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Thursday, April 12, 2012
D'Var Torah

Lee I. Sherman


Here in Baltimore, spring has come early this year. We had a warm winter, some incredibly warm temperatures in March, and now we have been in full bloom for the past several weeks. We have already passed the early season jonquils and daffodils and the azaleas in our yard have been at peak color for the last few days, at least three weeks earlier than usual. This advanced coming of the flowering season reminds me of the old Jewish lament about our holidays: "Passover (or fill in the blank of your favorite chag) is always either early or late, it is never on time!"


Well, this year it seems to me that Passover is very much "on time." At our Seders, we bless and share the karpas as a symbol of the emergence of spring. The festival is all about the departure from a dark, somber period of slavery (our winter), into the brilliance of a new life as a free people with our own homeland. Passover is the spring planting festival, just as it marks the rooting of the Israelites as a community. And, just as each spring the cycle of new growth begins again, so in each generation of the Jewish people there is a connection to the traditions of the past and a renewal of the spirit of those who fled Egypt.


Enjoy the early spring if you are having one. Celebrate the concluding days of Passover for their re-energizing moments. Forget about the calendar and know that we are truly "on time" this year.


Chag Pesach Sameach and Shabbat Shalom.  

2012 AC combined logo-3.6.12

AJFCA's 40th Annual Conference

We look forward to seeing conference attendees in less than two weeks at AJFCA's 2012 Annual Conference. Registration for the 40th Annual Conference will close on Thursday, April 12th. Please contact Barbara Tapper regarding unpaid registrations (credit card payments and checks) and/or refunds. Don't forget to check the AJFCA website regarding travel, hotel, special events and guest speakers.      


Kosher Meals:  Kosher food will be served at all meal functions (breakfasts, breaks, luncheons and host reception) and has been prepared under strict Orthodox supervision. For those interested in purchasing a kosher box lunch at the hotel on Monday, April 23rd or Tuesday, April 24th, please click on the following link for more information: Kosher box lunches. Your order must be placed by April 17th.

The World Council of Jewish Communal Services Announces their 12th Quadrennial Conference 

The World Council of Jewish Communal Services (WCJCS) will hold its 12th Quadrennial Conference in Jerusalem June 24th-26th. Come and experience 3 days of exciting learning, sharing, networking and site-visit experiences with professional colleagues from Jewish communities around the world.


This conference's theme, "Energizing the Present, Envisioning the Future: Strengthening Jewish Community," will examine what Jewish communal professionals must do today to continue to engage members of their communities and the strategies that must be implemented today to ensure that tomorrow's Jewish community is strong and vibrant for future generations.


It isn't often that one has an opportunity to participate in a conference with other diverse Jewish professionals from so many other countries, and share similar concerns and challenges with them in professional tasks, while being enriched by new practice, new ideas and many new issues which relate to Israel and the Jewish world alike.


Another perk about this conference is that all WCJCS registrants have been invited to participate for free in the President of Israel's 4th "Facing Tomorrow" conference to take place June 19th-21st.


Learn more about the 12th World Council of Jewish Communal Services (WCJCS) Quadrennial Conference here.

The Cost of High Turnover in Fundraising Jobs

The Cost of High Turnover in Fundraising Jobs, April 2, 2012, Chronicle of Philanthropy, by Raymund Flandez 

The high turnover rate of fundraisers is costing charities money. Lots of money.

The average amount of time a fundraiser stays at his or her job: 16 months. The direct and indirect costs of finding a replacement: $127,650.

chronicle philanthropy 

Those figures come from new research  by Penelope Burk, president of Cygnus Applied Research. In her presentation at the Association of Fundraising Professionals conference in Vancouver, she said findings from a survey she has conducted of 1,700 fundraisers and 8,000 nonprofit chief executives, suggest that it would cost just $46,650 to keep a good fundraiser happy by providing better salaries and other benefits, such as additional vacation time.


The study is expected to be released this fall.


ajfca logo-resizedLearn more about the challenges JFCS experiences in trying to improve retention of direct service professionals at Monday's 1:45pm session, "Oh Won't You Staaaaay . . . Just a Little Bit Longer. 

House Passes Budget Resolution Harmful to Seniors

On March 29th, the House passed a budget resolution, or blueprint, crafted by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI). Every Democrat and 10 Republicans voted against it. NCOA opposes the proposal because it block grants and cuts Medicaid by $810 billion, creates a Medicare "premium support" program that would shift more costs onto beneficiaries, block grants and cuts SNAP (Food Stamps) by at least $134 billion, significantly cuts non-defense discretionary programs such as the Older Americans Act, and provides new tax breaks for very wealthy citizens while getting almost two-thirds of the budget cuts from low-income programs, according to some estimates.

Jerry Large: Jewish Family Service's Long Heritage of Outreach

Jewish Family Service's Long Heritage of Outreach, April 9, 2012, The Seattle Times, by Jerry Large

Jewish Family Service honors its heritage by building community.


