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AJFCA's 2012 Annual Conference - Houston Intercontinental Hotel - Houston, TX 

Leading with Vision: Strategizing for Excellence

We are looking forward to seeing you April 22nd-24th in Houston, TX for the 40th Annual AJFCA Conference. Please visit Annual Conference on the AJFCA website for details about the Houston Intercontinental Hotel, where we'll be hosting the conference, travel and local attractions.


Registration materials will be available shortly. In the meantime, please feel free to review the conference timeline (for travel purposes) located on the AJFCA website under, Annual Conference, Calendar of Events.  

New this Year, AJFCA wants you to bring your staff, board and lay leaders to our exciting conference. We are offering a rebate to our member agencies of $200 for each full registration from their community over the 4th registered attendee. Please see the AJFCA website for details. _______________________________________________________________________________________________ 

2012 Conference Awards

AJFCA and the Conference Awards Judges are thrilled to present the guidelines for the KOVOD, Distinguished Service, Leadership and TrailBlazer awards for this year's conference. This year's KOVOD Award categories, (which are listed below) are focused on bringing out best practices in programming among JFCS agencies through North America. We are eager to receive submissions and learn even more about the creative and innovative work you do within your agencies and for the communities you serve.  

  • Creative Use of Volunteers in Client Services
  • Effective Use of Social Media
  • JF&CS Collaborative Program (submitted by a member agency or agencies)
  • Best Practices in Connecting Judaism to Client Programming  

If you have any questions of concerns please contact Megan.

Sustaining Innovation

Sustaining Innovation, eJP, January 4, 2012 by Stephen G. Donshik
Any professional or lay leader of a nonprofit organization is familiar with the perpetual quest for innovation. Responding to the needs of the community in fresh and cutting edge ways is not only a constant challenge, it is often compounded by the additional task of presenting these new ideas to funders or supporters.

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Present and prospective donors are always interested in what is unique, innovative and/or creative about a new program and the way it responds to the community's needs. It is no longer enough to provide services. At the same time, there is a price for maintaining a strong commitment to creative approaches. How do voluntary agencies sustain funding for sometimes risky and innovative ideas? How do they continually search for new ways of providing social, health and/or educational services and at the same time sustain the services over time?


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At the 2012 AJFCA Annual Conference you will have the opportunity to participate in workshop sessions detailing the creation of innovative programming as well as generating revenue for your agency. 

Nonprofit Capacity Needs More Investment

Nonprofit Capacity Needs More Investment, eJP, December 19, 2011, by Todd Cohen 

Nonprofits face a crisis in their organizational "capacity," and their boards and funders need to step up to help address it. Traditionally expected to do more with less, nonprofits are strained to the limit because of the wounded economy, with many of them at serious risk of failure.


Facing rising demand for services because the economy has hammered their clients, nonprofits also have had to cut their budgets, freeze or cut their staffs, salaries and benefits, and intensified the pressure on staffs already under stress and often headed toward burnout and the exit. Yet instead of actively piloting their organizations through a storm that is setting off alarm bells, nonprofit boards keep hitting the snooze button.  


Cohen believes nonprofit boards and philanthropic funders can take a big step in helping to address the urgent social and global problems nonprofits face.

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Several 2012 AJFCA Annual Conference workshops will focus on and explore the role board members and lay leaders play in fundraising and marketing. 


AJFCA's Member Forums

The AJFCA member forums are continuing to gain popularity and we greatly appreciate your participation. There are a few topics that have been posted with no responses, which we wanted to share with you, encouraging you to converse with your colleagues; sharing ideas and information. (Please note that not all unanswered posts were included in this listing.) 


Marketing/Communications Professionals

Mobile Giving - 10/22/11  

Has anyone subscribed to a mobile giving service? If so, what has been your experience?


Human Resource Professionals

Donating PTO12/13/11

Does anyone have a policy on donating PTO (paid time off) days between staff?  


