is taking a picture of their food, you smile and you’re very kind to them and say, ‘This is such a beautiful meal,’ " Ms. Wallander says. "But you do not take out your phone."
A Rising Generation

Millennials, goes the stereotype, are wrapped up in their own little worlds and relentlessly distracted by texts and tweets and statuses and updates. They are ambitious and optimistic. Some even say they feel entitled.

But many fundraisers of all ages reject the notion that there’s anything drastically different about the rising generation when it comes to a desire to raise money for charities. Lots of young people have already set their sights on that career path: Fundraisers under age 30 make up the fastest growing segment of members of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, says Andrew Watt, the group’s leader.

"I suspect that we always believe that the next generation is not going to be able to fulfill the responsibilities in the same way," says Bruce Flessner, a fundraising consultant. " And if you’re a part of the younger generation, you look at all the people who are currently in there, thinking, ‘Someday we’ll be in charge and we’ll do it better.’ "

Texting and Talking

Still, there are some sticking points that millennial fundraisers and their supervisors say that they often negotiate.

Technology and communication are often flashpoints between generations in fundraising offices.

For example, Amie Latterman, director of development at SPUR, a community advocacy group in San Francisco, reminds young colleagues to tone down instant messaging and social media when board members or other VIPs are in the office, because it could look like the fundraisers are slacking.

On the other hand, Ms. Latterman says, these activities function as a sort of virtual water cooler, and as long as employees get the work done, she doesn’t mind some online socializing.

"They all work hard, and I know that, because I get emails from them at all hours of the day, and I get texts from them at all hours of the day."

And yet for all their communicating by text, millennials do not love speaking on the phone. In the high-touch world of fundraising, this can cause rifts between generations and potentially turn off donors.

Salmiyeh Karamali, a 28-year-old public-relations associate in the office of development at the University of Michigan, admits that, like many of her peers, she opts for text or email over the phone.

"I think our younger generation likes doing something that’s quick," she says. "It’s a little less scary and a little less intimidating."

Nevertheless, the University of Michigan puts the donors’ desires first, says Judith Malcolm, senior director of executive communications at Michigan and Ms. Karamali’s supervisor.

"We have a donor who refuses to use email. He’s on a high-level committee, and we send out an email to everyone on the committee and we fax him," Ms. Malcolm says. "If a donor wants an email or wants a fax or wants a phone call, that’s what you do. And it’s not about what your preference is at all."

Ms. Latterman agrees that speaking on the phone can be a sticking point among her young staff members and volunteers.

"I have to really push my staff and be like, ‘Call them. You’ve been emailing back and forth enough, it’s clearly not working. Try the phone.’ "
Paying Dues

Millennials sometimes face another charge: They want to bypass paying their dues in their quest for greater responsibility. In a field like fundraising, where interpersonal skills gained with experience are crucial, young people may overestimate their abilities.

Ms. Malcolm recalls an entry-level fundraiser whose boss left the university. The employee wanted to jump up to that vacant position after only a year on the job.

"I said to her that I didn’t feel she had the experience—she was brand new to fundraising," recalls Ms. Malcolm. "She literally said, ‘What could I go online and read so that I could be ready for that job?’—totally dismissing the idea that there are just lots of things you don’t know."

The professionalization of the fundraising field is partly responsible for fostering this overconfidence, suggests Daniel Blakemore, assistant director of development at International House, a nonprofit group that serves international students in New York. Colleges offer degrees in philanthropy and fundraising, he notes, and thus young graduates may feel more ready for the real world than they actually are.

"I can’t totally fault millennials who are coming up with that experience and saying, ‘I’ve learned this for four years, I know the sector now,’ " he says.
Starting Early

Some organizations are working to get more undergraduates and even high-school students into the fundraising pipeline by introducing them to the potential career path very early.

The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance offers the Certified Nonprofit Professional credential through 40 universities nationwide. And the Association of Fundraising Professionals offers a certification in fundraising at 35 universities, and reaches high-school students in three states through the Youth in Philanthropy curriculum as well as the newly announced Students in Action program. That program, a partnership with the Jefferson Awards Foundation, will be available in 12 states in 2015.

With many more high-school programs requiring some type of volunteer service, the newest class of rising fundraisers is more idealistic and experienced than ever before, says Pat Bjorhovde, coordinator of the association’s youth programs.

"We find 22- to 24-year-olds coming in and becoming professional members who already have four or five years of fundraising experience," she says. "They’ve been volunteers. They’ve done internships. It’s amazing."

But sometimes even precocious talent needs a reality check. Mr. Blakemore, who also serves as vice chair of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network’s Board of Directors, encourages young fundraisers to talk to people who are already doing the jobs they want. He notes, "There are a lot of different ways that organizations operate that have absolutely nothing to do with what is in a textbook."
Job Hopping

Millennials’ ambition, paired with a raging demand for talented fundraisers, means a lot of job prospects—and job hopping.

They also want validation for their achievements.

"We’re a fast-moving generation," says Kate Gagne, 29, development associate at the Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center, who works with the young-professionals committee of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. "We like things to happen quickly. So if we’re doing something and we’re excelling at it, we don’t want to be told, ‘OK, now that you know what you’re doing, you have to do this for two more years before we’re going to look at you for a promotion.’"

Young people aren’t as loyal to their employers as in the past, Ms. Gagne acknowledges. However, she notes, "they’re not as loyal to us. They’re not providing us necessarily the retirement benefits or different things that our parents grew up with."

Some organizations put structures in place to help young fundraisers grow professionally and keep them on the job. At the University of Michigan, for example, new hires may start in the production department, working on marketing materials to gain a base of knowledge, but can move up in a few years to the annual-giving team.

"Hiring a person is very expensive," says Ms. Malcolm. "Moving them isn’t."

Fundraisers in their 50s and 60s often recall that they stumbled into fundraising accidentally, so many caution nonprofit managers to maintain perspective when dealing with their energetic but sometimes puzzling young colleagues.

"I don’t think that we have the right to stand in judgment of what I think is an exceptional generation," says Mr. Watt, of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. "I am enormously positive, I think there’s huge talent out there and huge commitment, and I see nothing to worry about."

Young Fundraisers Are Ambitious and Impatient but Need Training, August 11, 2014, Chronicle of Philanthropy, by Cassie Moore

The High Holidays are certainly a time when Jews – regardless of their level of engagement or observance – feel most connected to their Jewish selves. It is a time when Jewish organizations of all kinds seek to inspire Jews to step up their involvement and, yes, to possibly make some charitable gifts. But how effectively do organizations design compelling appeals during the High Holidays, especially when so many Jewish organizations are competing for charitable dollars? The following are recommendations for Jewish nonprofits other than synagogues.

In yesterday’s post, I highlighted the importance of the High Holiday appeal for congregations. But what about other Jewish nonprofits, including day schools, defense and policy organizations, Federations, social service agencies, and Israel “friends of” organizations? In my decades of experience in the Jewish fundraising world, I’ve seen a few stellar examples of High Holiday appeals. But too often, this has been an underutilized resource. Too many Jewish organizations have reached out to donors around the Days of Awe in a pro-forma, uninspired manner. A good number don’t even try. But they are missing a crucial opportunity. Here are a few reasons why:

    Jewish organizations may very well have an easier time raising money around the High Holidays than synagogues. Like synagogues, they can tap into the wellspring of Jewish identity during this period. But unlike synagogues, they don’t have to interrupt prayer and reflection to ask for donations on the holiest days of our Jewish calendar.
    The fourth quarter is, far and away, the strongest period in the domestic calendar for charitable giving. This year, Rosh Hashanah falls on September 24, which is less than a week before the start of the fourth quarter. Timing is on your side!
    Experts predict that 2014 may surpass the record for total charitable giving set in 2007 – before the financial meltdown known as the Great Recession. If it doesn’t, it will surely come close. If your organization doesn’t tap into this spirit of generosity, others will.

While Americans are a giving people, most individual donors don’t maximize their giving capacity. And we, in the Jewish community, are perceived to be among the most generous! Even if someone has already made a philanthropic commitment to support your agency, don’t be afraid to ask for a separate High Holiday gift. Remember this counterintuitive rule of fundraising: the more time that passes after a donor’s last gift, the less likely that donor is to give in the future. This is one reason why colleges and universities are so successful at fundraising; they strategically time their requests. They manage to stay in their donors’ minds without overstaying their welcome. So ask and then ask again!

A successful High Holiday appeal is like any other campaign. It requires strategy and planning. Consider forming a committee to plan the appeal. Utilize all the platforms at your disposal: email, social media, and direct mail, to reach your intended audience. For this to really work, the High Holiday appeal must somehow be different from other campaign asks.

    But here is a concept that I really like: organizations could concentrate their High Holiday appeal on lapsed donors. What could be a better time to start giving to an organization again than just before the proverbial book of life is opened? Therefore, I urge that you review your donor rolls and focus on those who have not made any type of gift in the last 12-36 months, highlighting a concept of “we miss you!”.

For “friends of” organizations in the United States raising money for Israel, this year’s appeal comes at a critical time. Every corner of life in Israel was and continues to be affected by the war in Gaza. The operations of every Israeli nonprofit have been impacted on some level. Israeli organizations must use their communications to American donors to demonstrate the impact the organization has on Israeli society. As part of the High Holiday appeal, groups must provide some concrete information about how the conflict has affected the organization. There’s a sense, misplaced or not, that some organizations – particularly those that are less well known – are “using” the conflict to raise dollars. Donors will always be skeptical, and we want a healthy degree of skepticism. That’s what keeps nonprofits on their toes! If a case can be made that the war in Gaza has created new needs for your organization, then by all means make it and link it to the High Holidays. Just be honest, straightforward and eschew exaggeration. At the holiest time of the year, you are asking Jews to invest in the Jewish state and the global Jewish community. That is something to be proud of, not something to shy away from.

Jewish organizations must not be afraid to call upon the language and paradigm of the High Holidays to frame the request. The High Holiday appeal must be targeted, special and distinct from an organization’s annual campaign. Creative and strategic approaches will likely yield rewarding results. That’s especially true in an environment in which donors feel confident about the economy. It is certainly late in the game to start thinking about the High Holiday appeal. Ideally, such an effort should be mapped out in the spring, but, I contend, it is not too late to launch a targeted effort. As Rabbi Hillel famously said, “If not now, when?”.

Consider High Holiday Campaigns, August 14, 2014, eJP, by Robert Evans

It’s not easy to stand out among a million posts and messages on Twitter and Facebook these days. And it actually gets harder each day as these and other social networks continue to grow.

Luckily, I had the honor of interviewing some of the top industry leaders, and asked them to share their secrets for doing just that.

If your business is going to invest in Twitter as a social media marketing channel, you should make sure it is worth your while.

To get to the bottom of what really works on Twitter

The result?

Advice from 31 experts such as Jason Keath, Adam Braun, Britt Michaelian, Kim Garst and many more.

Here are some of the key lessons that I’ve learned.
1. Add Value First

Pay special attention to this point, because most of the experts I spoke with shared that you can’t skip this step. In order to stand out, start by giving back to your fans. “You have to constantly go beyond their expectations and deliver something of true value to them” says Jason Keath.

One of the ways to check yourself on whether you are offering value is to consider your perspective. Are you just “doing social media” stuff or are you behaving like a human?

Humans help one another. Humans make each other laugh. Share things that are informative, instructional. Humans respond to questions and service issues. “Just doing social media” or “being social” is a mindset that quickly reduces the value you have to offer.

Value is what gets your audience to trust that you have something important to share. According to Jeff Bullas, you can create value by developing a memorable brand or great content.  
2. Care More

Here’s a great tip by Britt Michaelian: “Treat your friends and followers with kindness and gratitude and show them you care about who they are. Do this consistently and you will not only stand out, but you will feel great.”

I agree!

3. Ask Your Audience What They Want

Adam Braun, a New York Times bestselling author and the founder of Pencils of Promise, sends personalized messages to his followers every day. He makes an effort to learn more about his readers and build meaningful relationships with them.

I can personally attest to this: he was willing to take some time out of his busy schedule to respond to me. I learned from Braun that if you don’t know what your audience wants, don’t guess. Why not just ask them?
4. Reply To Questions

Simple right?

Don’t you get annoyed when you see people or businesses who don’t reply to some comments simply because they feel those people are “irrelevant” according to their “data”? Jenny Brennan has made being responsive part of her identity: “Make sure you respond to every comment, tweet and interaction.”

Your responses need to be meaningful, too.

Brennan explains, “it is also important to do your research” to “find out more about the person who has taken the time to reach out.” If you craft a tailored reply, you’ll stand out from anyone who simply responds for the sake of responding. When you respond, people appreciates it. Here’s an example from a happy customer of KLM.

5. Have a Personality

Here’s a mistake most of us make: we share content without adding any personal touches.

As Marsha Collier puts it: “Sharing good content is a given, but that is not enough. Show your personality in your posts, don’t just quote titles, add interest!”

8 Simple Tips That Can Help You Stand Out on Social Networks
by Aaron Lee on Aug 14, 2014

8-simple-tips-to-stand-out-in-socialIt’s not easy to stand out among a million posts and messages on Twitter and Facebook these days. And it actually gets harder each day as these and other social networks continue to grow.

Luckily, I had the honor of interviewing some of the top industry leaders, and asked them to share their secrets for doing just that.

If your business is going to invest in Twitter as a social media marketing channel, you should make sure it is worth your while.

To get to the bottom of what really works on Twitter

The result?

Advice from 31 experts such as Jason Keath, Adam Braun, Britt Michaelian, Kim Garst and many more.

Here are some of the key lessons that I’ve learned.
1. Add Value First

Pay special attention to this point, because most of the experts I spoke with shared that you can’t skip this step. In order to stand out, start by giving back to your fans. “You have to constantly go beyond their expectations and deliver something of true value to them” says Jason Keath.

One of the ways to check yourself on whether you are offering value is to consider your perspective. Are you just “doing social media” stuff or are you behaving like a human?

Humans help one another. Humans make each other laugh. Share things that are informative, instructional. Humans respond to questions and service issues. “Just doing social media” or “being social” is a mindset that quickly reduces the value you have to offer.

Value is what gets your audience to trust that you have something important to share. According to Jeff Bullas, you can create value by developing a memorable brand or great content.  
2. Care More

Here’s a great tip by Britt Michaelian: “Treat your friends and followers with kindness and gratitude and show them you care about who they are. Do this consistently and you will not only stand out, but you will feel great.”

I agree!
3. Ask Your Audience What They Want

Adam Braun, a New York Times bestselling author and the founder of Pencils of Promise, sends personalized messages to his followers every day. He makes an effort to learn more about his readers and build meaningful relationships with them.

I can personally attest to this: he was willing to take some time out of his busy schedule to respond to me. I learned from Braun that if you don’t know what your audience wants, don’t guess. Why not just ask them?
4. Reply To Questions

Simple right?

Don’t you get annoyed when you see people or businesses who don’t reply to some comments simply because they feel those people are “irrelevant” according to their “data”? Jenny Brennan has made being responsive part of her identity: “Make sure you respond to every comment, tweet and interaction.”

Your responses need to be meaningful, too.

Brennan explains, “it is also important to do your research” to “find out more about the person who has taken the time to reach out.” If you craft a tailored reply, you’ll stand out from anyone who simply responds for the sake of responding. When you respond, people appreciates it. Here’s an example from a happy customer of KLM.

5. Have a Personality

Here’s a mistake most of us make: we share content without adding any personal touches.

As Marsha Collier puts it: “Sharing good content is a given, but that is not enough. Show your personality in your posts, don’t just quote titles, add interest!”

Add your personality by including a little of YOU and your story in everything you share.

6. Be REAL

Most of experts shared this tip, so listen up: Be authentic. Be genuine!  

Kim Garst describes how there’s simply no faking this: “You have to be authentically passionate about what you do and who you serve. True passion is contagious.” Speaking of contagious, -you can tell that Kim’s passion really is irresistible.

7. Know the Trend

Here’s a valuable tip I learned from Mark Ivey: constantly look out for trending topics.

When Ivey (who co-founded gluten-free food company Ivy’s Garden) found out that Jimmy Kimmel’s digs at the gluten-free lifestyle were going viral, he wrote a post that would capitalize on the buzz.

However, he didn’t just hop on the bandwagon–he showed that Ivy’s Garden cares about and provides value for people following a gluten-free diet. Snickers does this well, too

8. Think Visual

Five experts shared this tip: Play up the visual element.

According to Stacey Miller, “images catch our attention, keep our attention, and are digested faster than text.” Zach Kitschke from Canva says, “the best brands have a strong visual identity on social media” and advises us to be consistent in what we post and in our use of colors, fonts, photo filters, and icons or logos.

BONUS. Know What Works

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

Here’s a secret that the team at Post Planner uses: We have a powerful feature in our app called “viral photos,” which allows us to find and share some of the most popular photos out there. Using this tool, we are able to increase our reach significantly. Here’s a sample of one of our recent photo that had over 4.7 million reach and 60k shares:

In addition to these eight tips that you can use to stand out, here’s yet another a bonus tip from me: be patient. It takes time to stand out, and it’s not something that you can achieve in a single day or even a month.

What’s YOUR best tip for standing out?

8 Simple Tips That Can Help You Stand Out on Social Networks, August 14, 2014, SocialFresh, by Aaron Lee

Show Me the Money…

We all remember that memorable line from the movie Jerry Maguire starring Tom Cruise. While the context was clearly different, the essence was the same. Credibility is established by putting “skin in the game.”

In today’s philanthropic marketplace, the nonprofit Board is the place where the credibility is built. If the Board does not give, many will hesitate to participate, yet others simply will refuse. This is not a scenario that any nonprofit in today’s hyper competitive environment wants to face, let alone create.

