Saturday, May 18, 2013


And, speaking of the need to "Do Your Job"....

Apparently all those rumors were true -- Paul Kane will be leaving his position as the JFNA -- SENIOR ADVISER TO THE PRESIDENT/CEO (now you know what his job was supposed to be and, given what has emanated from the CEO, it wasn't much of a job nor was there much in the way of "advice") -- " that's not me" -- which means that our national organization has been without a senior professional leading its non-existent financial resource development effort for almost six years. Couple that reality with the fact that the lay leaders of what should be FRD have wholly failed in their responsibilities other than as cheerleaders and non-fund raising Mission leaders for the same length of time and what have we got: a national fund raising organization created to raise more dollars and more donors doing none of it.

Well, wait one minute you say: what about the Million Dollar Round Table (or whatever it's called} bringing together federation CEOs and $1 million donors -- exactly twice (the second -- and last -- being devoted in large measure to reminiscences of the UJA efforts to do the same [then called the "Mega Group"] but, at the demand of the "members" with no CEOs present). 

Or, what about the FRD help to the smaller federations that JFNA used to provide -- sorry, no more; solicitation training -- sorry, no more; suite solicitations and fly-ins -- sorry, no more; capacity giving at the Cabinet Retreats -- sorry...well, you get it. 

But, how can this be you ask? JFNA is now advertising for a "new position." The "Position Description" proffered from 25 Broadway is a revelation in and of itself. Examples:
  • "...this individual will serve on the JFNA leadership team and will manage 6 direct reports (who have these 'direct reports' been reporting to these last 6+ years??) and a total of 37 professionals (who, what, where?)."
  • "In partnership with the CEO and the National Campaign Chair, design the Financial Resource Development strategy for the organization , focusing on increasing fundraising results and achieving a total campaign of a billion dollars nationally in 3 years." 
  • "Develop an organizational model and build a high performing 'A' level team that delivers results and leads the Federations into the future." 
There's more, of course, but these are enough. These ridiculous and over-reaching goals would be commendable had they been goals over the last 6+ years but, instead, reflect the kind of thinking that goes on inside the bubble that JFNA has become. 

Worse, they evidence the FRD void that has existed at JFNA for at least those last 6+ years; the lack of any understanding of the financial issues that federations regardless of City-size are dealing with in the re-engineering of their annual campaigns, their very purposes. And, worse, there is every indication in the job description of a talent void within JFNA when that Description ascribes one goal of the new professional as being responsible for " a high performing 'A' level team that delivers results." How demoralizing to the current staff -- a group of bright professionals capable of high performance if given the leadership so sorely lacking today and for years past.

And, then, take a look at some of the "Professional Qualifications:"
  • 20+ years of progressively responsible and successful experience in fundraising and nonprofit or general management (huh? Is that like, e.g., selling pants?)
  • Knowledge of JFNA mission and goals highly desirable (I would suggest, with all due respect, that that should be a qualification for current "senior management")

All in all, JFNA looks for Moshe Rabeinu once again -- we shall see what it ends up with this time. Maybe another SENIOR ADVISER TO THE CEO.



Anonymous said...

JFNA does not raise the dollars under question, federations do. Until the national organization defines it's role in that context their efforts will be sham. The conversation that must precede or quickly follow the hire is to define the National and global activities the communities require in today's fundraising environment that will position them for success.

RWEX said...


The conclusions you express are,of course, correct in general. Yet, the national organization has the obligations to supplement federation campaigns, to suggest the case for giving, to inspire capacity giving on its Missions and among its constituencies -- among other FRD efforts -- none of which it is doing today.

Anonymous said...

No argument here Richard. However to articulate a case for giving you first have to understand and value the Federation product and how it connects to our donors. An organization that glorifies and panders to foundations and their peanut gallery the so called "innovation space" will inevitably downgrade, degrade and marginalize the big ticket community building and nation building message that made Federation great and continues to resonate.

RWEX said...

Again, I find myself in total agreement --and appreciate your articulation of what must be done by an organization that, to date, hasn't been able to accomplish anything and wholly fails to comprehend what you've written so well.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I think JFNA needs to reissue that famous popular monograph "Only Federation Can: A Century of Big Jewish Ideas and Strategic Successes". Oh wait, what? It was never written? Title too long to tweet? Big competes with scaling? Strategy, success and Jewish too open to multiple interpretations? What's an idea? Never mind...

RWEX said...

To the Anonymous Commentator -- if you would please resend your Comment but delete the "The Village called, they want..." sentence I will publish it for it is otherwise well done.