Retrospective of 2015: Our Top Six Picks!

look-back-forwardBy Robert Evans

As the calendar year closed last week, the editors at eJewish Philanthropy took at look back at the most “popular” or well-read items it circulated across the globe. One of our team’s pieces made the top 10 list but in addition to our talking about and reporting on new trends in congregational dues, we thought long and hard and came up with five other submissions of our 25 in 2015 that should require some re-reading and consideration.

So with perspective in mind, we encourage you to either re-read or read for the first time five blogs that set a tone for good fundraising and good institutional behavior. (And we promise more insightful and thought-provoking items in 2016!)

  1. More non-Orthodox congregations are considering alternatives to the now-traditional “dues model.” Any new thoughts about the impact this is making on bringing in more members to congregations? Go to: “Alternative Dues Models and the Larger Paradigm Shift in Synagogue Life.”
  2. Donor Advised Funds (DAF’s) are hot and are the most talked-about innovation in philanthropy in recent years, yet much confusion and non-understanding reign across the board, especially with Jewish nonprofits. Read: “Focusing on the Donor in Donor Advised Funds.”
  3. #GivingTuesday was one of the remarkable successes in 2015 yet so many of the Jewish nonprofits have failed to capture the imagination of congregations, day schools, JCC’s, federations, and other prominent organizations. Evans Consulting’s Ross Kasper offers some challenges for doing a better job in 2016. Read his commentary at: “Embracing #GivingTuesday 2016.”
  4. Cyber security has become a household term but nonprofits generally have failed to take the necessary steps to protect their systems and records. Here’s a frightening report of nonprofits and cyber security: “How Secure is Your Nonprofit from Cyber Threats?
  5. 2015 will probably be recorded as the best year for giving in America … again, prompted by especially large gifts from some of the nation’s wealthiest. But what about the actions of Jewish mega donors and the organizations they support with their largest current and legacy gifts? Even if you’ve heard or read stories before, this article requires some further consideration for every Jewish nonprofit leader and executive: “Making a List and Checking It Twice: Jewish Mega Donors and the Public Relations Challenge.”
  6. Giving USA continues to be the “bible” of philanthropic statistics and trends and our interpretation of the June 2015 report requires your review. I’m a member of the GUSA editorial board and take pride in the work my other editors and I devote to interpreting the research conducted by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. Go to: “What is the Jewish Community Doing to Take Advantage of Record Levels of Generosity?

Robert Evans, founder and president of the Evans Consulting Group, a full-service firm that helps nonprofits meet and exceed their strategic and fundraising goals, appears regularly at major conferences and his commentary and blogs attract significant attention and command discussions. Now in its 25th year, Evans Consulting creates and leads fundraising campaigns, facilitates strategic planning processes, engages in donor research and cultivation, coaches nonprofit leaders and performs a number of other development-related services. A regular contributor to eJewishPhilanthropy.com, he can be reached at revans@theevansconsultinggroup.com.