Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Gosh, I am pretty much overwhelmed by the construct that states: "Obama's internet fund raising results were so incredible that they are immediately transferable to our federations." This premise is then supported by hiring consultants who have represented themselves as being at the cutting edge of that Obama effort -- it appears without much in the way of due diligence. Gone are the days of, to paraphrase that terrific leader, former National Campaign Chair Atlanta's Steve Selig, who said it best: "What we are about is one Jew asking a second Jew to help a third Jew." Instead, there is the all-consuming belief that Jewish philanthropy can maximize its appeal to a new generation through an all-out e-philanthropy effort. That political fund raising and social networking can, according to a section of the the JFNA Development Focus paper, yield 500,000...that's half a donors in a remarkably short period of time. No empirical evidence...many unsupported assumptions.

We used to love the "ask;" now we e-mail, direct mail, telephone. We use the internet for e-philanthropy. We talk about PDA phone fund raising, Facebook. Face-to-face, not efficient. Calling cards, announcing's's's so 1985. Ignore Chicago's continued's an aberration. Let's hire consultants and await something called "__#ish." And the donors will follow. Even the suggestion that we combine the tested and true with the untested and new is met with "you're so old and out of touch" not even the pejorative "old school dinasaur" I wish JFNA only success in its pursuit of 10's of 1000's, 100's of 1000's of new donors for our system and for new engagement with a generation of unaffiliated. But, get real guys -- what's the plan? Hire a consultant who promises the moon?

I am all for trying the new; for JFNA to be the laboratory where new ideas are tested. But, what about in the mean time? What is the JFNA Development Department doing while our federation campaigns at best wane and, at worst, crater? Hello? Hello? Anyone home?

M'G-d, what fools we mortals be.


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