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Friday, August 17, 2012
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D'Var Torah

Lee I. Sherman

     President/CEO   


With Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate, the U.S. Presidential election is firmly underway. We still have the party conventions in a few weeks, but they are mere formalities for the nomination process and mostly an opportunity for the showmanship of prime time television coverage. Hopefully, the real substantive discussions that will clarify the voters' choices will emerge during the campaign's remaining months. Among those discussions is the role of government in caring for its most vulnerable citizens, particularly in the face of an ever-growing national debt and the necessity of controlling costs while energizing the economy.

The Jewish community has always taken seriously our responsibility to care for those around us. As we are taught in this week's parashah, Reeih, we desire a world in which there would be no poverty, but we nevertheless need to address the real situation of our world. The people are told: "There shall be no needy among you - since the Lord your God will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you...." Deut. 15:4. These words must have sounded amazing to the people who were about to enter the Promised Land. A few verses later, a dose of reality: "If, however, there is a needy person among you...." 15:7. And then, the instruction of what to do:  "For there will never cease to be needy ones in your land, which is why I command you: open your hand to the poor and needy kinsman in your land." 15:11.

It is our role, as individuals, agencies, and governments, to deal with the reality on the ground. No matter how much we may yearn for the ideal, a world without the needy, our experience tells us that the world we live in is not so blessed for everyone. We wake up each day and work to open our hands to the vulnerable among us. Hopefully, all of our politicians will not forget this reality as they strive for the ideals that guide them.   

Shabbat Shalom.       

blog

The Pace of Progress   

by Lisa Budlow      

Lisa Budlow

There's been a lot of buzz lately about Steven Johnson's book, Where Good Ideas Come From. There's a fabulous video on YouTube that gives a great summary of the book in four minutes-a bonus for busy multi-taskers who want to be inspired in less time than it takes to read a book. This is actually sort of ironic, given that Mr. Johnson determines based on years of research that good ideas emerge slowly. They come from hunches held, then casually mingled over time with the hunches of others, incubated and finally born into the world. Eureka moments don't often produce good ideas. Likewise, reading the longer version of his book would probably produce a more fully-developed understanding of where good ideas actually come from. 

  

Read the entire blog entry here.   

 

  Blogroll  

Jewish Child & Family Services of Chicago, IL  

Jewish Family Service of Seattle, WA  

Jewish Family Services of Metropolitan Detroit, MI

Jewish Family Service of Colorado  

Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta, GA 

Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh, PA  

Repair the World     

Fantasizing Your Way to a Successful Organization
A recent satirical report in the online publication, The Onion, suggests that "the single act of pretending one's life is not in complete shambles ... works. 'Even when everything is coming apart at the seams and disaster is almost certainly imminent, putting up a good front for friends and loved ones makes everything better.'" While the Onion's report was written (it appears) tongue and cheek, its premise is grounded in the works of social commentators like Malcolm Gladwell and Norman Cousins who suggest that putting up a positive front leads to happiness and success. Although fantasizing about a better life might work well for individuals, it is not an effective strategy for organizations.
ejewish philanthropyProfessional fundraisers will attest (even when doing the opposite) that appeals based on positive messaging of what can be done, or is being done, are usually more successful and effective than the "woe is us approach." Although such an approach is logical in the fundraising arena, when it migrates to governance, well, "Houston, we have a problem".

Regrettably, far too organizations practice "strategy by pretend" in order to not upset volunteers, donors and most importantly, board members. That is ... until it is too late. While such positivism is critical to the success of effective branding and fundraising, many organizations have found themselves in deep financial and operational trouble because their leadership wore rose colored glasses. Rather than practicing organizational oversight, they believed their own messaging, and pretended that everything was okay - even when it wasn't. Any volunteer or professional who toils in this sector of the world can cite a litany of organizations who match this description.