We are all agreed that Board members are invited to serve for their expertise and their ability to bring programmatic and political assets to the table. In some more traditional circles Board members have been recruited for their ability to “give time” which, at one time was considered an asset on its own with a currency equal to money.

The key difficulty is that you cannot pay the bills with time. Therefore, the thematic message of this post is that every nonprofit must ask every Board member, as part of their fiduciary responsibility, to make a meaningful gift to the organization they are leading. It just makes sense. If a Board member isn’t supporting their organization financially, how can they expect someone less connected to their organization to follow a lead that is not demonstrated.

So how does an organization do this?

    Start with the Board President – he or she must buy in to the idea that all Board members must give. This is not yet a given, even today.
    Create a deadline for Board commitments, along with a suggested gift range that is motivational but accessible by all.
    Make fundraising a part of every Board meeting agenda, and make Board Giving a prominent part of that discussion. Unlike in public forums, respectfully call names and ask why people haven’t yet participated.
    Set a firm goal of 100% participation by each and every Board member in the nonprofit’s Board Giving Program.

And that last imperative is doubly important because increasingly foundations and other institutional funders are limiting their support to nonprofits that can demonstrate 100% Board participation in giving. From their point of view, why should they support a nonprofit whose own leadership won’t set the example? Secondarily, they may question why Board members are not giving – asking themselves “what do they know that we don’t.”

Bottom line … according to a recent Board Source Report, as well as the National Center for Nonprofit Boards, and the National Governance Survey of Chief Executives, only 46% of Boards today report 100% participation. It is not surprising that those same sources list the inability to raise money as the major weakness of many nonprofit Boards, while only 5% listed fund raising as a demonstrable strength of a Board. Fundraising ranks #1 among board areas needing improvement.

Yet actual dollars contributed truly matter less than fact that every Board member makes a gift. And again, while this seems to be an intuitive organizational direction, the notion of “giving time” still carries weight in some places.

One way that some Boards are working their way toward 100% participation is trying to put the fundraising onus on every Board member through a “Give and Get” or Give or Get” approach, often providing a minimum that every Board member needs to “produce” in order to fulfill their responsibility. There is an important difference between these two strategies.

Those organizations that employ the “Give or Get” approach, which still absolves Board members from dipping into personal funds for even a token gift, are unwittingly letting their leaders off the hook. Needless to say, we vigorously endorse the “Give and Get” strategy which requires each Board member to begin by investing their funds as “skin in the game.”

And just a note on “Give and-or Get” approach, even this is waiting to get deep traction in the nonprofit arena. The 2012 Not-For-Profit Pulse Survey found that 77% of Boards do not have either type of policy in place. Further, of those organizations that have “Give and-or Get” policies in place, 35% require less than a $5,000 cumulative commitment from Board members.

What, therefore, becomes the expectation when recruiting members for a nonprofit Board?

In the process of recruitment to a nonprofit’s Board, Board service should be presented and framed as an honor and a privilege, and that honor includes giving. The expectation of Board giving should include a stipulation that Board members will be removed if he or she refuses to make even a token gift.

Looking at it a bit more positively, when Boards actively lead the fundraising activity, nonprofits are more likely to reach their fundraising goals. According to the 2012 Nonprofit Research Collaborative Study, only 52% of nonprofits without a Board level development committee met their 2011 fundraising goals, compared with 63% of those with a stated commitment to development through a Board standing committee exclusively for that purpose.

And if we look at Board giving “by the numbers,” once again from the 2012 Not-For-Profit Pulse Survey and the 2012 Nonprofit Research Collaborative Study, we find the following:

    Board average 74% participation in giving
    68% of nonprofits have a policy requiring Board members to make an annual gift
    Among the organizations that require a minimum Board Gift, the median was $1,000
    Nearly 3% of nonprofits require a gift of $20,000 or more to be donated or raised by each Board member

In conclusion, let’s reach back to close the loop with Parts I and II, particularly the importance of measuring ROI in our competitive and entrepreneurial fundraising marketplace, and reiterate the fact that Board giving is a multiplier for attracting and obtaining broader and increased giving. In this way a nonprofits greatly expands the probability that it will succeed on the short term and in its quest for growth and sustainability.

Let’s further restate that GIVING is the operative word and basic goal of every successful nonprofit, and the expectation of members of its Board, and that these should be the standards:

    Fundraising is a primary responsibility of any and every nonprofit Board
    Leading by Example is the primary responsibility of each Board member; every member should be able and prepared to say “join me” to friends and associates
    Board members should designate the organization that they serve as one of the principal recipients of their generosity
    Nonprofits should, if needed – and to prepare their leaders for the expectation made of them, invest in training to make Board members more effective advocates (and yes) fundraisers
    Many Board members are uncomfortable asking for money and seek to opt out of fundraising responsibilities, and should not be let “of the hook”

As a nonprofit leader or executive you should always be comfortable saying “Show me the Money,” but should also be prepared to make it happen. Today’s nonprofit leader and major donor will understand the value of investing to increase return. Not investing, not engaging your Board members, and running your fundraising on parallel tracks is, in the final analysis, racing toward the cliff. That solution is not recommended.

The Uncomfortable Ask: Board Members and Fundraising, August 18, 2014, eJP, by Avrum Lapin

I will ask readers to bear with me as I try to take a wide-angle lens to the external influences on nonprofit management. They are many and complex, but they also may be simplified—which I will try to do by looking for what, to my mind, is the core design principle we are facing.

Complexities “R” Us

All organizations are affected by the cultures and social structures from which they emerge. Dominant paradigms, shared belief systems, and personal politics create mental models about the way we want—and are sometimes blindly driven—to structure and manage our work.

Our organizational management styles and structures are affected by the following:

    The fields in which we work—in the arts, for instance, dual leadership models that place artistic and business leadership side by side are common.
    The regulatory environment in which we function—for instance, in Head Start programs, regular audits measure a specific and very long checklist of items, including the governance structure, accreditation standards for teachers, and the resources available in each classroom, among many others. Such stringent accrediting measurements administered directly by a funder tend to affect what management focuses on.
    Our communities’ spoken belief systems—for instance, feminist organizations of the 1970s experimented with structures that were less hierarchical because they equated hierarchy with paternalism.
    Our communities’ cultural norms and dynamics—for instance, our ethnic community relates in certain ways to other ethnic communities around it, much as our geographic community relates to its region, state, nation, and the world.

These are larger systems of which our organizations are a part. Of course, within organizations there are often also a set of norms and dynamics put in place by the epic stories we tell of, say, organizational birthing or near-death experiences, or by the model of leadership exhibited by culturally influential leaders or founders. The surfacing of the mix of these internal and external effects on organizational management has always been fascinating work for those who like the anthropological exercise of trying to figure out the assumptions beneath why people in organizations do what they do.

It is complex stuff, but stuff that may just have been made a little easier—paradoxically, by a major era change.

Because, with all of the ways in which external factors affect how organizations function, it has generally been assumed that organizations are systems separated from one another by clear boundaries. In fact, one of the definitional requirements of a system is that it have those boundaries to set it apart. So what happens to the notion of organizational culture when institutional boundaries become more porous overall, and the people associated with the system are working virtually, or are transient or contracted? And what happens to the nexus of management? Does our estimation of where leveraging and management actions are taken change significantly? Might it neutralize differences between organizations to some extent and move the loci of change and cultural influence both up into larger systems and down to much more local levels?

About Dominant Paradigms
In this life, those of us who are actively involved in trying to make complex systems work are always dealing with contradictions—or dialectics, which, according to philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, is the constant conscious playing out of those contradictions to create progress. So, for instance, even as individuals or organizations we are at once attracted to the control of a situation and the active exploration of the possibilities and limits contained in the situation—in other words, to stability and chaos.

Encroaching chaos is uncomfortable for many managers, who by definition tend to like predictability. We are comforted by “I do this, and that happens.” When that kind of predictability begins to be hard to come by and we are beset with disequilibrium, we are challenged to step outside of the system as we have been living in it and try to take a longer view: Has something big changed for good? Is this the system we need? Is it doing what it is meant to do? What ideas can I try? Who else should we be talking to who can be partners in a change bigger than the usual? How do I intervene, and at what level? These are the questions that many of us are faced with now.

Thankfully, often what at first appears to be chaotic because it is still finding its order, later becomes increasingly familiar—game rules, underlying assumptions, and all. Once we have had a chance to observe and experiment with the essence and the patterns of something new, and to realize where practical and ethical questions emerge, we may become surer of our footing even if we cannot yet answer these questions.

But what if we are far from that kind of semi-stasis? What if we are facing a generation or more of greater than usual change?

If we were to assume that organizations mimic the assumptions and operating dynamics of the overall environment, and that these change from economic era to economic era, you would expect the dominant paradigm we have for forms of organizations to change, too. This does not happen overnight, even in today’s sped-up environment. There has been a generation or two of time during which the industrial era has slowly been crumbling—with its artifacts and archetypes becoming almost cruelly comic in their extremity.

But the seeds of this transition to a technology-driven, knowledge-era economy have long been present as the ascending pole of the dialectic. The industrial era, too, was driven by advances in technology, which allowed for the large-scale production in big factories—through the use of machines—that we have come to identify as the rise of industrialization; and the factories needed large amounts of capital to establish themselves, thus consolidating the means of production, and also needed large numbers of wage earners, who made themselves relatively dependent in return for a measure of security. But every revolution carries within it the seeds of its opposition, so—

What Formula Is Driving the Era Change?

If we were to see this economic era as a fractal—“ a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size copy of the whole”2—the basic form being replicated might be stated as follows: “We reject: kings, presidents, and voting. We believe in: rough consensus and running code.”

We refer to this short statement—attributed to David Clark, who is often called the founder of the
Internet—because it succinctly expresses the formula by which this era is defined. As Lawrence Lessig wrote in “Open Code and Open Societies: Values of Internet Governance,” what is being described here is not chaos but rather a bottom-up control of development based on an open systems orientation.3 Within this concept, he goes on to say, is the idea of “open forking”: “Build a platform, or set of protocols, so that it can evolve in any number of ways; don’t play god; don’t hardwire any single path of development. Keep the core simple, and let the application (or end) develop the complexity.”

Lessig goes on to say, “Good code is code that is modular, and that reveals its functions and parameters transparently.”

But before we all cheer about the image we are building of networks of locally based action connected on a global stage working for human rights and sustainability, remember that there are still significant issues to work out in the form of reinforcements and defenses of the old way of consolidation. Growth capital still tends to flow to large systems in the nonprofit as well as the for-profit sector; this ghost may haunt us for some time. Many nonprofits are limited by siloed funding as well as funding that does not necessarily lend itself to constant reevaluation and change.

And then there are those pesky, unintended consequences of the new era, which is likely to be equally as good and tragic as the previous one.

Our Networked World and What It Does to an Era Change

There are a number of factors that are distinctly of this age and conspire to reinforce the sense that we are actively evolving a new economic era:

    There is an ever-greater push for transparency and a growing assumption of need for institutional accountability. We now have iconic events—epic stories that anchor the need for and possibility of greater transparency in the public consciousness and imagination. Enron and the mortgage crisis, among a number of other scandals, anchor the need, and WikiLeaks anchors the inevitability.
    There is the ever-more-rapid ability of one group of stakeholders to mobilize quickly to influence another. This allows stakeholders without direct resource control over an organization to affect those with resource control. It is not that this was impossible before, but it took much longer and required more central control. There are any number of stories NPQ has been tracking that describe this kind of spontaneous stakeholder alliance-building online. The unbelievable and wildly diverse power bloc that sprang up overnight to oppose Susan B. Komen for the Cure’s defunding of Planned Parenthood is one example—Komen’s losses have been enormous, rolling out in a series of broken relationships and cash losses.
    There is much less reliance on cradle-to-grave relationships between people and institutions (no longer the standard). And more free agency and greater reach of communications technology require stronger and more consistently engaging attractors. Maybe a core image here is that of the contracted and relatively unprotected worker—the worker with multiple short-term jobs, or the employee who commutes remotely. Socially concerned people are replicating these shorter term, more tenuous relationships—taking their energy to a Habitat for Humanity construction project one month, a race against hunger the next, and participating in a campaign against constrictive web legislation in between. If you want to compete for people’s attention and money and names, you had better be giving them something that they can get very interested in and over which they can feel a sense of accomplishment and partial ownership. They do not always need to do the work themselves, but they do need to feel engaged at a spirit level.
    Social media makes every “local” organization national and even international in certain ways. A small local organization that tries something new can get noticed as a model: its strategies can be replicated and its mistakes avoided. The Internet also expedites realization and expressions of common cause across vast geographic and cultural boundaries. Small local work can build to big work in this way. Swarming may occur, as it did in the anti-landmine campaign. And the friction that occurs at the boundaries sparks odd new thinking—always good for innovation.
    The Internet is perhaps the influential operating system of the era—acting as a model to grow and develop a field on the margins and incremental embroidery on a basic protocol that is near-universally accessible.

But again, the consolidation of power and capital is extreme, even in this sector, as is the urge to stake out spaces where capital can be secreted. We are in the midst of an election that is characterized by the consolidation and secretion of election capital, and we are witnessing the truly phenomenal growth of charitable gift funds. The latter recently prompted Agnes Gund, president emerita of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, to comment, “We need to better comprehend this environment and learn how to participate in it. The arts are slow at developing donors online, where much fundraising now happens. We have been slow to attract the new money—the hedge fund and social-media crowds, the new inheritors of wealth. We need these people in the arts, but we are not getting their attention. Large amounts of money are going into donor-advised funds; we scarcely know how to reach those funds. We are late adapters of social media, of the interactive ways of dealing that are now common among the young.

“As fundraisers, we are not good at collaborating; we argue for one symphony or one dance company or one museum at a time—without appealing for the arts as a whole, significant sector in American life. And as institutions we haven’t learned to combine tasks, to find common ways of solving problems, to enlist new thinkers in our business.

“We are trying to do business as usual, when—in fact—the usual is gone. There is a new usual. We need to make it work for the arts. Without the arts, we would be people without inspiration, without ideas, without ideals. That’s why successful fundraising for the arts in the new economy is essential.”4

What Does This Mean for Organizations?
Is Management Dead?

If we cannot predict our variables in the near future, is all hope of effective management dead? Clearly not, but the style of managing must be so much more fluid, and the actors so much more diverse—and actively thinking and gathering information wherever they sit in and around the organization. The organization must be listening to these actors and processing information in a way that looks for patterns of the emerging order that will need to be addressed. And only then should they feed the scenario back out, so that the actors can help with the next steps of the design.

Thus, participants in and around the cause get the running code—which is likely nothing more than the purpose and vision and principles of the organization (or cause) as it is placed against the challenges of its environment, and rough consensus is reached and experimentation and innovation at the margins is encouraged to flourish.

The course is rough, not smooth. It cannot be sized up with a tape measure (though perhaps measured, at times, with a Geiger counter) as we fall while trying to scale new challenges on a new terrain with a new partner. But there is something exhilarating about it all. Benoît Mandelbrot said that “roughness” is a part of human life, and that there are many different kinds of mess but there is always order in that roughness to be found. And it is all very complicated and simple at the same time.

So here are some more questions:

Do we believe that a swarm of small things can bring down a big thing with any sort of regularity? Do we believe that it can be done “the right way,” without being tightly and centrally controlled? Can we change our orientation from top-down to bottom-up? Can we shift our evaluation and planning practices to ones wherein active communities help define the outcomes that they want and provide data on the results?

And is organizational defensiveness an enemy of the state we want to be in? If our future is based on open networked systems that communicate toward greater effectiveness, are we managing and developing our work toward that end?

External Influences on Nonprofit Management:  a Wide-Angle View, August 15, 2014, Nonprofit Quarterly, by Ruth McCambridge

Following historic flooding in Detroit, Michigan, the Jewish community is mobilizing to provide much-needed support. The Jewish Federations of North America opened a mailbox and online donation fund to ensure that those in need receive emergency aid. Those interested in donating online can do so here. Continuing reading about the flood and assistance provided by Jewish Family Service of Metropolitian Detroit here.

Jewish Federations Mobilize to Support Detroit Community Following Historic Flooding, August 26, 2014, JFNA

Why impoverished seniors struggle so hard to find affordable houseing in Naples

Ann is 68, comes from a wealthy Chicago family and lives in Naples. On paper, she sounds like any number of affluent retirees who journey from the Midwest and Northeast to spend their golden years in the Southwest Florida sun. By their 60s, most people in Naples are retired, comfortable, if not wealthy. But not everyone.

Continue reading here to learn how Jewish Family & Community Services of Southwest Florida, which runs the only senior center open to everyone in Collier County steps in.

Take the Wheel is a service offered by Samost Jewish Family & Children's Service of Southern New Jersey's Veterans Support Program. Take the Wheel offers transportation to veterans, from fellow veterans and local volunteers. Transportation provided helps veterans in need get to their doctor appointments, treatments, and more . . .

Veterans in need must complete and intake interview and assessment by a JFCS clinician, prove their past military service and require transportation to an area VA facility, or wellness-related appointment. Volunteer drives must have a valid drivers license and registration, a clean driving record, and be willing to complete the application process.

PALS (Passport Around Louisville Service) is an easy-to-use, affordable program made possible through Jewish Family & Career Services of Louisville that helps senior adults maintain their independence by providing transportation services to activities such as:

*    Grocery Shopping
*    Medical Appointments
*    Personal Appointments
*    Volunteer Activities
*    And Many More!

