Federation re-imagines Super Sunday fund-raiser

Federation re-imagines Super Sunday fund-raiser

Nov. 20 will still be a super Sunday; it just won’t be the Super Sunday.

As the Jewish Federation of Monmouth County approaches the end of the year, it is striving to reach its campaign goals while intensifying efforts to engage the entire Jewish community in its mission.

On Nov. 20, the federation will hold a Race to the Finish: Campaign Close phonathon from its offices in Manalapan. According to executive director Keith Krivitzky, the aim is to raise $180,000 out of the $600,000 overall estimated campaign goal.

Federation board members will make up the lion’s share of a team of volunteers placing targeted calls to potential donors this Sunday.

The phonathon is a modified version of the organization’s traditional Super Sunday and will serve as precursor to a new, large-scale Community Engagement Day tentatively planned for March 4. The primary purpose of the new event will be to engage the large numbers of unaffiliated Jews in Monmouth County by providing compelling entry points of involvement, said Krivitzky.

Those entry points include political forums with state representatives, free subscriptions to New Jersey Jewish News, and events to introduce community members to federation’s Taglit-Birthright Israel and PJ Library programs. Federation will also work with local synagogues and other agencies to explore opportunities to connect people, such as trial memberships and special events.

“It’s all part of our concerted effort to focus on the value we add to the community and to embody our mission,” Krivitzky said. “One of the challenges in Monmouth County is how to connect with the broader community. We are taking a fresh look at how we connect people to the Jewish community and how we engage them in philanthropy.”

‘Engage the community’

“It’s important for the whole community to realize the impact federation has with their philanthropic dollars and return on investment,” said Deborah Rettig of Manalapan, phone initiative chair. “We are launching a whole new strategy to engage the entire community and let them know what federation does.”

The March 4 event will tie in with Purim, the festive holiday of giving, said federation board chair Stuart Abraham of Manalapan. “We have made significant progress in re-envisioning federation’s approach. Our new executive director has brought tremendous energy, insight, and focus to our efforts,” he said.

By holding both a phonathon and a community engagement day, federation acknowledges its two vital roles — raising funds and enabling people from all over the county to participate in a meaningful Jewish community get-together, Abraham said. This ties in to another core initiative, Donor Driven Philanthropy, which gives contributors the ability to direct their donations more specifically, he added.

With a campaign decrease of around $500,000 in the last several years, the federation underwent dramatic cuts in its staff and operating expenses in order to maintain its level of financial support for programs in Monmouth County, the United States, Israel, and around the world, he said.

“Clearly, any loss of donations in our year-end push would be extremely serious. This is the second year where we have provided funds for Jewish Family & Children’s Services to be able to make cash grants to those in need,” Abraham said.

“This year the amount we allocated increased 50 percent from the prior year. We are hopeful that the community will respond to our fund-raising efforts to allow us to provide the support needed in our extended Jewish community.”

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