How Secure is Your Nonprofit from Cyber Threats?

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By Robert Evans and Bryan Schwartzman The recent data theft from the infamous cheating website AshleyMadison.com is the latest in a string of high profile cyber attacks that have also ensnared huge corporations like Sony Pictures and Target, and government agencies including the United States Office of Personnel Management. Security breaches in the nonprofit sector have not generated the same kind of headlines, but equally disturbing incidents are occurring. This past February, the Urban Institute’s National Center for Charitable Statistics was the victim of a malicious attack, compromising data for 600 to 700 organizations. “There has been a general perception in the nonprofit world that this is not an issue for us,” explained Sean Williams, a program consultant at TechBridge, “an … [Read more...]

Why Every Philanthropist Should Be Active on Twitter

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By Jay Ruderman A fellow philanthropist recently confided in me that he’s never sure if his philanthropic dollars are making a difference. “Sometimes it feels like it’s all going down the drain,” he said. While he continually received from his grantees metrics, benchmarks, and data about how his dollars were being put to good use, he mused, “If I’ve really made such a big difference, why do there never seem to be any sustainable solutions?” Maybe the desperation for return on investment would be lessened if we philanthropists spent more time away from our Ivory Towers and more time with the end-users of our dollars, getting to know their challenges. Like all things worth doing, philanthropy requires getting your hands dirty. A good starting point would be for the philanthropist to interact … [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...]

Is Your Synagogue Homepage Welcoming?

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By Molly Ritvo Your website is the front door for prospective members. They may have heard about your synagogue from their real estate agent when they were shopping for a new home, from new friends at a party or from a colleague at work. And where do they go to check out your synagogue? Chances are the first interaction they will have with you is through your website. Is your website ready to welcome them and make the best first impression? Your homepage opens the front door of your synagogue and tells the story of your community. Are you giving a warm welcome online? Below are some easy ways to create a more welcoming homepage: Create a featured slideshow or video of compelling images from your community that creates a vibrant header on your home page. Think of this area as the trailer … [Read more...]

Facebook Problems, Israeli Solutions: How My Nonprofit Leveraged Israeli Technology to Launch a Social Media Platform for Under $1,000

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By Bradley Caro Cook Not long ago, Birthright Alumni experienced something of a social media tragedy when Facebook launched its new platform. Group policies shifted, and administrators were responsible for renewing their groups or they wouldn't carry over to the new and improved site. Many administrators were unaware of the new policy, and the result was unfortunate: thousands of Birthright Israel alumni who had relied on Facebook pages to stay connected watched their groups disappear, and with no follow-up framework for them to reconnect, countless relationships were lost. Hearing the stories of long-lost buses, I hoped to integrate a strong social media component into my organization, Project Beyond, a week-long personalized Israel trip extension, often tacked onto the end of a Birthright … [Read more...]

Connecting to Young Jews Like Me is an Online Experience

By Raina Blumenthal Every Jewish organization I have been involved with post high school I first found out about by looking at their website. Like many other people in my generation I’ve grown up spending a lot of time on the Internet. Statistics show that the average American teen spends 7 hours a day on their electronics (phone, computer, and tablet). While I was involved in my Jewish community as a child by having a bat mitzvah and attended JCC camp, as I got older and moved away from home, I relied on the Internet to find new opportunities to connect with the Jewish community. Through Internet searches I found and signed up to become a camp staff member, a Hillel student leader, went to Israel on Birthright and even signed for a MASA Israel program. While I was living in Israel I found a … [Read more...]

Googlers turn Jewglers at Google’s London HQ

Jewish Interactive

Jewish Interactive hosted their second annual dinner at Google HQ London last week, raising awareness of their work transforming Jewish education with technology. Having created apps that have been downloaded in 850 cities around the world so far, the evening was a celebration of the impact they are having on UK Jewish education and beyond. Hosting a panel of Jewish leaders and parents from Microsoft, Google, InTu and Skype, the topic of “Raising Jewish Children in the Digital Age” was debated and the idea of a digital Sabbath discussed. Saul Klein explained how the jobs of the future are rapidly changing, affecting the school curriculum and how children are being taught. Andy Hart, Vice President of Microsoft agreed, insisting that children are leading the way in this arena and it is … [Read more...]