Engaging the Empty Nesters

Empty NestBy Molly Ritvo

[Written with synagogues in mind; applicable for all.]

In 2016, Jewish organizations need to focus on reaching the many different demographics found within their communities. As you continue to strengthen connections among young adults, begin to consider how you can engage with another crucial demographic: the Empty Nesters. With their children in college, these empty nesters have the time, resources and desire to get involved in their local Jewish community. In most Jewish organizations, empty nesters are active and connected members who are busy spearheading committees, volunteering, and organizing community-wide celebrations. The empty nesters in your community are active online. By taking advantage of digital tools, such as social media, emails, and your synagogue website you can increase connection, communication and involvement between this demographic and your community.

Use Social Media: Social networks are of great value to empty nesters. Empty nesters are already on Facebook. They are following their relatives and communicating with friends. Now, take the time to consider you how you can use this powerful social networking tool to deepen your organization’s connection to empty nesters. Use Facebook as a means to promote upcoming events targeting this cohort. Post all of your programs and adult educational offerings in your news feed. Or, consider making a private Facebook group just for baby boomers as a way to encourage conversation and build community.

Maximize Emails: While teens are busy texting and snapchatting, empty nesters are actively using email as a primary communication tool. Meet empty nesters where they already are and consider emails as a critical communication tool to engage this group. Your weekly eblasts should shares information and encourages participation in your community activities. To ensure that your emails are reaching your community, refer to this helpful blog for tips and suggestions for success.

Plan special events for empty nesters: If you haven’t done so already, consider creating social and educational programs geared especially for the empty nesters in your community. Use your website, social media, and emails to promote these events. Make a separate webpage just for the empty nesters and consider asking your Rabbi to offer a program. Use the online tools at your disposal to deepen connections and strengthen the empty nester population.

Language is important. As you create copy and content on your website, be sure that your language is inclusive and speaks to the empty nesters. Make a special welcome section for this group. Have you updated your membership application? Be sure that the application has information for empty nesters and that webpages for new members entices them to want to join your organization.

Empty nesters have the ability to support your organization, both financially and spiritually. Be sure that your website caters to this demographic. The more you can cater to the Boomer members’ content needs, the more they will value your website and being a member of the congregation.

Molly Ritvo is Communications Specialist at Jvillage Network.