The words that run along the front of a new building on Seattle's Capitol Hill caught Seattle Times Staff Columnist, Jerry Large's attention. The building on 16th Avenue belongs to Jewish Family Service (JFS), and the words are from the Rabbi Hillel, the renowned sage of Judaism: "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?"

seattle times 

The words capture what the social-service agency is about. And beyond that, they seem to suggest how best to live in any community, but especially a pluralistic one.


Jerry saw the sign a couple of months ago and took a photo of it, and thought of it again as Passover approached.


Recently Jerry spoke at Endless Opportunities, one of the JFS programs, and its director, Ellen Hendin, told him lots of passers-by stop to snap photos. She gave Jerry a book on the history of Washington's Jewish community and told him JFS, which played a role in that history, is 120 years old this year.


Read the entire article to learn more about JFS honoring its heritage by building community. 

What Are Nonprofits Doing with Social Media? Six Interesting Stats
What Are Nonprofits Doing with Social Media? Six Interesting Stats, April 6, 2012, nonprofitmarketingblog.com, by Ktya

It's the week of studies!  First there was the eBenchmarks study, then the Convio benchmarks study, and now the  Blackbaud social media benchmark study.  It's an opportunity to see how your agency stacks up in all different ways online.


The Blackbaud study shows despite limited budgets and staffing, nonprofits continue to find value in their growing social networks.  Here are six key findings:

  • 98% have a Facebook page with an average community size of over 8k fans.  
  • Average Facebook and Twitter communities grew by 30% and 81%, respectively.  
  • Average value of a Facebook Like is $214.81 over 12 months following acquisition.
  • 73% allocate half of a full time employee to managing social networking activities.  
  • 43% budget $0 for their social networking activities.  
  • The top 3 factors for success are: strategy, prioritization, dedicated staff 

12 Incredibly Useful Digital Tools for PR

12 Incredibly Useful Digital Tools for PR, April 4, 2012, PR Daily, by Mark Pack 

What are the key social media tools that PR professionals need to go from bumbling amateur to results-driven superstar? Here are 12 of them:
1.   Google Analytics
2.   Google Insights for Search
3.   Google Keywords Tool
4.   Namechk
5.   PeerIndex
6.   Facebook Insights
7.   YouTube Analytics
8.   Google Alerts
9.   Radian6
10. HootSuite
11. Buffer
12. Bit.ly   

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Of course, no such list, whether it has 12 or 12,000 entries, is definitive. What is your favorite tool? Read the entire article to learn about these 12 tools in more detail.


Understanding the Mortgage Service Settlement and the New FHA Streamline Refinancing Plan

Join the National Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and HUD Program for a conference call on the Mortgage Settlement and FHA Streamline Refinancing plans. Participants will learn about the different types of assistance available to individuals and families who are underwater and seeking refinancing assistance, who were wrongfully foreclosed upon, or are currently facing foreclosure.   


Understanding the Mortgage Service Settlement and the New FHA Streamline Refinancing Plan

Wednesday, April 18th, 2:00pm ET



National Center for Benefits Outreach & Enrollment  

Did you ever wonder how to get the answer to a tricky question about a benefit like LIS, SNAP, or Medicaid? Want ways to find out for yourself before you call in an "expert" to help you? It's not that hard-you just need to know where and how to look.


NCOA's April webinars will offer you the tools you need to get your questions answered and inform your discussions with governmental agencies and other experts. You'll learn how to dig into the law, the regulations, and official governmental policy guidance.


Finding the Answers You Need When You Need Them

Monday, April 23, 2:00pm ET - REGISTER HERE

Friday, April 27, 2:00pm ET - REGISTER HERE


Health Care Conference Calls

The Health and Human Services Partnership Center continues to host a series of interactive conference calls discussing the benefits and provisions of the health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act.

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All calls are open to the public and include a question and answer session where you can ask HHS staff any questions you may have about the health care reform law. You are also encouraged you to submit questions you would like to have answered on the calls to  ACA101@hhs.gov.


To participate in one of the conference calls, please select your preferred date from the list below and submit the necessary information. Call-in information and Power Point slides will be made available 24 hours in advance.


PowerPoint slides for the Health Care Law 101 calls can be found by clicking here.


Tour of www.healthcare.gov 

Tuesday, April 17th, 2:00pm ET 



Health Care Law and Health Care Disparities (in Spanish)

Tuesday, April 24th, 2:00pm ET



Nonprofit Sustainability: Understanding and Changing Your Business Model in 90 Minutes

Too often program goals are discussed separately from financial means, although we all know that both must be discussed together. Jan Masaoka and Steve Zimmerman will present the methodology for doing so from the book they recently co-authored (with Jeanne Bell): Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability. This free webinar will present a fresh look at choosing the mix of programs, earned income, and donations that will be sustainable for your organization.


Nonprofit Sustainability: Understanding and Changing Your Business Model in 90 Minutes

Wednesday, May 3rd, 11:00am PT


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