June 2015
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As a first-time parent of a now 8 month old, I have a new-found respect for what we call a "hard stop" to the work day. Starting each morning with the knowledge that I no longer have the option to stay an extra hour to get everything done if I need to helps me stay on track and sharpens my focus for each task at hand. I've not only become more efficient, but more mindful of how I spend my limited amount of time in the office. Thankfully, it doesn't take a new addition to your family to hone your skills in this area. I've included a couple articles in this quarter's newsletter to help remind you the value of your own time.

For some the summer may be a quiet time for planning & reflection. While we at AJFCA are doing our share of reflecting & planning - our offices are far from quiet. We're excited to be working on more new projects than ever before. Stay tuned to hear how you might be involved (and see below for a great article on reflection & planning!)

I've mentioned before, the single-most valuable resource of our network is YOU. By engaging as an active participant on conference calls, responding to our "Questions to the Network", and attending our annual conference, the collective experience & expertise of agency professionals is accessible to us all. Please scroll down to read about all the ways to engage with your colleagues in the coming months. 

Director of Volunteer Strategy & Repair the World Programming
Volunteer Professional Community of Practice Calls
Next call:
Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - 3 pm EST

Utilizing Community Partnerships 
to Engage Volunteers & Expand Your Reach
Maggie Ratnayake
Director, Brandywine Village Network
Delaware Jewish Family Services 

Maggie is excited to help guide a conversation in which all participants will share how they have leveraged partnerships with community organizations such as businesses, schools, synagogues & churches, and even state & national partners to mobilize volunteers for your agency.  Partnering with other organizations can not only help recruit individual volunteers for your agency, but increase visibility of the work of your agency within the larger community.  Join this call if you have a unique success story in collaboration - or if you are looking for more opportunities to expand your reach locally!

AJFCA's quarterly Volunteer Professional Community of Practice calls for you all to share with one another and learn about topics of interest. 
The format is as follows:
  • A volunteer professional from one of our member agencies will volunteer to speak a bit about their experience with a given topic.
  • We will then open up the call for all to share their experiences with the topic. 
  • The professional will also act as the moderator to help facilitate the open conversation.
Please email Jennie if you have an idea for a topic you'd like covered on a future call, or you'd like to volunteer to lead a call. We are planning these calls based on your interests.

Save the Date for our Fall COP:
Wednesday, October 14, 2015 - 2 pm EST
Our colleagues at JSSA in Rockville, MD (outside of DC) will lead a discussion on Engaging Young Adults in Service with Holocaust Survivors, which will include an overview of their "Rent-a-Mensch" program.
2015 AJFCA Annual Conference in Miami

This year's conference May 2-5, 2015 in Miami was packed with great sessions and networking for all in attendance - volunteer professionals included!

This year the 2015 Young Adult Ambassadors included representatives from 3 communities. Each community applied with a team of one professional and 2 volunteers between the ages of 21-39 who will focus on a project in their community to better engage young adults in their agency. Check out this document (complete with photos) to learn more about these incredible teams!
The 2015 Volunteer Professional Cohort brought professionals together from a diverse array of member agencies, all of whom are working to better engage volunteers and/or young adults in their organizations.  This document shares their photos and bios, so you can get a sense of the fantastic talent assembled in Miami.
A full outline of the sessions offered as part of the Volunteer/Young Adult Engagement Track is available by accessing the AJFCA Mobile App. Any session materials we've received from all our presenters, including handouts and presentations, are shared where they are available - so check it out!
Managing Energy, Mindfulness & Reflection 


"The core problem with working longer hours is that time is a finite resource. Energy is a different story."


Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time, Harvard Business Review


"To be in harmony with the wholeness of things is to not have anxiety over our imperfections."



"Don't avoid thinking by being busy."


The Remedy for Unproductive BusynessHarvard Business Review
Questions for the Network:




Have you ever or do you currently work with individuals or groups of volunteers from Moishe House?  AJFCA is exploring ways to better partner with this national organization and would love to hear about your experience! Click here to answer.

Does your agency provide volunteer opportunities which engage people with disabilities as the volunteers, either as individuals or in a group setting? If so, please click here to tell us more about your programming.

How does your agency engage volunteers in serving Holocaust survivors?  Click here to answer.

Do you conduct a volunteer satisfaction survey to solicit feedback from your volunteers? Click here to submit a copy of your survey to share in the AJFCA Resource Library. 

Additional questions and relevant answers will be shared in the next newsletter.  Click here to submit your own question to be posed to the network.

