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Friday, May 4, 2012
D'Var Torah

Lee I. Sherman

Our recently concluded annual conference in Houston was a success on many levels. There was a wealth of information shared at workshops on program design and implementation, current trends in the social service sector, and concrete advice on how to improve your organization. Our opening plenary speaker, author Rachel Simon, challenged us to continue our good work in helping people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live lives with meaning, dignity, and respect, and she told a story of beautiful girl(s) that brought many to tears. In his closing plenary remarks, Seth Cohen, Director of Network Initiatives for the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, and president of the board of JFCS Atlanta, instructed us in the power of networks and how we can increase our capacity to serve by empowering our networks to work with and for our agencies. But, most of all, it is always an energizing experience to spend time with professionals and lay leaders who are so passionate about the work that they do in their communities and how that work reflects the best of our Jewish values.


We need the energy of our gatherings because the work we do can often be difficult and isolating. Counseling a family in grief or providing essential home care to an elderly client who lives alone are individual tasks, but they are connected to a larger whole. Our tradition teaches us that strength comes from the families and communities to which we belong. This week we read the double parashot of Aharei Mot - Kedoshim. We begin with the deaths of Aaron's sons for apparent transgressions and then learn of the procedures for expiation of sin and the responsibility for all to participate in the Day of Atonement. In Kedoshim, we read of the collective responsibility to care for the elderly, the disabled, and the disadvantaged among us.


Each year, the commitment I see from the attendees at AJFCA's annual conference assures me that the people who work for our member agencies across the United States and Canada take seriously their roles in caring for their communities. It is truly a network to which I am glad to belong.


Shabbat Shalom.   

2012 AC combined logo-3.6.12

AJFCA's 40th Annual Conference

Thank you for completing the 2012 AJFCA Annual Conference Evaluation Survey. Your feedback is incredibly important to us. If you haven't had a chance to complete the survey please do so by Monday, May 14th.     


As we continue to receive workshop session presentations and conference photos they will be posted on the AJFCA website. Please visit the Annual Conference section of the AJFCA website to view kovod winner award submissions, session presentations, and continuing education credit evaluation forms.


If you presented at the conference and would like to share your PowerPoint and/or handouts, please email them to Megan 

We look forward to seeing you in Phoenix, in May 2013 for the 41st AJFCA Annual Conference. 

AJFCA/Repair the World Volunteer Cohort Attends 2012 Annual Conference

Eighteen volunteer coordinators from AJFCA's member agencies attended the conference in Houston this year to participate in a special track focusing on the role of the volunteer, marking the formal launch of thRepair the Worlde AJFCA/Repair the World Volunteer Initiative.  AJFCA has partnered with Repair the World, the service arm of the American Jewish community, on this initiative to increase the amount and effectiveness of volunteering in the Jewish family services network. The Volunteer Initiative will also focus on expanding outreach to young adults and increasing opportunities for young adults to volunteer at AJFCA member agenciesby working closely with their volunteer coordinators, connecting them with professional development, resources, and each other. 


Testimonials from individual participants:


"Being a part of the Volunteer Cohort through Repair the World at the AJFCA conference in Houston was one of the most valuable professional experiences I have had. Just being in room full of amazing individuals who truly understand why I do what I do every day was priceless and the energy was contagious. The collaboration, innovation and understanding among the Volunteer Cohort was inspirational. The programming was very relevant to my role as Volunteer Manager and I look forward to being able to incorporate some of what I learned in my existing programs. Although we could have used an extra day or two to continue the conversation, I look forward to the opportunity to reconnect with my cohort peers in the future. "

Denise Deitchman, Manager of Volunteer Development, JF&CS of Atlanta


"I think some of my colleagues were envious that our track was so prepared for us. We have made connections that will truly support our work going forward. The experience was validating in terms of comparing our prograometzmming but I also came home with many questions, with new ideas and even some broader philosophies. Being part of the conference helped me to situate myself professionally and jennie gates beckmanpersonally as part of something larger and greater and most significant to our communities and to our future."