PALS operates Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost:  $8 one-way; $15 round trips*
All PALS fees cover rides within a 25-mile radius. For every 10 miles over 25, there is a $5 surcharge.
*Additional charge for escorted services.
Contact Naomi Malka PALS Program Coordinator, at (502) 452-6341 ext. 249 for more information.

AJFCA Older Adult Services Professionals are invited to share their experiences, ideas and issues regarding the planning and delivery of Geriatric Care Management services during this one-hour group discussion that will focus on outcome measurements and evaluation tools. All Older Adult Services Professionals from AJFCA member agencies are welcome to join the discussion, regardless of prior engagement. There is a participant limit on this call, so make sure to sign up early.

Geriatric Care Management Discussion Call
Thursday, September 18th, 2pm ET - REGISTER HERE

As described in the book Governance as Leadership: Reframing the Work of Nonprofit Boards, to govern comprehensively, boards work in three modes: fiduciary, strategic, and generative. To use a metaphor in which an organization is a boat, boards can make two distinct types of contributions: steering and rowing.

When steering, the board collectively:

    Sets the direction of the organization;
    Determines which values and logic will guide it; and
    Ensures the organization’s resources are used prudently to advance its work.

When rowing, board members individually or collectively expand the organization’s resources by, among other things:

    Offering pro bono professional services or expertise to management;
     Volunteering as front-line service providers;
    Advocating for or championing the organization and its mission in the community; and
    Helping to raise funds to sustain the organization’s work.

It can be useful to distinguish steering and rowing by using a substitution test. Rowing work is substitutable. The board does not need to contribute to the organization’s resources, financial or otherwise, as long as it is satisfied they are adequate. For example, a foundation whose board does no fundraising because of its large endowment is not necessarily ungoverned. Given the assets of the organization, the board is simply not called on to do such work.

In contrast, steering work is not substitutable. An organization whose board is not steering may be led by its executives, and may be influenced by other stakeholders, but it is not legitimately governed unless its board deliberates and makes intentional choices regarding the organization’s values, strategies, and performance. (When it comes to oversight of management, boards are non-substitutable not just on legitimacy grounds but also as a matter of practicality: by definition, management cannot oversee itself.)

It is also useful to consider individual versus collective contributions. A single board member or several board members working in an individual capacity can be effective as rowers. In raising funds, doing outreach or working as front-line volunteers, the choice to work alone or in groups can simply be a matter of efficiency, convenience, or preference. But governing is a collective act. Not only do most legal regimes require the boards of nonprofit organizations to include at least several members, but the logic of strategic and generative governing, as proposed in Governance as Leadership, insists on it. It takes a group to test, challenge, and debate the assumptions and subjective preferences that are at the core of this governing work.

Organizations will vary as to how much of which work—rowing or steering—their boards routinely do. The framework below depicts four organizational profiles. The board’s steering contributions run from low to high (left to right) on the horizontal axis. Its rowing contributions run from low to high (bottom to top) on the vertical axis.

To take an example: An organization whose board does a great deal of fundraising and outreach on its behalf, but is relatively uninvolved in setting strategy or monitoring performance, would be in the “Helping” quadrant (high on the vertical board axis and left on the horizontal governing axis).

Note that the “High Performing” quadrant—in which a board is governing while also generating resources—is not the only optimal spot for an organization. Depending on an organization’s circumstances, the “Guiding” quadrant might be appropriate. For example, a professionalized organization with reliable revenue sources, an ample endowment, and a high profile may need no board assistance in these areas, and could therefore be justifiably low on the rowing axis. But it would still need governing. In the “Guiding” quadrant, the board does little rowing but is still steering.

From a governing perspective, the “Lagging” and “Helping” quadrants are suboptimal because, in both cases, the board is doing little steering. The “Helping” quadrant can be especially problematic. It is easy for boards in this quadrant to mistake their productivity as rowers—raising funds, doing outreach, or lending expertise to management—for effectiveness as steerers.

Distinguishing a Board’s Steering and Rowing Work, January 20, 2012, Nonprofit Quarterly, by William Ryan

Many economists say the U.S. economic recovery will stay in the slow lane until American companies finally step up capital spending on things like equipment and technology.

But corporate America is definitely opening up its wallet for one purpose: Spending on training and leadership development by U.S. companies grew by 15 percent in 2013, to more than $70-billion, according to a recent study. That followed two years of growth, at 10 percent or higher, in such spending in 2011 and 2012.

While business is investing in its people with renewed vigor, the nonprofit world continues to lag in making such investments. The Foundation Center recently reported that foundation support for leadership development was less than 1 percent of overall giving from 1992 to 2011. That’s not nearly enough.

We all know that programs and strategies don’t solve problems; people do. So why aren’t more foundations making leadership development an integral part of their grant-making strategies?

If we agree that strong leadership is crucial to the success of the nonprofits we support, what is keeping us from maximizing the impact of our funding by investing more in the skills and capabilities of people who lead organizations, including staff and board members?

At the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, our trustees strongly support leadership development, based on their experience in both the corporate and philanthropic worlds and their intuitive understanding of the importance of investing in people.

We dedicate 10 to 12 percent of our annual grant making to strengthening leadership. Since 2005, the Haas Leadership Initiative has made mote than $18-million in multiyear grants to more than 100 nonprofits working in the fund’s priority areas of immigrant rights, education equity, and gay and lesbian rights.

We have seen time and again in our work how these investments have contributed to grantee impact and success.

Consider the case of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Over five years, the center received $834,500 in support from the Haas, Jr. Fund, including $235,000 dedicated to strengthening the organization’s leadership.

The flexible, multiyear funding amounted to about $50,000 annually, which the center used for consulting, coaching, training, and other activities to build and strengthen its leadership.

Among the important results of this work is that the center, which previously relied on two overstretched leaders to run everything, was able to build a strong and collaborative senior staff team of five people

Relieved of many of the internal management responsibilities that had occupied so much of their time in years past, the organization’s executive director, Kate Kendell, and its legal director, Shannon Minter, have become even more powerful forces in the movement for marriage equality for same-sex couples. And the center is widely recognized as a critical player in the movement’s recent wins.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is not an isolated case. An independent, five-year evaluation of the Haas, Jr. Fund’s early leadership investments showed that our support helped leaders get better results for their organizations and movements. The evaluation also showed that many of our leadership grantees were able to complete successful executive transitions and that they experienced impressive budget growth despite the economic recession.

Of course, we are not alone in supporting nonprofit leadership. Many other foundations around the country have made investing in leadership a top priority.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation, for example, works to develop current and emerging leaders in government agencies and nonprofit organizations serving children and families around the country. The reason: Casey knows that its goal of improving conditions for kids requires building the skills of people to work together to untangle complex problems.

The Blue Shield of California Foundation is building a stronger network of organizations that serve domestic-violence survivors by investing in individual and organizational leadership through its Strong Field Project. And the Durfee Foundation, based in the Los Angeles area, has created a multifaceted sabbatical program that strengthens the leadership of boards and senior teams while giving executives a chance to recharge and renew their commitment to their work.

These foundations are investing in leadership to advance their broader ambitions, and they are committing substantial grant-making resources to this work. While each foundation’s leadership-development approach is distinctive, they all share attributes that our experience suggests are important.

Chief among these is that leadership support is multiyear and is tailored to each organization’s priorities and needs; in other words, this is not about a foundation coming in and telling grantees what to do.

Nor is it simply about sending executive directors to one-time training sessions. Rather, it is about helping organizations identify and secure the leadership support they need at all levels so they can reach their broader goals.

I am not one who believes nonprofits and foundations should indiscriminately follow the strategic expertise of business. However, when the issue is leadership and talent, it’s worth taking a cue from the corporate world.

Unless we can figure out what is behind the nonprofit world’s chronic underinvestment in leadership and turn things around, we will continue to overlook one of the most important ingredients of positive social change. Investing in leadership doesn’t just deliver higher performance; it can also deliver a better, more equitable world.

Nonprofit Leadership Development Is a Vital Ingredient for Social Change, July 13, 2014, Chronicle of Philanthropy, by Ira Hirschfield

While it may be the dog days of August,  GivingTuesday 2014 kicks off on December 4th. After spending a year facilitating a peer learning community of  Knight Foundation grantees hosting giving days, one of the most factors for success  for local no nonprofits participating is having about 6-9 months timeframe to develop a plan. NetworkforGood to the rescue! They’ve just published this terrific, free e-book with lots of tips and planning templates to help your organization decide whether to participate.

The e-book is written by Jamie McDonald, the Chief Giving Officer of Network for Good and the Founder of GiveCorps. Jamie is an expert in online engagement and giving, inspiring Millennial donors, and the force behind BMore Gives More, the movement to raise $5.7 million in a day on #GivingTuesday 2013. If you don’t follow her on Twitter, you should! The e-book offers an overview of the benefits of participating in GivingDays like #GivingTuesday, followed by a whole lot of wisdom and best practices.

I love the metaphor of a successful GivingDay campaign to a party:

    Timing is key
    A unifying theme creates excitement and engagement
    There are some key people you want in attendance to make the party great
    It’s got to be fun – games and activities can make a big difference
    The execution details matter: flow, food, decorations, music
    Party favors (rewards) can be an unexpected delight
    Sharing memories – stories, pictures – after the party keeps the good feeling going, and makes everyone want to attend next year

If your nonprofit is not familiar with the Giving Days format or a little bit skeptical about the potential benefits, the guide includes a great primer in a compact visual format and good discussion starter for your team. The planning steps begin with the question of timing. There are a number of GivingDays in local communities as well as #GivingTuesday – so the first question to ask “Is the timing right?”

All good nonprofit strategists know that you have to begin with setting measurable goals. The guide offers a few examples, and a reminder that  you don’t have to use them all:

    Dollars to be raised
    Number of donors
    Number of new donors
    Number of volunteers (if you are including an activity)
    Increase in engagement of key groups
    % Participation among key groups – like staff

The guide offers up 11 strategies for your GivingDay Campaign.   Here they are with some added insights from me.

1.  Set a big goal. I’d suggest making it realistic, so think “stretch” not pie in the sky.
2.  Convene A Passionate Team:   This is so important to have both internal (staff/board) and external champions helping you spread the word.   If you are the person tasked with supporting this team, remember you have to model enthusiasm and make it contagious.   Making it easy for your champions to do the work is also important and you’ll find lots of templates and examples that you can remix on the Knight Foundation’s Giving Day Playbook and toolkits on the GivingTuesday site.
3.  Create A Branded Campaign: The guide suggests developing a theme and a visual that is used consistently in all of your Giving Day outreach, plus making use of any assets that are provided by the Giving Day host.   You’ll find lots of creative examples of how organizations have incorporated their branding with Giving Day slogans, taglines, and logos.
4.  Use a Hub and Spoke Model: This advice will help you manage the many champions who will help you, especially if you centralized your toolkits.
5.  Build A Communication Plan for Champions: It is important, especially in an age of media clutter, to encourage your champions to share your messages about the Giving Day.  Having a way to communicate with them regularly is essential, both leading up to the Giving Day and especially during the day itself. Facebook Groups are great for this!
6. Take Advantage of Creative Generosity: This is good community management practice.  Let your champions and supporters roll with adapting and remixing your content or jumping onto fun memes.   Make sure you acknowledge and thank them!    The idea is to escalate engagement.
7.  Get Business Business Support: This is something that a Giving Day host may do as part of the overall marketing and sponsorship of the event
8.  Create Once, Publish Everywhere: This tip is a nod to the need to use multiple channels – email, web site, offline, mobile and social.   The content you create doesn’t have to be from scratch for every channel, you are simply tweaking or optimizing it for the channel.    The skill of writing good headlines is an important one to develop!
9.  Gamify:  The best tip for nonprofits is to identify a donor who might issue a challenge match for your organization.  This can really boost your efforts.
10. Saying Thank You: Find creative ways to say thank you to your donors beyond the generic thank you email from the platform.   Social Media is great for this sort of thing,especially if you can say thank you shortly after they make the gift.   It is also important to say thanks after the event as part of a wrap and lots of folks use videos.
11.  Build A Parking Lot of Ideas:   You will probably get lots of great ideas and see lots of great examples of content generated by your champions and donors.  You want to make sure to capture those.   Of course, you will also have some tactics that didn’t quite work out, the best thing is to keep calm and document as the day unfolds and do a debriefing with staff to generate areas for improvement the following year.

Is your nonprofit planning to participate in a Giving Day?   What’s your best planning tip?

NetworkforGood Giving Day Planning Guide, August 7, 2014, Beth's Blog, by Beth Kanter

Common measures of achievement in the fundraising arena are total amounts raised in an annual and/or capital campaign. Even endowment success is often assessed by new money taken in yearly notwithstanding that the development officer at the time the gift is realized may have had nothing to do with securing it, e.g. the bequest. This article proposes a different measure of success or really a combination of them that when adopted will result in substantive development strategic planning. These metrics combine the donor lifecycle map and cultivation tools, which some refer to as “moves”[1] and the process moves management. The measures are twofold: 1) actions (moves) taken by the development officer and 2) progress of the donor along the lifecycle map. Gift size or results become a secondary measure.

The purpose of this map is to suggest that philanthropy officers develop their strategic plans with the goal not only of retaining donors but also moving them to the next segment as opposed to thinking in terms of transactional fundraising related to annual and capital campaigns. The concept of applying cultivation tools is to specify which could be most effectively employed at each sector of the lifecycle map in order to move the donor along.

Thus, for example, asking a first gift donor to serve on a board, no matter how large that initial contribution, would be an inappropriate use of the cultivation tool – invitation to a board – in that the individual had demonstrated no ongoing commitment to the organization; that cultivation tool is better used for multi-year active donors who have contributed regularly and thereby expressed longer- term support for the organization. If the latter had the wherewithal to move to a stretch gift, based on ability to increase a contribution, or to become a major donor, however defined by the respective organization, all the better. In another example, in order to move a second year donor to second year active, the individual might be invited to participate in a telethon, chair or host an event or take part in an on-site visit. All of these tools would result in a supporter becoming increasingly knowledgeable about and therefore hopefully more committed financially to the organization.

Using this model an array of cultivation tools was identified, both personal and impersonal, that were then matched to the various stages of the donor lifecycle map with the goal of using them efficiently and effectively in order to move the donor forward. The primary tool for moving people along, no matter what the sector, was the one on one conversation – whether face to face or by telephone – in order to develop a personal connection to the individual.

Finally, the model was built to encourage the development officer and entire department to focus on all donors – not just those at the very top of what is called the donor pyramid – and to measure movement along the lifecycle as an indicator of success.

Examples of Personal Cultivation Tools

    Schedule face to face or personal meetings
    Thank the donor in a personal and timely fashion
    Use the telephone
    Involve on a committee, board or task force
    Conduct site visits
    Invite to a special function such as a sporting event or lecture
    Organize private events and special opportunities, e.g. parties, leadership or solicitation training, giving circles, etc.
    Include in a feasibility study
    Recognize major celebrations and events in the lives of individuals
    Ask for gifts in a strategic and timely fashion

Interestingly, Anne T. Melvin, Director of Training and Education at Harvard University, who introduced the concept of “Metrics That Motivate”,[3] claims that the best measures for determining success on the part of development officers are those actions that are implemented in relation to a donor. The metrics for success that she identifies are not financial results but rather steps undertaken that would likely lead to identifying a prospect and/or a next gift. Melvin’s actions that are the most highly valued are very similar to those that are identified as personal cultivation tools in the donor lifecycle map paradigm. Combining elements from both models – Melvin’s and the donor lifecycle map and corresponding cultivation tools – suggests new metrics for measuring development success.

Melvin’s concept is built on “aligning (development) officers’ metrics with the nonprofit’s goals,” “incentivizing moves in an officer’s control, rather than things an officer cannot control,” and “using carrots, not sticks.” The goal of the development office, Melvin claims, is to identify, cultivate and solicit prospects, find bequests, steward bequest donors and establish a bequest society – none of which is measurable in financial terms. The “METRIC”, claims Melvin, “is what the Officer does to accomplish the Office GOAL” – finding prospects, cultivating top prospects and establishing a bequest society. What the officer does to meet those goals is in 80% of visits – seeking prospects and making significant moves with top prospects; the number of moves is the metric. She differentiates between those measures which are in an officer’s control, for example, asking for bequests, securing bequests, reviewing prospect lists four times a year with a supervisor for bequest prospects,” and actually obtaining a contribution.

Melvin identifies what an officer does – actions which could also be referred to as using specific cultivation tools – and those that the officer cannot control, i.e. the decision making and gift size determined by the donor. In other words, if the officer visits the prospect, sends the latter information, encourages him or her to attend an event, visits a second time, obtains the donor’s agreement to host an event, join a committee, meet with a volunteer, and make a site visit while also soliciting the donor, sending him or her a proposal and getting a gift – these are all cultivation tools that will, if used well, result in some kind of contribution. All of these, Melvin claims, is part of the gift planning process and are considered “significant moves.” The latter, in my opinion, look very much like the donor lifecycle map with cultivation tools assigned to each sector in terms of what should occur to move the donor from the previous stage to the new one.

While the model of using cultivation tools appears very similar to that of Melvin’s, the strategic planning component involves using impersonal cultivation tools, too, e.g. sending a newsletter or brochure, which Melvin refers to as “marketing touches.” No matter how they are described, these also are included in the strategic planning process needed to move a donor toward making a gift and remaining on the donor lifecycle map.

Both of these models – “Metrics that Motivate” and the donor lifecycle map along with the strategic use of cultivation tools – can be combined to create a powerful measure of success for development officers. The following is a model that I designed for one of my clients using a combination of the two concepts and applied to current donors – not prospects.

