AJFCA Newsletter
In This Issue

Nonprofits Use Benchmarking to Measure Progress

(editor's note: Financial Matters is a monthly column designed to provide insight and tools to assist with nonprofit financial management. AJFCA's new corporate partner, CliftonLarsonAllen, an accounting and consulting firm with offices across the country, provides the commentary for this Financial Matters column.)

Nonprofits are no stranger to benchmarking. In a sector where donors want to know that their hard-earned money is being used effectively, and where positive outcomes are the ultimate measure of success, benchmarking is an essential tool for strategic planning. If a nonprofit doesn't benchmark its outcomes, there is probably an oversight agency that will do it for them.

Nonprofits use benchmarking analysis to uncover business processes and strategies, provide a baseline for improvement, and make data-informed decisions. Much of the information used to calculate key ratios for comparison with other organizations can be found in Form 990.

A great way of measuring the health of a nonprofit is to look at a combination of critical indicators over a period of time and in comparison with other organizations. For example, a social service organization may want to look at its program service revenues per full-time employee (FTE).

Faulty or inconsistent benchmarking results, however, are worse than no results at all. In fact, bad numbers can be harmful and lead to poor planning and decision making. Here are a few tips to get the most from benchmarking data.

*    Pick key ratios and critical indicators that make sense for your organization
*    Choose more than two indicators but fewer than 10
*    Measure at a specific point in time and over a period of time
*    Benchmark against carefully selected peers
*    Report all results, regardless of the outcome
*    Present data to stakeholders in a clear but interesting manner

To learn more about benchmarking and receive a complimentary benchmarking report, visit CliftonLarsonAllen's on-line Financial Scan tool.  
Agency Highlights

JFS Edmonton Launches Major Fundraising Concert Series
On March 14th Jewish Family Services of Edmonton announced a unique benefit concert series (Legends of Broadway) that will bring three stars from three generations to the stage in Edmonton for the first time, as part of a fundraising effort to increase support for individuals and families in their City.

 "For more than 60 years, our organization has helped Edmonton area residents in need and we now serve more than 4,000 individuals and families each year. We are absolutely delighted to be able to bring this amazing Concert Series to Edmonton audiences and to bring focus to how our agency helps our neighbours be successful in life. " says Jewish Family Services president Dr. Michael Alpern.
Contact Mike Campbell for more information.
Inclusion Symposium for Faith-Based Communities
JFS Dallas
On June 19th and 20th, the Faith Inclusion Network of Dallas (FIND) Weaving Inclusion Into Our Faith Communities symposium, in conjunction with Perkins School of Theology at SMU and Highland Park United Methodist Church,  will wrap up the week-long 2014 Summer Institute on Theology and Disability conference.

The symposium is designed to help local congregations and leadership of all religions learn ways to meet the needs of their members with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Faith Inclusion Network of Dallas (FIND) is in partnership with Jewish Family Service of Greater Dallas and the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities.
Once We Were
Slaves . . .

Like many American Jews, I love Passover. In addition to the warmth of gathering people together, it offers the opportunity to remember, affirm, and transmit core Jewish values that I embrace.

This year, we organized our third annual Seder for those Jewish Family & Children's Services of East Bay staff members who want to participate. Having an office Seder came about in response to people's desire to learn more about Jewish religion and culture, while also providing a context for our highly multicultural staff to reflect on and share our own stories of slavery and freedom. Continue reading CEO, Avi Rose's blog here.
Voices of Remembrance, Voices of Hope

jfs seattle

"I went through many years of darkness and worries, which no doubt have left their mark. By a miracle, I was the only one of my nearest relatives who survived..." - Lore Hirsch

Jewish Family Service of Seattle has long worked with the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany to distribute funds to survivors of the Nazi persecution and to provide services like free in-home care and care management to these remarkable elders in our community. Visitors to the JFS campus are always struck by the photo gallery featuring portraits of survivors who have made their lives in the Puget Sound region.

Now, JFS is  pleased to launch the online component of this extraordinary collection of oral histories and to share the stories of those who persevered beyond the suffering they endured to build lives of meaning and substance. Visit the gallery.
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May 16, 2014 
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D'Var Torah
Lee I. Sherman
President & CEO

This weekend, my son graduates from college, so I have been thinking a lot about both the value of an education and the values that are learned from an educational experience. My son has been fortunate to be part of a college community that offers excellent formal education in the classroom and a value system that is imparted through the shared experiences of the teachers and classmates he has lived among for the past four years.  

In this week's parashah, Bechukotai, God asks us to faithfully observe His commandments and be rewarded or suffer the consequences of not doing so. In essence, studying and learning Torah should permeate us, affecting our daily behavior with positive results. Learn, study, and know the commandments, and then act accordingly. The studying we do may come through our heads, but it goes out through our hearts in our deeds and actions as we relate to those around us.

Similar to the best of our educational experiences, the study of Torah goes beyond facts and words so we become more thoughtful as community members. A college experience can be amazing on so many levels, but we all have the opportunity each day to take what we learn and use it to improve not only our lives, but the lives of those with whom we interact. That is the value of a good education.

Shabbat Shalom.
The Jewish Response to Food Insecurity ejewish philanthropy
When it comes to relieving the effects of poverty, the work of Jewish charitable organizations has traditionally centered on the most vulnerable groups within the community. In central and eastern Europe, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and World Jewish Relief (WJR) among others have provided and continue to provide assistance in terms of food, winter fuel, and medical care to children and the elderly, including survivors of the Holocaust. Click here to read about a new crisis that has befallen Europe: the crisis of food insecurity.

