Assume you reside in Federation "A" and sit on its Board. Your Federation is doing some cutting edge programming, in particular for emerging leaders and the young. But you are raising less and less money, year by year. You and your fellow leaders have insisted that Federation cut its Budget. You have replaced your CEO with a younger professional leader from outside the federation system. Your overseas allocations have been cut by almost 50% in a decade. Your Federation Budget as a percentage of campaign has risen to 21% while your CEO is one of the 5 highest paid in our system. Would you sit in silence at your Federation Board meetings or would you speak out in protest?
Sound familiar? It should. We have an organization at 25 Broadway, New York, New York, that collects our money and sends it on. It raises almost (I give the CEO credit for his solicitation efforts) no money. It collected about $30 million in Dues in 2010 out of what appears to be $160 (+/-) million sent by the federations. JFNA's percentage of Dues culled out of its receipts -- 21%...that's 21%. So, for every dollar your federation sends to JFNA, it keeps 21 cents. (In its own calculations, JFNA tells the IRS and Guidestar that it is a cash machine, taking credit for the $800 million raised in the campaigns if your communities and mine. Probably a stretch.) And what does JFNA use those funds for? Check it out.
And, few if any on the JFNA Board are paying attention, let alone care. I submit that your federation would not tolerate a 21% overhead. Not for a minute. But JFNA...so add JFNA's 21% overhead to your federation's overhead -- the result is not a good thing -- unless one can rationalize that you are getting 21 cents of service and program for each dollar you send to 25 Broadway.
This Post was inspired by a Reader's e-mail.