Model Metrics of Success

    Completion of a strategic plan for all assigned donors.
    Implementation of the plan giving the most weight to applying personal cultivation tools.
    Maintaining 75% of donors on the lifecycle map. (This takes into consideration that some people will drop out for sundry reasons but also that the people who do not continue along the map are contacted and a substantive effort is made to determine what the explanation for the lapse may be and to reconnect them to the organization.)
    Moving donors from one sector to the next:

    65% of first year donors to second year as long as the first gift is an outright one – not in memory or in honor of someone.
    25% of second year donors to second year active understanding that most people do not want to become more involved than just making a gift.
    65% of second year to multi-year active and 100% of second year active to multi-year active.
    50% of multi-year active to major/stretch/ultimate gift.

    Increasing the size of the gift – 10% at all levels.
    Meeting with the supervisor regularly – at least once a month to review plans and implementation.

This model focuses on maintaining donors and assumes that if the cultivation tools are applied well then the gift will also increase. Since this is the first year of using this schematic for measuring, we recognize that we shall have to tweak it as we become accustomed to it.

These measures are built on three important concepts. The first is maintaining the donor – an issue of concern for development offices.[4] The second is the creation of a cogent strategic plan and the third is that progress will most likely be made because the development officer will have to describe both the plan and its implementation at regular supervisory meetings. This latter piece is extraordinarily important for keeping staff on board as opposed to the constant movement in and out of organizations[5] sometimes due to the lack of internal support and managerial input. Without the supervisory piece, a development officer might spend a “year thinking that they’ve done a great job, but actually they haven’t.”[6]

How Do You Measure Development Success? August 11, 2014, eJP, by Deborah Kaplan Polivy, Ph.D.

Judaism is constantly evolving, addressing new challenges and needs, and a key aspect of synagogue life is setting a vision for tomorrow. Consistent is our yearning to plant seeds for the next generation, but that pathway to doing so is often unclear.

This yearning pushed us at Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto to prioritize congregational programming that would engage and inspire young Jewish adults. We joined the URJ’s Emerging Young Adult Initiatives Community of Practice (“CoP”) in order to explore best practices for addressing the needs of our young adult cohort and to connect with congregations facing parallel concerns. This initiative brought together seven Reform congregations for an 18-learning month process. We learned from experts in the field of young adult engagement, supported and drew support from the other congregations in the cohort, and launched a pilot to apply our learnings to our congregational needs and landscape. We viewed the CoP as a means to invest in our congregation’s continuing history.

Indeed, ways of engaging young adults in our congregation have evolved as a result of our participation in the CoP process, such as our successful “Next Generation” initiative. Programming has included tikkun olam service opportunities, such as a day of building with Habitat for Humanity; dynamic social gatherings, like Sushi in the Sukkah; and a high-profile networking/professional development series. With the support of H. Lawrence and Beverly Fein and Family, we have been able to send a delegation of young adults to Europe for the Young Adult March of the Living for the past three years, an experience that has inspired us to lead our people with strength. Our participation in the CoP has helped to capitalize on our already successful young adult initiatives, contributing to the development and growth of many of these programs.

A highlight of the CoP process was the formation of our Next Generation Tzedakah Investment Club. The young leaders of our community are mainly new professionals, looking to establish themselves, and their concerns include securing a meaningful job, purchasing a new home, and investing funds for the first time. As a synagogue community, we realized we could address such concerns through a Jewish lens. Further, we felt we could look at the Jewish responsibilities to give back.

As a first step, we identified an established member of the community to mentor our group. Congregant David Beutel, an investor, entrepreneur, and overall mensch, was an ideal fit. Next, we invited young leaders to join us. Participants needed to be members of the congregation between the ages of 22-39, and everyone was asked to contribute $72 to the tzedakah fund. Fourteen people joined the group that quickly took on the form of a chavurah. We met every other month, each time focusing on a unique topic. Experts were brought in to share their investment knowledge, teaching the group the basics of investment, stocks and bonds, real estate, and ethical investing. As a group, we decided where to invest our funds and how to direct the proceeds.

The project was a great success, as evidenced by testimonials from its participants:

    “During school, we were active in NFTY and Hillel’s social action programming, but upon leaving school we didn’t feel as though we were ready to completely immerse ourselves in the adult Jewish community. This club has allowed us to connect with others our age in a meaningful way and become part of a Jewish community that reflects our stage in life.” – Karen Lidor and Ariel Feldman

    “Being able to learn about investment and financial planning from a Jewish framework was really interesting, and it was exciting to be able to invest in the future of Temple Sinai and the Jewish community as a whole, knowing that the seeds we plant today will grow and sustain future projects at Temple Sinai. I have learned valuable lessons about tzedakah and the different ways to give and their meanings.” – Jaime Reich

    “Being part of the Temple Sinai Next Gen Tzedakah Investment Club has been a great way for me to meet members of the Temple Sinai young professional community, interact with some brilliant experts, learn about investments, do tzedakah, and be a part of some interesting, thought-provoking discussions. I’m proud that we were able to set up a Temple Sinai fund to help provide great experiences at Temple Sinai for current and future Next Gen’ers.” – Ben Greisman

We look forward to growing the Next Generation Tzedakah Investment Club with the hope of engaging young Temple Sinai members, while simultaneously sustaining young adult programming for years to come. In doing so, we heed the interpretive words of Torah shared by Warren Buffett, who aptly stated, “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

The URJ’s Emerging Young Adult Initiatives Community of Practice, August 12, 2014, eJP, by Rabbi Daniel Mikelberg and Adam Freedman

Judaism is constantly evolving, addressing new challenges and needs, and a key aspect of synagogue life is setting a vision for tomorrow. Consistent is our yearning to plant seeds for the next generation, but that pathway to doing so is often unclear.

This yearning pushed us at Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto to prioritize congregational programming that would engage and inspire young Jewish adults. We joined the URJ’s Emerging Young Adult Initiatives Community of Practice (“CoP”) in order to explore best practices for addressing the needs of our young adult cohort and to connect with congregations facing parallel concerns. This initiative brought together seven Reform congregations for an 18-learning month process. We learned from experts in the field of young adult engagement, supported and drew support from the other congregations in the cohort, and launched a pilot to apply our learnings to our congregational needs and landscape. We viewed the CoP as a means to invest in our congregation’s continuing history.

Indeed, ways of engaging young adults in our congregation have evolved as a result of our participation in the CoP process, such as our successful “Next Generation” initiative. Programming has included tikkun olam service opportunities, such as a day of building with Habitat for Humanity; dynamic social gatherings, like Sushi in the Sukkah; and a high-profile networking/professional development series. With the support of H. Lawrence and Beverly Fein and Family, we have been able to send a delegation of young adults to Europe for the Young Adult March of the Living for the past three years, an experience that has inspired us to lead our people with strength. Our participation in the CoP has helped to capitalize on our already successful young adult initiatives, contributing to the development and growth of many of these programs.

A highlight of the CoP process was the formation of our Next Generation Tzedakah Investment Club. The young leaders of our community are mainly new professionals, looking to establish themselves, and their concerns include securing a meaningful job, purchasing a new home, and investing funds for the first time. As a synagogue community, we realized we could address such concerns through a Jewish lens. Further, we felt we could look at the Jewish responsibilities to give back.

As a first step, we identified an established member of the community to mentor our group. Congregant David Beutel, an investor, entrepreneur, and overall mensch, was an ideal fit. Next, we invited young leaders to join us. Participants needed to be members of the congregation between the ages of 22-39, and everyone was asked to contribute $72 to the tzedakah fund. Fourteen people joined the group that quickly took on the form of a chavurah. We met every other month, each time focusing on a unique topic. Experts were brought in to share their investment knowledge, teaching the group the basics of investment, stocks and bonds, real estate, and ethical investing. As a group, we decided where to invest our funds and how to direct the proceeds.

The project was a great success, as evidenced by testimonials from its participants:

    “During school, we were active in NFTY and Hillel’s social action programming, but upon leaving school we didn’t feel as though we were ready to completely immerse ourselves in the adult Jewish community. This club has allowed us to connect with others our age in a meaningful way and become part of a Jewish community that reflects our stage in life.” – Karen Lidor and Ariel Feldman

    “Being able to learn about investment and financial planning from a Jewish framework was really interesting, and it was exciting to be able to invest in the future of Temple Sinai and the Jewish community as a whole, knowing that the seeds we plant today will grow and sustain future projects at Temple Sinai. I have learned valuable lessons about tzedakah and the different ways to give and their meanings.” – Jaime Reich

    “Being part of the Temple Sinai Next Gen Tzedakah Investment Club has been a great way for me to meet members of the Temple Sinai young professional community, interact with some brilliant experts, learn about investments, do tzedakah, and be a part of some interesting, thought-provoking discussions. I’m proud that we were able to set up a Temple Sinai fund to help provide great experiences at Temple Sinai for current and future Next Gen’ers.” – Ben Greisman

We look forward to growing the Next Generation Tzedakah Investment Club with the hope of engaging young Temple Sinai members, while simultaneously sustaining young adult programming for years to come. In doing so, we heed the interpretive words of Torah shared by Warren Buffett, who aptly stated, “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

The URJ’s Emerging Young Adult Initiatives Community of Practice, August 12, 2014, eJP, by Rabbi Daniel Mikelberg and Adam Freedman

Nearly half of nonprofit human-resource executives say their influence has grown in the past year, while 21 percent report increases in their department's size, according to a new survey.

They say the change is largely the result of new leadership or senior management better understanding the role of human resources in achieving organizational success.

Forty-six percent say their status is the same, and 4 percent say their influence has decreased. As an example of what has changed for the worse, some executives say they no longer report to the chief executive or chief operating officer as they did in the past.

The study, published by the Nonprofit HR, a consulting company, was based on data collected in April from senior human-resource executives at 260 nonprofits with a total of 84,886 employees.

Just a little more than a third of the groups said they had a written human-resource strategy—plans identifying current and future need; the largest employers the most likely to have such a document in place. It is that figure that most surprised Lisa Brown Morton, chief executive at Nonprofit HR.

"If HR is going to make a valuable contribution, there should be a plan, and that plan should be aligned with the organization’s strategic plan," Ms. Morton says.
21% Increase Staff Size

Among the other findings:

    At small nonprofits (those with 250 or fewer workers), one human-resource staff member serves every 39 workers, while at medium-size groups (251 to 999 workers) that ratio is 66 to one, and at large nonprofits (those with 1,000 or more workers), the ratio is 107 to one.
    Three-quarters of executives say the number of people in their human-resource department did not change in the past year, while 21 percent were able to hire additional employees.
    At nearly two-thirds of the nonprofits, senior human-resource leaders report to the chief executive, while nearly a third report to the chief financial officer, chief operating officer, or top-level directors.

Human-Resource Departments Gain Power at Half of Nonprofits, August 15, 2014, Chronicle of Philanthropy, by Megan O’Neil

With August recess in Congress underway, JFNA has provided an update of recently passed domestic and Israel-related legislation, as well as summer recess action items. Please click here to view the update and ask Shelley Rood if you have any questions. As always, please tell us about your conversations and meetings with your elected officials and let us know how we may be of assistance. With the mid-term elections this November, this is a great opportunity to let your leaders know what matters most to you!

For more than a decade now the Village model has developed into a respected means for supporting individuals who want to age in place. Jewish Family Service of Delaware has made this model central to the provision of older adult services with the Brandywine Village Network, located in north Wilmington.

The Brandywine Village Network offers a yearly fee-based membership to adults 50 and older for coordinated services in their community including care management, volunteer services like transportation and housework, social and wellness programming and access to a select provider directory, including many providers that offer discounts to village members.

JFS of Delaware is working to expand the Brandywine Village Network using a hub and spoke model and aims to make the program self-sustaining.  To learn more about the Brandywine Village Network, visit the website or contact the Director, Maggie Ratnayake.

Older adult services are an ever growing focus of Jewish social service agencies. AJFCA's goal is to highlight exemplary programs across the U.S. and Canada to acknowledge agency expertise and share successful models with our network. Share your programming triumphs with Liz today! 


The needs of the Chicago area's Jewish community are changing rapidly - where we live, how we live and how we connect- becoming more dispersed, active and mobile than ever before.  As those shifts occur, Jewish Child & Family Services of Chicago is changing, too, taking on the challenge of expanding their connections to people in the communities where they live, work, worship and learn, and looking for new ways to serve the Jewish community.

In July, JCFS received a huge boost to its efforts to expand its reach beyond brick-and-mortar service centers: The organization was awarded two FY 2015 Breakthrough Grants by the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. The grants, totaling $518,436 over three years, will allow JCFS to introduce innovative social support, substance abuse prevention education and addiction services to a wider, diversified audience. Read more here.

What skills are now necessary for nonprofit professionals navigating the new Wild West of virtual communications?

In a recent survey of 266 nonprofit organizations conducted by association management company Virtual, Inc., 82% of respondents reported having a presence on Facebook. 54% were on Twitter, with LinkedIn and YouTube also popular, at 49% and 42% respectively. And M+R and the Nonprofit Technology Network’s 2014 Nonprofit Benchmarks Study of 53 top nonprofits revealed that online giving rose 14% in 2013, making it the best year ever for social media messaging.

With results like those, it’s no wonder that communications and development departments are investing more and more in internet-savvy staff members. But amid a constantly shifting online landscape of increasingly popular sites like Instagram and Pinterest – and surprisingly stagnant endeavors like Google+ – along with a constant barrage of online noise surrounding the people that organizations hope to reach with their messaging, how do employers define social media know-how when hiring staff? What skills are now necessary for nonprofit professionals navigating the new Wild West of virtual communications?

Rule One: Find Staff Who Know Where Your Audience Lives

Not all communication outlets are created equal, says Nicole Sheahan, national Vice President for Development at the DC-based Colon Cancer Alliance. “We’re not seeing a huge rate in opt-outs of emails,” she notes. “But we are finding that people are much more engaged online. Email has become work – not what you do for fun. You’re staying up to date with your real life via social media. And people are starting to do that with the charities they support as well.”

For Brian Perillo, Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations at New York University, that means a focus on two main social media avenues – Facebook and LinkedIn. “We have over two hundred thousand alumni on Facebook,” he says. “Over one hundred forty thousand on LinkedIn. Our LinkedIn group is the second largest higher education group on LinkedIn – we’re very proud of that and we’ll continue to put resources into it.”

LinkedIn and Facebook are also the main platforms used by Amy Siperstein, Executive Director of the Central New Jersey Division of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, and her team. Her organization uses widgets on these sites, along with apps on smart phones and iPads to both take direct donations and disseminate important public health campaigns in a way that will connect with online constituents. The most recent app they’ve rolled out has been tied into a larger stroke awareness campaign. “There’s a button on the app that will connect you with 911 if you feel you’re exhibiting the signs and symptoms of a stroke,” says Siperstein. “A lot of people drive themselves to the ER, which is the wrong thing to do. Lives are saved in those extra minutes you can be treated in the ambulance.” Now that the app has been released, Siperstein, her staff, and her counterparts at other chapters are working to get people to download and use it.

Siperstein also sings the praises of Twitter for those who have an aptitude for it-and that doesn’t just mean staff members. “At March of Dimes, I worked with a board chair who really utilized Twitter,” she says. “He had amazing reach. People were following him from all over the country. He used Twitter to solicit donations for his fundraising team, to spread the word on Prematurity Awareness Day and other initiatives. How he worked with it was a great example of how it can have impact.”

Rule Two: Look for Results

Perillo, who supervises a Director of Communications charged with her own team of five content-producing staff members, keeps an eye on key figures in helping steer strategy for social media. “We’re measuring how many people are interested in what we’re doing – liking, favoriting, following our posts,” he says. “We also look into how people engaging with us on social media behave offline. Are people giving at a higher rate, for example? The alumni giving rate [overall] is around 10%. When we look at people engaged on social media, the rate is about 50%.”

Siperstein agrees that giving is the starting-point for measuring staff success in social media. “The easiest measure and the most recognizable one is through revenue. We know that when people utilize social media, they exceed the average amount of revenue they could otherwise bring in.” But in making hiring decisions, she looks beyond hard numbers. “We want somebody who has a basic understanding of not just the functionality of social media, but also how it can tie into the bigger message. We look for out of the box ideas – is it an incentive? Is it a mission piece? Do they really understand that tie in? You can be really great at social media, but if you don’t have that connection of how it can feed into the bigger picture, you’re missing an opportunity.”

The big picture of mission-based messaging is key to the approach of the Colon Cancer Alliance’s communications team as well, says Sheahan. “It’s less about having a direct ask and more about using social media to tell the story and sell the impact of our mission. It’s a great way to showcase donors and the unique ways people can get involved with the organization.” Sheahan says that the Colon Cancer Alliance has been especially successful drawing new people in through strategic use of Facebook-ads, planting key words, encouraging shares, posting funny photos and “awards” to highlight signature events, like their Undy Run/Walk.

“One time, we posted an image of two toilet paper rolls side by side, each one turned a different way, asking people which way was right,” Sheahan recalls. “Several hundred people responded. It created a positive interaction, even if people haven’t donated in a while. Those people shared it with others and it built the donor relationship in a non-threatening way.” She points out other key facets to a successful social media strategy-getting messaging out in real time as trends emerge, creatively pushing for new audiences, tying every message to the organization’s homepage as a central hub. “Everything can be tested. We look at metrics and measure our results after trying different messages, as opposed to an approach of, ‘This cracked me up, so everyone else is going to love it.’”

Ultimately, Sheahan says, there’s one sure-fire way to tell whether your staff is having impact in their social media communications. “If you’re boring, people will let you know by simply not engaging with you. That’s the biggest tell of all-nobody cares.”

