I was on a call yesterday and the discussion turned to how do we fundraise to different age groups. I think we sometimes get caught up with age, rather than stage of life. For example, the 28 year old may be a person who is three years out of graduate school and making a halfway decent salary and is looking for a social action activity to meet other people his or her age. Or, it could be someone with a 2 year old, in daycare and thus is more interested in interacting with others with very young children. And then you have your 36 year old. Now, this person have more things in common with the previous two situations, or they might be getting ready to celebrate a bar or bat mitzvah for one of their children and thus is more interested in Jewish education or in teen programming. We admit we cannot be (unfortunately) all things to all people, but we do have entre to most groups.

The people on the call were all thirty-somethings so I told them about some of the fundraising campaign going on at the JCC, the pool, the Yeladim playground and the fitness center [in the future] and how we are trying to segment our population and attract different folks to different opportunities. One person on the call announced that he was in the pool last week, so he could give to the pool. He has children in Yeladim, so he said he would be interested in the playground and he uses the fitness center. So here we have one individual who would consider giving financial support to three different programs. Yet, I would wager, if we were to ask him for an unrestricted gift to the JCC, the answer would be no.

I just returned from a funeral in my synagogue in Norwalk. It was for a long-time member that we all saw a pillar of the congregation. We’ve lost many like him in the past couple of years. Anyone who receives shivalist knows the same thing is happening here in New Haven. But just as we gain new, younger, members at my shul when families connect with our rabbi or other members, the call that I was on yesterday was a reminder that this is true in our community. People will join us, if we find ways to give them what they are looking for. And there are many of our supporters who want to help us do just that.

As you are probably aware, food insecurity has become a very visible issue in the last few years. Tomorrow night, Jewish Family Service is holding a fundraising event to benefit the Food Assistance Program. I hope I will see some of you there.

Shabbat shalom


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