Thursday, April 24, 2008


It is one thing to assert, as Ralph Waldo Emerson did -- A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds -- it is another altogether to evidence total inconsistency time and again, often during the same meeting or conference call as UJC leaders have done this week.

As was reported to me, on a conference call last week, and in his public and private statements on the subject, the UJC CEO, to the astonishment of some, effectively wrote off UJC's involvement and leadership in the Financial Resource Development ("FRD") effort. Stating that the Annual Campaigns are undertaken totally by the federations and concluding that UJC can have very little impact on their success, Howard intimated that UJC's investment in the FRD area needs to be diminished. Forget for the moment that annual campaign assistance has been determined, in UJC's own commissioned research, as the federations' highest demand of UJC time and again; forget for the moment that UJC's "investment" in FRD has been diminished significantly over the past two budget cycles; forget for a moment that we are in a recession that could, without investment, severely impact the annual campaign; and forget for the moment that the Large City Executives in their version of Refining UJC's Vision -- not to be confused with UJC's draft version of Refining UJC's Vision (don't ask) -- described UJC's work in "FRD -- Basic Campaign Organization" as one of the "[E]ssential roles that ideally should be paid for centrally (which) [I]ncludes substantial upgrade to Annual Campaign role and Chair position." Forget all of that.

On the cusp of the Chag UJC distributed its own version of Refining UJC's Vision. It bore no substantive relationship to the Large City Executives' Draft -- except for the title. But it did state that the highest "measure of (UJC's) success would be -- "Increase in total FRD." The second highest "measure" -- "Increase in number and quality of donors" including a significant investment in e-philanthropy. So forget all of the above...and just remember, for the moment,that UJC leaders apparently believe that total FRD and an increase in donors will somehow be achieved through a decrease in UJC's commitment to the very efforts that might help it to achieve those goals.

When the UJC Treasurer suggested that the Large City Execs' paper be distributed to the Budget & Finance Committee, that Committee was told by UJC's lay and professional leaders that it couldn't be distributed because we "wouldn't understand the context" -- in fact, the Executives' March 17 Draft states that the conclusions "...can only be properly understood in conjunction with a detailed verbal discussion of what the executives had in mind when identifying desirable UJC roles" -- to me, at least, no context is needed when reading the Large City Executives' FRD recommendations. Where "context" is needed is in trying to "align" (forgive me) UJC's own leadership's recommendations in its version of the "Vision" with that framed by the Large City Executives and with what their CEO stated in total contradiction of UJC's FRD role. I'm certain there is an explanation and that the owners, the federations, will never hear it unless they ask for it and, even then...

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" -- UJC has the "little minds" part down.


1 comment:

Tateh said...

In this age of the internet the "campaign" needs to be branded and marketed globally even when executed locally. what that means and how that translates into practice should be the stuff of concerted thinking on a national level and the allocation of dues resources. If Clinton can raise 10 million in hours and Obama 41 million in a month what is it telling us about donor recruitment. National agencies can't be all things to all constituent agencies -- but they can be the one right thing at the one right time.