Rule Three: Beware of “Butterflies” and “Gurus”

“‘Social Media Guru’ is the worst self-given title,” laughs Sheahan. “Some people really do have a passion for social media, but do they have it because they find it an amazing communication tool or because they’re self-absorbed? I wouldn’t want to put a social butterfly in that role. Before hiring, we look at their own pages. All of those red flags stand out.”

“Before I meet with someone, I Google them,” agrees Siperstein. “Facebook is the first thing that pops up, or LinkedIn, or Twitter. You can see how people represent themselves in their personal life.” This is important, not just because it provides a clue to how candidates will communicate on behalf of your organization, she says, but also because of the transparency of the Internet age. “Five years ago, your Facebook friends were actual, personal friends. Now, I have donors, volunteers, staff members connecting to me. It changes how you represent yourself – on the practical side, it puts an emphasis on being able to have a virtual relationship with your donors, to be in tune with that and adjust in order to be able to connect with them distinctly and appropriately.”

Sheahan also cites the importance of looking at track records. “Years ago, I remember interviewing people, and if someone said, ‘I have a Facebook account,’ that was good enough. You were seen as an expert. You’d never have asked, ‘What have you accomplished on social media?’ because nobody was doing it well, or getting any buy-in from CEOs. Now, with social media, candidates have to come into an interview prepared to answer questions like ‘What’s the one thing you would change in our approach?’ or ‘How do you engage new donors through social media?’ People need to have a portfolio and a track record-show impact in terms of donations and registrations – and be a jack of all trades.”

At NYU, Perillo also values staff members with many tools in their belt. “We’re looking for people who can come up with creative initiatives that span the entirety of the channels available to us,” he says. “We still use print, email, and internal channels like our magazine. So although the communications model has changed, we’re looking for the same skills-people who can come up with creative ways to sell the story.”

Rule Four: The Future Favors the Bold

Sometimes, those broad-based skill sets come from unexpected places, notes Perillo.

“We’re starting to work with current NYU students, who seem to know this space as well as any of us. We’ve launched a program where we’ll bring in student employees to help us produce short videos and other content.” In addition to tapping into in-house talent to stay current, Perillo and his team make sure to stay on top of new online communication channels as they become increasingly influential. “The big thing for us is keeping an eye on where alumni are. As younger generations go, there will be other social media sites they’ll jump into. We’ll develop a strategy to make sure that when there’s a critical mass of people using it, we’ll have a presence there, so that NYU can be a part of their daily online lives.”

“I’d love to have an Instagram,” says Sheahan, “and there’s a lot we can do with Pinterest too – but it’s important not to jump the gun, because every time you add a platform, you have to put more resources into it. I’d rather not have a Pinterest account than have a really mediocre one.” Still, she notes, hiring staff members willing to take small risks can be crucial to social media success. “It’s more important to be a visionary in the social media role than in other roles. It’s uncharted territory, a chance for organizations to try something different and really stand out.”

Siperstein shares Sheahan’s enthusiasm for new websites and online communications channels. “With Instagram and Pinterest, there’s a real opportunity to enhance relationships and add value,” she says. “In the future, we’ll see more and more people sharing their personal stories. Years ago, people didn’t want to talk about having heart disease or having lost an infant. Now there’s a coming of age where the Internet is providing a platform for people to be more open.”

And staff members who understand the value of that openness – that genuine connection to mission – will be the ones to thrive professionally in the years to come.

“Fundraising will be tied into it. That’s probably the direction it will grow in,” she says. “I think it’s a great direction.”

The New Wild West – Staffing Nonprofits in the Age of Social Media, July 31, 2014, eJP, by Jennifer Thorne

In the past few weeks, the Cohen Report has examined the practice of Social Impact Bonds or Pay-for-Success projects. As currently designed and implemented, SIBs are one-offs, linking strong, proven service delivery models associated with well-capitalized nonprofits to private investors, like banks and individual investors, who project that they can make a reasonable return (or sometimes more) by investing in these projects.

The slim handful of SIB/PFS endeavors that currently exist in the U.S. address issues of prison recidivism, supportive housing for the homeless, and early childhood education. Not one of these privately capitalized projects, anticipating government payment if they should reach predetermined outcomes, has yet reached even a first payment point. Still, enthusiasts promote SIBs as an exciting solution for a bevy of social problems and an alternative to what SIB backers see as dysfunctional governmental efforts.

SIBs may be just another public policy fad sweeping the social sector, generating bipartisan excitement accompanied by heavy promotion by a few consulting and investment firms, but buried within the SIB/PFS concept might be nuggets of insight that could be useful in boosting the efficacy of both nonprofit service providers and the government agencies that provide the bulk of their funding.

“How to Make Social Impact Bonds Work—If They Should At All” might be a useful topic for both the true believers who have something of a religious attachment to the concept and for the consultants who imagine themselves earning money as forwell-compensated financial intermediaries between investors and government. The answer is embedded in an understanding of the needs of nonprofits, the capacities of government, and the motivations of private capital.

Supporting truly innovative projects and groups

Why would government be willing to pay Wall Street banks and billionaire investors premiums ranging from 5 to more than 20 percent for funding social programs that have already been proven to work? If a program works and has been proven by experience and evidence, government is better off paying 100 percent to support the program for widespread implementation rather than 120 percent of costs for one-off projects funded by big capital. It is almost financially irresponsible for government to pay more than necessary.

Here’s what government could, in theory, benefit from in the structure of a Social Impact Bond (or Pay for Success financial structure—choose your favorite terminology). While legislative bodies can be lobbied to support programs that have evidence demonstrating that they work, they are hard-pressed to find political support for programs that haven’t been proven, that are experimental, or that test the boundaries of what is known to work.

If there is solid research supporting a truly innovative program, not one that is already guaranteed to reliably produce results, that’s where private capital could play an important role. That’s where the risk and challenge are: private risk capital for projects that need up-front dollars to be tested, hopefully, proven, and if proven, replicated, while government funding should be taking already proven solutions and turning them into widely implemented programs.

Building systems/networks of social progress

The notion of providing funding for private investors behind social problems involves a major conceptual error: that the interventions that reduce prison recidivism, increase employment, or produce supportive housing are neatly attributable to one provider. The reality of these social programs is that they are dependent on functioning systems of providers. For supportive housing for the homeless, for example, what undermines the “supportive” element is the lack of organization and integration of the multiple service providers whose participation is needed as the mechanisms of support for otherwise chronically homeless individuals and families. For employment programs for veterans with serious disabilities, the solutions are dependent on an array of providers who can help the returning veteran not only with connections to employers, but with post-placement support and accommodations at the worksite, help for the veteran’s family, and services from the Veterans Administration and other providers of a variety of mandated benefits.

Which of the players in the system of supportive housing, reducing prison recidivism, and disabled veterans employment get the benefits of SIB investments and which essential entities get left behind? The effective responses and solutions to these social problems are not one-offs with single nonprofits or small nests of nonprofits, but systems of interventions and providers. If we fall prey to the idea that the construction of effective social policy is simply a compilation of one-offs, we are generating resources for selected nonprofits and for profit-driven investors but not doing much for social policy per se.

When social policy in the U.S. requires thinking systematically, building systems and networks of providers, the SIB/PFS model takes government into byways that do not lead to effective public policy. Government programs aren’t meant to create marketable widgets, but effective systems of social program solutions writ large.

What private investors need to be thinking of is how they contribute to building networks and systems of creative and capable service providers. It is difficult to imagine how that would occur. Building systems for social policy solutions doesn’t seem to fit investors expecting a return on investment, but certainly is a function for another kind of private capital—private philanthropy. If SIB designers would devote their private market creativity, such as it might be, to the design and funding of systems for social change, that would potentially be a private sector entrepreneurial contribution to a truly difficult dimension of social progress, the creation of systems.

Avoiding private sector over-influence

That having been said, using private capital to help kick-start good projects may not do anything systematic, but that doesn’t mean that it is harmful. Is there a downside for luring private investors to provide up-front money for social projects? There is one that is hotly contested by diehard SIB enthusiasts. If government were to focus on projects and programs for their ability to involve private capital (assuming the complexity and terms might be more reasonable than SIB/PFS projects like the Goldman Sachs deal on Rikers Island), that could lead government in a problematic direction, one in which private sector investors unduly influence what issues and problems government chooses to pursue and what issues government passes on.

Think that isn’t a possibility? Due to the attractiveness of the concept of private sector leverage and, as SIB supporters argue, the notion that investors bring a different and superior rationale to government programs, U.S. government policy already relies on a number of indirect, privately incentivized methods of picking and funding programs that eschew direct appropriations. Much of government policy operates through tax incentives that are meant to attract private investors to participate in financing public programs, albeit with some measure of economic return to the investors. As an overall justification, the theory is that these incentives harness private capital to serve public purposes, albeit often with robust economic returns and sometimes surprisingly limited genuine risk to the investors.

The Low Income Housing Tax Credit is a case in point. On one hand, it has been for many years an indispensible mechanism to incentivize for-profit and nonprofit developers to produce low-income rental housing. But relying on the preferences of investors, the results, as demonstrated in many studies, show that the majority of housing units produced and sited in suburban and rural communities have been elderly units while the majority of low-income family units have primarily been located in high-poverty inner city neighborhoods—for example, in the New York metropolitan area. In the subsidized housing arena, there is a much greater need for subsidized family housing than for subsidized housing for seniors—and social policy need to locate low-income family units in areas that would result in the dispersion of poverty units. As a recent report prepared for HUD observed, “the LIHTC program may be contributing to the concentration of subsidized housing units within the nation’s largest metropolitan areas,” inconsistent with HUD’s national policy goal of dispersing affordable housing outside of high-poverty areas. That goal of affordable housing dispersion isn’t happening in the housing tax credit because the choice of projects to be assisted depends on the preferences of the investors, not necessarily state or federal locational priorities.

Notwithstanding the problems built into American public policy’s reliance on tax incentives rather than public appropriations for many critical public functions, that is simply unlikely to change. However, the model of the Low Income Housing Tax Credits—and similar structures like the New Market Tax Credits—suggests a way of harnessing the potential energy, as opposed to the artificial marketing hype, behind Social Impact Bonds.

As currently structured, SIBs are financial mechanisms for accomplishing one-off programs—a supportive housing program for the homeless in one city, an anti-recidivism program in another—but not the systematic response of an LIHTC program supporting affordable housing production nationwide or NMTC boosting inner city economic development, and certainly not guaranteed to lead to a broader programmatic expansion. The notion that these one-offs will lead to regional or nationwide programmatic replication and expansion is based on a naïve perception of the American political process, that SIBs that “prove” these already generally proven, evidence-based projects will lead to widespread adoption and replication by state and federal legislatures.

Evidence and facts are useful in making the case to legislators for specific program delivery models, but it takes broader advocacy and social movements to get legislators to turn good ideas into funded programs. One-off project successes don’t win the day in the public policy process.

Upfront operating capital for nonprofits

What do nonprofits need that the supporters of SIBs seem not to recognize? Most of the SIB/PFS projects under consideration involve sizable, reasonably well-capitalized nonprofit service providers. Many of the most creative, innovative nonprofits with ideas to test lack a crucial element: upfront capital with which to plan and design programs that could then receive governmental support. They don’t have the fund balances and working capital to do the kind of in-depth program development that would get their projects in shape for government or private funding.

That’s why so many nonprofits are so appreciative of philanthropic and government programs that provide predevelopment financing. Nonprofit community development financial intermediaries have modeled not only predevelopment financing but also “recoverable grants,” funds that can be written off as grants if the projects don’t go forward or paid back as loans if the projects do proceed. By making a recoverable grant, the money isn’t carried on the nonprofit’s books as a loan and therefore doesn’t adversely the organization’s net worth.

Although couched as up-front financing for social enterprises, Echoing Green has published a brief but useful definition and discussion of recoverable grants:

The Recoverable Grant is essentially a convertible note, with no time expiration and no liquidation payback rights, where the conversion occurs only at valuations greater than a given threshold. It’s designed specifically for very early-stage investment, where entrepreneurs need risk tolerant and inexpensive capital…. There are three core components to the Grant:

    Minimal transaction cost…
    Zero downside protection…to enable the entrepreneur to invest the capital in whichever way they wish to create growth without needing to assess payback risks in the event things don’t work out.
    Reasonable upside benefits…Our Recoverable Grant converts only when the resulting dilutive impact on the organization is around 1% or less and prior to conversion accrues interest at a low rate.

This isn’t a new product. For decades, community development financial intermediaries have been deploying and refining recoverable grants and predevelopment financing as an essential tool in their financial arsenals. It isn’t new, but it is seriously limited in its availability to many nonprofits, especially smaller nonprofits. Were SIB investors to think in upfront recoverable grant terms, with the grants to be taken out, if the projects were successful, by government financing (or longer term private financing), they would be adding something that the nonprofit sector would value and devour.

Full-funding for services delivered

Besides upfront capital investment that can be treated as a grant if the project isn’t successful, nonprofits need something else as they implement social programs: full-funding. In the Nonprofit Finance Fund’s 2013 survey of more than 5,900 nonprofits, “only 14% of nonprofits receiving state and local funding are paid for the full cost of services; just 17% of federal fund recipients receive full reimbursement.” Many people might be surprised that the full-funded proportions of nonprofit service providers are even that high. Most nonprofits have to fundraise incessantly because of the shortfalls in their government reimbursements.

The research findings of the Urban Institute and the National Council of Nonprofits were not quite as dire as the NFF survey results, but still paint a serious picture of government policy to underfund nonprofit service providers on state contracts:

“The newest data from the Urban Institute reveal that nationwide more than half (54 percent) of all nonprofits surveyed identified governments not paying the full costs of the contracted services as a problem. In some states, however, nonprofits reported far worse. Three out of four nonprofits responding to the survey from New Jersey (75 percent) and Rhode Island (74 percent) reported problems with governments not covering the full costs of contracted services. In a majority of states at least half of nonprofits reported problems with governments not paying full costs for the work they perform on behalf of governments and taxpayers.”

In the research conducted by the Urban Institute, more than half of the surveyed nonprofits reported that their government grants required them to provide matching funds, and one-fourth faced matching grant or cost-sharing requirements on government contracts. SIBs promise private investors full payment plus a return for their capital contributions if projects meet their designated outcome targets. For nonprofits, a more attractive financial vehicle would be a structure that provides them full-cost reimbursement for their services.

The other issue that is, clearly, evidence in the SIB dynamic shows that the nonprofit recipients tend to be larger nonprofits. Smaller, community-based, community-controlled nonprofits are rarely if ever talked about as implementers of SIBs. Organizations that have been the mechanisms for SIB investment tend to be large—instruments of scale to be further scaled up, not in any way representative of the thousands of smaller nonprofits doing excellent work but unable to be the subjects of major academic studies or lures for Goldman Sachs or Bank of America investment. Some of these larger nonprofits might have the fund balances and funding sources to withstand less than full payment on services, but small nonprofits simply don’t have that financial latitude.

Moving forward

Amid all the SIB hypers complaining that critics don’t like the hype and SIB ideologues making sure they signal their potential investor clients that they’re available to craft SIBs hell or high water, the reality is, as a friend of NPQ recently noted, the SIB train has left the station. Unlike other over-hyped social enterprise ideas, like the L3Cs that have never shown signs of life, there are SIBs underway and SIB investors looking to place their money in social programs that generate a return based on meeting performance targets. Can we convert that investment energy into something more useful than one-off projects with big returns for banks and with support for big nonprofits?

If SIBs could be structured so that they don’t simply provide more resources to the nonprofits that are already well capitalized, if they can help nonprofits with vitally needed upfront working capital for social experiments, if they can help construct systems for social change rather than one-off projects, if they can address the sector-wide problem of nonprofits receiving less than full compensation for the services they deliver, and if investors would be willing to take real risk and accept returns much more moderate than those anticipated by the likes of Goldman Sachs…then you might have a SIB structure that would add some significant new value to government and to the process of social progress.

Thoughts on Making Social Impact Bonds Work—If They Should at All, July 31, 2014, Nonprofit Quarterly, by Rich Cohen

I am preaching to the converted, or am I?

What makes a Board work? What drives an organization to recruit one person over another? Why do some Boards with comparable missions and similar caliber people succeed more than others? How do they measure success? What do Boards today expect from their members? Do they achieve their goals? So many questions…

So let’s take a step back and start our conversation about the Board member as investor and creator of return on investment (ROI), hopefully with some feedback from readers. I am eager to hear what others think about the ideas discussed in this posting.

The American nonprofit Board model has developed and evolved over many centuries, and today it is fundamentally American. It is told that the Massachusetts Bay Company Charter written in 1629 specified that a Board of 13 “men of wisdom” would manage the colonial government. In fact, the Board model that has developed into what we know today developed from that time as a uniquely American construct and is linked to the enduring American culture of volunteerism, civic engagement and democratic rule. Alexis de Tocqueville punctuated that point, writing in the 1830’s that America’s philanthropic spirit, including the formation of Boards for decision making, distinguished it from Europe at the time.

Today, as the philanthropic marketplace in the Jewish world and throughout the country continues to evolve, we engage every day in revitalizing and updating an enduring model created in an earlier age. The nonprofit model, led by a Board and based on a strong commitment to a mission, may be old, but it has never become outdated.

Mary Ellen Jackson, noted authority on nonprofit leadership and the Executive Director of the New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits, noted that “the nonprofit Board requires that a group of volunteers, many of whom do not know each other nor possess expertise in a mission, come together and, through committees and four to six Board meetings a year, assume primary legal responsibility for the organization.”

