Lot's going on....
~ Hi. It's Me, Kathy. As if to demonstrate how involved in everything is the JFNA Chair, if you happen to have called our national hot spot over the past month and were put on hold, you would hear the Chair's dulcet tones inveighing you to come to New Orleans for the GA. Not some professional pitchman, not Jerry or Michael or the GA Co-Chairs, but the Chair's herself. And a fine voice it is.
~ #ish. We wrote our Post about the wild statistical claims of the JFNA "ish crowd" a while ago. Not surprising, at least to me, we have heard from CEOs from around the country -- of all City-sizes -- expressing their amazement at the cost and the lack of return on investment. Friends, we all agree, JFNA should experiment. But when an experiment fails, don't try to paint it as a success; admit it didn't work; and move on. Instead, someone(s) at JFNA is hiding failure behind jargon here, pure and simple. What jargon? Well, in a few paragraphs there was: "equivalency of..." "impressions of our banner" "tweet reach" and "Federation Finder traffic..." There was probably more. But, at the end of the day...federation benefits are wholly unknown from a claim of 53,000,000 "unique visits" and "200,000,000 impressions" (maybe that was the "equivalency of..."). Sounds and reads like smoke and mirrors to me...at a cost of $250,000...so far.
~ More on the PM Mission. You may remember back a few weeks when Kathy Manning received a letter from Prime Minister Netanyahu asking that JFNA and the federations hold the line on allocations to JAFI? Manning wrote back a letter insulting in its lack of any response to the Prime Minister on the specifics of his. So, on the PM Mission, guess what? The Prime Minister was unable to find the time to meet with the JFNA contingent. Yes, there are consequences.
~ A Friend of the Blog, a great federation leader, took up the challenge of listing five JFNA "accomplishments" as I asked. His list:
"1. Steady increases in the overseas allocations despite the deterioration in the US economy
2. Careful stewarding of emerging federation markets resulting in solid lay participation in their campaigns
3. Successfully identified and cultivated the next generation of leadership
4. Carefully reengaged key lay leadership that had become alienated.
5. Kept its budget in line with its scale of effort and success"
Of course I have admonished him for his sarcasm. But, seriously, what's your list of five unique JFNA achievements over the past five years -- other than the Washington Office? I would welcome learning from JFNA's leaders (who claim "never to read this Blog" and then complain to all within and beyond earshot that I am "insulting them personally") what they believe their (I would say, instead, "JFNA's" but they believe that JFNA is about personal achievement)accomplishments have been. Write me, I'll keep your names hidden.
~ Howard Rieger published a most remarkable Op-Ed in The Fundermentalist (http://blogs.jta.org/philanthropy/article/2010/10/14/2741303/rieger) --In a do-your-own-thing world of giving, how do we do our own thing? To me this was "vintage pre-UJC Rieger" -- reflecting with incredible insight into the world he and we all care about. It was a well-written, well thought through work that reflected the Howard Rieger we thought had been hired as UJC CEO. Read the article -- truly superb.