Tuesday, July 11, 2017


When I served as National Campaign Chair of the United Jewish Appeal, thanks to a spectacularly creative professional staff, we created the Campaign Chairs and Directors Mission which became a seminal annual achievement of UJA and the federations. It should still be so; it isn't. 

Now, what was then is no more...and no separate General Campaign Chair and professionals, no separate Women's Campaign Chair and professionals and none of them nor the incredible Federation campaign directors who were with us will ever forget the excitement, the passion, the learning and the Caucuses. I still hear from so many of you with whom I shared those experiences. 

Today, some chachams have essentially rebranded the "CC/CD" Mission into something called a "FRD Leadership Mission" (a "come one-come all" thing) to the Ukraine and Israel. Here is how JFNA described the participation and purpose:
"The FRD Leadership Mission brings together the top leaders from across the fundraising ​spectrum—Campaign, Planned Giving, National Women’s Philanthropy and Supplemental Giving. At the core of Federation is a belief in the power of partnership. That’s why this unique mission is only open to Federation leaders willing to come with their volunteer and professional partner."
Then, days later, another Mission leaves, this one the, wait for it, "Campaigners Mission" 
just to Israel. And JFNA describes it thusly:
"Give us six days and we’ll give you a mission you’ll never forget. This is the worker-training mission for lay and professional campaigners and face-to-face solicitors who want to deepen their connection to the Federation story."
I'm betting that at points on these Missions, Senior Consultant Vicki Agron will present and at other points Consultant Rae Ringel will present and, I'm just guessing, Jerry will show up. Should be great.

To further confuse the participants, it appears that these Missions conjoin in Israel. Now, why take something that was working with incredible response and screw with it? It's JFNA, my friends, that's what they do.

So give JFNA credit for doing something, anything.

Now, a contest. That FRD Leadership Mission had, according to the inimitable FedWorld, "[N]early 100 participants" from 32 communities. Assuming each community sent a professional, and that the overseas partners and JFNA, of course, sent a professional contingent and a few consultants and, perhaps, a lay leader or two: send me your estimate, on-line or off-line, of the number of non-JFNA fund raising lay leaders you think participated on this Mission. I will hold your responses (so as not to influence your own estimate) and publish them one week from today. 

One thing is for sure: the turnout was disgraceful -- just like everything JFNA touches



Jeser In Israel said...

This was a disappointing post. As someone currently on the FRD Mission, I can only speak about its current iteration. Site visits have been transformative and meaningful. Traveling with my campaign co-chairs is helping reinforce and elevate our relationship. Conversations with colleagues AND lay leaders have been outstanding. My best rough count, FYI Richard, is that the group is comprised of roughly half professionals and half lay leaders. Maybe I don't know what was, but what is is extraordinary. It's a shame your post doesn't consider that possibility.

- Michael Jeser

Anonymous said...

Wow - 32 communities. Let's see if I got this right. Almost 100 participants - (translation - probably less than 90 if JFNA's ability to count delegates to a GA is any indication). If 90 assume 4-5 JFNA professionals since there must be at least 3 buses. (JFNA probably uses the same ratio's as the number of people it takes to screw in a light bulb 1 to screw in the light bulb and one to hold the ladder). That brings the number to about 80 if the math is correct. There are about 20 Large cities. If each sent only one lay leader and one professional that takes care of 40. There are about 20 large intermediate federations to account for another 40. Since there were only 32 federations something doesn't compute and suggests that this is far from a national mission. So either there were no intermediate or small federations on the mission or not all large cities or large intermediate cities participated. One can only wonder if their lack of participation was in any way due to how they viewed the quality of the mission and the expectation that it would in anyway benefit their community for the very large expense they probably had to pay to participate.

Anonymous said...

To Jeser and a follow up to Anon 11:20. Jeser, as a participant in the mission can you identify how many large federations and how many large intermediate federations are on the mission? Also, of course the site visits are excellent. They are organized by the partners, JAFI, JDC, and World ORT, not JFNA.

Jeser In Israel said...

To Anon 1:28. The site visits are certainly part of what has made this an excellent mission. I could go on about the leadership training, the facilitated conversations, the depth of learning, etc...I don't have a list of 'large-Intermediate' federations that I can refer to, sorry and I can't comment on how the numbers this year compare to past years. I can only share my opinion that this has already been an excellent and high quality experience (we are just wrapping up day #2).

Anonymous said...

Here's a rough count:
Large City: 11
Large Intermediate: 9
Intermediate: 10

Anonymous said...

So, what were the site visits?

How much time was spent promoting JAFI's revolt against its Likud masters?