Read the entire article here to learn about successful nonprofit and faith based organizations organizing around the juxtaposition of two basic premises-hope and reality.
Leadership is learned primarily by doing, with reinforcement from informal coaching and formal training. This article, adapted from Chapter 3 of Plan A: How Successful Nonprofits Develop Their Future Leaders, distills this concept into the 70-20-10 model that a growing number of corporations and nonprofits are using to develop the potential leaders identified in their Plan As - their road maps to developing future leaders in their organizations. As its name suggests, the model calls for 70 percent on-the-job training, supplemented with 20 percent coaching and mentoring, and 10 percent formal training. (Find a more detailed discussion of the model in "The 70-20-10 Model.")
bridgespan
Many nonprofits recognize the impact of on-the-job learning and offer their employees challenging assignments. In fact, 65 percent of respondents to Bridgespan's diagnostic survey on leadership development agree or strongly agree that their organizations "have sufficient quality opportunities for employees to gain new leadership skills via on-the-job opportunities." But it's not clear that organizations and their employees are making the most of those opportunities. Only about 30 percent of respondents agree or strongly agree that "employees with the potential to move into leadership roles have development plans in place that identify areas for development and sources of development support." These responses suggest that many nonprofits need a more systematic approach to leadership development, one tied to existing HR and performance management processes.

Click here to read more and follow the steps outlined to weave leadership development into your organization's everyday activities using the 70-20-10 model.
5 Hard Questions Every Nonprofit Should Ask
Nell Edgington is a huge believer in questions. Sometimes asking good, hard questions is the only way to get to the bottom of ssocial velocityomething, to analyze potential options, to find the right path. So too in the nonprofit sector hard questions can play a pivotal role. It is critically important that we move away from an unwritten rule that "charities" are doing good things that shouldn't be questioned, to a place where nonprofits are continually asking themselves whether they are making most effective use of resources and providing real solutions. These are the 5 questions nonprofits should be asking themselves:
  1. Do we know if we are accomplishing anything? 
  2. Are we adapting to our external environment?
  3. Is our board helping or hurting?
  4. Do we really need that new building? 
  5. Are we using money as a tool?  
To move forward, the nonprofit sector needs to do away with safe, routine conversations and start asking some hard questions. Indeed questions are sometimes the only route to open up possibilities, try new approaches and find a better way.
 
Read the answers to each question in depth here.
Stop Documenting. Start Communicating.
Non-profits love 'documentation'. It's a love story of demand and supply. The demand originally started with donors asking for details of how their money was spent. And since non-profits work in tough areas where decades of work make up small yet significant achievements, they needed to come up with an answer. Hence they supplied details of wells dug, number of people employed in the digging of wells, people from the community who benefited from the water, and so on.
no small change
The demand by the donor was legitimate. "How has my money made a difference?" The response from the non-profit was equally legitimate. "This is how our work has changed lives: so many people, so many wells, etc."

But somewhere along the line, non-profits fell in love with the business - or rather the busy-ness - of documentation. To understand this, let's consider an example. We all prioritize the information we give out, according to what the listener is interested in.  But many non-profits have lost the ability to separate the wheat from the chaff. And somewhere, the good stories, achievements and testimonials are buried under the rubble of documentation.

Click here to read more about avoiding your message losing its way in the morass of documentation.
Have You Seen the New Klout.com
Klout launchedsocial fresh a preview of their new site refresh today to a few select users. One of the big changes is that the new Klout pulls in even more data to create it's influence scores. Previously Klout pulled in less than 100 metrics to create their scores. It now utilizes over 400+ data sources. That is over 4 times as much data.
 
People have always had the power to influence others, and that power is being democratized with new social media tools. Klout's mission is to provide insights into everyone's influence. Klout measures your influence based on your ability to drive action in social networks. Klout processes this data on a daily basis to give you an updated Klout Score each morning. Below are a few of the actions used to measure influence:
  • Facebook: Mentions, Likes, Comments, Subscribers, Wall Posts, Friends
  • Twitter: Retweets, Mentions, List Memberships, Followers, Replies 
  • Google+: Comments, Reshares, +1 
  • LinkedIn: Title, Connections, Recommenders, Comments  
It's great to have lots of connections but what really matters is how people engage with the content you create. Klout believes it's better to have a small and engaged audience than a large network that doesn't act upon your content. Klout wants to help you understand your influence wherever it may exist. They also understand given the number of different networks out there that it is nearly impossible for any person to be consistently effective across every network.
Moishe House and Repair the World Partner to Open Service Oriented Houses
Following a national search for outstanding young leaders dedicated to serving those in need, Repair the World and Moishe House will open two Repair the World Moishe Houses to serve as communal residences for young adults in Detroit and Chicago. The houses will act as hubs for volunteer and service activity in each city as their residents engage local young people in addressing pressing social issues and humanitarian needs such as educational inequality, homelessness, poverty, hunger and domestic violence.
 
