Thursday, January 10, 2013


If there is one change I would hope the new JFNA Chairs would make -- after getting rid of or significantly downsizing the GPT -- it would be to revive the organization as an effective fund raising leader for our system. And one way to do so would be to understand, as the Chairs do but, apparently no others do, would be to assure that no national Mission ever again is without a fund raising component. That's not the case today.

Case(s) in point -- the most recent Solidarity Missions bringing leaders to Israel to experience first hand what our Israeli mishpacha was experiencing during that Terrorists War on Israel. Our message of "we are with you" appears to have been so well-delivered and so appreciated. Participants on both of these Missions have told me first-hand how meaningful the experience was to them...and that there was no fund raising whatsoever. Most amazing of all -- one of these Missions was led by the National Campaign Chair herself. From her own experiences over the years, she knows better. Way, way better. Yet, she has failed to raise the level of JFNA engagement with fund raising over Terms that now far exceed any...any...of her predecessors.

Yes, Mission experiences...these Solidarity Mission experiences...have value in and of themselves. But all of us who have had those experiences know and understand that those experiences have even more meaning when one expresses himself and herself, with the financial commitment that grows out of the Mission experiences. And, here is but one place where JFNA's past leaders and its current Philanthropic Resources Chair have failed us -- for they know (or at least once knew) that one expression of our values is in our campaigns, now almost totally ignored.

At the beginning of what is now JFNA, there was agreement, expressed in the merger supporting documents, that JFNA would have a "leadership of equals" -- Board Chair, Executive Chair and National Campaign Chair, the last being an expression of the federations' commitment to "more dollars and more donors." Over time, the National Campaign Chair's role has been reduced to the Chair of an important Committee, Philanthropic Resources; there is no troika at the top.

And just as the framing title has been "rebranded" (isn't that what we do?), eliminating even the word "Campaign" from the JFNA lexicon, so has the critical emphasis of the organization to the Annual Campaign, the lifeblood, been down-graded and, generally, ignored but for a speech now and then. No more do we here goals of "one billion dollars and one million donors" -- we have had no national aspirations for at least the last six years and certainly over the last three plus.

We are but a shadow of what we once were. And more's the pity.


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