Linda Mestel, Manager of Volunteer Services, Agence Ometz, Montreal


You can contribute to the success of this initiative by ensuring that your agency has connected with AJFCA Manager of Civic Engagement & Repair the World Programming Jennie Gates Beckman to identify the professional responsible for managing volunteers. 

Election Year Activity 

The elections this November provide another opportunity for citizens to become engaged in the political process. Charitable organizations that fall under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code such as Jewish Federations and affiliated agencies are "absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office." Violation of this prohibition can result in the imposition of fines, and in some cases, revocation of tax-exempt status.


Although there are many political activities in which nonprofits are prohibited from participating, there are also some in which charities may legally engage. AJFCA and JFNA encourages member agencies to engage in political opportunities in a manner consistent with the information provided in this memorandum in order to promote policy issues, meet with and educate elected officials and those seeking elective office, and ensure that citizens exercise their right to vote. 


This memo is intended to be a brief outline of some permissible activities in which 501(c)(3) organizations may engage in during an election year. It covers distinctions between legislative and electoral activity, voter registration and education, activities conducted by individuals as opposed to organizations, and more.  AJFCA and JFNA encourage you to share this memo with your affiliates and other agencies in your community, but please note that this memo is not intended to constitute legal advice and an attorney should be contacted as necessary. 


Please read the full memo here.  


If you have any questions, please contact Steven Woolf, JFNA's Senior Tax Policy Counsel, at  202-736-5763.
Let's Get Personal: The Professional - Volunteer Relationship
Let's Get Personal: The Professional - Volunteer Relationship, April 25, 2012, eJP, by Stephen G. Donshik  
Have you thought about
ejewish philanthropy the nature of your relationship with your volunteer leaders, board members and donors? You see them at meetings and spend a few minutes speaking with them, but when thinking about moving beyond the formal relationship, what is appropriate? On one hand, you want to show that your connection is not only a functional one. On the other hand, you still want to maintain a sense of professionalism. The challenge is often finding the right recipe for an appropriate, yet personal connection within the professional working relationship.  

Learn more about the relationship between professionals and volunteers here. 

Older Americans Month

Older Americans Month, April 24, 2012, NCOA  

Older Americans Month is celebrated each May to honor and recognize older Americans for the contributions they make to families, communities and society. To assist the National Aging Network and other group plans for activities during the month of May or throughout the year, the Administration on Aging (AoA) issued a theme for Older Americans Month. This year's theme "Never Too Old to Play" encourages older Americans to stay engaged, activencoa logo and involved in their own lives and in their communities.


Consider hosting a Day of Play during Older Americans Month. Visit OlderAmericansMonth.org where you can access useful resources and tools to help you plan and promote events and activities honoring older Americans. You can also use the site to announce your activity or share great stories about your event with the Nation.

3 Online Traffic Measures All Nonprofits Should Track

A fact sheet featured on Food & Water Watch. The organization tracks what people download to see what draws attention.


Nonprofits can gather expansive amounts of information about their online visitors by using free programs like Google Analytics. But how much of this information is really important-especially for groups that have limited time to track and analyze data about viewers?chronicle philanthropy


Joanna Miles, online campaign organizer at Food & Water Watch, an advocacy group, says nonprofit leaders should be selective about what they track. "If we're never going to use that data, I don't want to track it," she says. "Otherwise, it's just more noise in our content reports."


For nonprofits that use Google Analytics, Miles recommends they use a tool called Goals, which can track how many views a particular page gets, how long someone spends on the page, and how many pages on a Web site each person visits.

  1. Outbound links and inbound referrers
  2. Downloadable resources
  3. The thank-you page

For nonprofits dealing with the "balancing act" of how much data to log, Miles stresses the importance of having clear objectives. For her organization, she says, "We care about people donating, signing up for newsletters, and taking action. Figure out what's important to you on your site, and have something in place to track it."


