This week after the JCRC meeting at the Towers there was a phone night, with five of our best callers: Art Levy, Allan Hillman, Milt Wallack, Barry Kelmachter and Don Hendel. Art had the biggest success story of the evening. One woman he called went from giving $100 to the Annual Campaign to asking that her credit card be charged $50 a month for a total of $600!!! Thirty-one additional gifts were made, with many increases totaling just under $6,000. We are stones’ throw away from $2 million.
Let’s get back to Cheshire. Last December I told you about the successful Super Sunday afternoon we had in Cheshire, calling people from Cheshire. Since then Don Hendel, Gerry Barker and Barry Kelmachter have hit the phones again calling fellow residents of Cheshire. Gerry and Barry are both past presidents of Temple Beth David, and as such have long-term ties to both the synagogue and the community. This is how their calls often begin: Hi, this is Barry [or Gerry} from the Temple. But tonight I am calling with my Jewish Federation hat on. Looking at the results, it appears that people have a hard time saying no to their friends, and often increase their giving. They both call with smiles on their faces and a calmness in their voices. And yes, it helps when you are calling people you know, if you do in fact feel comfortable calling people you know (many of our callers are not!); it can be more difficult to say no.
The bottom line is that we have been having great success in reaching our supporters in Cheshire. In the last year we’ve hosted a Parlor Meeting at Don’s home, I’ve spoken at Temple Beth David on a Friday evening, we held a Super Sunday phon-a-thon and co-sponsored Ron Wolfson (Scholar-in-Residence) there as well. Our next step is making contact with those who have not contributed to the Federation in the past and ask for their support.
I ‘cut’ my fundraising teeth at the New York Federation running synagogue campaigns all over Manhattan. Back then we, and many other Jewish organizations, would create a synagogue committee, choose an honoree and hold a fundraising breakfast (bagels, cream cheese, and a lot of $18 and $25 checks) or maybe a cocktail reception or simply hold a High Holiday Appeal. The synagogues themselves helped set this all up. It was as though it was expected [and in many cases it was]. In many, if not most, communities this no longer occurs. It is not just that the synagogues have stepped back, so have the organizations. They say it is too time intensive for what is seen as a low dollar return. And people wonder why fewer people are giving to communal campaigns.