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Friday, June 1, 2012
D'Var Torah

Lee I. Sherman

I spent a lot of years coaching my kids' soccer, baseball, and basketball teams. During that time, we had many conversations about being a good team member and the important role each player had in the overall success of the team. It was a constant challenge to remind the players that good field (court) balance and supporting your teammates were more important than whoever scored the goal, run, or basket. And, no matter which position you were playing, you were a critical component of the team (even right field). Needless to say, these team-oriented instructions met with various degrees of success, as did the teams' won-loss records.


The notion of designated roles for each member of a larger group is not new to sports. In this week's parashah, Naso, the Israelite tribes are instructed as to their specific duties and what offerings each will "bring to the table." Each member of the group has an individual task or function, but no one person is asked to do everything. Clearly, as the Israelites moved en masse across the wilderness, they were dependent on the contributions of all to help the group meet the challenges they faced.


Earlier this week, in the initial entry in the new AJFCA blog (see below), I wrote about the need for organizations to rely on the clearly defined roles of their components in order to successfully meet their complex challenges. The same is true for a youth soccer team. And, as we read this week, the same was true for the Israelites so they could be the high performing organization required to reach the Promised Land and build a nation. Go team!


Shabbat Shalom.

From the AJFCA Blog

We are very excited to add a new feature to the AJFCA website. The AJFCA blog is live. You will be able to access the blog both in the utility navigation located in the top right hand corner of the AJFCA website, as well as under the News section. 

A Collective Response to a Complex World

by Lee I. Sherman 

This is the inaugural entry of the new AJFCA blog.  It is our intention to use this space to share information, highlight key issues, and draw attention to emerging trends.  Each member of the AJFCA professional staff will have an opportunity to contribute so this space represents the collective and individual voices of AJFCA.  And, of course, we hope you will add your comments, so this blog can be truly interactive.

Lately, I have been thinking about the challenges our member agencies are facing in this increasingly complex world.  Read more here.

Addictions Specialists' Group
At the request of our Addictions Specialists in Seattle and Chicago, AJFCA is working on creating a forum for professional staff who work with Jews in the field of Addictions.  We envision this forum as a means to share information and best practices in working with all types of addictions in the Jewish community via email/member forum and conference calls.  Other features for this group, such as speakers, webinars and in-person gatherings, will be determined by the group once it convenes. 

If there is a professional at your agency who works in Addictions--either as his/her entire job or as a piece of it--who might be interested in joining this community of practice, please have the professional email Lisa Budlow by June 22nd. Thank you.

Housing an Aging Population

Housing an Aging Population, May 14, 2012, National Assembly

Baby boomers are about to swell the ranks of older Americans. By 2050, the population of individuals aged 65 or older will increase 120 percent from 40 million to more than 88 million; put another way, one in every five Americans will be 65+. The numbers of Americans aged 85 or older will more than triple over the same period to 19 million. Demand for housnational human servcies assembly logoing will shift dramatically and the need for services to help older adults age in place will grow exponentially.


Are we prepared? The 2012 Aging Report, published by NHSA, looks at the housing situation of older adults now and implications for the near future. It includes a detailed analysis of data from the most recent American Housing Survey and presents results by age group (65-74, 74-84, 85+) because the housing needs of "younger" older adults and the oldest adults are quite different. It draws on a variety of other sources to round out the picture of housing challenges that we must prepare for now. As the report demonstrates, the challenges are enormous.

Social Media Benchmarks for Smaller Organizations

Social Media Benchmarks for Smaller Organizations, May 17, 2012, NTEN, by Holly

When it comes to technology, it's often assumed that smaller organizations just don't have the resources to use the tools and services that larger nonprofits do. Fancy databases? Too expensive. Up-to-date computers on a working network? Not enough tech savvy staff to keep it going. While there are exceptions to the rule - and cNTENloud services are helping make more of those exceptions - it's generally the case.


NTEN sees it year after year in their IT Staffing Survey - unless, as it turns out, you are talking about social media.


In the recently released Nonprofit Network Social Network Survey, when it comes to social media, smaller nonprofits are keeping pace with their larger counterparts, adopting and using social media at similar rates. It helps, of course, that Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest are all free to use. But it still takes an investment of time, and small nonprofits are making it.


Read the remainder of the article to learn more about smaller organizations and social media. 

4 Things t katya nonprofit marketing bloghat Should Shake Up Nonprofit Marketing

4 Things that Sh ould Shake Up Nonprofit Marketing, April 16, 2012, Katya's Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Blogger Katya Andresen is the COO of Network for Good and an NTEN Board Member. Below she shares a great blog; short and to the point with very well made suggestions.


Katya writes, "I used the word 'should' in the title of this post for a reason. These trends are shaking up the nonprofit sector, but they're not yet shaking up our marketing. And they should be.