Read more about the 3 Online Traffic Measures All Nonprofits Should Track here.

Nonprofits Need to Get it Together
Nonprofits Need to Get it Together, April 24, 2012 by eJP, by Todd Cohen 

A lot of nonprofits, boards and funders are in serious denial. Many are in a deep financial hole, yet precious few can talk straight to their funders about their problems. Compounding the communications gap, many boards do not understand their nonprofits' expenses, and far too few use their connections to help their nonprofits raise money.


Those are some of the findings from a new survey by the Nonprofit Finance Fund that offers a grim view of the way nonprofits are faring in the stricken economy.  Among over 4,600 nonprofits surveyed, for example, 85 percent saw rising demand for services in ejp full logo2011, 88 percent expect greater demand this year, and 57 percent have only enough cash on hand to last three months or less.  Among human-services organizations, which represent 38 percent of nonprofits surveyed, 58 percent could not meet demand in 2011, and 60 percent said they would not be able to meet demand in 2012.


The charitable marketplace is consumed with big talk about the need for transparency, yet many nonprofits, along with their boards and their funders, operate with their heads in the sand.


Nonprofits' survival depends on their ability and willingness to communicate more honestly and openly with their funders, while educating their boards about their finances and enlisting them in the fundamental job of fundraising.


Read the remainder of the article here

4 Ways To Create Brand Content People Actually Care About

People sing the praises of brands that appear to effortlessly lead the social conversation--Tom's Shoes , Virgin America , Chipotle --while simultaneously hitting "refresh" on Facebook likes, completely missing the point.  


The numbers game (fans, followers, traffic, sign-ups, sales) will always fail as long as we fail to connect to what the customer cares about: footwear that makes a difference, a travel experience that makes flying fun, fresh food and great music. Marketing strategies will maintain their mediocre successes as long as we keep expecting engagement and loyalty from our customers without giving them the same consideration. However, by investing time and resources to develop great gobs of gorgeous content with compelling, interesting messages worth sharing, the scales will tip, the pendulum will swing. 


Whether your goal is to galvanize public awareness around an important social issue or showcase new spring denim colors, aim to deliver relevant, sharable content for your customer across multiple touch points that connect to their life moments.


Here are some considerations when introducing strategic content strategy into the mix:  

  • Start with what you already have.
  • Let the social conversation lead.
  • Abide by your customer's to-do list.
  • Make transmedia your best friend.  

Learn more about Norick's considerations here.

New Study Examines Long-Term Care Insurance Claims - Largest Claims Reaches $1.7 Million Mark - Women Represent Two-Thirds Of Claimants

New Study Examines Long-Term Care Insurance Claims, April 26, 2012, Insurance Broadcasting 

The largest open long-term care insurance claim has reached $1.7 million in paid benefits, according to a just-released report from the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.  


The claimant, a woman, purchased coverage at age 43, paying an annual premium of $881. Three years later her long term care insurance claim began and has continued for almost 15 years. [Note: Payment of policy premiums ceases when an individual is receiving policy benefits.]


"Insurers paid some $6.6 billion in benefits to roughly 200,000 individuals last year," explains Jesse Slome, Executive Director of the industry trade group that compiled the data from 10 leading long term care insurers. "Long-term care insurance claims can last for years and amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars."


"Long-term care insurance is not the lottery," Slome says. "A policy holder who paid $3,000 in premiums and received benefits exceeding $1.5 million is not a winner. But having this protection in place can certainly pay off and for thousands of Americans it increasingly is."  According to the Association, just over 8 million Americans currently have some form of long-term care insurance protection in place.


One in 10 (10.4%) of new individual claims initiated during 2011 began before the claimant was age 70 the study revealed. "While most long-term care insurance claims begin at older ages, typically in ones late 70s or 80s, accidents and illnesses are also a common reason younger people need this care for extended periods," Slome notes.    