Reframing Human Services:  Why and How

Irv Katz, President/CEO of the National Human Services national human servcies assembly logoAssembly and Karen Key, Executive Vice President/COO wrote an article, Reframing Human Services:  How and Why, about the reframing human services effort for Policy & Practice, the most authoritative magazine in public human services, published by the Association of Public Human Services Association (APHSA).

The article clearly lays out the case for why reframing human service is necessary at this time, and it provides an overview of what the concept of framing.  

Canada Awards Design for National Holocaust Monument
The design "Landscape of Loss, Memory and Survival" presented by Team Lord of Toronto has been selected for the future National Holocaust Monument, which will be located in Ottawa.Team Lord's submission was selected from among six finalists who were invited to present their design concepts to a jury of professionals and to the public as part of a national design competition. The future National Holocaust Monument will be prominently located in the core of Canada's Capital, at the corner of Wellington and Booth Streets. The monument site faces the iconic Canadian War Museum and will ensure the lessons of the Holocaust remain within the national consciousness. The official inauguration of the main elements of the monument is scheduled for fall 2015.
Staffing, Not Stigma, Is Biggest Fundraising Challenge for Mental-Health Charities chronicile of philanthropy
Stigma is not the main factor holding mental-health charities back in their efforts to attract donors, says a study of more than 100 fundraisers for such groups. Instead, inadequate staffing is the biggest obstacle fundraisers mentioned when asked to rank their top five challenges. Stigma scored the lowest. Continue reading here.
Five Reasons Why New Initiatives Fail ejp full logo
We do not evaluate new initiatives adequately nor do we always report on our findings honestly, whether these initiatives are small, local efforts or multi-year, multi-million dollar initiatives. Click here to learn the five reasons why new initiatives fail.
Creating the Right Culture at Your Nonprofit
Culture is mission. Culture is process. Culture is everything. Today, culture is something much more mainstream. And because it's this way, it's much more central. It's literally about everyone and for everyone. And that's a good thing. At your nonprofit, culture is at the heart of who you are. It's the way "you" as an organization and "you" as employees behave. It has the mission of the organization at its core and, through processes, embodies the way you do things ... because that's "who you are." Continue reading here.
2014 Annual Conference Evaluation Surveys & Photos
The 2014 AJFCA & IAJVS Annual Conference was a success thanks to the hospitality of the host community, Agence Ometz, our talented speakers and presenters and enthusiastic attendees and supportive sponsors. If you have not already done so, please share your conference feedback with us.

Conference presentations and continuing education credit (CEU) evaluation forms can be found here.

View photos from the conference on AJFCA's Facebook page. Don't forget to tag yourself and comment!

If you attended the CEO Council Post Conference Event on Tuesday, May 6th, and have not yet responded to the survey, please click here.
Jay Nolan Community Services Webinar
Join AJFCA for a Jay Nolan Community Services Webinar, My Home - My Life: Transforming a Traditional Agency to an Agency Supporting Personalization and Individualization with Jeff Strully. This session is the second in a three-part series of webinars presented by the National Task Force on Alternative Residential Options for Adults with Disabilities in the Jewish Community. A more detailed description of the webinar can be found here.
My Home - My Life: Transforming a Traditional Agency to an Agency Supporting Personalization and Individualization
Wednesday, May 21st, 1pm ET - REGISTER HERE
Repair the World Jewish Community Delegation 
You're invited to join AJFCA at Repair the World's 2nd annual Jewish  Community Delegation at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service (NCVS), June 16th-18th, in Atlanta. Within this cohort of Jewish service leaders, you'll have the opportunity to learn with and from the nation's top service leaders over four days, while at the same time illuminating and celebrating our Jewish community's contributions to a repaired world. Additionally you'll have the chance to attend sessions, dine with and even share a room with peers to keep costs down.

Jewish Community Delegation participants will receive:
  • Discounted conference registration rate of $350 (regular rate is $750)
  • Eligibility toward a travel stipend of up to $400, courtesy of Repair the World
  • Admission to an exclusive Jewish Community Delegation evening program on Monday, June 16th
  • Invitation to help us test a conference "gathering" app, just for use by the Delegation members

For more information please contact Jennie Gates Beckman.

Digital Storytelling for Social Impact
Few of us working in the social impact space could admit to utilizing storytelling to its fullest potential. Meanwhile, digital technology has changed the game. We're far more connected to stories and information than we have ever been, yet the noise and ubiquity of the digital world makes it harder to surface and share personal stories of change and impact. While there have never been more ways to reach audiences, it has also never been more difficult to really reach them. Learn more here.
How to Use Donor Data to Boost Fundraisingchronicle philanthropy
More nonprofits are using data about their donors to focus on efforts to get big gifts, to be sure direct-mail appeals are going to people most likely to give, and more. The result: They bring in more money and lower their fundraising costs. Read the transcript of a live discussion about how to make the best use your organization's data
Bringing Millennials Through Our Doors
To get millennials in the door, we must first understand this cohort and then develop outreach based on that understanding. To involve young adults today, an organization must be active on digital and social media. And while young adults are tied to technology, they also want to be cultivated face to face. They yearn to interact with peers and create new networks, volunteer on the ground getting their hands dirty, and feel the direct impact of their involvement. They might prefer a flat organizational structure rather than the hierarchical structure that their ancestors used. They want to be involved in leadership roles and organizational decision-making, immediately. Continue reading here.
COA Current Field Comment coa
The Council On Accreditations' (COA) Standards undergo review and comment by hundreds of professionals while they are posted on the COA website during a Field Comment period. Please take a moment to review COA's Standards currently undergoing field comment.
  • Performance and Quality Improvement (PQI) (being revised)
  • Supervised Visitation and Exchange (new section)  
Both are in field comment phase until May 30th and can be found here. Click here to share your feedback.
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