  1. The rise of mobile. More and more people have smartphones, and that means doing good is at their fingertips, all the time. If we don't create opportunities to act easily via mobile, we are going to miss out on a lot. Multichannel works best - and multichannel means mobile too.
  2. The growth of peer networks. People listen to each other more than us, so we need to stop viewing social media as another form of getting our message out. Its primary value is that it allows other people to get the message out, for us.
  3. The explosion of slacktivism. It is not bad. It is promising. Clay Shirky once said 'Activists are active but not everyone else is.' We have to grasp that - and not write off everyone who isn't a zealot. And as Katya said on Mashable, it's a starting point for your cause. Katya would rather have someone sign her petition than do nothing any day, because she or he is far more likely to take further action, later.
  4. The increasing personalization of everything. We're in an era where marketing and communications are increasingly tailored to the individual. If we're still blasting out one message, we will alienate every last person. Make people a part of your cause and speak to their interests. 

The old ways aren't working as well for a reason. Let's shake it up ourselves, so these tectonic changes work to our favor rather than rendering us irrelevant."

10 Awesome Free Tools to Make Infographics

10 Awesome Free Tools to Make Infographics, October 8, 2010, makeuseof.com, by Angela Alcom

Information graphics, visual representations of data known as infographics, keep the web going these days. Web users, with their diminishing attention spans, are inexorably drawn to these shiny, brightly colored messages with small, relevant, clearly-displayed nuggets of information. They're straight to the point, usually factually interesting and often give you a wake-up call as to what those statistics really mean.

make use of

Some great tips for designing infographics:

  • Keep it simple! Don't try to do too much in one picture.
  • Decide on a colour scheme.
  • Research some great facts and statistics.
  • Think of it as a visual essay: ensure your arguments hold and are relevant.
  • Remember that it's all about quickly conveying the meaning behind complex data.
  • Draw conclusions.
  • Reference your facts in the infographic.
  • Include your URL so people can be sure who made it.

Click here to learn about infographics, including tutorials on infographic creation, and free online tools and software for creating infographics.

What Does "Professional" Look Like Today?

According to a Booz & Company/Buddy Media survey released last October of more than 100 large companies, only a third have a senior executive charged with overseeing social media. And just over a third (38%) reported social media as a CEO-level agenda item. There are nearly a billion people on Facebook - just about everyone, that is, except CEOs.


Since 2005 executives from corporations, government agencies and nonprofit organizations have expressed their discomfort using HBR blogsocial media for business purposes. The problem for them isn't learning which button to push; if that were difficult seniors wouldn't be the fastest growing segment on Facebook. The real problem is that using social media challenges their basic assumptions of what it means to be "professional." The definition of professional behavior is an immutable set of behaviors developed early in one's career.


Read Allison's entire blog to learn the new definition of professional behavior according to the developing social world.

Creating a Culture of Data-Driven Philanthropy

Creating a Culture of Data-Driven Philanthropy, April 30, 2012, Nonprofit Finance Fund, by Anjali Deshmukh

Measuring social impact and nonprofit effectiveness has been the white elephant for our sector since its inception. Unlike for-profits, where the bottom line often defines success or failure in black and white, nonprofits live in a world of grey, evaluated on their success in achieving their mission and on how they raise and spend their money.

nonprofit finance fund 

But when the solutions to social problems are so incredibly complex, it's not easy to come up with models for standardized assessment that we can have confidence in. On top of that, every organization is structured differently and has different financial needs to support its mission. In part, this is why donors use online ratings systems. When nonprofits are faced with a massive library of data and a limited amount of time, we will inevitably seek out the easiest way to get the answers we need - even if we know that the shortcut may oversimplify the picture.


The problem is that the ratios most commonly used for rapid analysis, typically focused on spending or growth, are not accurate measures of either organizational health of social impact. When nonprofit supporters use these metrics to make funding decisions, they contribute to a cycle that awards nonprofits for operating on razor-thin margins, ultimately distracting them from where their vision needs to be: on solving social problems. After all, if an organization could prove to you that they could eradicate homelessness, would you care as much about what they spent on salaries and staplers?

How to Turn Event Participants Into Long-Term Donors - PODCAST

Knowing how to identify which eventgoers are have the potential to become generous long-term donors can help an organization in the long run.


Marathons, walkchronicle philanthropyathons, and other athletic events can add a one-time lift to an organization's bottom line. But the real value comes when nonprofits use the events to identify new donors with the resources to give big.


In the latest episode of Fundraising Fundamentals, Susan Paresky, vice president for development at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, explains how her organization figures out which event participants are charitably inclined and have the resources to give. She also explains how the organization pursues prospects. She is joined by Therese Grohman, director of marketing at Event 360, a consulting company that specializes in working with nonprofits to plan fundraising events. Listen to the podcast here.