The collaboration enhances the Moishe House model with an increased service requirement, tapping into Repair the World's expertise in building effective service and Jewish ejp full logoservice-learning programs while also bolstering existing Repair the World service projects.

For each house, two groups of four residents will receive a modest rent subsidy and budget to build service-related programming for other Jews in their twenties, as they work to improve social conditions and then relate this volunteerism to their Jewish heritage, history and values. The residents are expected to move into the homes - which they are currently identifying - in August and begin programming by September 1, 2012.

The opening of Repair the World Moishe House represents a growing partnership between the two organizations who earlier this summer co-sponsored a Jewish service-learning retreat in Maryland focused on training Moishe House residents and community members across the country on methods by which to engage their peers in meaningful, effective service.
Fee Disclosure Article - Mutual of Americamutual of america
As you may be aware, Mutual of America is the preferred provider of group retirement plan for AJFCA member agencies. Click here for important information concerning Employer and Participant Fee Disclosure Regulations and the ways that Mutual of America assists their clients in meeting the requirements of this important regulation.
AJFCA Addictions Practice Group has Launched
The newly-formed AJFCA Addictions Practice Group launched by conference call last week. Eleven professionals from seven different AJFCA member agencies joined the call to discuss their current initiatives, ask questions of their colleagues and begin to form a vision of the collective work that can be done on a national level.

AJFCA has set up a forum for the Addictions Practice Group so that group members can communicate with one another easily on an ongoing basis. The group plans to share best practices, seek advice and post documents related to Addictions services on the forum. The next conference call for the AJFCA Addictions Practice Group will be on Wednesday, October 17th at 2:00pm ET.

Addictions professionals from all AJFCA member agencies are encouraged to join this group. If you are interested, please email Megan.
Putting the Board to its Best Use for Leading - Board Presidents' Conference Call
At AJFCA's Annual Conference in Houston this April, our member agency board presidents enjoyed some fabulous networking and sharing of ideas on ways for agency boards to help boost the work of their agencies. AJFCA will be continuing this networking and information sharing through a series of conference calls open to all board presidents of AJFCA member agencies.

The first call will be held on Wednesday, August 29th at 1:00-2:00pm ET, with a discussion entitled "Putting the Board to its Best Use for Leading the Agency". Any AJFCA member agency board members who would like to join this call are requested to please email Lisa to sign up. A reminder with call-in information will be sent closer to the date of the call.

SAVE THE DATE

AJFCA's 41st Annual Conference 

May 19-21, 2013 
Phoenix, Arizona 

 

Things are difphoenixferent in the desert. The sky is bigger. The stars are brighter. The sunsets stop you in your tracks.

 It's a feeling that can't be conjured, landscaped or kindled with twinkling bulbs. John Ford knew that. So did Frank
Lloyd Wright. Come to Greater Phoenix and you'll understand, too.   

 

America's sixth-largest city still has real cowboys and rugged mountains and the kind of cactus most people see only in cartoons. Phoenix is the gateway to the Grand Canyon, and its history is a testament to the spirit of puebloans, ranchers, miners and visionaries.  

   

Projected against this rich backdrop is a panorama of urban sophistication: Resorts and spas that drop jaws and soothe souls. Stadiums and arenas worthy of the world's biggest sports spectacles. Restaurants with inspired cuisine and inspiring patio views. Golf courses that beckon players the year round. Shopping centers as stylish and eclectic as the fashions they house. 

 This is Greater Phoenix - Arizona's urban heart and America's sunniest metropolis.

Idealware's Upcoming Online Training
All of Idealware's on-demand recordings are 65% off for the month of August, so now's the time to catch up on what you've missed. Just use the discount code CAMP812 and get any recorded seminar for only $9.

But wait, there's more! Idealware also has live seminars coming up this month. Find seminars here.