Read the entire article here

Why Creativity is the Underestimated Superpower of the Nonprofit World 

Why Creativity is the Underestimated Superpower of the Nonprofit World, April 12, 2012, frogloop, by Avi Kaplan  
Creativity is an under-celebrated superpower.
You hear a lot in nonprofit circles about the importance of telling stories, of measuring our impact, collecting data on relevant metrics and learning from experience. You hear a lot about the importance of having a coherent strategy, experimenting and having a better attitude towards failure, about giving up control, engaging your community. 


Lately, Avi Kaplan, care2's blogger has been thinking a lot about creativity and the ways organizations can show personality. You don't often hear creativity singled out as a key thing to focus on, but if you bring creativity into your way of doing things success will flow.


If you want people to take action to advance your mission you will need them to feel emotionally invested in your work. You don't invest your heart in that way for things that are boring.


The problem is we underestimate our creativity. You may be thinking to yourself that your organization's personality isn't all that awesome. You're all about impact, and data, and showing results. Your wonky. You're serious. You're corporate. Funders expect you to be professional and effective, not awesome! Nonsense. Whatever your personality and brand, if you're creative, you can show your awesome personality and ensure your community can connect to your mission emotionally. 


Read the entire article to learn the 22 Creative Ways to Show Your Nonprofit's Personality.

Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation 

Every year about this time, The Drucker Institute, Claremont Graduate University feels an extra compulsion to ask: What are we doing to be innovative?

The prod comes from The Drucker Institute's call for applications for the $100,000 Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation. Given every year since 1991, the award recognizes social-sector programs that, in Drucker's words, deliver "a new dimension of performance."   

The 700 or so submissions that The Drucker Institute receives annually reminds them how important it is to hold them to that same standard. In fact, they've even been applying it to the award itself.
drucker institute
What began as a humdrum questionnaire for selecting the winning organizations has now become a powerful teaching tool. Here's how the Drucker Institute approached the reinvention of the application process, hewing to three of Drucker do's and don'ts for innovation:


  • Successful innovators get out into the field, look at the market and talk to customers.
  • To be effective, an innovation has to be simple, and it has to be focused.
  • Measure innovative performance.  

Where does the award process go from here? The Drucker Institute is not entirely sure, but they do know this: The worst thing they could do is rest on their success. Innovation, as Drucker saw it, is nothing less than "constant renewal."


Jewish Comjcs baltimoremunity Services of Baltimore has opened new offices at the Owings Mills JCC. An open house will be held on May 20th. Tours will be offered and attendants will have the opportunity to meet JCS staff and find out what JCS can do for the community


On Tuesday, June 5th, JCS will formally dedicate its new site at the Owings Mills JCC. There will be a ribbon cutting, mezuzah hanging, tours and light refreshments. The dedication will immediately follow the JCS Annual Meeting at the Gordon Center.


Learn How to chronicle philanthropyAttract Next Generation Donors

Join The Chronicle of Philanthropy for a one-hour webinar  to learn about creative approaches used  to connect with younger donors. Plus get an in-depth look at the results from a sweeping new survey of more than 6,500 people ages 20 to 30.

You'll learn about:

  • The giving habits of millennials, including how they use mobile technology for giving.
  • What inspires young people to donate money and respond to advocacy efforts.
  • How the University of Pennsylvania's young alumni fundraising campaign activated these hard-to-recruit donors.

Bonus: When you sign up for this webinar, you'll be able to continue the conversation with The Chronicle and speakers in an exclusive LinkedIn discussion group so you can keep learning long after this one-hour session ends.


Full participation in this webinar qualifies you for 1.0 CFRE continuing education point in "Category 1.B - Education" of the CFRE International application for initial certification and/or recertification.


