A Path to Greater Engagement


By Molly Ritvo [Written with synagogues in mind; applicable for all.] A thriving community is an engaged community. Your ability to enhance the relevancy of Judaism and to engage current and prospective members and your community at large is key to your community’s success. Once engaged, your membership’s participation will grow. To help you deepen relationships in your community before the High Holidays, here are some engagement best practices: Build in time for schmoozing. Purposefully build in time for schmoozing at all your events and programs. This is important for relationship-building and will help members feel comfortable. This simple team-building technique will make your community more connected so they will be eager to engage in your programs and activities. A great example of … [Read more...]

6 Stories to Collect this Summer for Donors

By Julia Riseman [Written with summer camps in mind, but applicable for all.] Summer. It's your camp's opportunity to gather incredible stories to delight and inspire your donors. But another summer is nearly over. Have you collected photos, videos, and stories to use the rest of the year to engage your donors? If not, collect them now! The best stories have a basic structure - beginning, middle and end - focusing on a single character who faces and overcomes some kind of conflict. For your donors, ideally their giving helped that individual succeed in the face of that conflict. So, with that in mind, get out there and document a few stories to use the "other 10 months" to delight your donors! To get you started, here are six story ideas to consider: 1. Profile a Jewish moment. … [Read more...]

Why Prospective Members are Leaving Your Website

By Molly Ritvo [Written with synagogues in mind, but applicable for all.] If you’ve explored your Google Analytics, you may be noticing that your website visitors aren’t spending as much time on your website as you’d like. To help keep your members and prospective members from hitting the back button shortly after visiting your website, we’ve compiled a list of tips to keep your visitors exploring your website for more than 10-20 seconds: Speak to your audience. Consider your website as your online story. As much as novelists consider their audience in their writing process, you need to be mindful and strategic about who your website is geared for. Think about the average age of your members. Are they a little older? If so, use a larger font, so it is easier for them to read. If your goal … [Read more...]

Best Practices for Email Marketing

By Jen Lieberman [Written with synagogues in mind, but applicable for all.] Email marketing is a fantastic way to share information and engage with your members. However, your audience’s inboxes are already stuffed with dozens of emails a day. Your messages are packed with exciting news and important announcements, but getting people to open them can be a challenge. Here are some tips to ensure that your emails get the attention they deserve: (1) Understand and segment your audience. Your members are unique individuals with different needs and interests. A one-size-fits-all email approach simply doesn’t work. Take the time to break down or segment your mailing list into smaller groups of like-minded members. Create an email list just for your early childhood families, empty nesters, … [Read more...]

How Not to Ruin a Nonprofit Brand


By Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll When it comes to nonprofits and branding, organizations fall into one of four categories. The Nonprofit that denies it needs a brand. The Nonprofit that knows it needs a brand, but won’t let it happen. The Nonprofit that knows it needs a brand, gets it done … and does nothing with it. The Nonprofit that knows it needs a brand, makes it happen, and rocks it. 1. The Nonprofit that denies it needs a brand: Organization: “We really need a new look and feel; a new website and marketing materials so people get what we do." ‘Great. Let’s start with your brand.’ “Oh, we don’t need a brand. We just need new mission statement, vision, text and wording for the site and materials.” The Problem: By not identifying and solidifying your brand BEFORE creating … [Read more...]

Two Halves of a Whole: The Amalgamation of Marketing and Fundraising

By Maayan Jaffe Marketing and fundraising are two halves of a whole and when they don’t operate that way, explains fundraiser and consultant Janet Levine, the outcomes are less than they could be. Levine, a Los Angeles-based fund development consultant, recalls the pattern that emerged from her years working in advanced higher education: “Working together enabled us to create a powerful approach - for example, we wrote press releases on key stories; those stories were re-purposed into newsletter article; shared with our board members to help them be more effective messengers for us and served the focus of our direct mail appeals.” The need for telling stories and repetition of those stories in the marketplace has become ever more important to fund development in 2015, says Levine, because … [Read more...]

Words to Avoid – 2015 Edition

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By Dan Gunderman With a new year comes renewed determination to communicate clearly and effectively with your donors, participants, and others. What better way to do this than with your word choices? Let’s avoid some of that overused jargon we so often see in the nonprofit world. Here are a few terms we’ve seen over the past year that should be called out and questioned whenever possible: Leverage I actually can’t believe this hasn’t made our list before (especially egregious in verb form). We hear it and (confession time!) use it all the time. And it’s not nearly as clear as we think it is. I just looked it up in a dictionary, and under the definition option for “improve or enhance” (the final in a long list of meanings, I might add), an example sentence says, “It makes more sense to be … [Read more...]

Prodding the Jewish Organizational World into Third Space

The Jewish organizational world needs to move away from risk-averse strategic planning at its core, and move to risk-taking creativity as its culture. By Gary Wexler Courtesy of The Wexner Foundation's WexnerBLOGS It Isn’t About Hashtags I was asked to write about the phenomenon of “Hashtag Activism,” in light of “#JesuisCharlie”; “#JesuisJuif”; “Je suis George Clooney, the hippest celeb activist at the Golden Globes wearing a ‘Je suis Charlie’ button on stage.” So I understand in view of all this hashtag activism why I was asked to write about the subject, however, I was asked to write about the wrong thing. Yes, hashtagging is an outgrowth of a new technological era. But it is only a tiny selfie in a very big picture of change. And it is a change that Jewish organizations must … [Read more...]