PBS Launches Next Avenue Website ncoa logo
PBS has launched Next Avenue, a new website designed to engage the 50+ population and help them plan for their "bonus years." The site will provide visitors with original content on issues such as health, finances, work, leisure, and caregiving-as well as content from a variety of expert sources, including NCOA.
CMS - Save the Date - NMEP Meetingcms

Please join The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services at the National Medicare Education ProgramMeeting (NMEP) on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 from 9am-12:30pm in Washington, DC at the Embassy Row Hotel. CMS will share updates, there will also be opportunities to network and collaborate with those in attendance. Registration information will be available soon. There is no fee to attend this meeting. For more information please contact Carol Blue, Meeting Planner at 301-657-4254, ext 333.    


Jewijfs metrowest, mash Family Service of Metrowest MA's 2012 Seize the Dream Annual Gala was a huge success with over 350 people and $255,000 raised.  


Click here to view pictures taken. To read the stories and see a video of some of JFS' clients profiled, click here.   

________________________________________________________________________jfs colorado______ 

Jewish Family Service of Colorado celebrated their 140th year of service to the community at "Celebrate JFS," a complimentary cocktail reception held on June 25th.  


The community was invited to celebrate JFS's  accomplishments over the past year and in its 140-year history, welcome new board members, and thank volunteers and staff.   


Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof continues his coverage in The New York Times of child sex trafficking. On May 24th, he highlighted Taz, (not her real name) who is a youth in Jewish Child Care Association's Gateways program. He writes about her traumatic story of being controlled and branded. He also writes about what is currently being done to help these young women across the country by changing current laws and treating these girls as victims rather than crimjccainals. In addition, he calls attention to the troubling existence of backpage.com, a Village Voice Media website that facilitates the trafficking of young girls. 


JCCA has been spearheading an advocacy effort with the Governor's Office and the NYS Legislature to provide funding for the landmark Safe Harbor Law which was enacted in 2008, but never funded. JCCA's efforts were successful and the State budget was modified to include $1.5 million for the development of services and programs for children who are victims and not criminals.


Read the entire story here. Read Kristof's first article about JCCA's Gateways program here.


Two of Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta's senior staff members received prestigious awards in the Jewish community this month. CEO, Gary Miller came home from the national AJFCA 40th Annual Conference in Houston at the end of April with the 2012 AJFCA Distinguished Service Award. In June, COO, Rick Aranson will receive the Marilyn Shubin Professional Staff Development Award from the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta.  


Behavioral Health Information Technology Conference Call

The Jewish Federations of North America is hosting a conference call on to discuss efforts regarding Behavioral Health Information Technology (BHIT) legislation that has already been introduced in the Senate. JFNA has strong reason to believe the legislation will be introduced in the House shortly (please see the attached memo).   


Behavioral healthcare is an umbrella term that comprises both mental health and substance abuse treatment. Many of our partner agencies, particularly Jewish Family & Children's Agencies, are quite engaged in this type of service delivery. Given partner agency involvement, JFNA has become more involved with these legislative efforts and is a leading member of the Behavioral Health Information Technology Coalition.    


The need to expand health information technology to different sectors, such as behavioral healthcare, has grown in recent years given the outpatient treatment options that are now available. JFNA hopes that your agency/federation will be able to join us for this conference call and build on the growing number of communities that are capitalizing on behavioral health service delivery. The call will discuss this issue with noted Behavioral Health advocate Alfonso Guida (bio attached) and Ronald Soloway, Managing Director of Government & External Relations for UJA-Federation of New York. UJA-Fed has been a key leader on behavioral health issues and is quite focused on the BHIT legislation.  jfna logo


Behavioral Health Information Technology 

Wednesday, June 6th, 3:00pm ET

Call-In: 877-304-2955

Conference ID:  6823774516#


Please RSVP to Allison Redisch by COB Thursday, May 31st.  ________________________________________________________________________________________

Taking Your Medicines Safely

Taking Your Medicines Safely (TYMS), is a train-the-trainer program to educate older adults about medication safety and the toll-free Poison Help line (1-800-222-1222). Poisoning can happen to anyone; in fact, older adults are especially at risk for poisonings involving medications. Each year, there are nearly 100,000 emergency hospitalizations in the U.S among adults aged 65 years or older due to adverse drug events.


Learn how to implement the TYMS program for older adults in your senior center, library, community center, or church. Medication safety topics include: 

  1. Potential problems with taking prescription medicines or over-the-counter products.
  2. Ways to keep track of medicines and prevent medication mistakes.
  3. Questions older adults should ask about their medicine.
  4. The free and confidential services provided by the nation's poison centers.

The TYMS program was developed by the Health Resources and Services Administration in partnership with the Administration on Aging and the Public Education Committee of the American Association of Poison Control Centers.


Participants are encouraged to visit the Poison Help website and download the TYMS participant guide.


Taking Your Medicines Safely

Monday, June 18th, 3:00pm 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@sharsheret.org .sharsheret


"New Advances in Gynecological Health Before and After Cancer"

Wednesday, July 11th, 8:00pm ET

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