This encompassing statement underscores the commitment to mission as the underpinning of a productive Board – not expertise or technical knowledge. Together with professional colleagues, Boards project legitimacy, credibility, community support and connection, and the ability to do business.

In fact, as I have been writing in most of my postings on eJewishPhilanthropy.com and elsewhere, successful organizations, and organizational ROI, are driven by the power of new ideas and innovation, leading to effective approaches and solutions. Looking to the future, and staying with established best practices, Boards and organizations in the 21st Century thrive and lead by recruiting members who are serious about the mission, their fiduciary and fundraising responsibilities, and who employ critical, entrepreneurial thinking.

Driving the point one step further, and underscoring the centrality of a strong and meaningful vision to organizational success, Naveen Jain, Founder of the World Innovation Institute, added that “Philanthropy is not about giving money but about solving big problems.” We echo Jain’s challenge and encourage organizations throughout the charitable arena to step up to meet it.

All Boards debate and approve budgets, set financial and administrative policies, and are charged with the task of ensuring that the organization has adequate resources. What truly sets successful Boards apart is their commitment to gathering the courage to push boundaries, not micromanaging the operational details, and encouraging organizational investment of thought leadership and finances toward innovation and creative thinking among their volunteer and professional colleagues.

To stay true to this increasingly important ethos with a commitment to entrepreneurial thinking and generation of intellectual and financial investment, the Board must:

    Collectively and continually question assumptions
    Take the “10,000 foot” or even the “30,000 foot” view, and look at larger visionary issues and concerns
    Balance efficiency, opportunity, and mission
    Create and sustain a culture of transparency and accountability to their funders, stakeholders, and their community
    Always look through the prism of the organizational mission and consider the “end user,” the reason why the organization is in business
    Allow the CEO and the professional team to execute, and support new “products” and initiatives
    Expect every Board member to make a financial contribution at a personal level of capacity

To do this, as noted above, organizations must recruit the right people and make them aware of expectations before they sign on. Prospective members should not be “two dimensional” collections of friends, relatives, or only like minded people. Further, organizations should not merely go for a person because he or she “has time,” but they should find the right person, even (especially!) a busy person with the skills, attitude and resources to be successful.

And, speaking of ROI, Board giving is an obvious and important element. Across the country, according to the 2012 Board Source Survey, Boards average 74% participation in giving, and just 46% of Boards reported 100% participation, though we are making progress. Nearly 70% of nonprofits report a policy requiring annual Board giving – a number that has been growing over time.

When seeking to measure ROI, philanthropy can be a calculated risk, and successful nonprofits must make sure that every dollar has a multiplying effect. Thus, Board giving, as a motivator and first step to an organization’s broader annual giving program, can show the way for an organization and its donors to leverage personal giving through relationships with donors and funders.

In conclusion, and in keeping with our themes of leadership driven by entrepreneurial thinking, investment of financial and intellectual capital, and measurable ROI, we encourage nonprofits to see and utilize the Board as the basis and nucleus of their success. In doing so, organizational leaders must:

    Make sure everything relates back to the organization’s mission, purpose, and vision
    Focus messaging so that Board members are on the same page when they discuss the organization publicly and privately
    Create opportunities for volunteer leadership and synergy with professional activity
    Encourage Board members to be “brand ambassadors” for the organization
    Create mechanisms for the Board to review programs, services and operations without heading down the proverbial “rabbit hole”
    Press the CEO to focus on major issues
    Emphasize that one’s presence is not present enough: Board members must contribute ideas and dollars and be engaged
    Keep meetings concise to foster creativity, productivity, and collaboration
    Expect and obtain 100% participation in financial support from the Board
    Stress the role of the Board member as strategic philanthropic multiplier through identification and engagement of new donors

Board Members as Donors & Investors: Understanding Impact & Conveying ROI, August 4, 2014, eJP, by Avrum Lapin

Many economists say the U.S. economic recovery will stay in the slow lane until American companies finally step up capital spending on things like equipment and technology.

But corporate America is definitely opening up its wallet for one purpose: Spending on training and leadership development by U.S. companies grew by 15 percent in 2013, to more than $70-billion, according to a recent study. That followed two years of growth, at 10 percent or higher, in such spending in 2011 and 2012.

While business is investing in its people with renewed vigor, the nonprofit world continues to lag in making such investments. The Foundation Center recently reported that foundation support for leadership development was less than 1 percent of overall giving from 1992 to 2011. That’s not nearly enough.

We all know that programs and strategies don’t solve problems; people do. So why aren’t more foundations making leadership development an integral part of their grant-making strategies?

If we agree that strong leadership is crucial to the success of the nonprofits we support, what is keeping us from maximizing the impact of our funding by investing more in the skills and capabilities of people who lead organizations, including staff and board members?

At the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, our trustees strongly support leadership development, based on their experience in both the corporate and philanthropic worlds and their intuitive understanding of the importance of investing in people.

We dedicate 10 to 12 percent of our annual grant making to strengthening leadership. Since 2005, the Haas Leadership Initiative has made mote than $18-million in multiyear grants to more than 100 nonprofits working in the fund’s priority areas of immigrant rights, education equity, and gay and lesbian rights.

We have seen time and again in our work how these investments have contributed to grantee impact and success.

Consider the case of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Over five years, the center received $834,500 in support from the Haas, Jr. Fund, including $235,000 dedicated to strengthening the organization’s leadership.

The flexible, multiyear funding amounted to about $50,000 annually, which the center used for consulting, coaching, training, and other activities to build and strengthen its leadership.

Among the important results of this work is that the center, which previously relied on two overstretched leaders to run everything, was able to build a strong and collaborative senior staff team of five people

Relieved of many of the internal management responsibilities that had occupied so much of their time in years past, the organization’s executive director, Kate Kendell, and its legal director, Shannon Minter, have become even more powerful forces in the movement for marriage equality for same-sex couples. And the center is widely recognized as a critical player in the movement’s recent wins.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is not an isolated case. An independent, five-year evaluation of the Haas, Jr. Fund’s early leadership investments showed that our support helped leaders get better results for their organizations and movements. The evaluation also showed that many of our leadership grantees were able to complete successful executive transitions and that they experienced impressive budget growth despite the economic recession.

Of course, we are not alone in supporting nonprofit leadership. Many other foundations around the country have made investing in leadership a top priority.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation, for example, works to develop current and emerging leaders in government agencies and nonprofit organizations serving children and families around the country. The reason: Casey knows that its goal of improving conditions for kids requires building the skills of people to work together to untangle complex problems.

The Blue Shield of California Foundation is building a stronger network of organizations that serve domestic-violence survivors by investing in individual and organizational leadership through its Strong Field Project. And the Durfee Foundation, based in the Los Angeles area, has created a multifaceted sabbatical program that strengthens the leadership of boards and senior teams while giving executives a chance to recharge and renew their commitment to their work.

These foundations are investing in leadership to advance their broader ambitions, and they are committing substantial grant-making resources to this work. While each foundation’s leadership-development approach is distinctive, they all share attributes that our experience suggests are important.

Chief among these is that leadership support is multiyear and is tailored to each organization’s priorities and needs; in other words, this is not about a foundation coming in and telling grantees what to do.

Nor is it simply about sending executive directors to one-time training sessions. Rather, it is about helping organizations identify and secure the leadership support they need at all levels so they can reach their broader goals.

I am not one who believes nonprofits and foundations should indiscriminately follow the strategic expertise of business. However, when the issue is leadership and talent, it’s worth taking a cue from the corporate world.

Unless we can figure out what is behind the nonprofit world’s chronic underinvestment in leadership and turn things around, we will continue to overlook one of the most important ingredients of positive social change. Investing in leadership doesn’t just deliver higher performance; it can also deliver a better, more equitable world.

Nonprofit Leadership Development Is a Vital Ingredient for Social Change, July 13, 2014, Chronicle of Philanthropy, by Ira Hirschfield

Every kid who ever started playing an instrument has had the same fantasy:

You’re sitting in the park, practicing the four chords that you know on your guitar over and over. Suddenly, you hear a voice.

“Hey kid, you’re pretty good. Mind if I jam with you?”

You look up, and it’s the lead singer of your favorite band.

A few months ago, my organization, the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN), had the grown-up, nonprofit sector version of this fantasy play out when the folks from NPQ reached out to see if we were interested in collaborating on a companion to their annual reader survey. If you follow us on Twitter or Facebook, you know it’s no secret that YNPN and its members are pretty big fans of NPQ. Needless to say, we were excited to have the opportunity to jam with them.

The main goal of the collaboration was to help NPQ amplify the voices of young nonprofit professionals. We also wanted to continue to test our strength as a research partner; could we actually gather a large enough number of respondents to be statistically significant to the overall study?

The response to the survey—one of the largest turnouts we’ve had in the past year to a broad request for input from our members—showed that young professionals were excited to have the opportunity to talk with one of the sector’s leading publications about what mattered most to them. Approximately 89 percent of the respondents to our survey were between the ages of 18 and 34, with the vast majority of respondents between 22 and 34. In contrast, this age group made up only 16 percent of the respondents to the general NPQ reader survey.

Top Concerns Reveal Generational Differences

When asked about the critical issues affecting nonprofits and philanthropy, our members told us that their top concerns were leadership, professional development, and low wages. For those of us who spend our days talking to young nonprofit professionals (or are young nonprofit professionals), these results are not surprising. When comparing the results from the YNPN member survey and the NPQ general reader survey, however, it’s clear that there’s a huge gap in how these issues are perceived between younger and older professionals.

Several NPQ readers said in the broader reader survey that staff turnover was among the thorniest issues that they faced this year, yet YNPN members were still four times more likely to discuss talent retention and staff turnover in responses. YNPN members were around five times more likely to mention pay, salary, or wages in their responses to questions about their biggest workplace concerns and the state of the sector. It’s also interesting to note that of the six people who mentioned salaries in the general reader survey, three of them were complaining that salaries for their staff were too high.

YNPN members were also much more likely to talk about non-monetary investments in staff like professional development and leadership training. In fact, they were eight times more likely to list professional development as their biggest workplace concern or as one of the trends that will affect the sector over the next five years.

Passion and Pay: “Two Roads Diverge in a Wood”

To provide a little bit of context as to why these issues are top of mind for young professionals, it might be useful to look at the results of another recent survey. Last year, YNPN San Diego surveyed their members and found that their average age was 29 years old. Most had master’s degrees, making it likely that many of them are carrying some kind of student debt. Yet 50 percent of their members make less than $35,000 per year.

In talking with our members and other young nonprofit professionals, their love for their work and the nonprofit sector is abundantly clear. Beyond the anecdotal evidence, research continues to show that young professionals are more purpose-driven in their work than past generations and that millennials are willing to trade high salaries for work that is more meaningful and provides better work-life balance.

This is a huge opportunity for the nonprofit sector to attract top talent that is naturally interested in mission-driven work. Yet we continue to ask our next generation of leaders to work for wages that mean delaying or even being unable to attain other important life goals like home ownership, parenthood, and even retirement. With just a little bit of context, it becomes clear why these issues feel so urgent to young professionals, many of whom want to work in the nonprofit sector but don’t know if it’s financially sustainable.

Where We All Agree

It is clear that these issues must also become urgent for the current generation of leaders in the sector. One of the NPQ survey respondents, for example, expressed a fear that we hear time and again from established leaders about what will happen to the sector over the next five years: “I am concerned with the draining of executive talent by retirements and burnout with fewer than the number needed stepping up to replace them.”

As part of a network of more than 50,000 young nonprofit professionals who are eager to lead, our members voice that the issue is not that we don’t have leaders who are willing to step up. Rather, we are not providing them with the support they need to not only step into leadership positions, but to also be effective once they’re there.

These survey responses provide an important glimpse into our sector’s leadership pipeline. Groups like the Talent Philanthropy Project, the Building Movement Project, and, of course, YNPN, are opening up discussions among leaders of all ages about where we go from here to develop the powerful nonprofit sector we need to build a more just and equal world.

However, we also think that more collaborative efforts like the one between YNPN and NPQ are needed in the sector. These intergenerational conversations can amplify often-marginalized voices and provide space for emerging leaders to jam with established leaders and move the sector forward together.

We would love to hear from YNPN members and NPQ readers of all ages: What other issues should we highlight? What would you like to see from NPQ in the future and from this new collaboration?

YNPN & NPQ Begin Collaboration: Young Nonprofit Leaders Speak Out! August 5, 2014, Nonprofit Quarterly, by Jamie Smith

What would it take to have funding ‘magically’ appear to your camp? Check out this story that a development friend told me:

She worked for a large museum that had just embarked upon a $75 million capital campaign. As part of the training, the development department presented the organizational “story” of why it was so critical to fund the museum campaign to more than 500 staff throughout the organization including guards, porters, and program/front-line ticketing staff. It really paid off, as you’ll see…

Toward the end of the campaign they were baffled as to why one of their prospects, a famous philanthropist in their community, had been unresponsive to requests for a meeting. One day, the mother and granddaughter of this gentleman came to visit the museum. A savvy ticketer at the membership desk noted their name and alerted a nearby porter who ran up to development to tell them that the family of this philanthropist was in the house.

That child got the tour of her life! Programs worked with exhibits to release the best of the on-floor explainers to engage the two. They received a tour behind the theater as well as the planetarium. They went to visit the curators who were restoring an old clock … you get the picture.

The very next day, my friend was sitting with the President at their usual morning meeting. They received a call from the philanthropist’s executive assistant who asked, “On your board, what is the largest category for giving?” “A million and up,” they replied.

By the next week, they received a check from this family in the amount of $2 million.

So what was the magic that had this $2 million fall from the sky? In fact, there was no “magic.” There was intention, planning, training and multiple conversations.

How does this apply to your camp? Notice that this would not have happened if ALL of these individuals had not been trained:

    The development team was responsible for training staff in sharing the essential story of the museum.
    The front desk (the ticketer) had the wherewithal to know who was coming in the door.
    The porter readily went to development to share the news of the philanthropist’s family arrival.
    The curator took an important role by including the family in the day’s activities.

Lastly, did you notice the question that the philanthropist’s office asked? They wanted to know what the largest category of giving was for the board. If their board’s highest level of giving was $1,000, then perhaps the philanthropist would have given $2,000 instead of $2 million! The museum’s board had to be actively seeking stretch gifts.

Here are five things you should be doing to create a culture of philanthropy at your camp, things that will build fundraising momentum and make your success feel like magic:

    Ensure all staff are aware of their role in creating a culture of philanthropy. If you have development staff, have them teach staff about what they are doing and share how they can make a difference. Include the person answering the phones, those doing the bookkeeping and thank you notes, the counselors at camp, and the program staff. Share this story. Ask staff what role they could imagine themselves having if they met a philanthropist. Have them understand that anyone having contact with your camp could be a potential philanthropist.
    Place your development staff, or development volunteers in leadership roles at your camp. This will show that your organization values philanthropy. Have development staff be part of alumni activities, camp sessions, communications, web design, etc. They represent the donors. If you want more donors, development staff and volunteers must be well informed and involved in camp. An organization that is successful in creating a culture of philanthropy integrates the donors and the development staff into their daily work.
    Invite alumni and other prospective donors to camp for tours led by your development staff. Have the different staff that they meet be passionate about expressing the organization’s essential story.
    Educate your Board about philanthropy and the importance of their giving in the eyes of current and potential major donors. Encourage them to make stretch gifts to your camp. Train them to be proficient in your camp’s story as well.
    Include development in staff and board meetings. Make it a high priority throughout your organization. This way, development knows about the successes at camp to share with your funders, and the other departments know about the work of development and its value to the health and well-being of your mission.

Successful fundraising results when every lay and professional member of your team is trained and aware of the importance of their role in supporting your development team.

As for my development friend’s story, now you know:

Even if it felt like magic, it was the integration of the museum’s development team throughout the fabric of the organization that led to their large “surprise” donation. This same integration that can provide your camp similar success stories.

When Funding Success Feels Like Magic, August 6, 2014, eJP, by Laurie Herrick

The CEO of the regional office of a huge national nonprofit organization knew that something was wrong with the organization’s special events; could I attend the next one and observe?

That next event was a “thank you” affair for donors of fifteen years or more. By definition, the guests were older. Many were elderly. They were invited because their long history of giving led staff to believe they were good planned-gift prospects. The evening consisted of several brief speeches, some entertainment, and a dessert reception.

Several hundred guests had preregistered for chartered buses, which came from multiple points in the large metropolitan area. Others would be coming by car. Still others would likely just show up.

What I observed was extraordinary staff energy spent on making sure the event ran smoothly. Most of the staff had “been through this before,” and they awaited the guests with some anxiety. Wait, wait, wait . . . and then all of the buses seemed to arrive at the same time. Hundreds of people left their buses simultaneously and approached the long reception hallway. Each of the guests had to be registered on the way in and then given a name tag. The staff, seated behind the registration tables, arranged in two parallel lines, was overwhelmed for perhaps fifteen minutes. Then, many of the guests needed assistance with seating.

In advance of the speeches and the show, the board chairman took it upon himself to walk up and down the aisles, greeting and thanking guests. In front of the large room, several people, including the CEO, were involved with a group photograph. I recognized a couple, extremely wealthy, to whom nobody spoke.

The entertainment was fine and the brief speeches were on point. The dessert reception was lovely. The guests expressed their gratitude as they left the reception hall for the buses, with extra desserts and some mission-related brochures in hand. The staff went home exhausted.

This special event was a good example of a development team losing its way. So much energy was focused on the logistics that some of the basics of good development work were forgotten.

What are those basics?