Agency Presidents/Board Chairs

Strategic/Long Range Plans - 10/2/11

We are Size B JFCS and we are launching a strategic/long range planning initiative and are looking for sample strategic plans plus vision/mission statements if not included in the plan. 


A/B Agency CEOs/EDs

I.T. Budget 8/26/11  

Looking for feedback on what your I.T. budgets are as a percentage of your agency's entire budget.


CEO Evaluation - 11/14/11

We are currently revising our CEO evaluation process and want to elicit feedback from select staff. I know that some of you are already doing 360s on the CEO and would appreciate receiving the questions you pose to staff.


All Agency CEOs/EDs

Development Associate/Directors Job Descriptions - 12/16/11

I am looking for some assistance with job descriptions for development professionals. Does anyone have any they could send me?


Development Professionals 

Donor Motivation Program - 8/22/11

JFCS is considering signing up for the Donor Motivation Program to help with our Planned Giving efforts. Is anyone using this program? Or another model for Planned Giving?


If you would like to join a forum, please email Barbara your name, your agency and the name of the forum(s) you would like to join. Barbara will email you your username and password once you have been entered.    


We look forward to the return of vibrant discussions and the exchange of information that will benefit the work of all of our member agencies.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day - Friday, January 27th  

On January 27th each year, the United Nations (UN) remembers the Holocaust. This day is called the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.


The day also commemorates when the Soviet troops liberated the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland on January 27, 1945. It is hoped that through remembering these events, people will remember the Holocaust and prevholocaust rememberance dayent genocide.


We also honor the victims and survivors on Yom Hashoah, on the 27th day of Nisan of the Hebrew calendar (typically during the month of April). This date coincides with the anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising and the liberation of the concentration camps in Western Europe.    


Aryeh Sherman, CEO of Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh wrote a piece about International Holocaust Remembrance Day in his agency's January 25th e-newsletter, noting the significance of JFCS agency's regarding holocaust survivors, their clients, and our communities. 


Aryeh wrote, "Sixty-seven years ago this coming Friday, the gates of Auschwitz-Birkenau opened and those who survived are living memorials to those who were lost. As Elie Wiesel once said, remembering has become 'the sacred duty of all people of goodwill.'''   

shoah names recovery project 

Yad Vashem's invites member agencies to take an active role in the worldwide outreach efforts for the Shoah Victims' Names Recovery Project on this day of remembrance. Please read their January newsletter to learn more about commemoration events and the 2012 International Poster Competition-Keeping the Memory Alive.   

Three Thank You Templates and You're OUT!

Three Thank You Templates and You're OUT!, eJP, January 20, 2012 by Deborah Kaplan Polivy, Ph.D. 

According to Deborah Kaplan Polivy, "Personal acknowledgements take time, a thought process and some creativity. However, they can be a highly profitable investment in the future of an organization. They help ensure continuous giving and can even lead to that final donation that remains in perpetuity - the endowment."

ejewish philanthropy 

Nonprofit organizations spend a great deal of time soliciting donations as well as acknowledging gifts. But, with limited resources-time, donors often not only feel but notice that the thank yous they receive from their favorite charity are templates seen year after year.


Whenever possible and especially in cases involving a new donor, an increased donation, or a large donation a personal phone call or letter with a message that indicates a cultivated relationship is a best practice.

Read more about Deborah's thoughts regarding more personal thank you communication sent to donors.

Rethinking the Annual Report for Video  
Rethinking the Annual Report for Video, communityorganizer2.0, January 2012 

Three things are known about the nonprofit annual report: it takes a ton of time to put together beautifullyvideo, few people actually read it, but funders require it. The annual report is one of those pieces of communication and collateral that executive directors and development directors dread putting together because it is such a costly endeavor with relatively little return and short shelf life. It doesn't have to be that way in the age of social. We've socialized constituent communication, websites, fundraising, and events...why not rethink the annual report into a social communication? Several nonprofit organizations have done just that, transforming the paper annual report into a video report, and reinvigorating it in the process.


