We’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the future of the federation.
We’re in a relationship business. We’re only able to do our good work because of the generosity and skill of our leaders and donors. But we seem to be in short supply of both the former and the latter. Not today or tomorrow.
But I’m worried about 10 or 15 years from now.
Who will be our President? Campaign Chair? Chair of Planning and Allocations? The Jewish Community Foundation? This is part of what keeps me up at night.
That’s why we recently established the Engagement Department.
We have to identify the next generation of volunteer leaders in our community.
We have to recruit them, train them, and educate them.
And we have to place them in the right spots.
So the Engagement Department is going to create a menu of inspiring and informative programs, events, and activities.
We need to enhance our connections: to each other, to our Jewish community, and to our strong and healthy organizations. It means that before we raise dollars, we have to raise Jews too. There’s a somewhat challenging statement buried in that last sentence – because in order to raise Jews, we’ll need to lose some money too. But the long-term view is what will make our community stronger.
The Center for Volunteerism, Young Leadership activities, and Leadership Development programs are part of the Engagement Department too. Because they come from the same concept. If these efforts – and other creative programs that are soon to be established – succeed by “meeting people where they are” (literally and metaphorically) and lower barriers to entry for participation, we should be able to better capture the hearts and minds of community members who would otherwise never walk through the doors of our synagogues, our agencies, and our organizations.
From this pool, in addition to those individuals who have already begun their journey, we may find a future Federation President or Campaign Chair. Or a synagogue or agency President. Or someone who has an innovative idea that may enhance Jewish life in Greater MetroWest. But we need to make it easier for them to learn about us and join us.
I’m not the only one worrying about this. But fortunately, we have an amazing team starting to work on it.
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