Development professionals develop relationships with people. While we sometimes turn to mass appeal approaches such as direct mail, excellent interpersonal skills are central to our work. Sometimes, we talk about the Development Cycle, or the “5 I’s of Development”:


A fundraising event provides opportunities to advance each of these stages of development work. We must continually talk to people, interest and inform them, excite and involve them in our mission.

Sure, a brochure can do some of the work, but, as noted by the Center on Philanthropy’s “Ladder of Effectiveness,” a person to person conversation filled with information and enthusiasm, is the best form of fundraising.

A special event provides numerous touch points for person to person conversation. For the event described above, I first suggested placing energized staff members on the buses—to greet the guests, to handle some of the checking in procedures, and, most important, to talk about the good work being done.

Here are some more ideas:

Checking in

    At the beginning of an event, place the CEO or board chair near the check-in area. That way he or she will have a chance to say hello to just about everybody.
    Instead of a row of volunteers or staff being seated behind a table, why not have them stand in front of a table so they can more easily talk with the guests. Or you could try a podium, to look like the maître d’ station at a restaurant (“Oh, Mrs. Jones, so nice to see you! I have your table assignment right here”).


    Ask a staff member or volunteer to be on the look out for guests standing by themselves. It is hard to come to a large event as a “single.” Make sure these guests feel welcome.
    Avoid placing all the food tables against the walls. A table of dips in the middle of the room encourages conversation.
    Provide each board member with background on two other guests who should be greeted during cocktails.
    While the event described above did not have cocktails, there was a period of time when many guests were seated in chairs, waiting. Why not assign staff members (or board members) to various sections of the room to give thanks and simply make conversation. When I was waiting, I spoke to the person next to me, an older gentleman. I learned that he had no children, was grateful to the host organization for years of service, wanted to “do more.” Imagine if such simple conversations had been organized throughout the crowd!

Seated dinner

    Place a senior staff member, a board member or a key volunteer at each table to serve as a     table host, with responsibility for introducing guests at the table to each other and for making a short toast: “Here’s a brief toast to all of you at Table 6. Thank you for your support of the XYZ          Association. Through your generosity, we’re able to do so much good work. Cheers.”
    Use place cards. Make sure staff, board and volunteers are seated next to people you want them to get to know.


    Informal passed desserts can provide another opportunity for circulation among the guests.
    A round table with a tray of chocolates near the exit provides a way to slow the departure as well as another opportunity for conversation.


    Make sure someone important is near the door to say, “Thanks for coming!”

In short, examine your event for every moment that encourages person to person engagement.

The kind of schmoozing that will engage a donor or prospect does not come naturally to every CEO, staff member, or volunteer. The chief development officer (CDO) has a responsibility to help all the players prepare for their event roles. Included in this responsibility is writing sample scripts for table toasts, providing background on everyone at the table, and making sure the CEO, board chair, and other members of the team have clear assignments, with suggestions on language that can be used (“Sam, I’d like to give you a call next week to talk about a project I have in mind”). In many ways, it is like choreographing a dance: every moment of the event should be carefully thought out.

Then, after the event, the CDO is responsible for debriefing (gathering the little shreds of information that were collected, like the man in my example who wanted to “do more”), reminding everyone to follow up on the calls to “Sam,” the thank you letters, the “good to meet you” notes, etc., etc.

For this to work, in addition to raising money, the cultivation and stewardship roles of your special event must be clearly identified up front as goals. Early buy-in is essential.

Your next special event does not end when the guests go home. Think of the event as the beginning of numerous cultivation opportunities for new and deeper relationships. And yes, the logistics must be perfect, too.

The party may be over, but the development work has only just begun.

Realizing the Full Potential of Your Events, January 12, 2012, Nonprofit Quarterly, by Sheldon Wolf  

Recently, Rimma Zelfand, CEO of Jewish Family & Children's Service of Greater Boston, spoke at a conference held at Simmons College. After her presentation, people came up to her to talk and ask questions. What are the odds that three people told her how the Lauren and Mark Rubin Visiting Moms program through the The Center for Early Relationship Support changed their lives as well of the lives of their loved ones?

The first person to introduce himself to Rimma was the husband of a woman who had premature twins five years ago. When the couple finally brought the twins home from the hospital, there was a lot of confusion and the mother was under an extreme amount of stress. Luckily, the couple contacted JF&CS and soon they became involved with the Oliver, Ian, and Serenity Wolk Fragile Beginnings program as well as one of the support groups in Newton for the families of multiples. The Visiting Moms program also came to the rescue, sending a compassionate volunteer to the home for empathetic support, guidance, and companionship. The husband credited those three services for saving his marriage. Continue reading here.

For new refugees, resettling in the U.S. is about more than finding a job and a new home; it's about rebuilding a sense of community and fostering new long-lasting relationships.

While New York and Chicago are large metropolises with vibrant inner-city neighborhoods and comprehensive public transportation systems, Toledo, Ohio is a small city with a spread-out population and limited public transportation, making it hard to get around.

Ghaziyah, a 63-year old Iraqi widow who resettled to the U.S. to reunite with her son just a few months ago, initially struggled to connect with a community in Toledo. The closest refugee assistance organization was more than an hour away by car in Columbus. Settling in was hard for her as five of her six children are in Iraq and she has never worked professionally.

The opening of HIAS partner US Together's new office this past month, however, is dramatically improving the lives of refugees like Ghaziyah. Continue reading here.

Join professionals from four AJFCA agencies as they recreate a popular 2014 AJFCA Annual Conference workshop. Presenters will relay their experiences in working with programs at their agencies aimed at teens, families and young adults. Listen to what works to attract and retain young donors to support your agency. The webinar will focus on:

Cultivation Across the Generations
Tuesday, August 26th, 2pm ET - REGISTER HERE

  • using an agency program to promote community outreach and engagement,
  • creating hands-on experiences to engage younger donors on a deeper level,
  • messaging the value of engaging with the agency in a way that resonate with younger donors, and
  • creating opportunities to link the donor's engagement with their Jewish values.

Dear Kim,

Isn’t the board structure essentially useless? Shouldn’t it be dissolved?

I and those at the Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training (GIFT) hear variations on this question so often that we decided to make it the topic of the debate at this year’s Money for our Movements Conference, August 2nd–3rd in Baltimore, Maryland. (It’s not too late to sign up—believe me, it is the place to see and be seen!)

In real life, while I have thought something along those lines in moments of great frustration (both as a board member and as staff), I know that dissolving this structure is not realistic, and, even if it were to happen, would only create a whole new set of problems.

In my experience as a consultant working with hundreds of organizations, as well as having served on two dozen boards and having worked as an executive director, a development director, and a number of other staff positions, I see that the board is a convenient dumping ground for all the problems an organization faces. Just a recent example: I talked with a brand new executive director on her first day at work who said, “There is so much I don’t know how to do, but one thing everyone has told me is ‘watch out for the board.’” I thought she meant the board of her new organization, but she was speaking more generally. How can you enter a healthy partnership and run an effective organization when, before you even know anything about the board members, you have decided to “watch out for them?” Based on the advice of others, this new ED is insuring that her experience with the board will be dysfunctional and unpleasant. Later, as a jaded ED, she will probably give the same advice she got to some new person, never realizing how she was set up with bad advice.

The direct answer to the question, “Can a board of directors really be effective?” is both “YES” and “That’s not really the question.” An effective board both creates and reflects an effective organization. An effective organization is one that sees all of its parts (staff, volunteers, consultants, board members) as part of an ecosystem, and when each person plays their part and does their share, the system works. When one person does too much or a few people do too little, the system is strained. (I am indebted to Patricia Bradshaw, Dean of the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, who was one of the first to write about the notion of a board as an eco-system. Dr. Bradshaw was a presenter at the first GIFT conference in 2006.)

Moving away from “can a board of directors really be effective?” to the pragmatic question of “how can a board of directors be most effective?” is beyond the scope of this feature. There are thousands of prescriptive articles (many in the Grassroots Fundraising Journal archive) on how to do this.

But staying committed to creating a healthy board of directors, being a great board member yourself, and working joyfully and eagerly with a board of directors as a staff person means answering a deeper question: “Why should a board exist at all?” For social justice activists, the answer is obvious: the board exists to give community people a voice that has some authority. The communities on whose behalf social justice organizations work have many members who care deeply and have a lot of experience with the issues the organization is addressing, but for one reason or another, tend not to be paid staff. The board of directors is a place for that experience to be put to use.

The question we really have to put in front of ourselves is “Are we committed to having our organization be a site for democratic practice and to reflect the values we are advocating for in the society at large?” Before you say yes, keep in mind that this is a BIG YES—a yes that must be said every day. A healthy well-functioning organization takes a lot of work. There will be times of misunderstanding and frustration, anger and resentment, but overall the work of it will create an experience few of us would trade for something else.

Boards:  A Historic Relic? July 24, 2014, Nonprofit Quarterly, by Kim Klein

Your nonprofit is going through an executive transition. The new executive director is finally in place. Now it’s time for the Board of Directors to back out of the way and let the new ED find his or her own way. According to a recent article in Associations Now, this is the time when the board is most eager to hand things off to the new CEO and, yet, it is the time when an onboarding process is most helpful and necessary. “Onboarding is a two way street” with the “board giving guidance to the new CEO” and the CEO and board “collectively setting the new leadership agenda.”

An article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review refers to a number of studies and the experience of experts on executive transitions which suggest that there are at least five ways to “boost the board performance where it counts most: onboarding and supporting the new CEO.” Here are the five recommendations for boards to adopt a “leadership development mindset” for supporting the new Executive Director:

    Lay the groundwork for the new leader: The suggestion is for the board to think 3–5 years out as to where the organization needs to be and work backward to surface the skills needed by the new leadership. The board could identify tough decisions that need to be made before the arrival of a new leader.
    Collectively set the new leadership agenda: According to the SSIR article, almost 40 percent of those surveyed felt that the board was not effective in helping to set priorities in the first year. The leadership agenda is a shared process that starts before the new CEO and evolves as the CEO learns more about the organization.
    Get clear on roles: Questions to be answered include
        Who sets the agenda for board meetings?
        What decisions will the board participate in?
        How and when is the CEO evaluated?
    Go slow in orientation to go fast on the job: The board needs to ensure that the CEO has time to build relationships and get to know the organization as a whole. Create a transition committee made up of members of the search committee, plus maybe some staff, or perhaps a new group of board members. The focus is to help the new leader get fully into the flow of the organization. This committee could identify key meetings to attend and communicate the transition to key stakeholders.
    Make the collective setting of goals and evaluation of progress routine: “Setting expectations proactively lays the foundation for a healthy relationship between the board and new executive.” Almost 70 percent of the executive directors surveyed did not feel that their goals and milestones in their first year were established with the support of the board. According to the Associations Now article, at last year’s ASAE annual meeting, the workshop speaker emphasized “turn[ing] the evaluation conversation to look at future needs, not just past metrics”

Executive transition is a when, not an if. Time spent on developing an executive succession plan and focusing on the onboarding process is time spent on moving the mission forward.

Boards and the Onboarding Process for New Nonprofit Executives, July 24, 2014, Nonprofit Quarterly, by Jeanne Allen

SOS Children’s Villages is a large international children’s charity helping orphaned and abandoned children in 133 countries around the world. SOS Children’s Villages Canada’s role is to raise funds in Canada to fund programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Using SEO To Attract Overseas Donations

So much rides on our search engine rankings. In Canada, 3 to 6 percent of donated dollars go to international charities. It’s a very competitive marketplace for all nonprofits and extremely competitive for international charities. Advertising can be effective, but it’s also costly. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) allows us to capture the attention of the niche market of people who may want to make an overseas donation.

Most new donors don’t go looking for SOS Children’s Villages Canada specifically. A new donor typically finds us after seeing a news media report. For example, after 250 girls were abducted in Nigeria, potential donors searching for more information discovered our work operating schools and helping children in Nigeria. Any issue related to vulnerable children, protection of child rights, gender equality, and orphans can drive potential donors to our website. Once donors find us, our content must clearly help them understand the need.

Why Google Didn’t Love Our Content

The search engines should have loved all our granular content, but they weren’t even seeing it. As it turned out, our own proprietary shared hosting platform was the culprit. Here’s why:

1. Slow page load times. Page load times are critical for SEO. But because we were hosted in Europe on a proprietary platform, our page load times were too slow for Google and other search engines. Users didn’t seem to notice, but our search engine rankings told another story.

2. Not SEO-Optimized. In addition, our website wasn’t optimized for SEO or for usability. Google Grants gives us $10,000 a month in Google AdWords funding, which is really effective if your site is optimized. Ours wasn’t, putting a damper on low-cost marketing strategies like SEO and free advertising. For example, our page on Angola didn’t have a page rank at all because it was seen as duplicate content.

Transitioning From A Shared Hosting Platform

When we made the decision 8 years ago to pool resources with 25 other nations to share a joint proprietary platform, it seemed like a good way to save money. But it wasn’t as cost-effective as we thought. Not only were our search engine rankings suffering, but we were investing a significant development budget each year to maintain the proprietary platform, costing us 18,000 CAD a year.

We wanted to spend donors’ money more effectively so we could drive SEO and bring in more donations. In 2013, we decided to go rogue from the joint platform.

The Solution: Open Source & Drupal

We chose open source and Drupal. We wanted a powerful and cost-effective website that was optimized for SEO, so we engaged a Drupal web development agency to build it.

The Results

Our page ranks are increasing, while our load times are decreasing. Like most charities, we raise the majority of our funds in the two months leading up to Christmas and just beyond. It’s still early, but we’re already well-positioned for this year. We’re slightly up over last year at this time, when we were fundraising for one-time donations during an international crisis and getting an unusual amount of press.

1. Giant leaps up in Google rankings

On pages with the exact same content, we’ve seen page ranks shoot up 4 full points—Angola rose from 1 to 5, for example. Now we’re indexed correctly to Google. The right third-party modules have all been configured and installed. Our new website platform optimizes page delivery within our design, allowing us to increase each page’s perceived value within the search engine marketplace. We’re actually showing up in other nations ahead of the local SOS National Association for that nation—specifically, in anglophone countries. People are starting to ask us what we’re doing differently.

2. Much better page load times

Our improved search rankings can be directly attributed to the lower page load times. Getting on Drupal and using the new website platform decreased our page load time significantly, averaging 49.7% faster average load time. As a result, Google immediately assigned a better quality score to our pages, and to our site overall.

3. Award-winning design

Our new website was so visually appealing that it outshone 5,000 competitors in 24 countries to win the 2014 Summit Creative Award, Silver medal, for a nonprofit website.

Parting Thoughts

If a colleague at another nonprofit were to ask, “What’s the best way to manage our large nonprofit website?” I would tell them this: “Option 1 is hiring a team to build the infrastructure on a cloud provider. Starting from scratch, they set up the servers and all the infrastructures. Then, they configure everything to make it high-performing for Drupal. In the end, you pay tens of thousands a year for hosting, and your search engine rankings could still suffer. We’ve been down that road. Option 2 is running your website on a container-based cloud infrastructure. You don’t need to worry about constant infrastructure maintenance or reconfiguring the architecture whenever your audience grows. And, because your site is so much faster, growing your audience through SEO becomes much easier. At least, that’s been our experience.”

So Fast Google Can’t Ignore You: Donations Optimized For SEO, July 18, 2014, NTEN, by Daniel Loftus

Facebook, with its audience of 1.2 billion worldwide and 128 million daily users in America, has long been touted as a great way to help nonprofits find supporters.

But many fundraisers and charity leaders say that the social network remains a fickle partner in the drive for donations.

Only 2 percent of nonprofits in the United States raised $10,000 to $25,000 through Facebook in a 12-month period, and 1 percent raised $25,000 to $100,000, according to a report released last year by Blackbaud, a fundraising-software company.

Roughly 1 percent of all online fundraising can be attributed to social media, including Facebook, according to Blackbaud’s research.

John Haydon, author of Facebook Marketing for Dummies, puts it in simple terms: The social network is lousy for fundraising.

"Very rarely would you pull out your credit card when you’re on Facebook," says Mr. Haydon. "People are going there to connect with friends or relieve boredom or avoid work. It’s not about making donations."

The Donate-Button Test

Last December, Facebook ran an experiment: It gave 19 charities that are particularly active on the social network a donate button to use on their Facebook pages to boost year-end giving.

But the company and many of the charities that participated in the test have been mum about the results. And judging by the experience of one of them, that modesty may be justified.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society reported raising $3,500 through Facebook in the wake of the experiment. But that’s barely a sliver of the $98.5-million the charity raised through all online sources last year.

One problem with the test overall: The donate button did not appear in the Facebook mobile app, where roughly 78 percent of daily Facebook users access the platform.

Facebook officials say they are analyzing the effectiveness of the donate tool and will decide later whether to expand the program.

Lauren Van Horn, who oversees Facebook’s partnerships with nonprofits—a newly created role—said the company had not compiled data on the amount raised using the donate buttons.
Changes to News Feeds

The social network has also made recent changes that pose challenges for charities. It tweaked the algorithm that determines which posts will appear in a user’s news feed, making it more selective. Nonprofits are asking why their posts aren’t appearing in news feeds and why the number of people viewing and "liking" those posts has dropped.

"Organizations don’t realize how many people aren’t seeing those posts," says Wendy Marinaccio Husman, a senior account executive with Donordigital, an online-fundraising consulting firm. Facebook, she notes, is "designed to make money. It’s not designed for nonprofits to raise money."

With the new algorithm, individual posts placed on a nonprofit’s Facebook page are delivered to only a small percentage of its fans, especially if those posts don’t generate comments, likes, and shares, according to Drew Bernard, chief executive officer of ActionSprout, which develops tools that nonprofits can use on the Facebook platform.