Video is a natural medium for storytelling, and that's what the annual report should be. 

40+ Social Media Dashboard Tools for Tracking Stuff

40+ Social Media Dashboard Tools for Tracking Stuff, Idealware, Barry Hurd Blog, November 17, 2011, by Barry Hurd blog

As part of Barry Hurd's on-going work developing social media for business units, he's often asked about what types of tools he uses for tracking all that 'social media stuff.'

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The basic answer is that he doesn't have one tool (he has dozens, if not hundreds.) The real answer is that he is not tracking social media. He is tracking key performance indicators (KPI). He doesn't care if it is a shipping problem or a viral YouTube video. He simply wants to know how he can track it, manage it, and maximize results. With that said: when Barry thinks about creating a social media dashboard or using a platform to track results... he is looking at several unique business identifiers that define what tool he needs for the job at hand.

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Key questions that control Barry's decision process
  • Who is going to use it?
  • Who needs to digest the end information?
  • Does it need to tie into legacy systems?
  • What business metrics does one need to map against online touch points?
  • Where and when is this data consumed?
  • What is the data one wants and does one need another tool to communicate it?
  • What does all this really mean?
  • Did one share the information with the right people? 

Barry has a strategic idea . . . now what?


Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit has been selected as a January finalist for The Home Depot Foundation's Aprons in Action Program. Throughout January, the public can vote for JFS' Project Build!, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/homedepotfoundation, to win $25,000 in Home Depot gift cards for future projects. Ejfs detroitach person may vote one time per 24 hour period. The best part is you can vote daily!


In March 2012 one of the 11 monthly winners will be awarded the $250,000 grand prize. The organization that receives the second and third most votes will receive $150,000 and $100,000 from The Home Depot, respectively.


Project Build! is a JFS program that began in 2010 in partnership with the Building Industry Association of Southeastern Michigan (BIA), which helps older adults, people with disabilities, and low-income individuals and families to live in safe, functional and barrier-free homes. To learn more about Project Build!, click here.


The Adoption Connection at Jewish Family Services of Greenwich in conjunction with the NJ Y Camps has opened registration for the fourth annual Forever Families Weekend, a family weekend experience for Jewish families touched by adoption. The program will run from June 8-10, 2012.

JFS Greenwich CT  

Families will have the opportunity to think consciously about their roles in both the Jewish community and the adoption community while enjoying a weekend at one of the largest Jewish summer camps in North America. njy camps


Parents will have the option to participate in workshops such as: Children's Books and Stories of Adoption, Identity Issues for Adoptees Approaching Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Acceptance of Transracial Families in the Jewish Community, and Jewish, LGBT, and Parenting by Adoption while their children participate in age-appropriate activities such as a teen-adoptee spoken word workshop or skill-building workshops aimed at teaching children them how to respond to comments and questions about adoption.


For more information about this program, or to receive Forever Families literature, please contact Debbie Schwartz at 203-622-1881. A downloadable flyer describing the program is available.   


JewishFamily Service of San Diego welcomed new CEO, Michael Hopkins on January 24th. Michael replaces Jill Borg Spitzer who is retiring after 26 years of leadership at Jewish Family Service of San Diego. Jill will be the lone honoree at JFS Heart & Soul Gala on March 3rd and is staying on with JFS as a consultant. jfs san diego

michael hopkins 

Hopkins has devoted more than 30 years to building and strengthening the Jewish community, with a majority of his professional career directing and growing Jewish Community Centers across the country. Prior tojoining Jewish Family Service San Diego, Hopkins served as Executive Director of Nehirim, a national Jewish LGBT organization. Prior to that, he was CEO of Jewish Community Center (JCC) Metrowest, one of the largest JCC's in the country. During his tenure with JCC Metrowest, Hopkins led a $23 million expansion and renovation and launched the nation's first Jewish Health and Healing Center at a JCC.

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