2016-11-09 / Columns

Look for exciting changes from Federation in the coming year

FEDERATION 411
JENNIFER DUBROW WEISS
Jewish Federation CEO

Here at the Jewish Federation, we are always striving for innovation and collaboration. These are the keystones to everything we do here: From our programs and services to how we handle the day-to-day tasks of running a business. It is our promise to the community that we provide the best and that we operate the best. And to that end, we are changing the way we do business here.

In order to remain the best in everything we do, we need to change the vocabulary that surrounds us. We need to focus on our areas of impact and not on our organizational chart. We are one Federation family and we all share the same goal of building a thriving Jewish community for South Jersey. Through the Federation family, we are serving the needs of our seniors, families and youth, and individuals with special needs. We are advocating for and engaging our community. We are strengthening Jewish communities in Israel and overseas. We are making an IMPACT.

In the coming months, you’ll see more and more about that impact as we launch a new education campaign. At the end of the day, we know that what matters most is our impact in the community. That’s the perception we are endeavoring to change.

A “dirty” word for nonprofits has always been “unrestricted” gifts. But, unrestricted doesn’t mean a black hole for giving. Unrestricted IS designated giving. Did you know that only 10 percent of our fundraising dollars go to overhead? That means 90 percent of every gift you give to the Jewish Federation is designated to a program or service we provide or allocate money to. Unrestricted gifts allow Federation to allocate money to where it is needed most.

Beyond changing the vocabulary we’re so used to hearing, we are also diving deeper into connecting with our community. What that means for you is seeing Federation on a smaller scale with “micro communities” that are focused on specific demographics to connect people Jewishly to the things they care most about. Community planning and engagement have always been a part of what we do here at the Jewish Federation, and soon we’ll be launching the Center for Impact and Innovation to better focus our efforts in that area. Stay tuned!

And lastly, we are taking stock of the efficiencies of our day-to-day operations. The transition to a new system-wide donor database last year was just the first step. We will be looking for innovative ways to save time and money by investing in our future, seeking out economies of scale, and looking at shared services throughout the Federation family.

We have some exciting changes ahead of us this year! s jweiss@jfedsnj.org

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