Many organizatons contend that, in tweaking its algorithm, Facebook deliberately cut the audience reach of posts to force businesses and nonprofits to buy ads or sponsored posts guaranteed to appear in visitors’ news feeds.

Mr. Bernard says the social network is making organizations to "pay to gain reach for content that didn’t attract an audience organically," and that nonprofits can avoid paying by creating engaging posts.

But Facebook officials respond that the changes to the news-feed algorithm were made to ensure users find the best-quality content, posts, and causes that interest them, based on their likes and shares. At any given time, Facebook officials say, an average of 1,500 posts are available to a Facebook user viewing his or her news feed. Reducing the clutter for each individual user is the goal.
Peer to Peer

If the world’s biggest social network falls short in helping charities raise money directly, it nevertheless offers some advantages in helping them rally supporters through peer-to-peer drives, in which people solicit donations from their friends, usually to sponsor them when they participate in a fundraising event on behalf of a charity.

In a study this year of 135 peer-to-peer campaigns such as walkathons, Artez Interactive, a company that sells online-fundraising services to nonprofits, found 15 percent to 18 percent of the donations were generated directly through Facebook.

The study also found that 28 percent of the traffic referred to a charity’s fundraising page originated from Facebook, and those visitors responding to a peer-to-peer request will make a gift 23 percent of the time.

"It’s completely obvious that’s what would work best," says Ms. Husman. "People give to people. If your friend is making a gift and asks you to do the same, whatever medium it is, it’s going to be much more effective."

Researchers at George Mason University confirmed that idea. They found that a donor’s Facebook-wall post about making a gift was the most effective path to generating new donations from friends, suggesting that nonprofits will benefit from encouraging donors to use social media to share news of their support for a charity and to urge others to give.

"When you ask your friend in front of their friends, it seems to be the most effective," says Ragan Petrie, an associate professor of economics at George Mason and a co-author of the fundraising report. "Having the social pressure seems to be important."
Acquiring Emails

Facebook’s vast audience also provides unmatched potential to find new supporters, gather data about them, and drive them to act.

The key, say people who help charities raise money online, is to create engaging content that will generate clicks, likes, shares, comments, and actions that expand the broadcast and provide a means to capture data and donor prospects. Spending money on Facebook ads or sponsored pages—as little as $500 to $1,000 focused on a target audience, fundraising consultants say—can help posts that are already seeing robust traffic reach even more potential supporters.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society found success with a stand-alone ad purchased on Facebook to promote its Team in Training program and Light the Night Walks. The ad produced 1,000 leads for Team in Training and 3,000 registrations for Light the Night.

In addition, it can be highly cost-effective to acquire potential supporters’ email addresses through Facebook and its support tools and to make an appeal for donations later in the online conversation.

ActionSprout estimates that a call to action, which requires a user to share an email address, generates five to 20 new email addresses for every 100 Facebook users who engaged with the post.
A Tool for Advocacy

Experts advise nonprofits to view Facebook as a listening tool as much as a megaphone, to know their audience; and to craft posts that meld followers’ interests with the organization’s mission.

With a vast supply of exotic-animal photos, the World Wildlife Fund has a natural advantage in capturing attention and generates tens of thousands of likes and shares for pictures of rhinos, dolphins, and so on. (A participant in Facebook’s December experiment, it would not reveal how much it raised through the social network.)

The international animal-protection group spends a small percentage of its advertising budget to boost Facebook posts and would increase that spending if it noticed a decrease in engagement, which it thus far hasn’t, says David Glass, senior director of digital marketing.

But, says Bex Young, the charity’s senior specialist for social media, "You have to couple the cute with getting someone to take action," such as to sign up for an email list.

The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, or Rainn, employs a staff member solely devoted to online communication and uses the social network to educate and engage people in a personal way. Infographics have been particularly effective at generating shares and likes, says Katherine Hull Fliflet, the charity’s vice president for communications.

The organization raises about $5-million a year. It would not reveal how much it raised through its participation in Facebook’s donate-button experiment, but Ms. Fliflet says the social network has been responsible for a large amount of traffic to the organization’s website and the growth in demand for its online hotline.

Facebook, Ms. Fliflet says, has been "making charitable giving more accessible, particularly to those who may be first-time givers or younger donors who are looking for a way to interact with a charity."

OurTime.org, a three-year-old nonprofit that encourages political action by millennials, also pushes its advocacy mission with the help of Facebook.

Its six-person staff has gained one million members and 363,000 likes on its Facebook page. It registered 350,000 voters in 2012 and spent less than $1 per voter, showing that the social network can be a cost-effective tool to push people to act.

"We have an email list, but we don’t want to email them eight to 10 times a day," says Jarrett Moreno, OurTime.org’s founder. Facebook, he says, has helped the group get its message out in a less intrusive way: "They’ll click and share or comment, give us another opportunity to appear in their friends’ news feed, and then they’ll follow our page, too."

Charities Like Facebook for Rallying Support but Not Much for Fundraising, July 13, 2014, Chronicle of Philanthropy, by Tom Held

The average nonprofit technology budget accounted for 3.2 percent of total annual organizational spending, according to a new report.

Most groups said their spending on hardware, software, and consulting changed minimally compared with the previous year.

The eighth annual Nonprofit Technology Staffing and Investments Report, published by the Nonprofit Technology Network, or NTEN, examines the roles of information technology and technology support staff in overall operations.

The new findings are based on survey responses collected from 781 nonprofits for their current fiscal year.

Among the other findings:

    Nonprofits budgeted an average of $114,443 for technology in their most recent fiscal year. That figure ranges from $10,530 to $432,214 depending on the size of the organization.
    The average nonprofit reported having about four-and-a-half technology staff members. On average, one technology person supported 30 employees.
    A little more than two-thirds of nonprofits reported that their strategic plan includes technology components, but nearly half said they are not conducting any assessments to figure out their return on investment from technology spending.
    Slightly more than half of nonprofits described their current use of technology as "operating," or having a stable technology infrastructure, practices, and procedures. Only about 12 percent ranked themselves as "leading" in technology, while the remaining nonprofits described themselves as barely maintaining, or failing to maintain, their technology systems.

Average Nonprofit Spends 3.2% of Budget on Technology, Report Says, July 28, 2014, Nonprofit Quarterly, by Megan O’Neil

The fundamental value proposition of the "what works" movement is that the lives of many people in need can be materially improved by expanding the reach of programs and organizations that reliably yield strong results for those they serve.

Which leads me to this question: why do we in the social sector give so little attention to operations—that is, what makes "what works" actually work?

Peruse the sector's journals, blogs, webinars, and conference themes and what do you see? Pretty much anything but ops. They seem to be dominated by more glamorous subjects: the invention of new programs and interventions, the application of "design thinking" to routine problems, scaling, policy advocacy and "systems change," novel approaches to luring private capital into the social-purpose marketplace (such as social impact bonds and "impact investing"), even scientific methods of proving what works.

But what about delivering what works? Rarely addressed is the need for quality and consistency of a program's performance, not to mention the painstaking, repetitious internal processes required to produce outstanding results–in a word, "operations."

Disciplined management, rigorous analysis of performance data, accounting for true costs, relentless efforts to improve processes and programs, the hiring and development of great people—these are essential to ensuring that what is promised in theory is realized in practice. but simply don't seem to get due attention or respect.

This stands in stark contrast to the business sector, where it's clear that what creates real value for people served—and thereby justifies their parting with their hard-earned cash—is consistent, cost-effective delivery of a high-quality product or service that works! True, design is important, as is marketing, branding, technological innovation, capital-acquisition, and advocating for favorable public policy. But the ultimate purpose, and key driver of an organization's health and growth, remains the production and use of products or services that satisfy people's wants and needs.

No one understood this better than Steve Jobs. Yes, he was a charismatic visionary who could generate excitement about compelling concepts and truly breakthrough product ideas. (Indeed, he was so accomplished in these regards that there's every reason to believe he would have made an outstanding nonprofit CEO!) But he also knew that what motivated millions of people around the world to hand over billions of dollars to Apple was not the hype but the reality of reasonably priced, reliably performing, feature-laden products—made and distributed through painstaking, highly repetitious, exacting and decidedly unglamorous processes. Indeed, Jobs appreciated this so well that he selected as his successor Tim Cook, the mastermind of Apple's operations.

Of course, we do not have to rely on for-profit exemplars to demonstrate how operational excellence can drive high customer value and organizational health and scale. Take Teach for America, where Wendy Kopp's legendary vision and dedication to her cause have been matched only by her messianic focus on determining which practices, procedures and methods do, in fact, work—ensuring that TFA could be counted on to deliver, day after day, year after year.

So why does our sector undervalue operations? Mainly, because the financial health and growth of nonprofit organizations is generally not a function of reliable, consistent delivery of products and services that provide superior results. For most nonprofits, funding comes from third parties—government, foundations, individual donors—paying for services on other people's behalf. And in making funding decisions, these third parties have typically focused on many factors—such as well-crafted stories of transformation, clean audit reports, or recommendations from influential supporters—rather than objective, comparative performance. It's hardly surprising, therefore, that the most valued skills of nonprofit CEO's have tended to be the ability to woo those foundation, government, and individual backers, not to rigorously manage and continuously improve program quality, cost, and delivery.

But let me point to two budding efforts that give me hope that operations may finally be gaining respect.

Changing how we think about overhead. Too often, a nonprofit's investments in robust operations capabilities and capacities are categorized as "overhead"—long a dirty word among both funders hoping to maximize their return on investment and agencies aiming to identify the most effective nonprofits. But things may be changing. In a widely publicized "open letter to American donors" in June 2013, the CEOs of GuideStar, Charity Navigator, and BBB Wise Giving Alliance—Jacob Harold, Ken Berger and Art Taylor—wrote that "The nonprofit sector…has too often erroneously focused on overhead over the past few decades, which has starved nonprofits from investing in themselves as enterprises and created what the Stanford Social Innovation Review calls 'The Nonprofit Starvation Cycle.'" And in December, the federal Office of Management and Budget released guidance that requires that nonprofits receiving federal funds get a minimum of 10 percent reimbursement rate on indirect costs (previously it could be—and often was—zero).

Focusing on high-performing organizations. Building on his influential book Leap of Reason, entrepreneur Mario Morino's Leap of Reason Institute is using an annual conference, a website, speeches, and publications to build support for high-performance nonprofit organizations. Leap of Reason focuses on strong management, operational execution, ongoing performance measurement, and continuous improvement, all intended, as Mario writes, to aid "those who understand in their bones that high performance is integral to ensuring material, measurable, and sustainable good." Which brings me back to Steve Jobs. "Some people think design means how it looks," he once said, "but of course, if you dig deeper, it's really how it works."

In Praise of Operations: Making "What Works" Actually Work, July 31, 2014, eJP, by Paul Carttar

Join AJFCA Sunday, May 3rd - Tuesday, May 5th for the 43rd Annual Conference at the Miami Hilton Downtown. Stay tuned for the annual conference theme, request for RFPs and guest speakers.


Congressional recesses provide an excellent opportunity for you to visit your legislators and their staff in their home offices (or invite them to your own agencies) and talk about your agency's priorities. In addition to your own priorities, we encourage you to ask your Members of Congress to support the Emergency Food and Shelter Program, Holocaust Survivors, the ABLE (Achieving a Better Experience) Act, and funding for the Office of Refugee Resettlement to address unaccompanied children at our border. Please click here for a full explanation of these items including background materials and sample letters. Contact Shelley Rood if you have any questions and let us know about the outcome of your meetings!

Bet Tzedek's Holocaust Survivors Justice Network is hosting a webinar for social service professionals to discuss the recent amendment to the ZRBG "ghetto pension" law, which expands the number of eligible ghettos and allows pension recipients to elect to receive a pension recalculated (and paid retroactively to) July 1, 1997. Click here to learn more about the webinar.

Changes to the ZRBG "Ghetto Pension" Law
Thursday, August 14th, 12:30pm ET - REGISTER HERE

An estimated 80-90,000 Central American children are expected to cross the southern border of the U.S. this year and as many as 140,000 may come next year. During the dangerous journey north, these children are at serious risk of violence, rape, exploitation, and even death. In most cases, the children have fled relentless violence and hopelessness in search of a safe place and a better life. Click here to learn how you can help

On the Go is an award-winning program at Jewish Family Service of San Diego for adults 60 and over, providing multiple transportation opportunities to support the varied needs of older adults in the community. As JFS puts it, "On the Go is more than a ride-it's independence, community connection, mobility, and dignity." 

The program features 5 components, including On the Go Excursions, providing organized outings throughout the San Diego area and Rides & Smiles volunteer drivers for personal appointments. 

Clients pay an enrollment fee and services range from donation-based to private pay, including a premium service offering a distinct pricing package based on distance and duration.  JFS of San Diego has also developed a software program to organize ride scheduling and volunteer hours. To learn more about On the Go, visit the JFS San Diego website or contact Meredith Morgenroth, Director of Transportation.

Older adult services are an ever growing focus of Jewish social service agencies. AJFCA's goal is to highlight exemplary programs across the U.S. and Canada to acknowledge agency expertise and share successful models with our network. Share your programming triumphs with Liz today! 


Leah Mueller, LBSW, Senior Services Coordinator at Jewish Family Service of Houston, was recently part of a meeting with Mayor Parker regarding the System Benefits Fund, known as Lite Up Texas. Also attending the meeting was Debra Danburg, Former State Representative Harris County, Carol Biedrzycki, Executive Director Texas Rose (Ratepayers' Organization to Save Energy), Laurie Glaze, Executive Director Texas One Voice and Joshua Reynolds, Director Care for Elders. The Lite Up Texas Fund provides discounts over the summer to help low-income households with electric bills to free up funds for other necessities (i.e. medicine) for our clients.

Leah requested that the Mayor's Office contact the various electric companies serving the Houston area to ask them to join a coalition to recreate the System Benefit Fund outside of the state treasury and to host a working group to draft a new System Benefit Fund statue which would ask other city's mayors and the Houston Delegation (House and State Senate) to sponsor and support this fund. Carol and Debra will go to the mayors of Dallas and Corpus Christi to request their support as these cities represent the other large deregulated markets. Mayor Parker agreed to host a meeting with the electrical companies to begin the process and she also plans to contact Representative Turner's office since he is the lead on this issue.

James Klinghoffer, a well-known philanthropist recent made a $50,000 donation to Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties' nursing and nutrition program that bears his name. A staunch supporter of JFS since the 1970s, he is responsible for initiating the James Klinghoffer Nursing & Nutrition Program, a vital, four-year-old program that provides older adults with support for maintaining a healthy and balance diet. This support includes much-needed dietary assessments as well as help with obtaining groceries.

One important piece of the Klinghoffer Nursing & Nutrition Program involves helping seniors with grocery shopping. Many seniors cannot get to a supermarket, have strained financial resources, and/or have a limited capacity to shop for themselves. Thanks to the program, many such seniors get the assistance they need with grocery shopping and delivery. The program also helps support three nurses on the JFS staff who specialize in diabetes care, heart disease, illness education and nutrition planning. These nurses act as medical advocates, providing seniors with in-home health assessments, ongoing coordination of care, and general assistance with dietary needs. Continue reading here.

More and more, your donors are online, mobile, and tech-curious. What should you be doing to meet them where they are and motivate them to support you? Your future supporters are standing by.

Leading your nonprofit to success means being nimble and having the ability to quickly respond to your supporters.  With online giving on the rise, it behooves nonprofit leadership to focus on embracing technologies for more effective fundraising.

So how do you create a user experience that will motivate donors to take it a step further than just a $5 donation and a goodbye? How do you engage them so they will champion your cause and ultimately spread your message to their friends and family? It’s not as hard as you think. There are a few key strategies and technologies to embrace in order take your fundraising campaigns to the next level.

Donors are busy—You need to be in their pocket

Your donors are mobile, and so your website has to be easy for them to access from wherever they are. Maybe you’re a small theater company, and a thrilled patron pulls out their phone in the lobby at intermission to make a donation right then and there. Or perhaps someone waiting at an airport hears a news item about a flood and wants to donate to victims’ relief. Donations are often made for emotional reasons, so you have to be right there in your donors’ pockets while they’re in the mood. Make sure you make mobile giving easy.

Listen more—Know why your donor gets up in the morning

Do you really take the time to get to know your donors? You should. If you stop and listen, you will learn more about their passions and what drives them. Ask open-ended questions and get them talking. Have you thought about asking for feedback? Find out why they did (or didn’t) donate to your last fundraising campaign. Ask why they care about your organization. The more you understand, the better job you can do to match your campaign’s content or "ask" to what your supporters care most about. Relationships are key when raising money.

Use graphics to get attention

NP Engage, a great source of information for anyone engaged in nonprofit work, shows us an example of a fundraising page for Charity: Water. The image below catches your eye, showing a glass of fresh clean water next to a glass of dirty water. The “donate now” button on the page is a contrasting bright blue color. This visual cue that shows what the donation will do is much more persuasive than any number of words could possibly be.

Build your community—Use social media to convey your message

The rise of social media has turned marketing into a two-way conversation. You have to reach out to your donors in whatever online habitat they like to hang out in—and then ask them questions, listen to what they have to say, and generally just tune in to how their lives are going. While they’re reading your latest email newsletter or checking out the cool photos you just posted on Facebook and Twitter, donors will also see your “Donate” link that’s always right there.

Be sure to say thank you

It is often overlooked and one of the most basic rules—say thank you. This is key! Donors want to know that they are making a difference. They are the ones that truly believe they can help drive change in this world. So help them feel special. Be sure to thank them for their gift.  And if you can, go the extra mile to let them know exactly how their gift made an impact. Did it buy 15 backpa