Start thinking about the 2016 AJFCA Annual Conference TODAY

In Miami it was announced that our next AJFCA Annual Conference will take place in San Diego, CA May 15-17, 2016.  I know it may seem early to think about submitting a session proposal, but before you know it the fall will be here with all the insanity that comes with holidays - so do yourself a favor and start thinking TODAY.  A formal request for proposals will likely be sent out in August, with a due date mid-September.

Based on evaluations from previous conferences, the sessions making up our Volunteer Initiative track that are most valued are those presented by our member agencies. Sessions sharing programs, structures, best practices - all the types of resources you yourself are looking for... YOU could provide such a session!  Think about what works well for you, your department, your agency.  Think about the skills you might bring to the table from your past career experience!  Think about the possibility of partnering with a colleague or more from other network agencies to provide multiple perspectives.

Feel free to call Jennie to talk through a proposal. AJFCA needs your great ideas to make this next conference a success!
A Guiding Principle for Engaging and Inspiring Millennials  


An interesting article in which the author explains his preferred method of young adult engagement through a parable inspired by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.

"The institutions that will sustain themselves and the Jewish world at-large will be those that invite and challenge young Jews to thrust themselves into the process of building our collective house." Click here to read the full article by Andrew Fretwell in eJewish Philanthropy.

2015 National Conference on Service & Volunteering in Houston 


Click here to learn more about this amazing opportunity to network and learn with thousands of other volunteer professionals October 19-21 in Houston, TX.  We don't have confirmation whether there will be a special conference rate for professionals representing the Jewish community, but we do know Repair the World will have a presence at the conference.  Jennie plans to attend and will organize any network professionals to meet up in between sessions to connect & share resources!  

The Limitations and Possibilities of Jewish Service 

A thoughtful piece on the obstacles to meaningful service in Jewish organizations today.

"With the Jewish community's resources, we have opportunities to make Jewish service and volunteering effective, transformative, and meaningful for everyone involved, transforming volunteers and how others view Jews. Building new relationships, making ongoing commitments, and looking beyond just the volunteers who show up on that particular day allows us to take advantage of those opportunities." 

Click here to read the full article by Rabbi Seth Goren (Director of Repair the World: Philadelphia) in eJewish Philanthropy.
Many thanks to David Doroshow for joining us at our annual conference in Miami!
Verified Volunteers 

Verified Volunteers is the only background check platform tailored to the specific needs of the service sector and the first online community to mobilize repeat, vetted volunteers. We believe this platform has the potential to dramatically transform 
volunteer screening for the better for AJFCA member agencies throughout the United States and Canada.

5 Secrets to Volunteer Recruitment Success 


Presenter: Gyasi Parker-Ross, Director of Programs at L.A. Works

"How do I recruit and retain volunteers?" 

Are you asking yourself this very question? You're not alone. Your peers are experiencing the same challenges and seeking insights from experts who can help solve this perennial problem. 

This webinar will make you rethink your current program and provide actionable ideas to improve your volunteer recruitment and retention strategy.    

You will learn to better understand:             

  •          Your volunteer needs - what are they?
  •          Where you should be investing your dollars
  •          What your onboarding and training programs should include
  •          How to establish volunteer leaders
  •          How to keep your volunteers coming back

Access the Verified Volunteers Volunteer Management Resource Center for blogs, articles, workbooks and more.


Additional volunteer management resources: volunteer screening.

repair header
Did you take part in Repair the World's second Turn the Tables national campaign during the month of April?

Turn the Tables campaigns are intended to spark conversation and action about complex issues that affect our communities. This second campaign was about gentrification - the ways that economic, demographic and social changes affect residents of our neighborhoods. Through dynamic discussions and meaningful action, Repair believes that individuals can come together to build more resilient and inclusive communities.

We know that many of your agencies are part of communities undergoing change and that you work with individuals impacted by these changes on a regular basis. We see this campaign as a prime opportunity for all of us to open a community wide discussion beyond the walls of agencies-a discussion that involves the individuals we work with, current volunteers, community partners and even future agency stakeholders. 

We encourage you to participate in the Turn the Tables campaign in the way(s) that makes the most sense for your individual community.  Let Jennie know if this campaign has impacted the work you do.  Stay tuned for the next campaign which will focus on Food Justice during the High Holidays. 

Repair the World Fellowship Accepting Applicants

The Repair the World Fellowship is currently accepting applications. 
Learn more & apply today.

Know someone who would be an outstanding Repair the World Fellow or might want to learn more? 

newsletter archive

If this is your first time receiving this newsletter - check out our Volunteer Engagement homepage for more valuable resources, including an archive of past Volunteer E-Newsletters.