Adventures in Growth Hacking:
Who’s in Your “Sukkah”?
Increasing Lay Leaders, Donor Prospects, and Israel Trip Participants
Applied Jewish Wisdom From Sukkot
By Bradley Caro Cook, Ed.D.
This is the second article in a series on growth hacking for Jewish engagement. As a gritty Jewish social entrepreneur who has grown micro-communities in nine cities, I will provide you with practical, grassroots, and research-based techniques to amplify your Jewish engagement. These techniques can be applied for a scrappy, mid-sized, or juggernaut organization. These tools are transferable, whether recruiting lay leadership, donors, or registrants for your next Israel trip.
My goal is to provide you with inspiration, aspiration, and hopefully a little perspiration.
Growth hacking is a process of rapid experimentation across marketing funnels that enables you to effectively grow your business. As Jewish nonprofits, the business we are growing is Jewish engagement.
Tractate Sukkah (27b) indicates all Jews will be under one Sukkah. For the purpose of this growth hacking technique, the Sukkah is your phone, or anyone else’s smartphone around you.
Tools for This Hack
- The App: Share Some Friends
I was tasked with designing two Career Up Now programs in South Florida. We needed 100 industry leaders to be mentors for the program. I knew six people in South Florida, whom I knew were connected Jewishly. I could have gone the old-fashioned route of asking, “who do you know?” and “can you send me their contact information?” They could scroll through their phone and provide me their names one by one.
However, I had 24 hours to get all of the names, and then three weeks to recruit the 100 mentors.
I asked individuals I met to download the app Share Some Friends. I Asked them to open the app and select every contact that they thought would be interested in becoming a mentor for our program (e.g. Jewish, successful, likes mentoring). Each of the six individuals I approached selected at least 15 names, yielding over 100 potential mentor prospects.
How’d You Get Their Information?
The brilliant part of this hack is that after an individual selects their friends from their phone and presses Send, those contacts upload to my Share Some Friends database. I then have my prospects’ emails and phone numbers. Then, I proceeded with the following emails:
Steven suggested that I send you an email. I am running a career advancement program for Jewish emerging professionals next month in South Florida. He thought you’d be a great mentor for the evening. May we set a 15-minute time to speak? I would like the opportunity to share more information with you.
Needless to say, we exceeded our recruitment goals.
A Hillel/Israel Trip Example
UF Hillel is an excellent example of a Hillel using this growth hacking technique with their students to recruit for their Israel trips. Since UF Hillel is the largest recruiter of Hillels in the country for Israel trips, we can learn from how they use growth hacking tech and sales funnels to engage thousands of individuals with a staff half the size of the typical Hillel. It’s worth reading Rabbi Adam Grossman’s article on this topic Coffee for Closers. A secret hack to their success is leveraging Share Some Friends.
Why Was Share Some Friends Developed?
Michael Eglash, co-creator of Share Some Friends, developed this growth hacking tool as a way to quickly share information.
Whether you are recruiting for an Israel trip, planning an event, or collecting referrals to fundraising, gone are the days of flipping through rolodexes. Here is the day that you can literally…. Share Some Friends.
To learn more, here’s a link to the Share Some Friends website.
Bradley Caro Cook, Ed.D., is the co-founder of Career Up Now and believes the power of the Jewish people is our people and our unique value proposition is Jewish wisdom. He is a Birthright Israel Fellow, UpStart alumnus, Eli Talk Fellow, and a member of the Schusterman ROI Community. Bradley is always open to helping nonprofits exceed their goals. He can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org