The Annual Campaign has been a main source of pride for the Jewish Federation of Ottawa’s Emerging Generation (EG) Division this year. Division director Ariel Fainer has been reflecting on the progress the EG Division has made so far in this campaign, and giving critical thought to how the Federation can further engage this unique demographic to make meaningful contributions to the community.
While the campaign is still ongoing, the EG Division has already surpassed last year’s donations by 47 per cent and has gained more than 30 new donors. The EG Division also boasts an impressive 72 per cent retention rate of past donors.
“Fundraising and engagement has reached new heights this year,” Fainer said. “I think that we are learning how to better reach the members of this demographic and we are better at conveying the importance of contributing to the Annual Campaign.”
Reaching out to the emerging generation is no small feat, requiring the involvement of the director, two EG Division campaign co-chairs, 21 canvassers and an EG Division steering committee of five volunteers. Encompassing an age range of 22 to 45, members are experiencing a variety of important milestones and can have vastly different priorities.
Fainer said it can be a challenge to ensure some individuals and groups within the demographic do not become inactive and disengage from the community. One of Fainer’s strategies is to visualize the demographic as three unique groups: ages 22-27, 28-35, and young families.
While some groups may overlap with needs or interests, Fainer says this helps her and other organizers tailor their events and campaigns. This ensures the majority of needs are met in such a diverse community.
“Not everyone will be interested in every event or program, but, hopefully, I can plan enough different events, [that] everyone can find something that excites them and draws them in,” she said.
“This is where the EG Division steering committee is so helpful. It is a varied group of individuals and they provide good insight into how we can try and meet the needs of everyone in the demographic.”
The Federation must also step up and innovatively engage the emerging generation by making the campaign more “exciting and enticing,” Fainer said.
That necessary creative outreach is going to be especially useful in the coming years, as the Federation has challenged the EG Division in its strategic plan to achieve 240 donors by 2019. A record 125 donors have given to the EG Division Campaign so far this year.
“We have come a long [way] in just the three years we have been running the EG Division campaign,” Fainer said. “We still have a long way to go.
“We are the future of the Jewish community in Ottawa and around the world. We need to show our commitment to the community,” she added. “The best ways to do that are to get involved, attend events and support the community through the Federation’s Annual Campaign.”
Among the upcoming EG Division events is a dinner with Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter on April 15 at 5:30 pm at the Soloway Jewish Community Centre before he delivers the keynote address at the community-wide Yom HaShoah commemoration. Another is the division’s second annual Gratitude event on May 7, which will recognize EG Division campaign donors for their generous contributions.
“We are doing amazing things, thanks to the involvement of some amazing young members of the community,” Fainer said. “There is still a long way we can go, but we are doing wonderful things along the way to our goals.”
For more information about the Emerging Generation Division and events, visit www.jewishottawa.com/emerging-generation or contact Ariel Fainer at email@example.com or 613-798-4696, ext. 240.