Field Research: Video Clips

1. What are your best strategies for fundraising?
One goal of this project was to learn how to do fundraising. Learning philosophies on fundraising from a book is possible, but learning how successful rabbis do fundraising from a book is not. The #1 lesson we learned from these rabbis and Jewish professionals is that fundraising is about relationship building. Watch now for more helpful hints.

2. Which texts do you use to inspire donors?
At the beginning of our research, we expected that rabbis used texts with congregants when actively fundraising. We were interested in learning which texts inspire donors to give. However, during our interviews, we learned that rabbis and Jewish professionals do not generally use texts with potential donors. But, they did give us insight into what inspires donors to give in general.

3. How is fundraising different from schnorring?
One of our assumptions when beginning this research was that rabbis are seen a schnorring, asking for money for themselves, when fundraising. We asked a few rabbis about their take on the subject. They gave us concrete examples of how the work they do as fundraiser is sacred rather than schnorring.

4. What text inspires your fundraising?
We learned that even though fundraisers do not use texts to solicit funds from potential donors, there are Jewish texts that inspire rabbis and Jewish professionals. Each interview offered us a new interpretation of a text that inspires these fundraisers and has the opportunity to inspire you too.

5. Please share a story that describes your biggest success in fundraising?
It can be monetarily successful or personally fulfilling. In each interview we asked the fundraiser to tell us a story of their biggest success. These stories provided us with a sense that fundraising really is meaningful and personally fulfilling. Some of the stories were humorous and some emotional, but they are all inspiring for a student of fundraising.

6. How do you suggest recognizing a donor?
Recognizing a donor is one of the most important things a fundraiser does. We were interested in how these fundraisers approach thanking donors for their gifts.

7. As a professional fundraiser, what advice do you have for rabbis fundraising in the field?
Along with learning from rabbis who are experienced in fundraising, we thought it would be helpful to learn from Jewish development professionals. These interviews with fundraising professionals provided us with a sense that in partnership, rabbis and Jewish professionals, can strengthen the Jewish community through fundraising and philanthropy.

8. Why do we have a fear of fundraising?
Part of engaging in this project came out of a fear of fundraising. We wanted to take a deeper look into why rabbis and Jewish professionals might have a fear of fundraising. The rabbis that we interviewed gave us an honest look at their fears in fundraising and how, over time, the fear has changed into gratification.

9. Where should the synagogue invest?
This question was not part of our initial interview questioning. It grew out of a discussion of how the Jewish people donate to non-Jewish causes. We wanted to ask rabbis how they fundraise in order to direct the funds to the synagogue instead of other causes.

10. Is there a difference in giving patterns between the current generation and older generations?
Many statistics in the philanthropic world point to the fact that the current generation gives in a different way than their parents and grandparents. We wanted to poll our interviewees to get their take on the issue. Many of the rabbis and Jewish professionals say there is a difference between the generations and others said there is no difference.

11. What does contemporary tzedakah mean to you?
Along with fundraising and philanthropy, we sought information on matters of economic justice in the Jewish world. This video clip came from a discussion on economic justice and how one congregation is doing tzedakah within their tzedakah.