The 2010 Annual Campaign kick-off event in the fall of 2009 was the starting point from which the beginnings of a strategic planning committee emerged. The workshop, hosted by consultant Rae Ringel, led to suggestions from representatives of each of the Federation’s beneficiary agencies and committees as to directions they thought the Federation must take in the upcoming years in order to face challenges and strengthen community involvement.

In April 2010, the UJFT began a strategic planning process, led by co-chairs Karen Jaffe and Jerry Miller, and facilitated by consultants from the Jewish Federation of North America. A committed group of lay leaders and staff divided themselves into two workgroups and more than 100 community members representing all agencies, synagogues and other broad based constituencies participated in the ensuing interviews and focus groups from which a formal Strategic Plan and implementation emerged.
683 Karen Jaffe

The Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) focused on two broad focus areas: Outreach, Engagement and Leadership, and Financial Resource Development. Each work group was composed of official SPC members as well as additional community members who were invited to participate because of their knowledge of or strength in specific areas.  The Outreach, Engagement and Leadership group focused on the three general areas of UJFT-Synagogue/Temple relations, community leadership development and young Jewish families. The Financial Resource Development group focused of new giving strategies, young adults, campaign structure and UJFT-Tidewater Jewish Foundation (TJF) collaboration.

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Jerry Miller

Although there was some overlap in the work groups, the following seven areas outline the action plan and provide a summary of the work that is to be done in the upcoming years to enhance the health and well being of the UJFT and our community:

1.    Improve communications and create more dynamic and mutually beneficial relations between the UJFT/TJF and Synagogues.
There is a need for regular and consistent collaboration creating a larger unified Jewish community since we share many challenges. We can collectively share ideas, successful programs and experiences. We can leverage each other’s strengths, plan for joint events and provide value added services to one another. We can share resources to improve each other’s memberships, volunteer and donor bases and we can benefit from joint outreach and community building efforts such as joint cultural events and joint missions.

2688 .    Establish a Community Concierge, Outreach and Engagement Program.
This program will respond to inquiries and proactively reach out to newcomers and young families, make appropriate agency, temple or other referrals, and provide consistent follow up to encourage further engagement. This program will facilitate the coordination of information regarding those newly arrived and interested in participating in communal institutions.


3.    Create a Community Leadership Development Program.
This program is intended to complement the UJFT’s YAD programs (for those under 40) and reach out to those 40 and above. This program will help individuals understand the role of organizations in our Jewish community, giving them the exposure to national and international issues, and provide essential leadership skills. Through the program, individuals will better understand and be able to communicate the Federation’s unique role in community building.686

4.    Integrate the Development and Marketing Plan and Calendar.
This system must be comprehensive and it must be coordinated with an online calendar to accommodate the emerging Financial Resource Development Strategies associated with a younger demographic which finds most of their information online. The goal is to use our multi-channel communication system of the web, social media, direct mail, email and print to continuously convey compelling and timely mission and vision based campaign themes to our community.

5.    Implement Relationship-Based Fundraising.
This new donor-centered approach requires close coordination between those involved in identifying community needs and those raising the dollars to meet those needs. It will require a close working partnership between volunteers and professionals from the UJFT and TJF. Based on the belief that the Federation and TJF need to create authentic relationships with our community’s donors, this new endeavor will require hiring more staff, developing protocols and improving our database technology.

6.    Don687 or Identification, Cultivation, Stewardship and Recognition.
Continuing the effort to get to know our community members better, this area involves increasing our affinity groups including strengthening the Maimonides program, adding a business/legal group and establishing a new 40-50 men’s program. These initiatives will foster better, more frequent and targeted communication with prospective and current donors.


7.    Community Development/Customer Relations Management Database.
This improved database will support the integrated identification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship efforts of the UJFT and TJF. The community database will enable all of our major agencies to work together. We will increase collaboration, improve joint marketing and improve service delivery and effective communication with our constituents.

The efforts of the Strategic Planning Committee have laid the groundwork for the next several years.  New directions and initiatives can be challenging, but they will lead to engagement and a more vibrant community. The Federation stands well poised for its role as community builder, securing sustainable resources to build for our Jewish future.

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