A Chanukah Experiment

Several weeks ago I wrote that holiday charitable giving online is growing with many new aggregator holiday giving sites to choose from yet it is difficult to find a Jewish giving aggregator site aimed at Chanukah giving. I did hear about one Israeli organization designed to bring the Chanukah spirit to those in need there this season.

Hillel Levin at connectionsisrael.com wrote me about their Giving Gift: Chanukah Gelt for Sderot Families project. This is one of those small, easy and personal ways for a donor to help empower an unemployed, needy family in Sderot by purchasing Chanukah gelt coupons so they can buy the jelly donuts, menorah candles and a few of the other elements needed to bring the spirit of Chanukah home.

This got me thinking that while not ideal, Connections Israel might want to link their Chanukah program to one of the existing Christmas aggregator giving sites. Hey, I bet there are lots of Jews visiting these sites right now.

Or – even better if a bit untried – encourage collaboration between Connections Israel with the Jewish federation system to offer their donors a wonderful way to support Israelis in need at Chanukah time and strengthen their relationship with their federation.

I know there are those who will argue that this approach cannot work. After all it would mean someone might lose a donor to the other partner! Looked at another and more enlightened Web 2.0 world way, it might mean that the new donor would appreciate this new collaborative spirit and want to support both organizations. It’s a “more is more” and a “donor decides” approach. That is the way the world works these days.

Here is how it could work. The Jewish federation system web sites (and its parent, UJC, who is already handling the processing of U.S. gifts to Connections Israel) would serve as an ad-hoc Jewish insider social network for the Connections Israel campaign. They promote the Chanukah Gelt program to their networks of supporters while at the same time, Connections Israel uses its Facebook group profile – the category killer of all social network sites – to strengthen and extend the program’s reach. Participating federations would link to the Connections Israel Facebook profile and benefit by getting closer to lots of people previously unknown to them.

Just a thought….What do you think??

Gail Hyman is a marketing and communications professional, with deep experience in both the public and private sectors. She currently focuses her practice, Gail Hyman Consulting, on assisting Jewish nonprofit organizations increase their ranks of supporters and better leverage their communications in the Web 2.0 environment. Gail is a regular contributor to eJewish Philanthropy.