Menus for Giving

Creating a menu for giving may be the most important tool for a fundraiser whether he or she is raising money for a capital campaign or to create a new program. A menu for giving is a visual aid that allows the donor to see what is available to sponsor, dedicate, or donate. Oftentimes the first meeting with a donor is not the best time to use the menu for giving. The first meeting is used get to know the donor and to educate them on projects and programs happening within the congregation. It may be appropriate to give fundraising materials to the potential donor at the end of the first meeting, or to wait to share the concrete information until the second meeting.

Once the donor has a chance to see the menu for giving, she might see an opportunity that resonates with her within her donation range. However, many times the donor may be unsure of where he or she fits. If the donor knows what she want to donate and how much she is able to give, the tzedakah is right for her. If the donor is unsure, it is fundraiser's task to discuss the personal and community values of the potential donor together. The fundraiser may want to ask what excites the potential donor about the congregation or organization. Some fundraisers and philanthropists suggest doing a values clarification exercise, either during the first meeting or the second to elucidate the priorities of the donor. After explaining and acknowledging the values of the potential donor then the menu of giving might have new meaning for the donor. Now, the individual or family has the tools to know what is important to them and they may be able to give a meaningful gift for themselves and to the community.

Menus for giving vary from project to project. They can include endowment information as well as dedications and general donations. Here are two examples of menus for giving. This first is for a biennial young adult leadership retreat program that is not part of the current operating budget of the synagogue. The second is an example of what might be seen for a capital campaign or an annual fundraising campaign. For other examples of menus for giving particularly for endowments please see, where they offer a menu of giving for endowments.


Miller, Lorne S. Ensure the Future: How Synagogues and Day Schools Can Compete in the Philanthropic Marketplace. Lorne Miller and Associates, Toronto, Canada, 2001.

Example 1
Menu of Giving Opportunities: Planting the Seeds for Our Future

Option 1: Endowment - This is a substantial gift of a million dollars that would sustain this program for decades to come.

Option 2: Sponsorship - This gives the donor the opportunity to fund one or a number of the aspects of the program.

Branches of Sponsorship:

Eitz Chayim - Entire program $42,000
Olive Brance - Retreat Center $12,500
Palm Frond - Guest Speakers $7,000
Grape Vine - Program Materials $3,100
Fig - Faculty $1,500

Option 3: General donations - This gives the donor the opportunity to give a donation that is not earmarked for a particular purpose. These donations give the leadership flexibility to create the best possible program for our congregation.

Seeds of Change:

Tree - $1,800
Trunk - $500
Root - $180
Leaf - $50

All contributions are tax deductible and welcome to build this leadership program.

Example 2
Giving Opportunities
Naming Opportunities
Campus 3,600,000
Sanctuary 3,000,000
Beit Midrash 1,800,000
Library 500,000
Preschool Center 500,000
Youth Lounge 100,000

Endowment Opportunities
Rabbinic Fellowship 1,800,000
B'nai Mitzvah Institute 1,000,000
Leadership Development Institute 360,000
Social Action Fund 360,000
Rabbinic Internship 360,000
Religious Item Refurbishment 100,000
Israel Travel Fund 75,000
Camp Scholarship Fund 30,000
High Holy Day Floral Fund 12,000
Shabbat Floral Fund 9,000
Dedication Opportunities
Computer center 150,000
Sanctuary Lobby 180,000
Music Room 75,000
Bride's Room 54,000
Rabbi's Study 100,000
Yarzheit Boards 36,000
Torah Adornments 9,000
Sanctuary Seats 2,400

Sponsorship Opportunities
Website Construction 100,000
Artist-in-Residence 75,000
Scholar-in-Residence 36,000
Synaplex Shabbat 18,000

(Developed By: Lisa Delson, HUC-JIR, Cincinnati)