It’s a good feeling to donate your hard-earned money to a cause you believe in. The challenge for many people is to understand where their money is going and to reconcile that amount with the perceived value of what is done with it.
Did their money help Jewish Family Services of Ottawa add a new program or enhance their services in some way? Can it help Tamir offer more support to participants living in group homes or expand its day services? Did it improve the quality of Jewish cultural events in Ottawa?
These are questions many donors understandably want answered, to have that guarantee their donations will be put to work effectively and have an impact they can be proud of.
With the Jewish Federation of Ottawa 2016 Annual Campaign kickoff only a few days away, the Emerging Generation (EG) Division is hoping to take its campaign contributions to a new level by changing the way its canvassers interact with one of the Ottawa Jewish community’s most complex demographics.
There will be many changes to the way the emerging gen canvassers will solicit donations this year, EG Director Ariel Fainer said.
“We’re changing the way we’re doing our campaign,” Fainer said, adding there will be a number of fundraising events throughout the 2016 campaign.
Among the changes are two features that should appeal directly to the emerging gen.
First, there is the Hype Team. In addition to traditional canvassers, who cold-call their networks, go door-to-door, or connect with their friends, the Hype Team is slated to do events-based canvassing (which is where those extra fundraising events become important this year).
Events-based canvassing is a new approach intended to introduce potential donors to the Annual Campaign and makes fundraising more interactive. For example, if the EG held an event and charged $36 admission, the attendee would receive a tax receipt for $18, meaning half of that evening’s contribution would not only fund the fun, but the rest would also actually be a charitable donation to the Campaign. The Hype Team is intended to reach out to people to get them to attend the events where they will see first-hand what Federation is and what it does for, and within, the community.
“It’s very hard to reach the EG in the traditional manner. We don’t answer our phones, we don’t answer our emails, we ignore our text messages, and we sort of only get back to people at our own convenience,” Fainer said. “So we have to change the way we campaign, rather than expecting [people] to adapt to the way we canvass.”
Directed Pillar Giving is another way the EG can now see where their money goes, in a way. There are four pillars within the Federation’s mandate: building community, educating Jewishly, supporting Israel and helping the vulnerable.
The Federation already releases annual reports with a visual and detailed breakdown of where donation dollars are spent, and the EG now intends to make this information clear, upfront.
While donors will not, in fairness, be able to give directly to a specific organization, service or program funded from the Campaign, Fainer said they will be letting donors know under which category the agency they want to support falls, so the donor can have more of a say, if they so choose.
For young father and new EG canvasser Howard Fremeth, it’s important to explain how the money is distributed and that many familiar, free events or programs are either partially or fully subsidized by campaign fundraising. He said that knowledge can be extremely powerful when it comes time to pull out the cheque book.
“I think people, [especially for] young parents, young families, money is always very tight, but the amounts don’t always have to be so strenuous, especially if you know the cost of different programs that you’re already taking advantage of. These are things that you probably see a value in,” said Fremeth, a longtime community volunteer. “I know that I can approach people and I know I can make it make sense for them.”
For more information about the EG Division, contact Ariel Fainer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 613-798-4696, ext. 240.