Idealware seminars are designed to give you the tactical advice you need to make smart software decisions. You can take one of Idealware's live online seminars, which are capped at 25 participants so you'll have lots of opportunity to ask questions and get the information you need. All you need is an internet connection and a phone line to participate in these 90-minute workshops. For an in-depth lesson, check out Idealware's online courses. These intense, five and six part trainings are offered in partnership with state associations across the country. Or check out Idealware's library of 17 (and growing) recorded seminars ready to go, whenever you need them.
highlights
jfcs east bay
Jewish Family & Children's Services of East Bay is celebrating their 135th anniversary on Sunday, October 28th at the Oakland Museum of California.

The benefit, The Art of Living, will feature a unique theatrical and musical tribute to JFCS East Bay's 135-year history. For more information email swaits@jfcs-eastbay.org.
 
UPCOMING WEBINARS
State Advocate Experiences in Managed Long-Term Services and Supports
States are increasingly planning to establish or expand Medicaid managed long-term services and supports (MLTSS) programs. According to a recent CMS report, 16 states operate MLTSS programs serving acmspproximately 389,000 individuals. By 2014, the number of states with such programs could increase to 26.  A previous Friday Morning Collaborative webinar provided an overview of key issues and principles for aging and disability advocates.

This webinar builds upon these issues by highlighting state advocate experiences in states with existing MLTSS programs or states actively pursuing.
 
State Advocate Experiences in Managed Long-Term Services and Supports
Friday, August 17th, 2:00pm-3:30pm ET - REGISTER HERE
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Guiding Supporters to Action Through Creative Design
Your website is more than just a pretty picture. It's a tool that should be built on a solid audience-centric strategy and used to engage your audience visually. In order to create a successful nonprofit website, you must create a strategic plan, considerblackbaud webinar graphic your audience first and incorporate visual elements and cues that reinforce your brand, tell your story and inspire action.
 
Join Blackbaud for a 4-day Guide Series where we'll review everything from creating a solid strategy to organizing and designing for your audience through creating an engaging, impactful visual design.
 
Analyzing Your Audience - Monday, August 27th
Creating an Online Strategy - Tuesday, August 28th
Engaging Visual Design - Wednesday, August 29th
Testing Your Visual Story - Thursday, August 30th
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The 2012 Fundraising Effectiveness Project
There are over a million nonprofit organizations in the United States and each of them is fighting for the same donor dollars you are. Wouldn't you love to know the secret to increasing your fundraising at a faster pace?
blackbaud
Join Blackbaud for a free webinar, and dive into the results of The 2012 Fundraising Effectivesness Project and discover:
  • How to measure, compare and maximize your annual growth in giving
  • Where to invest resources and efforts to improve fundraising 
  • How to make better informed, growth oriented budget decisions that boost donor revenue  
Proven Ways to Maximize Your Donor Giving Program
Tuesday, August 28th, 3:00pm ET - REGISTER HERE
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Making the Most of the New NCOA Crossroads
Did you ever wish you could ask a colleague's advice and didn't know who to call? Attend NCOA's free one-hour webinar on hncoa logoow to use NCOA's newly updated online community, Crossroads. Learn how it can connect you with aging-field professionals nationwide--and help you in your job.
 
Take a tour through the site's discussion areas and library and learn how to change your email settings--and more. See how Crossroads can help you:
  • Connect with colleagues.
  • Share best practices.
  • Find ways to do your job better--and improve the lives of older adults. 
Making the Most of the New NCOA Crossroads
Wednesday, August 29th, 2:00pm ET - REGISTER HERE
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Interactive Webinars on the Health Care Law
The Health & Human Services Partnership Center continues to host a series of interactive webinars discussing the benehhs logofits and provisions of the health care law, the Affordable Care Act.

   

All webinars are open to the public and include a question and answer session where you can ask HHS staff any question you may have about the health care law. Please submit questions you would like to have answered on the webinar to ACA101@hhs.gov. To participate in one of the webinars, please select your preferred dates from the list below and submit the necessary information.
 
National Webinars
Tour of www.HealthCare.gov
Tuesday, August 21st, 2:00pm ET - REGISTER HERE 


The Health Care Law 101 (in Spanish)
Tuesday, August 28th, 2:00pm ET -REGISTER HERE 

 

The Health Care Law 101 (in English)
Thursday, September 13th, 12:30pm ET - REGISTER HERE

The Health Care Law 101 (in Spanish)
Tuesday, September 25th, 2:00pm ET - REGISTER HERE  

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