Learn How to Attract Next Generation Donors

Thursday, May 7th, 2:00pm ET - REGISTER HERE

Early Bird (Ends May 10th) $75.00, Regular (Starts May 11th) $96.00


The Affordable Care Act

hhs logoThe Department of Health and Human Services Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships For Faith and Community Leaders is hosting interactive conference calls on the health care law.


Call-in information will be made available 24 hours in advance. Please send questions in advance of the call to  ACA101@hhs.gov.


The Health Care Law and Access to Care

Wednesday, May 16th at 1:00pm ET - REGISTER HERE


Understanding the Accreditation Process - Navigating The Road Toward Accreditation

Are you currently in the process of seeking COA, CARF, Joint Commission or Hague accreditation? Do you have training mandates and requirements you must meet? Perhaps you are already accredited but you are looking for ways to maintain that accreditation? If so, Essential Learning's new webinar series is for you!


Essential Learning and Accreditation Guru, Inc. are proud to present an educational, unique series of webinars designed to help you navigate the road toward accreditation and maintain your accreditation.

essential learning 

Knowing what to expect and how to plan for accreditation are key steps toward achieving accredited status. In this first session attention will be given to the benefits of becoming accredited as well as a review of the four major accrediting bodies. Not only will you learn about the fundamental organizational requirements, but become aware of who should be involved in the process.


By participating in this webinar you will be able to:

  • Understand some of the key benefits to becoming accredited
  • Identify critical steps in the road toward accreditation
  • Become familiar with common challenges
  • Discover what is needed to successfully prepare for the accreditation process

Session I: Key Preparation Steps

Wednesday, May 16th, 2:00pm ET - REGISTER HERE


Leaving a Legacy

Join the National Council on Aging for the second webinar in a special two-part series sponsored by NCOA and IlluminAge on issues surrounding intergenerational policy, planning, and equity. The focus will be on economic sustainability and its effect on aging and eldercare. What do economic issues, such as the Great Recession and the future of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, mean for older adults? Is it time for a better understanding and more open discussion of what economic sustainability means for different generations?

ncoa logo 

Harry Moody, director of Academic Affairs for AARP, and Andrew Achenbaum, professor of history and social work at the University of Houston, will consider the impact of the Great Recession on different age groups and cohorts.


Leaving a Legacy -- Part II, The Wealth of Generations

Thursday, May 17th, 1:30pm ET - REGISTER HERE


The State of the Nonprofit Cloud: Results of the Study 

Consultants and advertisements alike are urging nonprofits "to The Cloud," but how many have heeded the call? Are organizatioNTENns actually using it? What can you do there? How have Anonymous and LulzSec impacted the Cloud's appeal? To answer these questions and more, NTEN and Idealware surveyed 780 nonprofits nationwide about how they used hosted software.


Did you know: 

  • that email is the most widely-used cloud software?
  • that once a nonprofit starts using one cloud software solution, it's likely to use more?
  • that many staff members were using cloud software, but didn't even realize it?

Participate in this free webinar to hear NTEN and Idealware present an overview of their research for the new report, The State of the Nonprofit Cloud: The Results of a Study of Nonprofit Use of Cloud Software. You can download the complete report for free right here.


The State of the Nonprofit Cloud: Results of the Study

Wednesday, May 30th, 11:00am ET - REGISTER HERE


Health Care Symposia: Issues Unique to Younger Jewish Women -  

Free National Teleconference and Webinar 

Join Sharsheret for a free symposium, "New Advances in Gynecological Health Before and After Cancer". This symposium will focus on the most current research regarding gynecological concerns before and after a breast cancer or ovarian cancer diagnosis. Panelists include Dr. Tessa Cigler, Dr. Elizabeth Poynor, Clinical Supervisor Shera Dubitsky, and a Sharsheret Peer Supporter. For more information and to register, email  teleconference@sharssharsheretheret.org.


"New Advances in Gynecological Health Before and After Cancer"

Wednesday, July 11th, 8:00pm ET - REGISTER HERE

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