The Never-Ending Fundraising Crunch

JT Waldman writing on the JPS Interactive blog:

All Quiet on the Philanthropy Front

… As a non-profit professional working on a dynamic new project for an established Jewish organization, I find that funding prospects are few and far between. The cold, hard reality is that aside from the support from one foundation who provided the seed funding for the Tagged Tanakh in 2008, all the grant applications we submitted in 2009 specifically for JPS Interactive were declined, citing the economy and or obligations to previous grantees. Donors seem hesitant to support “innovative” (read as risky) projects/organizations, and most funders are justifiably overly cautious in this economic climate.

It’s very easy for the prospective grantees to sit on the sidelines and kvetch that no one is supporting their righteous causes. Jewish upstarts, PresenTense, dedicated an entire issue to the state of Jewish philanthropy. Some of their writers suggested funding people not projects and pointed to supporting peer communities like the Bronfman Youth Fellowships and ROI Community as a way to catalyze individual action within a structured framework.

As someone who has been in the Jewish fundraising trenches for over two years, I guess my greatest frustration is the amount of time I dedicate to fundraising, as opposed to doing my job to create an engaging online experience with Jewish text.